LAFAYETTE, La. - A federal judge in Louisiana on Feb. 11 partially dismissed and partially denied motions to dismiss a lawsuit brought for the repayment of a $25 million loan that was slated to be used to launch a hydraulic fracturing business, ruling that the parties that defaulted on the loan have a legitimate claim for promissory estoppel (GE Oil & Gas Inc. v. Turbine Generation Services LLC, et al., No. 14-00760, W.D. La.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 16912).
OLYMPIA, Wash. - On a 6-3 vote, the Washington Supreme Court on Feb. 12 reaffirmed that the 2003 amendments to the state's water laws are constitutional and that state water authorities acted properly when they approved amendments to the water rights permits held by Washington State University (WSU) (Scott Cornelius, et al. v. Washington Department of Ecology, et al., No. 88317-3, Wash. Sup.; 2015 Wash. LEXIS 176).
NEW ORLEANS - A federal magistrate judge in Louisiana did not err when finding that a former BP America Inc. employee was unable to provide sufficient evidence to support his claim that the oil company retaliated against him when deciding to terminate his employment over his complaints that it was not following shoreline treatment recommendations (STR) following the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, a Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Feb. 12 (August Walter v. BP America Inc., No. 14-30451, 5th Cir.).
COLUMBUS, Ohio - E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co., which has been sued by a class of Ohio residents alleging personal injury and wrongful death in connection with a spill of perfluorooctanoic acid (also called C-8), on Feb. 10 filed a brief in Ohio federal court seeking to compel discovery responses from certain plaintiffs the company contends "offer nothing but more objections and vague references to the entire universe of approximately 8 million pages of previously produced documents" (In re E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. C-8 Personal Injury Litigation, MDL No. 2433, No. 13-2433, S.D. Ohio).
ALBANY, N.Y. - A New York appeals court on Feb. 11 affirmed a board's decision to award a teacher compensation benefits, finding that she provided sufficient evidence to show that she suffered injuries caused by mold exposure at work (Michelle Cappelletti v. Marcellus Central School District, et al., No. 518495, N.Y. Sup., App. Div.; 3rd Dept.).
WORCESTER, Mass. - T&N Ltd.'s bankruptcy plan envisions claims against it for the purpose of accessing nontransferable asbestos-insurance assets, but provides no extension of the bankruptcy stay past discharge, a panel of the First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held Feb. 11 (Nora M. Barraford, et al. v. T&N Limited, f/k/a T&N PLC, et al., Katherine Lydon, et al. v. T&N Limited, et al., No. 14-1281, 1st Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 2129).
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 Feb. 10 filed a brief in federal court arguing that "the remote and speculative" damages sought cannot satisfy New Jersey's "particularized foreseeability" standard (Paulsboro Public Schools, et al. v. Consolidated Rail Corporation, et al., No.14-07431, D. N.J.).
NEW YORK - The federal judge in New York presiding over the multidistrict litigation pertaining to groundwater contamination claims involving methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico on Feb. 10 denied a motion to dismiss filed by the successor to Shell Oil Co., concluding that no legal theory supports its motion (In Re: Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether [MTBE] Products Liability Litigation [Commonwealth of Puerto Rico v. Shell Oil Co.], No. 07-10470, MDL 1358, S.D. N.Y.).
NEW YORK - A pump maker presents no evidence that anything but asbestos was available to insulate its boilers, and its protests to the contrary are mostly irrelevant, a New York justice held in an opinion posted Feb. 10 (Bryan Hockler v. 3M Co., et al., No. 190235/13, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).
MIAMI - A Florida judge on Feb. 11 set aside a widow's $10.3 million asbestos verdict against Carnival Cruise Lines, saying insufficient evidence exists of exposure aboard the defendant's ships (Giovanna Settimi Caraffa, et al. v. Carnival Cruise Lines, No. 06-00964CA01, Fla. Cir., Miami-Dade Co.).
NEW YORK - The evidence largely supports a jury's asbestos verdict, but the five plaintiffs originally awarded a record-setting $190 million verdict must stipulate to just under $30 million in damages or face a new trial on the issue, according to documents filed Feb. 9 in a New York court (Santo Assenzio v. A.O. Smith Water Products, Robert Brunck v A.O. Smith Water Products, Paul Levy v. A.O. Smith Water Products, Cesar Serna v A.O. Smith Water Products, Raymond Vincent v. A.O. Smith Water Products, Nos. 190008/12, 190026/12, 190200/12, 190183/12, 190184/12, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Testimony from co-workers that came after defendants ceased using asbestos in their products is irrelevant and requires granting three summary judgment motions in an asbestos-friction case, a federal judge held Feb. 10 (Donna Franklin, et al. v. Caterpillar Inc., et al., No. 13-888, N.D. Ala.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 15768).
