WASHINGTON, D.C. - A collection of environmental advocacy groups on July 20 filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia seeking declaratory and injunctive relief against U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt pursuant to the Clean Air Act (CAA), 42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq., contending that the agency should be ordered to reply to the groups' petition concerning Texas refinery permits (Environmental Integrity Project, et al. v. Scott Pruitt, No. 17-1439, D. D.C.).
BALTIMORE - A couple on July 19 settled with the two remaining defendants whose conduct allegedly caused exposure to asbestos, just two days after a judge denied a motion to exclude expert testimony from the defendant's industrial hygienist (Charles Lemuel Arbogast Jr., et al. v. A.W. Chesterton Co., et al., No. 14-4049, D. Md.).
FORT MYERS, Fla. - In a retrial of an Engle progeny suit, a Florida jury on July 18 found that a woman's lung cancer and death were caused by her addiction to cigarettes and R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.'s failure to warn her about the dangers of smoking and awarded her husband $1.65 million (John Maloney v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., 07-CA-015578, Fla. 20th Jud. Cir., Lee Co.).
PHOENIX - An Arizona man filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona on July 19 against Monsanto Co., alleging that its herbicide Roundup, which contains the chemical glyphosate, caused him to develop cancer. The case is one of 24 cancer cases filed by the same attorney against the company in the District Court (Dean T. Enomoto v. Monsanto Company, 17-2390, D. Ariz.).
NEW YORK - A New York appellate court on July 20 stayed implementation of all but the hotly contested punitive damages provision of the recent New York City asbestos litigation (NYCAL) case management order (CMO) while it considers defendants' challenges (In re: New York City Asbestos Litigation, All Asbestos Cases., No. 40000/1988 782000/2017, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).
NEW YORK - A widow may add claims for declaratory judgment and tortious interference with contract to her case claiming that insurers and an administrator are intentionally delaying or denying payment on a more than $7 million asbestos verdict, a New York justice held in an opinion posted July 18 (Ruby Konstantin, et al. v. Aetna Casualty & Surety Co., et al., No. 652897/2013, N.Y. Sup., New York Co., 2017 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 2697).
NEW YORK - The justice recently appointed to oversee the New York City asbestos litigation (NYCAL) said July 18 that he would not stay implementation of the case management order (CMO) issued by the previous coordinating justice while the defendants appeal, sources told Mealey Publications (In re: New York City Asbestos Litigation, All Asbestos Cases., No. 40000/88 782000/2017, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).
PEORIA, Ill. - A federal judge in Illinois on July 18 denied a request by defendant companies seeking to have a jury decide if they should pay a civil penalty for violating the Clean Air Act (CAA), finding that the statute specifically states that the court will assess what penalty should be imposed (Natural Resources Defense Council, et al. v. Illinois Power Resources LLC, et al., No. 13-CV-1181, C.D. Ill., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 111556).
BALTIMORE - Expert testimony that asbestos "cumulates" in the body and leads to disease is indistinguishable from the theory that every exposure to asbestos leads to disease and is inadmissible under federal rules and Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharm., Inc., a federal judge in Maryland held July 17 in granting summary judgment in a prominent attorney's case alleging bystander exposure (Jeffrey Rockman, et al. v. Union Carbide Corp., et al., No. 16-1169, D. Md., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 110181).
NEW ORLEANS - A Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on July 19 affirmed a federal judge's ruling to uphold an appeal denying individual economic loss (IEL) claims submitted by three corporate officers of an architectural firm to the Court Supervised Settlement Program (CSSP) for the Deepwater Horizon Economic and Property Damages Class Action Settlement, finding that the terms of the agreement do not allow for double recovery because the officers' business and economic loss (BEL) claim had previously been approved (In re: Deepwater Horizon [Lake Eugene Land & Development, Inc., et al. v. BP Exploration & Production, Inc., et al.], No. 16-30457, 5th Cir.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The District of Columbia U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on July 18 ordered the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to explain to two environmental groups why the agency relied on surrogates to determine maximum achievable control technology (MACT) standards for emissions of three hazardous air pollutants when implementing a final rule entered in June 2015, after denying the agency's motion to dismiss the groups' petition as untimely (Sierra Club, et al. v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, No. 15-1246, D.C. Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 12842).
DETROIT - A group of defendants affiliated with the city of Flint, Mich., on July 18 filed a brief in Michigan federal court contending that a motion to certify their appeal of a district court ruling as "frivolous," which was filed by city residents in a lead-contaminated drinking water lawsuit, should be stricken because it was improperly filed (Shari Guertin, et al. v. State of Michigan, et al., No. 16-12412, E.D. Mich.).
SAN FRANCISCO - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 18 denied a motion for writ of mandamus sought by two environmental groups that want the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to revoke all food tolerances for, and cancel the registration of, a pesticide chlorpyifos (In re: Pesticide Action Network North America, et al. v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, No. 14-72794, 9th Cir.; 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 12871).
