WASHINGTON, D.C. - A panel in the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims on April 23 partially affirmed and partially vacated and remanded a ruling that denied a military veteran's claim for benefits based on injuries he alleged were caused by exposure to Agent Orange (Robert H. Gray v. Robert A. McDonald, No. 13-3339, U.S. App., Fed. Clms.; 2015 U.S. App. Vet. Claims LEXIS 500).
BEAUMONT, Texas - A judge improperly found that hotly contested evidence in an asbestos case could not support a jury's finding for a premises owner, a Texas appeals court held April 23 (In re: E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Co., No. 09-14-00465-CV, Texas App., 9th Dist.; 2015 Tex. App. LEXIS 4072).
SEATTLE - A Washington jury on April 21 awarded a woman $3.6 million and held an insulation company liable for her exposure to asbestos while laundering her husband's work clothing (Estate of Barbara Brandes v. Brand Insulation Inc., No. 14-2-21662-9 SEA, Wash. Super., King Co.).
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - The federal government and ExxonMobil Pipeline Co., which have been embroiled in a lawsuit over liability for an oil spill that was the result of a pipeline rupture, on April 22 reached an agreement under which the company will pay a total of $4.47 million in civil penalties (United States of America, et al. v. ExxonMobil Pipeline Company, No. 14-00355, E.D. Ark.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 87556).
DENVER - Noble Energy Inc. on April 22 entered into a consent decree with the federal government and State of Colorado in which it agreed to pay $73 million to resolve allegations that volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions from its oil and gas exploration and production activities in Denver were in violation of the Clean Air Act (CAA) and Colorado Air Pollution Prevention and Control Act (United States of America, et al. v. Noble Energy Inc., No. 15-cv-0841, D. Colo.).
CAMDEN, N.J. - The railroad company defendants sued by a New Jersey school district and borough for $5,865,339 in damages for a chemical spill that was the result of a train derailment on April 20 filed a brief in New Jersey federal court, contending that the plaintiffs' allegations are based on a report from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) that is "improper and inadmissible" (Paulsboro Public Schools, et al. v. Consolidated Rail Corporation, et al., No.14-07431, D. N.J.).
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - After finding that all mold-related claims asserted against a contractor and others in an underlying state court case were excluded under an insurance policy, an Alabama federal judge on April 21 found that an insurer has no duty to defend the parties in the case (Pennsylvania National Mutual Casualty Insurance Co. v. The Retirement Systems of Alabama, et al., No. 14-248, N.D. Ala.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 52055).
OKLAHOMA CITY - The federal judge presiding over a lawsuit brought by Oklahoma residents who contend that they were injured from exposure to radioactive waste from a chemical plant operated by Halliburton Energy Services Inc. (HESI) on April 21 denied the residents' motion to reconsider her denial of class certification (Mitchell L. McCormick v. Halliburton Energy Services Inc., No. 11-01272, W.D. Okla.).
NEW ORLEANS - A Louisiana federal judge on April 16 dismissed two interpleader actions in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill multidistrict litigation after determining that the excess insurers satisfied their coverage obligations pursuant to a settlement agreement (In re: Oil Spill by the Oil Rig "Deepwater Horizon" in the Gulf of Mexico, on April 20, 2010 applies to: 11-01439, 11-01440, MDL No. 2179, E.D. La.).
PHILADELPHIA - A federal judge in Pennsylvania on April 17 dismissed a number of claims in an insurance bad faith lawsuit, ruling that insureds have failed to state a claim for relief (Joan Groth, et al. v. State Farm Fire & Casualty Co., et al., No. 14-7033, E.D. Pa.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 51031).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A federal judge in the U.S. Court of Veterans Appeals on April 20 ruled that a decision by the Board of Veterans Appeals did not provide a sufficient basis for denying a military serviceman's claim for benefits related to injuries he alleges that he suffered as a result of exposure to Agent Orange (Byron G. Storey v. Robert A. McDonald, No. 14-0666, U.S. App., Vet. Clms.; 2015 U.S. App. Vet. Claims LEXIS 475).
NORFOLK, Va. - Once parties in an asbestos action completed briefing on demurrers, the case was in the hands of the trial judge for disposition and could not be nonsuited, Virginia's top court held April 16 (Anheuser-Busch Companies Inc., et al. v. Garland Cantrell, No. 140748, Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co., n/k/a Huntington Ingalls Inc., v. Garland Cantrell, No. 140749, Va. Sup.).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - A Pennsylvania appeals court on April 17 reissued and published an opinion affirming that a couple lacks evidence of exposure to asbestos from brakes on a manufacturer's cranes (Norman J. Sterling and Laura M. Sterling v. P&H Mining Equipment Inc., a/k/a Joy Global Surface Mining Inc., No. 1006 EDA 2014, Pa. Super.; 2015 Pa. Super. LEXIS 186).
