HARRISBURG, Pa. - Pennsylvania State Rep. Todd Stephens on Aug. 22 issued a press release calling on the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to sue the U.S. Navy in an effort to force it to clean up water systems in Montgomery County, Pa., which the representative says are contaminated with perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs) from a Naval Air Station.
SAN FRANCISCO - An aircraft adhesives defendant lost its battle to stay an asbestos case and expedited hearing of its challenge to a remand order on Aug. 22, when the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals discharged its order to show cause, denied the defendant's motion and sent the case to the merits panel (Velma Searcy v. 3M Co. and Hexcel Corp., No. 16-56034, 9th Cir.).
DETROIT - Employees of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) on Aug. 22 moved to dismiss a lawsuit filed in Michigan federal court by a purported class of Flint, Mich., residents, contending that they are entitled to absolute immunity with regard to the plaintiffs' claims stemming from the lead water crisis in Flint, and there is "no constitutional right to drinking water" (Myia McMillian, et al. v. Gov. Richard Dale Snyder, et al., No. 16-10796, E.D. Mich.).
NEW YORK - A defendant has not adequately shown that it operates apart from a subsidiary and seeks a "level of testimonial precision" about exposure improper for asbestos cases, a New York justice held Aug. 17, denying a motion for summary judgment (Gaspar Hernandez-Vega v. Air & Liquid Systems Corp., No. 190367/2014, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).
DALLAS - A Texas appellate panel on Aug. 16 affirmed summary judgment in favor of a general contractor and subcontractors in an injured worker's tort-based lawsuit because, it said, the worker's exclusive remedy was through the Texas Workers' Compensation Act (Juan Carlos Flores v. Chasco Inc., et al., No. 05-14-00531-CV, Texas App., 5th Dist.; 2016 Tex. App. LEXIS 8913).
PHILADELPHIA - Two ship-owner defendants still litigating nearly 30-year-old asbestos cases waived personal jurisdiction defenses by at one point seeking trial in the court to which they now object, the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said Aug. 17 (Lionel C. Wilson, Joseph F. Braun, and Thomas Guiden v. Matson Navigation Co. Inc., American President Lines Ltd., Nos. 15-1387, 15-1388, 15-1389, 3rd Cir.).
NEW YORK - One of the defendants in a lawsuit brought by plaintiffs who allege they have been harmed as a result of exposure to wood treated with creosote on Aug. 15 filed a brief in the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals contending that despite a settlement between the parties and an injunction from the district court, the plaintiffs are "trying to take another bite," by asking a state court to revive certain toxic tort claims (Avoca Plaintiffs v. Kerr-McGee Corporation; In Re: Tronox Inc., No. 16-343, 2nd Cir.).
BALTIMORE - Military equipment manufactured and supplied in compliance with military specifications and under "intense supervision" meets the broad standard for federal officer removal, an asbestos defendant told the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 12 (Janya Sawyer, et al. v. Union Carbide Corp., et al., No. 16-118, D. Md.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 52750).
NEW YORK - A panel of the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 15 denied an en banc hearing to a class of plaintiffs who sought to certify state law questions related to their allegations that they suffered personal injuries from exposure to fugitive chemicals from Union Carbide Corp.'s (UCC) closed Bhopal, India, pesticide refinery during a leak of methyl isocyanate in 1984 (Jargarnath Sahu, et al. v. Union Carbide Corp., et al., No. 14-3087, 2nd Cir.).
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - The Navajo Nation sued the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and several mining companies Aug. 16 in New Mexico federal court, seeking to hold the EPA and companies liable for a massive release of contaminated mine water a year ago that polluted the San Juan River, one of the tribe's "most important sources of water for life and livelihood" (Navajo Nation v. United States Environmental Protection Agency, et al., No. 1:16-cv-931, D. N.M.).
DETROIT - A group of plaintiffs who sued various Michigan authorities, as well as an engineering planning firm that acted as a consultant to the City of Flint, Mich., when it switched its water source to the Flint River, filed a brief in Michigan federal court on Aug. 15, contending that their claims under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) are actionable and the defendants are not entitled to immunity (Frances Gilcreast, et al. v. Lockwood, Andrews & Newnam, No. 16-11173, E.D. Mich.).
PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania federal judge on Aug. 12 dismissed a class claim for medical monitoring brought by airline workers stationed at the Philadelphia International Airport who allege that they were exposed to toxins, finding that the Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation Act (PWCA) is the exclusive remedy available to the workers (David Smith, et al. v. American Airlines, Inc., et al., No. 16-156, E.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 107402).
BOSTON - The tort trustee for the $200 million fungal meningitis outbreak injury settlement on Aug. 15 told a Massachusetts federal court that while she sympathizes with claimants' "desire to rush distributions," a court order to immediately begin distributions would make resolution of third-party payer liens uncertain and could result in indemnification expenses that will eat away settlement funds for the injured (In Re: New England Compounding Pharmacy, Inc. Products Liability Litigation, MDL Docket No. 2419, No. 13-md-2419, D. Mass.).
