CAMDEN, N.J. - Consolidated Rail Corp. (CONRAIL), a defendant in the lawsuit brought by New Jersey residents seeking $10 million damages for vinyl chloride contamination allegedly caused by the derailment of a train in Paulsboro, N.J., on Oct. 13 sent a letter to the federal judge presiding over the case, seeking sanctions against the plaintiffs' attorney on grounds that he has released confidential documents publicly (In re: Paulsboro Derailment Cases, No. 13-784, D. N.J.).
WILMINGTON, Del. - A Delaware federal bankruptcy judge on Oct. 14 issued a final decree closing the Chapter 11 cases of 15 affiliates of W.R. Grace & Co. (In re: W.R. Grace & Co., et al., No. 01-01139, D. Del. Bkcy.).
ST. LOUIS - The lead plaintiff in a consolidated personal injury lawsuit for exposure to radioactive material against contractors and successors to contractors engaged in the Manhattan Engineering Project near the St. Louis Airport on Oct. 14 filed a status report in Missouri federal court, contending that changes the defendants want to make to a questionnaire that will be submitted to all plaintiffs are "radically overbroad" concerning the information sought (Scott D. McClurg, et al. v. MI Holdings Inc., et al., No. 12-361 [consolidated], E.D. Mo.).
PROVIDENCE, R.I. - While two plaintiffs' asbestos cases involve different times of exposure, the fact that they each spent significant time at a single facility warrants consolidating their cases for trial, a Rhode Island judge held Oct. 10 (Maureen Gallagher, et al. v. American Insulated Wire Corp., et al., No. PC11-5269, Constance Podedworney, et al. v. American Insulated Wire Corp., et al., No. PC11-5268, R.I. Super., Providence Plantation; 2014 R.I. Super. LEXIS 144).
ATLANTA - A panel of the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Oct. 14 remanded a case to North Carolina federal court, concluding that federal law does not preempt statutes of repose and determining that North Carolina's statute does not contain an exception for latent diseases (Erica Y. Bryant, et al. v. United States of America, No. 12-15424, 11th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 19670).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 14 declined to review an asbestos case challenging denial of a remand order, leaving in place a ruling plaintiffs warned could result in "unlimited" federal officer removal (Douglas P. Leite and Mary Ann K. Leite v. Crane Co., et al., No. 14-119, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Listening to arguments by Kansas about Nebraska's violation of a 2006 Republican River water rights settlement, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen G. Breyer on Oct. 14 asked Nebraska's lawyer: "Is there any chance that you all could work this out?" (State of Kansas v. State of Nebraska, et al., No. 126, Original, U.S. Sup.).
COLUMBUS, Ohio - The class members who have sued E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co. alleging wrongful death and other personal injuries related to exposure to perfluorooctanoic acid on Oct. 13 filed a brief in Ohio federal court contending that the company has not identified any disputed genuine issue of material fact sufficient to bar the relief the plaintiffs request (In re E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. C8 Personal Injury Litigation, MDL 2433, No. 13-2433, S.D. Ohio).
CAMDEN, N.J. - CSX Transportation Inc., a defendant in a lawsuit brought by New Jersey residents seeking $10 million in punitive damages for vinyl chloride contamination allegedly caused by the derailment of a train carrying the chemical in Paulsboro, N.J., on Oct. 9 filed an amended answer in New Jersey federal court, contending that the plaintiffs were not exposed to vinyl chloride at levels that caused "injuries to their bodies," such that there was an increased likelihood of developing cancer and diseases of the blood (In re: Paulsboro Derailment Cases, No. 13-784, D. N.J.).
WHEELING, W. Va. - A West Virginia landowner on Oct. 10 filed a brief in West Virginia federal court contending that the hydraulic fracturing company with which she entered a lease used "trickery" in its attempt to extend an expired oil and gas exploration lease; therefore, the company is not entitled to dismissal of her lawsuit (Frances Braden v. Chesapeake Appalachia LLC, No. 13-107, N.D. W.Va.).
NEWARK, N.J. - While the evidence suggests that the government maintained tight control over the design and manufacturing of an aircraft, it does not suggest control over asbestos-related warnings, a New Jersey federal judge held Oct. 9 (Mary Sue Papp, et al. v. Fore-Kast Sales Company Inc., et al., No. 13-5940, D. N.J.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 143787).
CARY, N.C. - A winemaker developed mesothelioma after exposure to asbestos fibers used in filtering impurities from wine, according to a report published by the Annals of Occupational Hygiene on Oct. 8.
