ANCHORAGE, Alaska - The Alaska Supreme Court on Aug. 22 reversed a $725,873 award for attorney fees and costs connected to the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill and remanded the case for a recalculation of the award based on local rates (Nautilus Marine Enterprises Inc. v. Exxon Mobil Corporation, et al., No. S-14736, Alaska Sup.).
HOUSTON - The Texas Supreme Court on Aug. 22 declined to rehear an asbestos case in which it found that a disabled man's inability to take a pulmonary function test did not exclude him from the requirements of the state's asbestos medical criteria law (Union Carbide Corp. v. Daisy E. Synatzske and Grace Annette Webb, et al., No. 12-0617, Texas Sup.).
SAN FRANCISCO - A federal judge in California on Aug. 21 dismissed the amended complaint of a group of more than 65,000 Nigerian residents who alleged that Chevron Corp. was liable for damages caused by the explosion of a natural gas rig, ruling that the plaintiffs failed to state specific injuries (Foster Ogola v. Chevron Corporation, No. 14-173, N.D. Calif.).
BOULDER, Colo. - Colorado residents that sued the state, its governor and an oil and gas exploration company seeking to enforce a charter amendment that the residents of the City of Lafayette, Colo., passed to ban hydraulic fracturing on Aug. 19 moved in state court for preliminary injunctive relief declaring their right to govern the local community in which they reside (Cliff Willmeng, et al. v. State of Colorado, et al., No. 2014CV30718, Colo. Dist., Boulder Co.).
PASADENA, Calif. - A panel of the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 20 affirmed a lower court's ruling that the emission of diesel particulate matter into the air did not constitute "disposal" under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) (Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice, et al. v. BNSF Railway Company, et al., No. 12-56086, 9th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 16065).
SIOUX CITY, Iowa - A federal judge in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Iowa on Aug. 20 issued an official judgment enforcing a jury verdict in favor of popcorn manufacturers and determined that they were not liable for injuries that a couple claimed were caused by exposure to diacetyl and pentanedione, which are chemicals used to make artificial butter flavoring in popcorn (David Stults, et al. v. American Pop Corn Company, et al., No. 11-4077, N.D. Iowa).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - The California Supreme Court will address whether household members can bring suit for take-home exposure to asbestos after granting two petitions for review on Aug. 20, according to its docket (Haver v. BNSF Railway Co., No. S219919, Kesner v. Superior Court [Pneumo Abex LLC], No. S219534, Calif. Sup.).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - A group of 405 health professionals on Aug. 19 sent a letter to Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett and other state officials calling for reform at the Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) based on allegations that the employees of the DOH were instructed not to respond to health complaints regarding hydraulic fracturing.
CINCINNATI - The First District Ohio Court of Appeals on Aug. 15 dismissed an insurer's appeal for lack of jurisdiction because a trial court's order on the number of occurrences, policy limits and allocation of liability in an asbestos coverage dispute was not a final appealable order (The William Powell Co. v. OneBeacon Insurance Co. et al., No. C-130681, Ohio App., 1st Dist.; 2014 Ohio App. LEXIS 3470).
HARTFORD, Conn. - Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy on Aug. 18 signed a bill that enacts a three-year moratorium on the handling of waste from hydraulic fracturing in Connecticut while its environmental impact is further researched.
CAMDEN, N.J. - The federal judge presiding over a lawsuit brought by residents seeking damages for vinyl chloride contamination allegedly caused by the derailment of a train carrying the chemical in Paulsboro, N.J., on Aug. 20 denied the plaintiffs' motion for class certification and granted the defendants' motion to seal some documents that were submitted in opposition to the motion for class certification (In re: Paulsboro Derailment Cases, No. 13-784, D. N.J.).
SEATTLE - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Aug. 15 filed a brief in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington contending that a lawsuit filed by an environmental watchdog group should be dismissed because the available data does not support a finding that the coastal and estuarine waters in Washington and Oregon should be listed as impaired due to a condition called ocean acidification (OA) (Center for Biological Diversity v. Environmental Protection Agency, et al., No. 1301866, W.D. Wash.).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - A Pennsylvania environmental group that opposes hydraulic fracturing on Aug. 18 filed an appeal with the Pennsylvania Environmental Hearing Board (EHB) opposing the issuance of fracking permits to Anadarko E&P Onshore LLC, contending that the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) "acted contrary to law and abused its discretion" in granting the permits (Citizens for Pennsylvania's Future v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, et al., No. N/A, Pa. EHB).