MIAMI - A Florida jury on Aug. 15 awarded the estate of a man who died from lung cancer as a result of smoking cigarettes $5 million in compensatory damages after finding that the deceased was a member of the Engle class (Hazel Mathis v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., No. 2007-CA-47118, Fla. Cir., 11th Jud. Cir., Dade Co.).
SAN FRANCISCO - An aircraft adhesives defendant has little chance of prevailing on a nonappealable order finding its removal of an asbestos action untimely, especially in light of the court's questions regarding jurisdiction over the case, a woman argues in an Aug. 11 brief asking the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals not to stay a case (Velma Searcy v. 3M Co. and Hexcel Corp., No. 16-56034, 9th Cir.).
PHILADELPHIA - A man's failure to pursue litigation against a company and the existence of a clear statutory bar to recovery warrants a finding that the defendant was added in a bad faith attempt to defeat removal, a federal judge in Philadelphia held Aug. 11 (In re: Asbestos Products Liability Litigation (No. VI); William Ney, et al. v. Owens-Illinois Inc., et al., No. MDL 875, 16-2408, E.D. Pa.).
WILMINGTON, Del. - A man's conflicting testimony and other evidence falls short of establishing sufficient evidence of regular exposure to asbestos from a brake manufacturer and air compressor manufacturer, a federal magistrate judge held in recommending the court grant summary judgment on Aug. 9 (Robert Lee Winhauer Jr., et al. v. Air & Liquid Systems Corp., et al., No. 15-177, D. Del.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 104467).
MIAMI - A federal judge in Florida on Aug. 9 denied an Engle progeny plaintiff's motion seeking to reinstate $20 million in punitive damages because the issue the plaintiff raised on appeal is better suited for the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to rule on (Judith Berger v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al., No. 3:09-cv-14157, M.D. Fla.).
LAKELAND, Fla. - A Florida appellate panel on Aug. 10 affirmed a $1.3 million verdict against two tobacco companies in an Engle progeny suit, saying the state law tort claims pursuant to the original Engle findings do not prohibit states from selling cigarettes (Philip Morris USA Inc., et al. v. James Harris Lourie, No 2D14-5403, Fla. App., 2nd Dist.).
MIAMI - A German corporation known for selling water pipes and hookahs on Aug. 9 filed suit in federal court in Florida against a hookah company for allegedly selling counterfeit products (ROOR v. Hookah, Tobacco and Sun Inc., No. 0:16-cv-61902, S.D. Fla.).
SEATTLE - A turbine manufacturer's alleged distribution of asbestos-containing gaskets puts it outside the reach of Alaska's statute of repose, as does it and a premises owner's alleged knowledge about the dangers of asbestos, a Washington appeals court held Aug. 9 in reversing dismissal for the two companies (Larry Hoffman and Judith Hoffman v. General Electric Co., Ketchikan Pulp Co., et al., No. 47439-5-II, Wash. App., Div. 2; 2016 Wash. App. LEXIS 1903).
TRENTON, N.J. - Environmental groups that have sued NL Industries Inc. alleging lead contamination filed a brief in New Jersey federal court on Aug. 9, contending that when the district court granted summary judgment dismissal to some of the defendants, it made "clear legal and factual errors that warrant reconsideration" (Raritan Baykeeper Inc., et al. v. NL Industries Inc., et al., No. 09-4117, D. N.J.).
LOS ANGELES - A California jury on Aug. 9 returned a defense verdict for three companies accused of exposing a woman to asbestos in joint compounds, sources told Mealey Publications (Christine Louise Pass and Joseph David Pass v. Amcord Inc., f/k/a Riverside Cement Co., et al., No. BC587738, Calif. Super., Los Angeles Co.).
COLUMBUS, Ohio - The Ohio residents who sued E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. alleging injuries from exposure to perfluorooctanoic acid (known as C8) on Aug. 8 filed a brief in Ohio federal court, arguing that the company's objection to a case management order that calls for the acceleration and selection of trial cases is "meritless" (In re E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. C8 Personal Injury Litigation, MDL No. 2433, No. 13-2433, S.D. Ohio).
DETROIT - Residents who sued Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and state officials alleging liability for the lead-contaminated drinking water in the City of Flint, Mich., on Aug. 8 filed a brief in a Michigan federal court opposing the defendants' motion for summary judgment dismissal. The plaintiffs insist that the defendants are attempting to evade responsibility on the "faulty premise" that the district court lacks subject matter jurisdiction, and they contend that they have adequately pleaded claims for violation of their rights under the U.S. Constitution (Melissa Mays, et al. v. Gov. Rick Snyder, et al., No. 15-14002, E.D. Mich.).