WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Senate on July 9 passed a resolution that will convey a parcel of land to a redevelopment agency in Nevada to provide for the remediation of lead and arsenic in the contaminated soil.
CHICAGO - A federal judge in Illinois on July 9 vacated the National Pollution Funds Center's (NPFC) ruling denying a request submitted by two insurance companies, its subrogees and assignees for limited liability stemming from an oil spill that occurred in Chicago Ship and Sanitary Canal in 2005, finding that the board's decision was not in accordance with the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA) (Great American Insurance Company, et al. v. United States of America, No. 12-cv-9718, N.D. Ill.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 188193).
NEW ORLEANS - A panel of the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 10 ruled that the U.S. government was not liable for a breach of fiduciary duty to a tribe of Native Americans who claim aboriginal title to land on which the government is approving oil drilling licenses because the tribe failed to show that there was any "agency action" that gave the tribe subject matter jurisdiction over the land (The Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas v. United States of America, et al., No. 13-40644, 5th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 12946).
SAN FRANCISCO - The California Supreme Court on July 9 declined a petition challenging an appeals court's conclusion that Michigan's ban on punitive damages did not apply in a California asbestos action, according to its docket (Patrick Scott, et al. v. Ford Motor Co., No. S218322, Calif. Sup.).
NEW YORK - A boiler maker's challenges to product identification by a woman allegedly exposed to asbestos as a social worker and real estate agent goes to credibility and does not warrant judgment, a New York justice held in an opinion posted July 8 (Harriet Noble and Robert Berger v. A.O. Smith Water Products Co., et al., No 190074/13, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).
AUSTIN, Texas - A Texas appeals court on July 3 ruled that a trust could not object to the plan of a wastewater disposal company that wants to drill a well on land where the trust owns mineral rights because the trust had proper notice of the drilling company's application and failed to properly oppose the company's permit application (Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, et al. v. Denbury OnShore LLC, et al., No. 03-11-00891, Texas App., 3rd Dist.).
AUGUSTA, Maine - The commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) for the State of Maine on July 7 filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maine against Gina McCarthy in her role as the administrator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, contending that the state has "exclusive authority" to establish and revise water quality standards (WQS) for all bodies of water in the state, including waters within Indian territories and lands (State of Maine, et al. v. Gina McCarthy, et al., No. 14-264, D. Maine).
NEW YORK - An asbestos defendant's request for more time to review discovery is moot and baseless in light of its own failures, while plaintiffs' request for sanctions is unwarranted as both parties violated discovery orders, a New York justice held in an opinion posted July 8 (In re: New York City Asbestos Litigation Angel Lamberty v. A.O. Smith Water Products Co., et al., No. 100988/04, Robert Freeman v. A.O. Smith Water Products Co., et al., No. 100867/04, Francis Marino v. A.O. Smith Water Products Co., et al., No. 116830/03, Theodore Pendergast v. A.O. Smith Water Products Co., et al., No. 104850/04, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).
LOS ANGELES - A plaintiff responded with more than mere "boilerplate" allegations of asbestos exposure after a company's belated concession that it performed work at a job site, a California appeals court held July 8 in reinstating the claims (Rose Marie Ganoe, etc., et al. v. Metalclad Insulation Corp., No. B248941, Calif. App., 2nd Dist.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on July 8 denied CTS Corp.'s petition challenging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's decision in 2011 to add a site in Asheville, N.C. that was formerly owned by a subsidiary of the company to the National Priorities List, finding that the agency's decision was not arbitrary and capricious (CTS Corporation v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, No. 12-1256, D.C. Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 12804).
BOSTON - An insurer has no duty to provide coverage beyond $5,000 for property damage caused by an oil spill because the policy's pollution exclusion bars additional coverage, the Massachusetts Appeals Court said July 2 (Frank Izdebski v. Hanover Insurance Group Inc., Nos. 12-P-1950, 12-P-1951, Mass. App.; 2014 Mass. App. Unpub. LEXIS 814).
LAFAYETTE, La. - A federal magistrate judge in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana on July 3 ruled that a soil contamination case should be remanded to state court because the defendants did not meet the criteria for having it removed to federal court (Elizabeth R. Creadeur v. Atlantic Richfield Company, No. 14-00695, W.D. La.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 91253).
NEW YORK - The attorney and the law firm representing Ecuadorian plaintiffs who sued Chevron Corp. alleging environmental contamination filed a brief in the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 2, contending that the judgment of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York that approved a settlement between some of the Ecuadorian plaintiffs' former attorneys and Chevron should be reversed and vacated because Chevron cannot show that misconduct occurred when an Ecuadorian court awarded the plaintiffs damages of $18.5 billion (Chevron Corporation v. Hugo Gerardo Camacho Naranjo, No. 14-832, 2nd Cir.).
