TRENTON, N.J. - A federal magistrate judge in New Jersey on Sept. 30 denied NL Industries Inc. and NL Environmental Management Services Inc.'s motion to bifurcate proceedings in a Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) lawsuit, ruling that the defendant companies failed to show how they would be prejudiced if the proceedings were not held in stages (Raritan Baykeeper Inc., et al. v. NL Industries Inc., No. 09-4117, D. N.J.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 137702).
NEW YORK - New York does not impose a duty on manufacturers for third-party asbestos products over which they had no control, and at the very least a new trial should be ordered to allow Crane Co. to present evidence under the new standard, Crane Co. argues in a Sept. 29 brief to the New York Court of Appeals (In the Matter of New York City Asbestos Litigation; Doris Kay Dummitt, et al. v. A.W. Chesterton, et al., No. 2014-00209, N.Y. App.).
NEW YORK - A New York jury on Sept. 29 awarded $7 million to a man who contracted mesothelioma after exposure to asbestos during the construction of a National Grid Generation LLC predecessor's facility, sources told Mealey's Publication (Ralph North v. National Grid Generation LLC, No. 190114/13, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).
RENO, Nev. - After finding that a landlord should be afforded the chance to argue his counterclaims in relation to damages that he allegedly suffered as a result of misrepresentations made by a tenant, a Nevada federal judge on Sept. 29 refused to grant a motion to dismiss filed by a tenant, who alleges that she was not rented a home due to her mold allergies (Natalie Meredith v. Douglas Weilburg, No. 3:13-cv-00277, D. Nev.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 137262).
AKRON, Ohio - A federal judge in Ohio on Sept. 29 ruled that Lockheed Martin Corp. is not required to pay Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. more than $2 million for litigation costs and attorney fees that Goodyear incurred in defending an earlier suit brought by Lockheed to recover response costs incurred in cleaning up a site contaminated by polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) (The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company v. Lockheed Martin Corp., No. 13 cv 2465, N.D. Ohio; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 137266).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A group of U.S. senators on Sept. 30 sent a letter to the director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), insisting that the final rule on hydraulic fracturing public lands must contain "stringent protections" for workers as well as for the air, water, land and public health.
SAN FRANCISCO - A nonprofit group consisting of commercial fishermen and buyers in the San Francisco Bay on Sept. 30 filed a lawsuit in a California federal court against Pacific Gas & Electric Co. (PGEC), alleging that the utility company has contaminated soil, groundwater and the bay through its operation of manufactured gas plants (MGPs) (San Francisco Herring Association v. Pacific Gas & Electric Company, No. 14-04393, N.D. Calif.).
MIAMI - A Florida federal jury on Sept. 29 rejected strict liability and negligence claims in an action alleging that asbestos in John Crane Inc. products led to a man's fatal mesothelioma (Mary Charlene Hays, personal representative of the estate of William Hays v. John Crane Inc., No. 09-81881, S.D. Fla.).
CLEVELAND - A judge properly admitted expert testimony linking asbestos exposure and a man's Hodgkin's lymphoma, and sufficient evidence supports the jury's resulting verdict permitting the man to participate in the state's workers' compensation system, an Ohio appeals court held Sept. 25 (Brett H. Walker v. Ford Motor Co., et al., No. 100759, Ohio App., 8th Dist.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A federal judge in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims on Sept. 26 ruled that a hydraulic fracturing company lacked standing to sue the U.S. government for breach of contract regarding a suspension of oil and gas exploration in a section of Wyoming for which the company holds 26 leases (Barlow & Haun Inc. v. The United States, No. 08-847, Fed. Clms.; 2014 U.S. Claims LEXIS 1028).
NEWTON, Mass. - A nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank on Sept. 25 issued a report that concluded that "the rapid expansion" of hydraulic fracturing will increase mining operations for sand used in the fracking process, which will then release toxic chemicals into drinking water and silica into the air.
NEW ORLEANS - A panel of the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Sept. 26 reversed and remanded a decision by a district court that had remanded a class action case to Louisiana state court and said that the addition of a local defendant to the plaintiffs' amended complaint did not allow them to avoid federal jurisdiction under the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA) (Phillips C. Witter v. CSHV Fairway View LLC, No. 14-30735, 5th Cir; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 18487).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report on Sept. 23 that determined that on a daily basis, at least 2 billion gallons of fluids containing chlorides, hydrocarbons and naturally occurring radioactive materials are injected into the ground for hydraulic fracturing operations, and those fluids are injected in close proximity to aquifers that supply drinking water. However, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency does not have uniform standards for what information fracking companies must provide regarding the chemicals they use, the GAO reported.