NEWARK, N.J. - A New Jersey federal magistrate judge on July 14 granted an insured's motion to consolidate a subrogation lawsuit filed by a property owner against an insured and an insurance coverage lawsuit filed against the insured after determining that the suits involve common questions of law regarding subrogation of costs and coverage for a property contaminated with mercury (BRG Harrison Lofts Urban Renewal LLC v. General Electric Company, et al., and Evanston Insurance Co. v. Accredited Environmental Technologies Inc., et al., Nos. 16-6577, 17-1584, D. N.J., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 109447).
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - CSX Transportation Inc. on July 17 filed a brief in Tennessee federal court arguing that a chemical injury lawsuit brought against it by a purported class of residents should be dismissed because the claims are "barred by the economic loss doctrine" and the plaintiffs "have no evidence of physical injury" (Charles Tipton, et al. v. CSX Transportation Inc., et al., No. 15-311, E.D. Tenn.).
CHRISTIANSTED, Virgin Islands - The complexity of asbestos cases explains, but does not excuse, a motion for stipulated dismissal of a defendant not party to an asbestos case and underscores a bigger problem in the litigation, a judge in the Virgin Islands held July 13 (Arthur Paul v. Rraitan Supply Co., et al, No. SX-97-CV-329, Virgin Islands Super., St. Croix, 2017 V.I. LEXIS 106).
MADISON, Wis. - To the extent that science recognizes it as a fact, a plaintiff may introduce expert testimony to the effect that a single asbestos fiber can theoretically cause mesothelioma, so long as neither the plaintiff nor the expert suggests that this establishes liability, a federal judge in Wisconsin held July 14 (Patricia L. Carroll, et al. v. ABB Inc., et al., No. 15-373, W.D. Wis., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 108992).
CLEVELAND - Household exposures from brake jobs meet the frequency, regularity and proximity test for asbestos cases in Ohio, and nothing in an expert's testimony regarding the scientific fact that individual exposures contribute to the total cumulative dose invokes the "every exposure" theory, a plaintiff and his amici argue in a pair of July 17 briefs to the Ohio Supreme Court (Mark Schwartz, et al. v. Honeywell International Inc., et al., No. 2016-1372, Ohio Sup.).
RICHMOND, Va. - The Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 12 dismissed the Property & Casualty Insurance Guaranty Corp. (PCIGC) from an insured insulation company's appeal of a partial summary judgment order entered in favor of a number of solvent and insolvent insurers involved in an asbestos coverage case (General Insurance Company of America and The Walter E. Campbell Co. Inc. v. United States Fire Insurance Co., et al., No. 17-1585, 4th Cir.).
PHILADELPHIA - A regional office of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced July 13 that Jubilant Cadista Pharmaceuticals Inc. has agreed to pay a $35,000 penalty for violating the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) by improperly storing lab solvents and corrosive cleaner waste at its Salisbury, Md., facility.
WILMINGTON, Del. - Michigan law does not hold a retailer liable for failing to warn about the hazards posed by asbestos in floor tiles it sold, a judge in Delaware concluded July 12 in granting Sears Roebuck Co. summary judgment (Scott Glaser and Sandra Glaser v. Sears Roebuck Co., et al., No. N15C-08-207 ASB, Del. Super., New Castle Co., 2017 Del. Super. LEXIS 342).
WILMINGTON, Del. - Evidence that a company manufactured valves with frequently replaced asbestos-containing components and that a man worked with that manufacturer's valves would impermissibly require a jury to speculate to find that the man suffered exposure to asbestos parts made or supplied by the company, a Delaware judge held July 12 in applying Massachusetts law (Dorothy Charbonneau, et al. v. Cleaver-Brooks Inc., et al., No. N15C-01-045 ASB, Del. Super., New Castle Co.).
WILMINGTON, Del. - A man's allegations that he was personally responsible for ordering replacement parts for work on a boiler helps support his claims that he suffered exposure to asbestos from the work, a Delaware judge held July 12 (Clarence Dionne v. ABB Inc., et al., No. N14C-11-062 ASB, Del. Super., New Castle Co., 2017 Del. Super. LEXIS 341).
SALT LAKE CITY - A federal judge in Utah on July 11 stayed a lawsuit brought by American Smelting and Refining Co. LLC (ASARCO) seeking contribution toward $8.7 million it has spent remediating a former mining site near Park City, Utah, pending the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's approval of a cleanup plan (ASARCO LLC v. Noranda Mining Inc., No.12-cv-527 DN, D. Utah, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 107957).
LAKELAND, Fla. - A panel of the Florida Second District Court of Appeal on July 14 affirmed a $14 million verdict in an Engle progeny suit without explanation and certified a conflict with another suit over comparative fault (R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al. v. Ina E. Ahrens, No. 2D16-1651, Fla. App., 2nd Dist., 2017 Fla. App. LEXIS 10146).