ST. LOUIS - The Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Feb. 9 affirmed a district court's ruling that an insurer is entitled to contribution from a second insurer that is responsible for one-seventh of the defense costs spent in defending the insured in four underlying benzene-related lawsuits (Continental Casualty Co. v. National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, Pa., et al., No. 15-1547, 8th Cir.).
ST. LOUIS - A federal judge in Missouri on Feb. 8 granted the federal government's motion to strike a jury demand in a Clean Air Act (CAA) suit against Ameren Missouri, finding that the damages sought by the government were equitable rather than legal (United States of America v. Ameren Missouri, No. 11 cv 77, E.D. Mo.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 14849).
NEW YORK - A judge in the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Feb. 8 granted an emergency stay of a lower court's order that required a group of plaintiffs to dismiss their chemical injury lawsuit pending in Pennsylvania state court against Anadarko Petroleum Corp. (Tronox Incorporated v. Anadarko Petroleum Corporation, No. 14-5495, 2nd Cir.).
RALEIGH, N.C. - The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) on Feb. 8 fined Duke Energy Carolinas LLC $6,631,005.41 million for a coal ash spill at the company's power plant on the Dan River (In the matter of: Duke Energy Carolinas LLC, No. DV-2016-0017, NCDEQ, Rockingham Co.).
LOS ANGELES - A plaintiff lacks sufficient evidence of substantial factor causation, a federal judge in California said Feb. 8 in once again granting three companies summary judgment in an asbestos case after the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals reversed an earlier ruling (Charles Curtis v. ABB Inc., et al., No. 12-2014, C.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 15735).
LENEXA, Kans. - A regional office of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Feb. 4 announced that Loveland Products Inc. has agreed to a proposed settlement that would require it to pay a $145,000 civil penalty for discharges of storm water into the Brawner Creek that contained excessive levels of cadmium, copper, lead, nickel and zinc in violation of the Clean Water Act (CWA).
WILMINGTON, Del. - Two manufacturers' evidence of U.S. Navy control over products supplied to them creates a colorable defense to design defect and failure-to-warn asbestos claims, a federal magistrate judge in Delaware held Feb. 5 (In re: Asbestos Litigation, Edna S. Esser a/k/a Edna Tallman, et al. v. CBS Corp., et al., No. 13-395, D. Del.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 13914).
SAN FRANCISCO - Testimony placing a decedent at a garage during work on asbestos-containing friction products suffices to overcome summary judgment, a California appeals court held Feb. 8 in reversing judgment for three of four defendants (Geraldine Bierner Lepore, et al. v. Kelsey-Hayes Co., et al., No. A137451, Calif. App., 1st Dist., Div. 4).
BLACKSBURG, Va. - The research team that exposed the dangerous levels of lead in the drinking water in Flint, Mich., on Feb. 4 released more emails obtained from Michigan state officials that indicate that in January 2015, an environmental health inspector for the county in which the city is located filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with state environmental officials for information about the water supply system the city was using because of an increase in local cases of Legionnaire's disease.
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on Feb. 3 heard testimony from lawyers, a former judge and the wife a former congressman who died of mesothelioma during hearings on legislation addressing the need for transparency in asbestos trusts.
LOS ANGELES - A California federal judge on Feb. 2 denied an amended motion for class certification filed in in a lawsuit brought by consumers who allege that deceptive advertising by a maker of electronic cigarettes led them to believe that they were safer than smoking traditional cigarettes (In Re: NJOY Inc. Consumer Class Action Litigation, No. 14-00428, C.D. Calif.).
ATLANTA - Less than two weeks after announcing that it would revisit its April holding that strict liability and negligence claims asserted in Engle progeny suits are preempted by federal law, an en banc 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Feb. 2 vacated its Jan. 21 rehearing order in light of a recusal by Chief Circuit Judge Ed Carnes (Earl E. Graham, as Personal Representative of the Estate of Faye Dale Graham v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al., No. 13-14590, 11th Cir.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The researcher whose team discovered the lead contamination in the water in Flint, Mich., along with officials from state environmental agencies, on Feb. 3 testified before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform about the lead water crisis in Flint, saying that the crisis is the result of "institutional scientific misconduct perpetrated by" federal and state agencies that have the purpose of protecting drinking water.
