TRENTON, N.J. - A federal magistrate judge's rulings denying a motion to compel discovery filed by two environmental groups on companies accused of violating the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) and Clean Water Act (CWA) and granting the defendants' motion for a protective order were affirmed March 31 by a federal judge in New Jersey after the judge found that the magistrate judge did not make any clear errors in his decisions (Raritan Baykeeper v. NL Industries Inc., et al., No. 09-4117, D. N.J.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 41166).
ATLANTA - An expert's testimony regarding causation from "any exposure" to asbestos is "not controversial" in a case alleging more than de minimis exposure, a divided Georgia appeals court held March 30 (Scapa Dryer Fabrics Inc. v. Knight, et al., No. A14A1587, Ga. App.; 2015 Ga. App. LEXIS 237).
LOS ANGELES - A couple asked a federal judge in California on March 30 to exclude a bankruptcy trust estimation order critical of asbestos litigation, while three defendants sought to exclude expert testimony that "each and every exposure" contributes to a disease (Howard Utech, an individual, Joann Utech, an individual v. Asbestos Corporation Limited, et al., No. 14-4977, C.D. Calif.).
ATLANTA - A policy's pollution exclusion does not bar coverage for underlying personal injury claims related to the ingestion of lead-based paint because lead-based paint is not specifically listed as a pollutant in the policy, the majority of the First Division Georgia Court of Appeals said March 30 (Amy Smith v. Georgia Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Co., No. A14A1824, and Bobby Chupp v. Georgia Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Co., No. A14A1825, Ga. App., 1st Div.; 2015 Ga. App. LEXIS 247).
CAMDEN, N.J. - A federal judge in New Jersey on March 30 awarded default judgment to Cyprus Mines Corp. after finding that the plaintiff company was entitled to recover under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act costs the company incurred in remediating a site in Winslow Township, N.J. (Cyprus Mines Corporation v. M&R Industries Inc., et al., No. 14-04590, D. N.J.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 40180).
NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. - A judge properly admitted evidence of asbestos contamination and testimony regarding exposure in a talc case resulting in a $1.6 million award, a New Jersey appeals court held March 27 (Steven Kaenzig v. Charles B. Chrystal Inc., et al., No. A-2512-13T3, N.J. Super., App. Div.).
OKLAHOMA CITY - A federal judge in Oklahoma on March 30 ruled that a group of residents had established their case that a zinc smelter that ceased operation in 1972 was still contaminating local groundwater with numerous toxins (Helen Briggs, et al. v. Freeport McMoran Copper & Gold Inc., No. 13-1157, W.D. Okla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 40212).
LOS ANGELES - Even a railway's admittedly continuous and substantial contacts with the state fall short of the standard for forum, a California appeals court held in granting a petition to vacate a forum ruling in a Kansas woman's asbestos action (BNSF Railway Co. v. Superior Court for the County of Los Angeles, Vicki L. Kralovetz, et al., No. B260798, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., Div. 4; 2015 Cal. App. LEXIS 265).
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Lack of an asbestosis diagnosis dooms a widow's workers' compensation lung cancer claim, the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals held March 27 (Stella Watkins, widow of Clay Watkins Jr. v. Century Aluminum of West Virginia Inc., No. 14-0390, W.Va. App.; 2015 W.Va. LEXIS 225).
NEW ORLEANS - A Louisiana federal judge on March 27 refused a property management company's request to add new allegations related to an alleged breach of a lease agreement, finding that its request was untimely (Bayou Liberty Property LLC v. Best Buy Stores, LP, et al., No. 14-1112, E.D. La.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 39383).
TUCSON, Ariz. - An Arizona appeals court on March 27 affirmed a trial court's ruling to grant judgment for a restoration company, finding that property owners failed to show that it was negligent in allowing hazardous materials, including lead and mold, to contaminate their house (Albert Watson, et. al. v. Stratton Restoration, No. 2014-0063, Ariz. App.; 2015 Ariz. App. Unpub. LEXIS 393).
WHEELING, W.Va. - A federal judge in West Virginia on March 27 ruled that Murray Energy Corp. and a number of other underground coal companies have standing to sue the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and its administrator for their failure to evaluate how enforcement of the Clean Air Act is affecting jobs in the industry (Murray Energy Corp., et al. v. Gina McCarthy, Administrator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, No. 14-CV-39, N.D. W.Va.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 39130).
NEW YORK - Conflicting testimony regarding whether a defendant offered specific asbestos-containing products for sale during the relevant time period involves credibility issues, not admissibility issues, and does not warrant summary judgment, a New York justice held in an opinion posted March 26 (Thomas Brigantino and Phyllis Brigantino v. A.O. Smith Water Products Co., et al., No. 190390/12, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).
