DETROIT - Enbridge Energy L.P. and a number of its subsidiaries agreed July 19 to spend $110 million for a series of measures to prevent pipeline spills, pay a $62 million civil penalty for Clean Water Act violations, and reimburse the government for $5 million it spent to cleanup contamination from pipeline spills in Marshall, Mich., and Romeoville, Ill., in 2010, according to a recent docket entry in a Michigan federal court (United States of America v. Enbridge Energy L.P., et al., No. 16-cv-914, W.D. Mich.).
BALTIMORE - State law issues predominate in an asbestos action where the only federal issues arise from third-party complaints, a federal judge in Maryland held July 18 in severing the original action and remanding it (Wayne Oliver v. Campbell McCormick Inc., No. 16-1057, D. Md.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 92756)
HOUSTON - A Texas appeals court on July 19 declined to rehear an asbestos case in which it found that a nine-year gap in accepting a settlement offer did not doom the claim, turning away Union Carbide Corp.'s warning that the ruling "risks creating a dangerous precedent" (Union Carbide Corp. v. Perry Jones, Rosemary Allegria, et al., No. 01-14-00574-CV, Texas App., 1st Dist.).
LOS ANGELES - A defendant's "befuddlement" over the conclusion that it destroyed evidence ignores the differing stories the defendant told throughout the litigation, a widow told a federal judge in California July 18 (Victoria Lund, et al. v. Crane Co., et al., No. 13-2776, C.D. Calif.).
DETROIT - A group of plaintiffs who sued various Michigan authorities, as well as an engineering planning firm that acted as a consultant to the City of Flint, Mich., when it switched its water source to the Flint River, filed a brief in Michigan federal court July 15, contending that their lead-contaminated drinking water lawsuit should not be dismissed because it is not barred by the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) (Frances Gilcreast, et al. v. Lockwood, Andrews & Newman, No. 16-11173, E.D. Mich.).
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - Employees of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) on July 18 filed a brief in Michigan federal court contending that the lead-contaminated water lawsuit brought against them by residents of Flint, Mich., should be dismissed because they are entitled to "absolute immunity" on all claims (Tamara Nappier v. Richard Snyder, et al., No. 16-636, W.D. Mich.).
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - A Florida jury on July 19 awarded the husband of a woman who died from lung cancer $1.5 million in damages against Philip Morris USA Inc. after finding that the woman was addicted to cigarettes and that her addiction was a legal cause of her death (Joseph Varner v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al., No. 2008-CV-026345, 17th Jud. Cir. Broward Co.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A trio of cigar rights groups on July 15 filed suit against the Food and Drug Administration, claiming that its new rules and regulations on tobacco and tobacco products violate the U.S. Food Drug and Cosmetic Act because they subject all tobacco products to stricter regulations than prescribed in the act (Cigar Association of America, et al. v. Food and Drug Administration, No. 1:16-cv-01460, D. D.C.).
NEW ORLEANS - Neither a voluntary motion to dismiss pending when a defendant filed third-party claims nor a foreign entity's late removal warrants remand, a federal judge in Louisiana held July 14 in also declining to sever the claims, which he concluded are probably subject to dismissal (Earl T. Lindsay Jr., et al. v. Ports America Gulfport Inc., et al., No. 16-3054, E.D. La.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 91649).
SALEM, Ore. - A panel of the Oregon Supreme Court on July 14 reversed and remanded a Court of Appeals' decision finding that a challenge brought by two mining associations regarding a rule requiring them to obtain permits to conduct suction dredge mining was moot, holding that the appellate court should determine if the challenge is justiciable under Oregon Revised Statute (ORS) 14.175 (Eastern Oregon Mining Association, et al. v. Department of Environmental Quality, et al., No. SC063549, Ore. Sup.; 2016 Ore. LEXIS 463).
PHILADELPHIA - A power company that was sued by a group of Pennsylvania residents who contend that it is liable for their injuries, including cancer, that stem from exposure to radioactive materials filed a brief in the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 15, arguing that it should let stand a lower court's summary judgment ruling in the company's favor because the plaintiffs lack admissible evidence of specific causation (Michelle McMunn, et al. v. Babcock & Wilcox Power Generation Group Inc., No. 15-3506 [consolidated], 3rd Cir.).
SAN ANTONIO - Tesoro Corp., Par Hawaii Refining and their subsidiaries on July 18 said in a consent decree filed in Texas federal court that they would pay $425 million to resolve alleged violations of the Clean Air Act (CAA) at six of their refineries in Alaska, California, Hawaii, North Dakota, Utah and Washington (United States of America v. Tesoro Corp., et al., No. 16-cv-722, W.D. Texas).