HARRISBURG, Pa. - The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Feb. 1 agreed to decide whether strict-liability failure-to-warn cases permit a jury to determine if the product in question was unreasonably dangerous (Thomas Amato and Jean Amato v. Bell & Gossett, et al., No. 448 EAL 2015, Charlotte Vinciguerra, et al. v. Bayer Cropscience Inc, et al., No. 447 EAL 2015, Pa. Sup.).
ST LOUIS - A Missouri jury awarded $4.1 million to the widow of man who contracted mesothelioma after asbestos exposure as an electrician, holding the lone remaining defendant 5 percent liable, sources told Mealey Publications Feb. 1 (Jean Urbach v. The Okonite Co., No. 1122-CC-10636, Mo. Cir., St. Louis Co.).
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The failure of a couple to cite the proper statute section in a letter of intent to sue a railway company for violations of the Clean Water Act (CWA) as a result of an oil spill that discharged more than 11,000 barrels of oil onto their property warranted the dismissal of their claims under the act, a federal judge in Alabama ruled Feb. 2 (David W. Grayson, et al. v. Alabama & Gulf Coast Railway LLC, et al., No. 15-cv-01661-LSC, N.D. Ala.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 12054).
DETROIT - A putative class on Jan. 31 filed a lawsuit in Michigan federal court against state officials who the class contends are liable for damages for acts that "unilaterally" resulted in contaminating the drinking water in Flint, Mich., with lead (Beatrice Boler, et al. v. Darnell Earley, et al., No. 16-10323, E.D. Mich.).
PHILADELPHIA - Adherence to government specifications are enough for removal, and a defendant need not show the military rejected asbestos-related warnings, an aircraft manufacturer tells the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in a Jan. 28 brief (Steven Papp, et al. v. Fore-Kast Sales Company Inc., et al., No. 15-2851, 3rd Cir.).
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - A federal judge in North Carolina on Jan. 29 denied a motion filed by Duke Energy Carolinas LLC in which the company sought certification for an interlocutory appeal in a groundwater contamination case, ruling that the company failed to carry its burden of demonstrating that there were "extraordinary circumstances" warranting the appeal (Yadkin Riverkeeper, et al. v. Duke Energy Carolinas LLC, No. 14-00753, M.D. N.C.).
PHILADELPHIA - Plaintiffs are trying to circumvent the decades-long deferral of punitive damages in the federal asbestos multidistrict litigation under which the parties prepared for trial, Crane Co. told a federal judge Feb. 2 (Lynn C. Dobrick, et al. v. Foster Wheeler LLC, et al., No. 10-3202, E.D. Pa.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals on Jan. 29 granted a joint motion from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and six environmental groups for an order that would require the agency to promulgate financial regulations on the hard rock mining industry to ensure that companies have money set aside for possible remediation of contamination pursuant to Section 108(b) of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) (In re: Idaho Conservation League, et al., No. 14-1149, U.S. App., D.C. Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 1437).
ATLANTA - A product manufacturer cannot be liable for the asbestos exposure of household members who never used, worked near or even encountered the products in question, CertainTeed Corp. tells the Georgia Supreme Court in a Feb. 1 brief urging it to reject imposition of such a duty (CertainTeed Corp. v. Marcella Fletcher, No. S15G1903, Ga. Sup.).
KYOTO, Japan - Nine manufacturers and the government owe 27 individuals 216 million yen for failing to warn about or prevent exposure to asbestos, a Japanese court found Jan. 29, Mealey Publications has learned.
NEW ORLEANS - A Louisiana state appeals panel on Jan. 27 affirmed an attorney fee award of $457,500 in a lead-paint-poisoning lawsuit on grounds that the money had been set aside for fee awards and the attorney in question made it possible for the lead-poisoning plaintiffs to receive their disbursements "expeditiously" (Casey Billieson v. City of New Orleans, No. 2015-0858, La. App., 4th Cir.; 2016 La. App. LEXIS 152).
CHARLESTON, S.C. - A plaintiff lacks sufficient evidence that a manufacturer incorporated asbestos-containing gaskets into its product in a way that made exposure "inevitable," a federal judge in South Carolina held Jan. 27 (Linda T. Dandridge, et al. v. Crane Co., et al., No. 12-484, D. S.C.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 9378).