TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The Florida Supreme Court should use an asbestos case to adopt the superior standard for reviewing evidence espoused in Daubert regardless of the constitutionality of the Legislature's attempt to do so and reject the opinion that any exposure to asbestos contributes to disease, an advocacy group told the court on Sept. 20 (Richard DeLisle v. Crane Co., et al., No. SC16-2182, Fla. Sup.).
WOBURN, Mass. - A Massachusetts jury on Sept. 20 found a company liable under negligence and breach of warranty claims for its installation of asbestos-containing insulation and awarded a couple $7.55 million for a man's resulting mesothelioma (Gerald and Marjorie Sylvestre v. New England Insulation Co., et al., No.15-7031, Mass. Super., Middlesex Co.).
SYRACUSE, N.Y. - In a reinsurance dispute over coverage for underlying asbestos injury claims, an insurer writes in a letter filed in a New York federal court on Sept. 19 that it rejects a reinsurer's suggestion that it dismiss the case without prejudice because the case presents a justiciable controversy (Utica Mutual Insurance Co. v. R&Q Reinsurance Co., No. 15-270, N.D. N.Y.).
SALT LAKE CITY - A federal judge in Utah on Sept. 15 awarded summary judgment to a uranium mining company after refusing to challenge the validity of a state agency's findings that the company's radon emissions were excessive and in violation of the Clean Air Act (CAA) (Grand Canyon Trust v. Energy Fuel Resources [U.S.A.] Inc., et al., No. 14-cv-243, D. Utah, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 150279).
NEW YORK - Northrop Grumman Corp. on Sept. 18 filed a brief in the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals arguing that an amicus brief filed by parties interested in a groundwater contamination lawsuit is premised on "a fundamental misconception" regarding the limitations period for tort claims (Bethpage Water District v. Northrop Grumman Corporation, et al., No. 16-2592, 2nd Cir.).
NEW ORLEANS - Family members mistakenly signed away asbestos wrongful death claims based on their father's attorney's misrepresentations, and the failure to hire their own counsel should not be considered inexcusable neglect, plaintiffs told the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals Sept. 18 (Essie Lemieux, et al. v. American Optical Corp., No. 17-30346, 5th Cir.).
NEW YORK - A New York appellate court on Sept. 19 vacated the stay it issued in July that halted implementation of the hotly contested case management order (CMO) governing asbestos cases in New York City (In re: New York City Asbestos Litigation, All Asbestos Cases., No. 40000/1988 782000/2017, N.Y. Sup. App. Div., 1st Dept.)
OKLAHOMA CITY - A company that is the third-party defendant in a lawsuit brought by a man who alleges that he suffered chemical injuries from a lithium battery pack that exploded on a hydraulic fracturing rig filed a brief in Oklahoma federal court on Sept. 13, contending that the fracking company's motion for summary judgment should be denied because "at the very least" an issue of fact remains regarding whether the fracking company's design changes to the battery pack were a proximate cause of the explosion at issue (Jacob McGehee, et al. v. Southwest Electronic Energy Corporation, et al. and Southwest Electronic Energy Corporation v. Engineered Power LP, et al., No. 15-145, W.D. Okla.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A federal judge in the District of Columbia on Sept. 13 consolidated five cases brought by environmental groups against Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt contending that he is in violation of federal law regarding the approval of a permit for ExxonMobil's petrochemical manufacturing facility in Harris County, Texas (Environmental Integrity Project, et al. v. Scott Pruitt, No. 17-1439, D. D.C.).
BOISE, Idaho - A federal judge in Idaho on Sept. 15 ordered Atlanta Gold Corp. to pay $251,000 as a civil penalty for violating the Clean Water Act and pay $251,000 in sanctions for failing to comply with prior court orders requiring the company to limit the amount of arsenic and iron in discharges from its mining operations, finding that the company can find reasonable solutions to comply with its National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit (Idaho Conservation League, et al. v. Atlanta Gold Corporation, No. 11-cv-00161, D. Idaho, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 150437).
DETROIT - Dismissal for ship owners for lack of jurisdiction in thousands of Merchant Marine asbestos cases was proper, the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held Sept. 13 (Henry Kalama, et al. v. Matson Navigation Co. Inc., et al., No. 16-3408, 6th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 17931).
LAKELAND, Fla. - A Second District Florida Court of Appeal panel on Sept. 15 affirmed a final judgment in favor of the surviving daughter of a woman who died from lung cancer caused by smoking after finding that an amendment to a Florida statute governing punitive damages did not apply to the case (R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company v. Cindy Evers, No. 2D16-1603, Fla. App., 2nd Dist., 2017 Fla. App. LEXIS 13079).
