ST. LOUIS - A federal judge in Missouri on Jan. 11 denied a motion for reconsideration, saying the U.S. Supreme Court issued an opinion clarifying the standard for jurisdiction before he issued his own opinion, while also saying the newly minted precedent would not change the outcome (Willie Everett, et al. v. Aurora Pump Co., et al., No. 17-230, E.D. Mo.).
NEW YORK - The city of New York on Jan. 9 filed a lawsuit in federal court against five oil companies, claiming that the companies are responsible for climate change and seeking to recover damages to the city's infrastructure (City of New York v BP PLC, et al., No. 18-CV-00182, S.D. N.Y.).
NEW ORLEANS - A federal judge in Louisiana did not err when refusing to review the denial of a man's claim for compensation under the Deepwater Horizon Economic & Property Damages Settlement Agreement, a Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Jan. 9, finding that a policy in the agreement excludes transactions that are not arm's length transactions as revenue (Claimant ID 100190818 v. BP Exploration & Production Inc., et al, No. 17-30099, 5th Cir.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A company's sale of tens of thousands of units of asbestos-containing drywall in Oklahoma easily surpasses the bar for jurisdiction in the state, a man told the U.S. Supreme Court on Jan. 8 (Murco Wall Products Inc. v. Michael D. Galier, No. 17-733, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Jan. 8 denied two tobacco companies' petition for a writ of certiorari and upheld a finding that using the original Engle findings in Engle progeny suits does not violate due process (R.J. Reynolds, et al. v. Theresa Graham, No. 17-415, U.S. Sup.).
SAN FRANCISCO - A California appeals panel on Jan. 8 reversed a trial court judge's ruling that a special causation standard applies to companies accused of being responsible parties for contamination under the Polanco Redevelopment Act, finding that a plaintiff must show only that the manufacturer's improper instructions on disposal were a factor in the contamination (City of Modesto v. Dow Chemical Co., et al., No. A134419, Calif. App., 1st Dist., 4th Div., 2018 Calif. App. LEXIS 13).
HARTFORD, Conn. - Five mason laborers seeking medical monitoring after alleged exposed to asbestos during renovations at a school on Dec. 18 appealed a ruling striking their negligence, premises liability and recklessness claims, after arguing that the claims survive under recent Connecticut precedent construing exposures as an injury. The plaintiffs on Jan. 4 asked the court to enter default against the defendants on the negligent infliction of emotional distress claims the court did not strike (Julian Poce, et al. v. O&G Industries Inc., et al., No. HHD CV 17-60742454-S, Conn. Dist., Hartford at Hartford).
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The Florida Supreme Court on Jan. 5 said it would hear oral arguments in March in an asbestos case involving whether Daubert can be applied in Florida and whether expert testimony that every exposure to asbestos leads to mesothelioma satisfies whatever standard the state uses (Richard DeLisle v. Crane Co., et al., No. SC16-2182, Fla. Sup.).
CINCINNATI - In an asbestos coverage dispute, the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 3 denied a panel rehearing and rehearing en banc on a decision to not conduct an in camera review of an insurer's documents disclosed to third parties other than a reinsurer and a claims adjuster (In re OneBeacon Insurance Co. v. The William Powell Co., No. 17-3852, 6th Cir.).
DALLAS - The Texas attorney general overstates the case in favor of unsealing deposition testimony from a law firm's principal and ignores that there is no evidence the record constitutes a court document, appellees told the state's appeals court on Jan. 3 (Christine Cole Biederman v. Beverly Jean Brown, et al., No. 01-07-00263-CV, Texas App., 1st Dist.).
PORTLAND, Ore. - The state of Oregon on Jan. 4 filed suit in state court against Monsanto Co., Pharmacia Corp. and Solutia Inc., seeking more than $100 million in damages to clean up contamination in the state's groundwater and soil resulting from the companies' manufacturing of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) (State of Oregon v. Monsanto Co., et al., No. 18CV00540, Ore. Cir., Multnomah Co.).