DENVER - A federal magistrate judge in Colorado on Oct. 9 dismissed a complaint filed by an inmate who contended that officials with the Colorado Department of Corrections (DOC) lied about contamination in the prison's drinking water (Tyrone Walker v. John W. Hickenlooper, et al., No. 14-01062, D. Colo.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 143878).
NEW YORK - The U.S. Chamber of Commerce on Oct. 8 filed an amicus brief in the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals contending that it "must punish" the "massive fraud" committed by the attorney who won a $18.5 billion judgment for Ecuadorian nationals against Chevron Corp. related to contamination from the company's oil operations in the Lago Agrio region of Ecuador (Chevron Corporation v. Steven R. Donziger, et al., No. 14-826, 2nd Cir.).
NEW ORLEANS - With the close of discovery still almost six months away, summary judgment is premature for two defendants in a third-party asbestos action, a Louisiana federal judge held Oct. 7 (Junius Millet Jr. v. Huntington Ingalls Inc., et al., No. 13-0934, E.D. La.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 142517).
PHILADELPHIA - No reasonable jury could credit a plaintiff's inconsistent testimony regarding a product's asbestos labeling, a Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel held Oct. 8 in affirming dismissal of two defendants (In re: Asbestos Products Liability Litigation, Taylor Stokes, et al., No. 13-4002, 3rd Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 19183).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - A group of environmental advocacy organizations on Oct. 6 filed an appeal with the Pennsylvania Environmental Hearing Board (EHB), arguing that the state's Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) wrongly approved permits for two hydraulic fracturing companies because it failed to provide specific descriptions of the residual waste the companies planned to use to stabilize their wells (The Delaware Riverkeeper Network., et al. v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, et al., No. 2014-128-R, EHB).
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - A federal judge in Arkansas on Oct. 6 ruled that two organizations that contend that government agencies violated federal laws when they approved leases for hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas in the Ozark-St. Francis National Forest have a valid case (Ouachita Watch League v. Judith Henry, No. 11-00425 and The Ozark Society v. The U.S. Forest Service, No. 11-00782, [consolidated] E.D. Ark.).
WILMINGTON, Del. - A Delaware federal judge on Oct. 6 granted summary judgment in favor of Delaware State University (DSU) and various university staff, finding that a former secretary and union president failed to show that her position was terminated after she made complaints about mold and asbestos (Michelle Thomas v. Delaware State University, et al., No. 10-522; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 141728).
SAN FRANCISCO - A 2011 opinion by the federal asbestos multidistrict judge does not bar a similar action against Crane Co. in state court because the judge improperly considered the Navy's knowledge in applying the sophisticated user doctrine, a California appeals court held Oct. 8 (Kimbra Gottschall, et al. v. Crane Co., No. A136516, Calif. App., 1st Dist.).
ALEXANDRIA, Va. - Material misrepresentations in an insurance application absolve a commercial general liability insurer of any duty to defend or indemnify claims arising from an insured's faulty construction work, a Virginia federal judge ruled Oct. 6, also finding that a classification limitation exclusion and mold exclusion apply (Canopius US Insurance Inc. v. Cresco Inc., et al., No. 14-00172, E.D. Va.).
BALTIMORE - A plaintiff cannot produce sufficient evidence that improved warnings from Union Carbide Corp. would have prevented his wife's take-home asbestos exposures, a Maryland federal judge held Sept. 16 (Melvin F. Sherin, et al. v. John Crane-Houdaille Inc., et al., No. 11-3698, D. Md.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 130702).
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - A Michigan federal judge on Oct. 6 refused to dismiss allegations related to mold exposure at a corrections facility against certain defendants, finding that various claims for violations of the U.S. Constitution were nonfrivolous (Marcel Riddle, et al. v. Robert Napel, et al., No. 2:13-cv-152, W.D. Mich.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 142176).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) on Oct. 7 filed a complaint with the Pennsylvania Environmental Hearing Board (EHB) against a hydraulic fracturing company seeking civil penalties greater than $4.53 million for violations of state environmental laws (Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection v. EQT Production Company, No. N/A, Pa. EHB).
ANNAPOLIS, Md. - The Maryland Court of Special Appeals on Oct. 6 affirmed a trial court decision that excluded the testimony of a pediatrician who had been called as a witness in a lead-paint-poisoning lawsuit on grounds that he lacked sufficient knowledge to draw conclusions about the plaintiff's alleged injuries (Jakeem Roy v. Elliot Dackman, et al., No. 558, Sept. Term 2013, Md. Spec. App.; 2014 Md. App. LEXIS 116).