NEW YORK - Failing to disclose an asbestos claim that arose after confirmation and complete repayment under a bankruptcy plan is not the type of conduct that requires imposing judicial estoppel, a couple told the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals Sept. 12 (John Clark, et al. v. AII Acquisition LLC, et al., No. 17-1727, 2nd Cir.).
UTICA, N.Y. - In a dispute over an underlying $325 million settlement of asbestos claims, a reinsurer responds in a Sept. 13 opposition brief to an insurer's motion to exclude testimony from the reinsurer's former employee, arguing to a New York federal court that the former employee has extensive knowledge regarding reinsurance practices, policies and procedures (Utica Mutual Insurance Co. v. Fireman's Fund Insurance Co., No. 09-cv-00853, N.D. N.Y.).
WILMINGTON, Del. - An out-of-state power company that allegedly exposed a Connecticut resident to asbestos in that state during service in the U.S. Navy is not subject to personal jurisdiction in Delaware, a federal judge held Sept. 14 (In re: Asbestos Litigation, Michael R. Harding, et al. v. A.O. Smith Corp., et al., No. 17-251, D. Del., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 148776).
WILMINGTON, Del. - The record in an asbestos case does not support the conclusions regarding exposure a widow claims it does, a Delaware judge held Sept. 12 in granting summary judgment (In re: Asbestos Litigation, Thelma Lempert, et al. v. CertainTeed Corp., et al., No. N15C-05-221 ASB, Del. Super., 2017 Del. Super. LEXIS 452).
MILWAUKEE - The Sherwin-Williams Co. on Sept. 13 filed a statement of proposed material facts in Wisconsin federal court supporting its motion for dismissal of a lead-paint poisoning lawsuit against it and other former manufacturers of lead-based paint on grounds that the plaintiffs have not demonstrated a prerequisite need in order for the risk-contribution theory of liability to apply (Glenn Burton v. American Cyanamid, et al., No. 07-0303, E.D. Wis.).
SEATTLE - A federal judge in Idaho did not err when excluding a man's evidence pertaining to his diminished capacity, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Sept. 13, holding that the storage of hazardous waste in violation of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act is a crime of general intent (United States of America v. Max Spatig, No. 15-30322, 9th Cir.).
ANNAPOLIS, Md. - Maryland's top court on Sept. 12 agreed to decide if the state's statute of repose bars a woman's asbestos action involving exposure from insulation applied to a generator whose construction was completed in June 1970 (June Diane Duffy, et al. v. CBS Corp. et al., No. 41 September Term, 2017, Md. App.).
NEW YORK - The attorney representing a group of Ecuadorian residents who won an $18.5 billion judgment against Chevron Corp. for injuries, only to have it reversed, on Sept. 12 filed a letter with the presiding judge in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, arguing that the company offers "no credible argument" for its contention that the company is entitled to the taxation of costs in the litigation (Chevron Corporation v. Donziger, et al., Case No. 11 Civ. 691, S.D. N.Y.).
ASHEVILLE, N.C. - A company being sued for allegedly contaminating a North Carolina man's groundwater on Sept. 11 filed a brief in North Carolina federal court contending that the district court should exclude evidence regarding contamination on the east side of the company's former facility, evidence of the presence of chemicals other than benzene and evidence of alleged negligence because it would "inflame" the jury (Kent Stahle v. CTS Corporation, No. 14-48, W.D. N.C.).
COLUMBUS, Ohio - The Ohio Supreme Court on Sept. 13 agreed to decide whether the state requires a medical expert to weigh in on whether a lung cancer plaintiff qualifies as a "smoker" or whether the law simply requires those already recognized as smokers to submit an opinion regarding the role asbestos played in their disease (Bobby Turner, et al. v. Union Carbide Corp., et al., No. 17-0004, Ohio Sup.).
CINCINNATI - A split panel of the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Sept. 11 affirmed a district court's ruling and held that a lawsuit brought by residents of Flint, Mich., against the city and state environmental quality employees relating to the lead-contaminated drinking water crisis in the city belongs in state court (Melissa Mays, et al. v. City of Flint, Mich., et al., No. 16-2484, 6th Cir.; 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 17502).
SEATTLE - Monsanto Co.'s counterclaim for unjust enrichment against the city of Seattle over polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) contamination in the Lower Duwamish River is not futile, a federal judge in Washington ruled Sept. 6 in granting the defendant company's motion to amend its answer and counterclaims (City of Seattle v. Monsanto Company, et al., No. C16-107RSL, W.D. Wash., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 144382).