PHILADELPHIA - Negligence and strict liability claims involve an employer's duty to provide a safe workspace under Pennsylvania law and would not require interpretation of a collective bargaining agreement, the federal judge overseeing the federal asbestos multidistrict litigation held April 15 in remanding the case (Rita G. Stellar, et al. v. Allied Signal Inc., et al., No. MDL 875, 14-5083, E.D. Pa.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 50066).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A private military contractor sued by residents of Ecuador for allegedly causing personal injuries as a result of spraying herbicides on April 17 filed a brief contending that the plaintiffs' nuisance claim is contrary to the law of the District of Columbia and that they cannot establish battery or intentional infliction of emotional distress (Venancia Aguasanta Arias, et al. v. DynCorp, No. 01-01908, and Nestor Ermogenes Arroyo Quinteros, et al. v. DynCorp, No. 07-01042, D. D.C. [consolidated]).
MADISON, Wis. - A federal judge in Wisconsin presiding over a Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act lawsuit on April 16 ruled that expert witnesses for Northern States Power Co. can rely on deposition testimony from four deceased Ashland, Wis., residents to support their opinions, holding that any inconsistencies in the deposition testimony can be addressed during cross-examination (Northern States Power Company v. City of Ashland, Wisconsin, et al., No. 12-cv-602, W.D. Wis.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 50022).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - A Pennsylvania appeals court on April 17 affirmed a $4.8 million asbestos verdict, finding no need to offset the awards with settlements reached with nonparty defendants, rejecting the sophisticated user doctrine and finding that the judge properly excluded Crane Co.'s memory expert (Thomas Amato and Jean Amato v. Bell & Gossett, et al., No. 2344 EDA 2013, Charlotte Vinciguerra, et al. v. Bayer Cropscience Inc., No. 2388 EDA 2013, Pa. Super.; 2015 Pa. Super. LEXIS 189; 2015 Pa. Super. LEXIS 189).
MADISON, Wis. - A federal judge in Wisconsin on April 15 denied motions filed by a plaintiff company in a Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act case, seeking to exclude expert testimony and supplemental reports filed by the City of Ashland, Wis., finding that the experts' opinions were relevant and that their supplemental reports could not have been prepared without information that was not supplied by the plaintiff company until January (Northern States Power Company v. City of Ashland, Wisconsin, et al., No. 12-cv-602, W.D. Wis.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 49387).
SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge on April 14 found that an administrative law judge erred when he discounted the severity of a woman's mold-related and other ailments, remanding the case for further review (Luba Yesipovich v. Carolyn W. Colvin, acting commissioner of social security, No. 15-00112, N.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 49799).
NEW YORK - A tile company has not satisfied the prima facie standard for summary judgment, the recently appointed New York justice overseeing asbestos litigation in the city held in an opinion posted April 16 (Richard R. Lefrak v. Aerco International Inc., et al., No. 190033/14, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).
CLEVELAND - An Ohio appeals court on April 16 affirmed a trial court's ruling to dismiss a property owner's claims, finding that trees on his neighbor's property that allegedly caused issues, including mold growth, did not constitute a nuisance (David Rababy v. Roy C. Metter, No. 101445, Ohio App., 8th Dist.; 2015 Ohio App. LEXIS 1410).
WILMINGTON, Del. - A shipyard's motion to dismiss claims against a subsidiary involves merit issues and should be converted into a motion for summary judgment, a federal magistrate judge in Delaware said April 14 (Charles D. Malone and Elizabeth Malone v. Air & Liquid Systems Corp., et al., No. 14-406, D. Del.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 48697).
COLUMBUS, Ohio - E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co., which is being sued by a class that alleges personal injury and wrongful death in connection with a spill of perfluorooctanoic acid (also called C-8), on April 15 filed multiple answers to individual plaintiffs, contending that they are barred from obtaining relief due to a prior class action settlement (In re E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. C-8 Personal Injury Litigation, MDL No. 2433, No. 13-2433, S.D. Ohio).
BIG STONE GAP, Va. - A federal judge in Virginia on April 13 awarded summary judgment to a coal company accused by environmental groups of violating the Clean Water Act (CWA) by discharging pollutants at levels in excess of those allowed by its National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit, after the company provided documentation from the Virginia Division of Mined Land Reclamation (DMLR) that the company was not in violation of its permit (Southern Appalachian Mountain Stewards, et al. v. Red River Coal Company Inc., No. 14CV00025, W.D. Va.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 48483).
NEW YORK - A couple lacks evidence that a defendant purchased the asbestos-containing products in question or that it knew of the dangers of the products in question, a New York justice held in an opinion posted April 13 (John P. Carroll and Mary Carroll v. CBS Corp., et al., No. 190262/12, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.; 2015 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 1131).