SAN FRANCISCO - A judge did not err in applying Texas asbestos causation law to one set of defendants and California's standard to another, nor in concluding that the stricter Texas standard warrants summary judgment, a California appeals court held Feb. 10 (Doyle Green & Yvonne Green v. CertainTeed Corp., et al., No. A134983, Calif. App., 1st Dist., Div. 3).
SCHENECTADY, N.Y. - A New York jury on Feb. 10 awarded a man $10.55 million for asbestos exposure he suffered while working with R.T. Vanderbilt Co. Inc. talc at a summer job he took during high school, sources told Mealey's Publications (Katherine Chisholm, et al. v. R.T. Vanderbilt Co. Inc., et al., No. 2012-1056, N.Y. Sup., Schenectady Co.).
MILWAUKEE - A man lacks evidence to overcome summary judgment to asbestos-containing paper or pipe manufacturers, a Wisconsin appeals court panel affirmed Feb. 10 (Todd A. Alexander, et al. v. Auer Steel & Heating Co., et al., No. 2014AP335, Wis. App.; 2015 Wisc. App. LEXIS 95).
CARSON CITY, Nev. - In a 6-1 decision, the Nevada Supreme Court on Feb. 6 said it lacked jurisdiction over a controversial water pipeline project because a district court judge's underlying decision was not final and appealable (Jason King, et al. v. Corporation of the Presiding Bishop of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints on Behalf of Cleveland Ranch, et al., No. 64815, Nev. Sup.).
DETROIT - The federal government's motion for judgment on the pleadings against third-party claims brought by a defendant in a Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) lawsuit was granted Feb. 10 by a federal judge in Michigan who held that Michigan Consolidated Gas Co. (MichCon) could not pursue its claim to recover costs it voluntarily spent to remediate contamination from a property because it and the government are potentially responsible parties (PRPs) (Ford Motor Company, et al. v. Michigan Consolidated Gas Company, No. 08-13503, E.D. Mich.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 15702).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - California officials responsible for the conservation of natural resources and the protection of the state's drinking water on Feb. 6 sent a letter to the director of the water division of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency stating that by April 1, the Division of Gas, Oil and Geothermal Resources of the California Department of Conservation will initiate rulemaking to establish a regulatory compliance schedule to eliminate certain underground injection of hydraulic fracturing waste into "undisputedly non-exempt" drinking water aquifers statewide.
DENVER - The Colorado Supreme Court on Feb. 9 declined to require that changes to water rights requires "requantification" of water used but said state water engineers can raise the issue of unused rights in the state's water courts (Concerning the Application for Water Rights of Sedalia Water and Sanitation District in Douglas County, et al., Dick Wolfe, P.E., et al. v. Sedalia Water and Sanitation District, et al., No. 14SA12, Colo. Sup.; 2015 Colo. LEXIS 71).
BALTIMORE - Chevron USA Inc. filed a lawsuit in Maryland federal court on Feb. 6 seeking $30 million in remediation costs and other relief against an oil company it alleges is liable for groundwater contamination caused by the discharge of petroleum hydrocarbons from an underground pipeline (Chevron USA Inc. v. Apex Oil Company Inc., et al., No. 15-00341, D. Md.).
NEW YORK - An executive's testimony regarding company asbestos practices before his arrival is conclusory absent the documents on which he claims he relied, a New York justice held in an opinion posted Feb. 6 (Madeline E. Izbicki, et al. v. Advance Auto Supply, No. 190140/13, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.; 2015 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 281).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A federal judge in the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims on Feb. 6 remanded a lawsuit regarding Agent Orange benefits on grounds that the Board of Veterans Appeals failed to explain why it found that the widow of a veteran lacked credibility or probative weight in her request for compensation (Frankie J. Bowen v. Robert A. McDonald, No.13-3315, Vet. Clms.; 2015 U.S. App. Vet. Claims LEXIS 145).
LOS ANGELES - A defendant company hired by Anheuser-Busch Inc. to design and construct holding tanks on a 21.1 acre site in California cannot pursue claims for cost recovery and contribution under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) against two of its co-defendants, a federal judge in California ruled Feb. 5, holding that the company could not seek cost recovery under the statute because it was a potentially responsible party (PRP) and because it did not release its liability to one of its co-defendants as part of a settlement with the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles (HACLA) (Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles v. PCC Technical Industries Inc., et al., No. 11-1626, C.D. Calif.).
GREENSBORO, N.C. - A man's failure to file a timely motion to substitute himself as personal representative in a personal injury asbestos action bars a subsequently filed wrongful death action, a federal judge in North Carolina held Feb. 6 (Richard Eric Taylor, et al. v. Norfolk Southern Railway Co., No. 12-688, M.D. N.C.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 14388).
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - A New Mexico bankruptcy judge on Feb. 5 denied a request by objectors to retain the proceeds from the sale of a utility company because a state receiver allegedly undervalued the water rights belonging to a bankrupt company (In Re: Picacho Hills Utility Company, Inc., No. 13-10742, D. N.M. Bkcy.; 2015 Bankr. LEXIS 371).