WILMINGTON, Del. - A motion seeking to amend a judgment tolls the time to file an appeal, making dismissal of an insurer's appeal of an asbestos verdict against it necessary, a panel of the Delaware Supreme Court said Aug. 15 (Travelers Casualty and Surety Co., et al. v. Viking Pump Inc., et al., No 372,2014, Del. Sup.).
NEW ORLEANS - A federal magistrate judge in Louisiana on Aug. 18 ordered the federal government to pay $839,531.87 to the Plaintiffs' Steering Committee (PSC) for lawsuits stemming from the April 2010 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig and ensuing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, finding that because the government is also a plaintiff in the proceedings, it should satisfy its obligations to pay expenses related to the preparations of deposition and trial expenses (In re: Oil Spill by the Oil Rig "Deepwater Horizon" in the Gulf of Mexico, April 20, 2010, MDL No. 2179, E.D. La.).
LOS ANGELES - Asbestos-gasket maker The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. must provide indemnification for damages stemming from a $6,895,000 verdict, Crane Co. alleges in an Aug. 19 complaint (Crane Co. v. The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., No. 14-6509, C.D. Calif.).
MONTPELIER, Vt. - A trial court did not err in dismissing an insured's claims for negligence and bad faith against an insured in a dispute over coverage for water and mold damages because the insured failed to present sufficient evidence in support of the claims, the Vermont Supreme Court said Aug. 14 (Helena G. Murphy v. Patriot Insurance Company, No. 2013-235, Vt. Sup.; 2014 Vt. LEXIS 101).
LOS ANGELES - A group of companies that are being held liable for soil and groundwater contamination by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Aug. 15 filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California seeking cost recovery and declaratory judgment against a different group of companies that allegedly operated businesses that were supposed to properly process waste but instead spilled or discharged that waste onto the ground and into the groundwater (Alcoa Inc., et al. v. APC Investment Company, et al., No. N./A, C.D. Calif.).
VERNON, Calif. - Exide Technologies on Aug. 14 filed a report with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in which it indicated that the company has been subpoenaed by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Central District of California to appear before a grand jury concerning a criminal investigation of its lead-battery recycling facility. A spokesman with the U.S. Attorney's Office said he could neither confirm nor deny that a grand jury probe was under way.
TRENTON, N.J. - A hotel company on Aug. 14 filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey against Exxon Mobil Corp. seeking $1.2 million for damages allegedly caused by Exxon's failure to remediate an environmental hazard that contaminated the property on which the hotels sits and caused the hotel's deal to sell the property to fall through (Rose Hotels Ltd. Inc. v. Exxon Mobil Corporation, No. 14-05111, D. N.J.).
ST. LOUIS - A panel of the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 15 ruled that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was not "arbitrary and capricious" in denying a challenge to water quality standards filed by a chemical company that had sought less stringent criteria on its disposal of manufacturing waste (El Dorado Chemical Company v. United States Environmental Protection Agency, No. 13-1936, 8th Cir.).
BALTIMORE - A man's post-removal disclaimer of any damages arising from federal jurisdiction warrants remanding his asbestos action, a Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel held Aug. 15 (Kathleen Wood, et al. v. Crane Co., No. 13-1868, 4th Cir.).
NEW YORK - Although the U.S. Supreme Court recently narrowed rules governing general jurisdiction, New York can still exercise personal jurisdiction over corporations registered to do business in the state, a justice held in an opinion posted Aug. 12 (Eddie Howard Bailen and Rena Norene Ash Bailen v. Air & Liquid Systems Corp. et al., No. 190318/12, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).
HOUSTON - After finding that a homeowner failed to take any steps to prevent further water damage at his home and that he waived his right to argue that an insurer acted in bad faith, a Texas appeals court on Aug. 12 affirmed a trial court's dismissal of the case (Mohammed Khan v. Safeco Surplus Lines, et al., No. 14-13-00024, Texas App.; 14th Dist.; 2014 Tex. App. LEXIS 8776).
PHILADELPHIA - On remand, a Philadelphia judge must weigh additional factors before allowing a Kentucky couple to continue their asbestos action against a railroad, a Pennsylvania Superior Court panel held Aug. 12 (Paul R. Black v. CSX Transportation Inc., No. 3058 EDA 2012, Pa. Super.).