CHICAGO - A Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Sept. 25 ruled that a plaintiff company in a Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) lawsuit can seek contribution from defendant companies under Section 113(f) of the statute and that a federal judge in Wisconsin erred by not considering the plaintiff company's divisibility defense (NCR Corporation v. George A. Whiting Paper Co., et al., Nos. 13-2447,13-2522, 13-2568, 13-2570, 13-2572, 13-2605, 13-2606, 13-2631, 13-2645, 13-2866, 7th Cir.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Environmental advocacy group Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) on Sept. 23 sent a letter to the administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency asking the agency to make rules that address the harmful surface discharge of hydraulic fracturing chemicals into groundwater aquifers.
JACKSON, Miss. - A Mississippi federal judge on Sept. 24 denied numerous motions filed by a property owner in relation to the foreclosure of his home, including a motion for leave to submit an expert report on mold damage, finding that they were untimely (Eric L. Jackson v. Bank of America, N.A., et al., No. 3:13-cv-581, S.D. Miss.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 134524).
RICHMOND, Va. - A panel of the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Sept. 24 ruled that attorneys who assisted the New York lawyer who won an $18.5 million verdict in the Lago Agrio contamination case against Chevron Corp. were not entitled to privilege regarding documents sought by the company, which argues that the verdict was fraudulent (Chevron Corporation v. Aaron Marr Page, et al., No. 13-2028 and [In Re: Hugo Gerardo Camacho Naranjo, et al., No. 13-1382, 4th Cir.).
NEW ORLEANS - The federal judge in Louisiana overseeing consolidated litigation stemming from the April 2010 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig and ensuing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico on Sept. 24 ruled that BP Exploration & Production Inc. could not recover payments from a $9.2 billion settlement fund that it claims were improperly calculated (In re: Oil Spill by the Oil Rig "Deepwater Horizon" in the Gulf of Mexico, April 20, 2010, MDL No. 2179, E.D. La.).
TRENTON, N.J. - A New Jersey legislator on Sept. 23 sent a letter to the U.S. attorney for the District of New Jersey calling for review of the official report of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) as part of an investigation into potential criminal conduct related to a spill of vinyl chloride and other chemicals that occurred when a train derailed while crossing the bridge over Mantua Creek in Paulsboro, N.J., in 2012 (In re: Paulsboro Derailment Cases, No. 13-784, D. N.J.).
BALTIMORE - A jury in Maryland on Sept. 19 awarded more than $2.08 million to a boy for brain injuries that resulted from exposure to lead-based paint (Daquantay Robinson v. Elliott Dackman, et al., No. 24-C-006890, Md. Cir., Baltimore City).
CAMDEN, N.J. - New Jersey residents seeking damages for vinyl chloride contamination allegedly caused by the derailment of a train carrying the chemical in Paulsboro, N.J., on Sept. 23 filed their third amended complaint, seeking punitive damages of $10 million (In re: Paulsboro Derailment Cases, No. 13-784, D. N.J.).
SAN DIEGO - After finding that defendants failed to submit any evidence that a trial court erred in awarding homeowners damages in relation to mold growth caused by the faulty installation of a satellite dish, a California appeals court on Sept. 22 affirmed various judgments issued for both sides in the case (Manuel Holguin, et al. v. Dish Network LLC, et al., No. D059983, Calif. App., 4th Dist., Div. 1; 2014 Cal. App. LEXIS 857).
NEW YORK - A Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Sept. 23 ruled that a district court properly granted summary judgment to landlords regarding allegations that a tenant was poisoned by exposure to lead-based paint on grounds that once the landlords knew of the hazard, they moved to abate it quickly (Raeanna Steffenhagen v. Robert Sullivan, et al., No. 13-4718, 2nd Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 18171).
HOUSTON - A federal judge in Texas on Sept. 22 ruled that an insurance company had no duty to defend a company sued in an underlying case brought by ExxonMobil Corp. related to drinking water contamination that was caused by an oil spill (Federal Insurance Company v. Northfield Insurance Company, No. 14-262, S.D. Texas; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 132404).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A bankrupt company on Sept. 22 filed a brief in the U.S. Supreme Court arguing that individual creditors who contend that they were injured by a chemical made and sold by the company lack standing to assert their claims for "popcorn lung" because those claims are property of the bankruptcy estate. The term "popcorn lung" refers to injuries resulting from exposure to diacetyl, the chemical used to create butter flavoring in microwave popcorn (Diacetyl Plaintiffs v. Aaroma Holdings LLC, No. 14-71, U.S. Sup.).