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.).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A California appeals court on Sept. 22 affirmed a ruling dismissing claims asserted by a landlord against the State of California and various state entities, finding that they were not in breach when they terminated their lease agreements and failed to pay him for mold remediation (David S. Sperber v. State of California, et al., No. C073003, Calif. App., 3rd Dist.; 2014 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 6690).
NEW YORK - After finding that a landlord and various other entities offered reasonable accommodations to tenants in relation to their health issues, including an apartment that is free of mold and flooding, a New York federal judge on Sept. 19 refused to grant the tenants an injunction requiring the defendants to meet certain demands regarding their living conditions (Pasquale Picaro, et al. v. Pelham 1135 LLC, et al., No. 14-CV-7398, S.D. N.Y.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 132198).
CLEVELAND - An Ohio federal judge on Sept. 19 refused to dismiss claims asserted by a class of purchasers who allege that washing machines made by Whirlpool Corp. contain defects that cause mold, finding that the claims should be decided by a jury (In re: Whirlpool Corp. Front-Loading Washer Products Liability Litigation, No. 1:08-WP-65000, N.D. Ohio).
OKLAHOMA CITY - A federal judge in Oklahoma on Sept. 22 denied a motion to dismiss a shareholder derivative lawsuit brought by plaintiffs who own shares in a hydraulic fracturing company, concluding that they alleged facts that when taken as a whole suggest illegal conduct by individuals who allegedly diverted fracking opportunities to a rival company (In Re: Sandridge Energy Inc. Shareholder Derivative Litigation, No. 13-102, W.D. Okla.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 132330).
NEW ORLEANS - A panel of the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Sept. 22 ruled that a hydraulic fracturing company was not entitled to coverage from its insurer for costs associated with remediating damage caused by a well blowout because exclusions in the policy barred coverage (Pioneer Exploration LLC v. Steadfast Insurance Company, No. 13-30802, 5th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 18103).
BOSTON - Claims in a Massachusetts town's lawsuit seeking to require W.R. Grace & Co. to continue operation of a groundwater treatment system on a nearby Superfund site are preempted by state and federal law, a federal judge in Massachusetts ruled Sept. 22, explaining that the requirements set forth in a 1997 bylaw are more stringent that those imposed by state and federal environmental agencies (Town of Acton v. W.R. Grace & Co., No. 13-12376-DPW, D. Mass.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 132684).
COLUMBUS, Ohio - E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co. on Sept. 19 filed 50 separate answers to class members who have sued the company alleging wrongful death and other personal injuries related to exposure to perfluorooctanoic acid, contending that the plaintiffs fail to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. The answers all follow a boilerplate format (In re E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. C8 Personal Injury Litigation, MDL 2433, No. 13-2433, S.D. Ohio).
HAMMOND, Ind. - A federal magistrate judge in Indiana on Sept. 19 recommended accepting a company's guilty plea for two counts of making false statements in violation of the Clean Air Act (CAA), explaining that the company is competent to enter its plea, understands that its answers can be used against it and that there are factual bases for its pleas (United States of America v. Calumite Company LLC, No. 14-CR-86-JTM-PRC, N.D. Ind.).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) on Sept. 18 announced that it fined hydraulic fracturing operator Range Resources $4.15 million for violating environmental laws with regard to impoundments in Washington County.
BATON ROUGE, La. - A man's numerous other health conditions as well as the indignities his disease imposed upon him make his mesothelioma action timely and support the resulting $2,314,208 asbestos verdict, a Louisiana appeals panel held Sept. 19 (Maria Elena Luna, et al. v. A.W. Chesterton Co., et al., No. 2013 CA 2177, La. App., 1st Dist.).
INDIANAPOLIS - An Indiana appeals panel on Sept. 19 reversed a ruling awarding summary judgment to a defendant company on a plaintiff's claim under Indiana's Environmental Legal Action (ELA) statute, ruling that sufficient evidence existed as to whether the defendant knew of contamination from underground storage tanks on the property at the time it was sold in 1995 (JDN Properties LLC v. VanMeter Enterprises Inc., No. 43A05-1312-PL-586, Ind. App.; 2014 Ind. App. LEXIS 466).
CHICAGO - The Illinois attorney general on Sept. 17 filed a complaint in state court against Olympic Oil Ltd. for allegedly dumping oil waste into the environment and drinking water (People of the State of Illinois ex rel. Lisa Madigan v. Olympic Oil Ltd. d/b/a Delta Companies Group, No. 2014CH14996, Ill. Cir., Cook Co.).
COLUMBIA, S.C. - A South Carolina federal judge on Sept. 18 adopted a magistrate judge's report and recommendation to dismiss various medical officials from an action filed by a detention center inmate who alleges that mold exposure caused him to suffer health issues (Mitchell Sumpter v. A. Lane Cribb, et al., No. 8:14-180, D. S.C.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 130894).
AKRON, Ohio - A federal bankruptcy judge in Ohio on Sept. 17 granted a bankruptcy trustee's motion seeking to sell a debtor couple's oil and gas mineral rights on grounds that the rights are property of the bankruptcy estate and not subject to protection under the homestead exemption provision of the Bankruptcy Code (In Re: Helen Way, et al., No. 12-60209, N.D. Ohio Bkcy.; 2014 Bankr. LEXIS 3985).
COLUMBUS, Ohio - E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co. on Sept. 17 moved in Ohio federal court for postponement of an expert's deposition and a protective order in the wake of what the company calls a "menacing video" posted by one of the plaintiffs' attorneys in multidistrict litigation in which a class of residents allege personal injury claims from exposure to perfluorooctanoic acid (In re E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. C8 Personal Injury Litigation, MDL 2433, No. 13-2433, S.D. Ohio).
BALTIMORE - Union Carbide Corp.'s duty to prevent asbestos exposures extended to household members of individuals visiting worksites where its asbestos was present, a Maryland federal judge held Sept. 16 (Melvin F. Sherin, et al. v. John Crane-Houdaille Inc., et al., No. 11-3698, D. Md.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 130702).