NEWARK, N.J. - Former asbestos plaintiffs adopted a frivolous interpretation of a discovery ruling in an effort to avoid required production, a talc company told a New Jersey federal judge on Aug. 30. In a Sept. 1 letter, the plaintiffs, who claim that they were defrauded into settling claims for far less than they were worth after the company used a carefully crafted record retention policy to destroy evidence of asbestos contamination of its talc, lamented that the defendant brought the judge into the dispute before allowing the parties or special discovery master to resolve it (Kimberlee Williams, et al. v. BASF Catalysts LLC., et al., No. 11-1754, D. N.J.).
TRENTON, N.J. - A New Jersey federal judge on Aug. 30 denied insureds' motions to recuse a judge and a magistrate from their lawsuit seeking recovery for losses arising from Hurricane Irene and Superstorm Sandy, finding the recusal motions untimely (Robert Jacobsen, et al. v. Hartford Insurance Company Flood & Home, et al., Nos. 14-3094, 13-6910 and 13-7160, D. N.J., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 139848).
PHILADELPHIA - A panel of the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 28 ruled that New Jersey residents who alleged that they were poisoned by vinyl chloride as a result of a train derailment, as well as first responders who came to their aid, were not entitled to punitive damages and compensatory damages did not pass the jurisdictional threshold (In Re: Paulsboro Derailment Cases, Nos. 15-4039, 16-1654, 16-1655, 3rd Cir.; 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 16393).
CAMDEN, N.J. - A New Jersey federal judge on Aug. 18 granted an insurer's motion to dismiss a bad faith claim in a dispute over withdrawn annuity payments after determining that the plaintiff failed to allege any specific facts supporting the claim that the insurer acted in bad faith (Janette K. Adams v. Allstate Life Insurance Co., et al., No. 16-9465, D. N.J., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 132022).
NEWARK, N.J. - A New Jersey federal judge on Aug. 17 refused to disqualify an insured's counsel in a lawsuit arising from Superstorm Sandy damage, finding that the defendants failed to show that there was an implied attorney-client relationship between the attorney and one of the defendants (The Residences at Bay Point Condominium Assoc., Inc. v. Chernoff Diamond & Co., LLC, et. al., No. 16-5190, D. N.J., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 131332).
CAMDEN, N.J. - A New Jersey federal judge on Aug. 17 partially denied two insurers' motions for summary judgment on the applicability of their policies' pollution exclusions after determining that a question of fact exists as to whether the leakage of heating oil from an underground storage tank constitutes "traditional environmental pollution" that is precluded under the exclusion (Nimrod Benjamin, et al., v. State Farm Insurance Co., et al., No. 15-4123, D. N.J., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 131078).
TRENTON, N.J. - An insurance company's lawsuit accusing a mail order pharmacy of submitting fraudulent claims is timely, a federal judge in New Jersey ruled Aug. 17, finding that the last claim submitted to the company was within the six-year statute of limitations (Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey v. Focus Express Mail Pharmacy, Inc., et al., No. 17-571, D. N.J., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 131013).
TRENTON, N.J. - A federal judge in New Jersey on Aug. 16 granted in part NL Industries Inc.'s motion to exclude testimony from two experts for an environmental group accusing the company of violating the Clean Water Act (CWA) and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), finding that portions of each expert's testimony was unreliable (Raritan Baykeeper Inc., et al. v. NL Industries Inc., et al., No. 09-4117, D. N.J., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 131754).
TRENTON, N.J. - A driver for Lyft Inc., a transportation service ordered by customers via a mobile phone application, filed a class complaint on Aug. 15 in New Jersey federal court accusing Lyft of misrepresenting to drivers the fares being paid by riders and, as a result, paying drivers less than the amount to which they are contractually entitled (Keara Nieves, et al. v. Lyft, Inc., No. 17-6146, D. N.J.).
TRENTON, N.J. - In an unpublished opinion, a New Jersey Tax Court judge on Aug. 9 found that a cigar wholesaler is not immune from a state tax on tobacco because it did not keep adequate records showing that it sold tobacco to an out-of-state buyer (Cigar Stop Inc. v. Director of the Division of Taxation, No. 015587-2014, N.J. Tax, 2017 N.J. Tax Unpub. LEXIS 46).
TRENTON, N.J. - A New Jersey federal judge on Aug. 8 granted a plaintiff's motion to strike and bar Wal-Mart Stores East Inc.'s use of the deposition transcript and documents obtained as a result of a March 28 deposition of the plaintiff's physician, but refused to disqualify Wal-Mart's counsel for conducting the deposition (Patricia Hone v. Wal-Mart, Inc., No. 14-1006, D. N.J., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 124736).
NEWARK, N.J. - Defendants in a seven-year-old asbestos lawsuit on Aug. 8 asked a New Jersey federal judge to replace a special discovery master due to conflict of interest from his past and current law firm associations (Kimberlee Williams, et al. v. BASF Catalysts LLC., et al., No. 11-1754, D. N.J.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - About 195 federal lawsuits alleging that proton pump inhibitor (PPI) drugs cause serious kidney injury were centralized Aug. 2 by a federal panel before U.S. Judge Claire C. Cecchi of the District of New Jersey (In Re: Proton-Pump Inhibitor Products Liability Litigation [No. II], MDL Docket No. 2789, JPMDL).
TRENTON, N.J. - A New Jersey appeals court panel on July 28 reversed the exclusion of two plaintiff experts from the state's Accutane multicounty litigation, reinstating 2,076 cases that had been dismissed (In Re: Accutane Litigation, Nos. A-4698-14T1 and A-0910-16T1, N.J. Super., App. Div., 2017 N.J. Super. LEXIS 116).
TRENTON, N.J. - The New Jersey Supreme Court on July 26 reversed and remanded a case in which a couple sued a municipality and companies associated with a dry cleaning business, finding that the complaint for physical injuries had been filed in a timely manner, contrary to the rulings of two lower courts (Edan Ben Elazar, et al. v. Macrietta Cleaners, Inc., et al., No. A-11-16, N.J. Sup., Sept. Term 2016; 2017 N.J. 809).
TRENTON, N.J. - Umbrella and excess policies must be included when allocating liability for coverage of underlying asbestos claims filed against an insured because the excess and umbrella policies are a type of risk transfer, a New Jersey federal judge said July 26 in granting an insurer's motion for summary judgment (The Travelers Indemnity Co., et. al., v. Thomas & Betts Corp., No. 13-6187, D. N.J., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 117135).
TRENTON, N.J. - The New Jersey Superior Court Appellate Division on July 25 reversed summary judgment in 18 of the state's multicounty Accutane litigation, saying that under New Jersey's product liability law, there remain questions on whether the post-2002 warning label for the acne drug adequately warned doctors and patients about the risk of permanent bowel injury (In Re: Accutane Litigation, Nos. A-4750-14T1 and A-0164-15T1, N.J. Super., App. Div., 017 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 1885).