NEW ORLEANS - The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 7 partially reversed a summary judgment ruling in relation to defense costs incurred in an underlying coverage action for mold claims, finding that the trial court erred when it failed to consider whether a residential company had met its deductible after it accounted for defense costs incurred by an insurance company (Trammell Crow Residential Co. v. American Protection Insurance Co., No. 13-10451, 5th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 12785).
WILMINGTON, Del. - Concluding that the alternative would certainly doom a couple's asbestos claims, a Delaware judge on July 2 granted them an extension of time to comply with Florida's asbestos statutes (Harry A. Davis and Madonna S. Davis v. Ace Hardware Corp., et al., No. 12-1185, D. Del.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 90657).
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. - A federal judge in New York on July 2 approved a consent decree between the federal government and International Business Machine Corp. (IBM) in which the company would reimburse the government for $225,000 it has spent to remediate contamination from a site in East Fishkill, N.Y., ruling that the terms of the agreement are fair and reasonable (United States of America v. International Business Machine Corp., No. 14-CV-396, S.D. N.Y.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 91750).
CLEVELAND - A widow likely knew of a change in the executor of her late husband's estate at least a year before she filed a motion challenging it as improper, an Ohio appeals court held July 3 in affirming dismissal of an asbestos action with prejudice (National City Bank, executor, etc. v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., et al., No. 100178, Ohio App., 8th Dist.; 2014 Ohio App. LEXIS 2918).
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - A federal judge in Florida on July 7 ruled that a resident's claim for infliction of emotional distress against a gas company because its pipelines bordered his property was "atrocious and utterly intolerable" such that he failed to state claim upon which relief could be granted (William F. T. Lincoln v. Florida Gas Transmission Co., No. 13-74, N.D. Fla.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 91848).
INDIANAPOLIS - A federal judge in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana on July 7 ruled that a pollution exclusion in a company's insurance policy "unambiguously excluded" it from coverage for groundwater contamination caused by trichloroethylene (TCE) and other chemicals (Visteon Corporation, et al. v. National Union Fire Insurance Co. of Pittsburgh, No. 11-00200, S.D. Ind.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 91578).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A motion for a temporary restraining order (TRO) filed by two industry trade associations seeking to prevent the implementation of a rule adopted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that would require wastewater treatment facilities in California to use a two-concentration Test of Significant Toxicity (TST) to determine if their discharges are toxic was dismissed as untimely by a federal judge in California on July 2 (Southern California Alliance of POTWs, et al. v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, et al., No. 14-cv-01513-MCE-DAD, E.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 90545).
BERLIN - The Energy Commissioner for the European Union says that all of Europe eventually could get one-tenth of its power needs from hydraulic fracturing of shale and that Germany should not dismiss that possibility, according to a July 7 report on a website for news and policy issues affecting the European Union.
JONES, Okla. - The injection of wastewater used in the hydraulic fracturing process of extracting oil and gas is responsible for earthquakes in Oklahoma, according to study published July 4 on the web site of Science Magazine.
NEW YORK - The majority of a divided New York appeals court on July 3 affirmed millions of dollars awarded in two consolidated asbestos trials, the jury's liability findings and Crane Co.'s responsibility for replacement parts (In re: New York City Asbestos Litigation, No. 190196/10 190134/10 11500, N.Y. Sup., App. Div., 1st Dept.).
NEW ORLEANS - A Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on July 3 dismissed petitions by the operators of two coal-fired power plants challenging notices of violations of the Clean Air Act issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, holding that the court lacked jurisdiction because the notices did not constitute final agency actions (Luminant Generation Company, et al. v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, et al., Nos. 12-60694, 13-60538, 5th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 12681).
NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. - A New Jersey judge on July 2 awarded $90.5 million in asbestos-related damages against Eternit successors Anova Holding AG and Becon AG after awarding default judgments against the international companies, sources told Mealey Publications (Tuturice v. Anova Holdings AG, et al., No. MID-L-2030-10AS, DiTolvo v. Anova Holdings AG, et al., No. MID-L-0464-10AS, Durlester v. Anova Holdings AG, et al., No. MID-L-9677-08AS, Greene v. Anova Holdings AG, et al., No. MID-L-8113-09AS, Ketchem v. Anova Holdings AG, et al., No. MID-L-10217-08AS, Koshinsky v. Anova Holdings AG, et al., No. MID-L-4059-08AS, Lindsay v. Anova Holdings AG, et al., No. MID-L-6858-09AS, Slepokura v. Anova Holdings AG, et al., No. MID-L-7717-09AS, Tafil v. Anova Holdings AG, et al., No. MID-L-215-09AS, Troth v. Anova Holdings AG, et al., No. MID-L-9794-09AS, Upshaw v. Anova Holdings AG, et al., No. MID-L-7638-11AS, N.J. Super., Middlesex Co.).