BOSTON - A federal judge did not err when entering judgment in favor of defendant landowners accused of violating the Clean Water Act (CWA), a First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled July 18, finding that a couple's citizen suit was unnecessary because the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (RIDEM) had addressed allegedly illegal discharges of contaminated storm water (Lois Paolino, et al. v. JF Realty LLC, et al., No. 15-1498, 1st Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 13117).
WILMINGTON, Del. - A federal magistrate judge in Delaware said July 13 that the bare-metal defense and causation standard in Mississippi requires granting judgment in favor of nine asbestos defendants (Robert Lee Winhauer Jr., et al. v. Air & Liquid Systems Corp., et al., No. 15-177, D. Del.).
BALTIMORE - A federal judge in Maryland on July 15 refused to dismiss an insurer's lawsuit against a landlord and the couple that sued the landlord in an underlying lawsuit regarding lead-based paint exposure, ruling that the insurer's declaratory judgment action must continue because the couple had not met the burden of having the case dismissed (Allstate Insurance Co. v. Stanley Rochkind, et al., No. 15-1546, D. Md.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 91087).
FRANKFORT, Ky. - The mere possibility that a man encountered asbestos-containing friction parts at his place of employment falls short of Kentucky's standard for causation, a divided appeals panel held July 14 (Linda Mannahan, et al. v. Eaton Corp., et al., No. 2013-CA-002005-MR, Ky. App.; 2016 Ky. App. LEXIS 120).
NEW ORLEANS - A Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on July 15 denied a motion filed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to dismiss or transfer to the District of Columbia U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals a petition filed by the State of Texas and a number of organizations challenging the agency's implementation of a regional haze plan, finding that it is the proper forum to hear the petitioners' case (State of Texas, et al. v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, No. 16-60118, 5th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 13058).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A federal judge in California on July 13 ruled that a company that settled with a group of defendants for costs associated with cleaning up groundwater contamination from dense nonaqueous phase liquid tetrachloroethene (DNAPL PCE) is not entitled to relitigate its case to recover more costs from a separate defendant (AmeriPride Services Inc. v. Valley Industrial Service Inc., No. S-00-113, E.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist LEXIS 91119).
JOPLIN, Mo. - A federal judge in Missouri on July 13 denied a motion for new trial in a chemical exposure injury case filed by the companies that were hit with a $20.6 million combined damages award on grounds that the evidence did not warrant a new trial and the compensatory damages award was not "excessive or disproportionate" (Jodelle L. Kirk v. Schaeffler Group USA Inc., et al., No. 13-5032, W.D. Mo.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 90541).
PHILADELPHIA - A company cannot be held liable for asbestos-containing products it did not manufacturer, supply or mandate, Crane Co. told a federal judge in Pennsylvania July 13 in looking to upset a more than $1 million verdict against it (Lynn C. Dobrick, et al. v. Air & Liquid Systems Corp., et al., No. 10-03202, E.D. Pa.).
MIAMI - Expert testimony challenges from both an asbestos plaintiff and a friction defendant confuse the distinction between admissibility and credibility, a federal judge in Florida said July 11 while also declining to take a third look into whether jurisdiction exists over a different defendant (James John Waite Jr. and Sandra Waite v. AII Acquisition Corp., et al., No. 15-62359, S.D. Fla.).
CONCORD, N.H. - A group of Portsmouth, N.H., residents can intervene in a lawsuit brought by the federal government against the city over its disposal of wastewater, but limited their involvement to the second modification of a consent decree that requires the city to build a second wastewater disposal facility (United States of America v. City of New Hampshire, No. 09-cv-283, D. N.H.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 90139).
PORTLAND, Ore. - The City of Portland, Ore., on July 12 sued Monsanto Co. and two of its affiliates in Oregon federal court, contending that the city's water supply and environment are contaminated by polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and the company - which was the sole manufacturer of the chemical compound - concealed the truth about its toxicity from the public and government (City of Portland, Ore. v. Monsanto Company, et al., No. 16-1418, D. Ore.).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) on July 12 announced that its Bureau of Safe Drinking Water will oversee and work with the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority (PWSA) in response to test results that indicate that the levels of lead and copper in the city's drinking water require remediation.
SOUTH BEND, Ind. - A federal judge in Indiana on July 11 denied a couple's motion to remand its groundwater contamination case to state court on grounds that the defendant's motion to remand was timely and that the local controversy to the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA) did not apply (Amos Hostetler, et al. v. Johnson Controls Inc., No. 15-226, N.D. Ind.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 89278).