WILMINGTON, Del. - A compressor company presents no evidence warranting a rehearing of a ruling finding sufficient evidence of asbestos exposure from its products, a Delaware justice held March 25 (In re: Asbestos Litigation Dorothy A. Phipps, et al. v. Carrier Corp., et al., No. N12C-06-069, Del. Sup., New Castle Co.; 2015 Del. Super. LEXIS 144).
INDIANAPOLIS - After finding that consumers who allege that a defective washing machine caused flooding and mold that made them ill did not disclose their experts in bad faith, an Indiana federal judge on March 26 denied a motion by the maker of the machine to exclude their experts' testimony (Matthew Slabaugh, et al. v. LG Electronics USA Inc., et al., No. 1:12-cv-01020, S.D. Ind.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 38331).
PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Plaintiffs who were unsuccessful in their suit accusing the owners of an automobile scrap yard of violating the Clean Water Act (CWA) by discharging hazardous substances in public waters were ordered by a federal judge in Rhode Island on March 26 to pay $111,784.50 in attorney fees after she found that the plaintiffs knew that their claims lacked merit (Louis Paolino, et al. v. JF Realty LLC, et al., No. 12-39-ML, D. R.I.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 38407).
PITTSBURGH - An environmental group's lawsuit complaining that emissions from Shenango Inc.'s coke operations in Allegheny County, Pa., are violating the Clean Air Act (CAA) was dismissed by a federal judge in Pennsylvania on March 26; she ruled that the Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD) is already diligently prosecuting claims against the company over the same alleged violations (Group Against Smog and Pollution v. Shenango Inc., No. 14-595, W.D. Pa.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 38526).
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - After finding that lease agreements applied to the rental of bunk beds that allegedly contained bed bugs and black mold, a Florida federal judge on March 23 granted a rental corporation's motion to stay a case pending arbitration (Andre Teel, et al. v. Aaron's Inc., No. 3:14-cv-640-J-32, M.D. Fla.).
COLUMBUS, Ohio - An Ohio federal magistrate judge presiding over a water company's lawsuit against E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co. for the costs associated with remediating drinking water that was contaminated with perfluorooctanoic acid (known as C8) and other perfluorinated compounds (PFCs), on March 24 ordered the company to produce documents in discovery that it had previously contended were "unduly burdensome" to make available (The Little Hocking Water Association Inc. v. E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co., No. 09-1081, S.D. Ohio; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 36917).
CINCINNATI - A Canada-based concrete manufacturing company's challenges to a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency decision requiring the company to install best available retrofit technology (BART) to a Michigan plant were rejected by a Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on March 24 after the court found that the company failed to show that the technology would not be effective at reducing nitrous oxide emissions (St. Marys Cement Inc. v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Nos. 13-3105/14-3479, 6th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 4759).
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Duke Energy Corp., which was fined $25,116,883.61 by the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) for groundwater contamination resulting from its operation of a coal-generating plant, on March 24 issued a press release saying that it would appeal the penalty.
LOS ANGELES - A defendant in a lawsuit brought against multiple companies alleging soil and groundwater contamination on March 20 filed an amended third-party complaint in California federal court contending that it should be indemnified for any liability it may face in the original lawsuit because any contamination that exists has actually been caused by a group of landowners and business owners (Alcoa Inc., et al. v. APC Investment Company, et al. and Ferro Corporation v. PMC Inc., et al., No. 14-06456, C.D. Calif.).
BROOKLYN, N.Y. - A federal judge in New York on March 23 ruled that a mother could not establish that her former landlord was on notice of lead-paint hazard in the apartment she rented and, therefore, he was not liable under federal law (Niki Hernandez-Adams v. Mark Kimpson, No. 13-5059, E.D. N.Y.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 35876).
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - An Alabama federal judge on March 23 remanded a lawsuit brought by a former mail carrier who was diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia against the owner and operator of two coke ovens that allegedly emitted toxic chemicals into the air to state court after finding that the plaintiff's state law claims are not preempted by the Clean Air Act (CAA) (Joel Thomas Morrison IV v. Drummond Company Inc., No. 14-CV-0406-SLB, N.D. Ala.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 35482).
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Freedom Industries Inc. on March 23 pleaded guilty to three crimes against the environment for its role in a chemical spill in which 10,000 gallons of 4-methylcyclohexanemethanol (MCHM) were dumped into the Elk River in January 2014, according to press release issued by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) (United States of America v. Freedom Industries Inc., et al., No. 14-cr-00275, S.D. W.Va.).