WILMINGTON, Del. - The affirmative act of selling asbestos-containing products is misfeasance and does not require a special relationship between the parties for imposition of a duty to protect household members from exposure, a woman told the Delaware Supreme Court on Dec. 28 (Elizabeth Ramsey, et al. v. Georgia Southern University Advanced Development Center, et al., No. 305, 2017, Del. Sup.).
CINCINNATI - A court should dismiss five asbestos plaintiffs from a group of 258 consolidated appeals, where one plaintiff's identical state court action was dismissed with prejudice and the other four failed to file timely appeals, ship owners told the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Dec. 29 in defense of personal jurisdiction dismissals (James Matthews, et al. v. Chas, Kurz & Co. Inc., et al., Nos. 16-4146, 16-4269, 16-4354, 16-4757, 17-3238, 17-3480, 17-3735, 17-3915, 17-3918, 6th Cir.).
PHILADELPHIA - Asbestos defendants waived personal jurisdiction defenses when they fought transfer to a different jurisdiction for pretrial management, the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held Dec. 28 (In re: Asbestos Products Liability Litigation, Joseph Blue, et al., No. 16-4148, 3rd Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 26849).
PHILADELPHIA - Pennsylvania law all but eradicating joint and several liability applies to strict liability asbestos cases, a state appellate court held in remanding for a new trial on the issue of liability Dec. 28 (William Roverano, et al. v. John Crane Inc. et al., Nos. 2837 EDA 2016, 2847 EDA 2016, Pa. Super.).
COLUMBUS, Ohio - Only by requiring those who use to tobacco products to submit medical reports indicating whether they qualify as "smokers" can Ohio courts give the General Assembly's choice of words meaning, a company told the Ohio Supreme Court on Dec. 22 (Bobby Turner, et al. v. Union Carbide Corp., et al., No. 17-0004, Ohio Sup.).
MIAMI - A panel of the Third District Florida Court of Appeal on Dec. 27 denied the request of two Engle progeny plaintiffs to quash an order from the trial court disqualifying their counsel because the firm representing them had an attorney who previously worked representing tobacco companies in similar suits and had access to previous trial strategies for Philip Morris USA Inc. (David Canta, et al. v. Philip Morris USA Inc., et al., No. 3D17-1959, Fla. App. 3rd Dist., 2017 Fla. App. LEXIS 19761).
LEXINGTON, Ky. - A federal judge in Kentucky on Dec. 28 dismissed with prejudice a claim brought by two environmental groups contending that Kentucky Utilities Co. (KU) is violating the Clean Water Act by allowing storm water containing pollutants from its coal-ash settlement ponds to migrate into a navigable waterway, holding that the discharges are not subject to the act's National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit requirements (Kentucky Waterways Alliance, et al. v. Kentucky Utilities Co., No. 17-cv-292-DCR, E.D. Ky., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 212329).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A panel of the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Dec. 22 remanded for further consideration the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's rule regulating workplace exposure to silica because the initial rule was "arbitrary and capricious" (North America's Building Trades Unions v. Occupational Safety & Health Administration, et al., No. 16-1105, D.C. Cir.; 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 26315).
OAKLAND, Calif. - A judge misconstrued portions of testimony in concluding that a deposition contradicted a previous declaration, and the apparent belief that the testimony was lacking because the witness did not testify to directly witnessing asbestos exposures is contrary to the law, a California appeals court held Dec. 22 (Keith Turley and Joy Ann Turley v. Familian Corp., No. A149752, Calif. App., 1st Dist.).
TRENTON, N.J. - The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) did not err when imposing a $180,000 penalty against a company for illegally storing hazardous waste in violation of New Jersey's Solid Waste Management Act and Spill Compensation and Control Act, a state appeals panel ruled Dec. 20, finding that there was no evidence disputing that the defendant company was liable for the violations (New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection v. Yates Foil USA Inc., et al., No. A-0874-15T1, N.J. Super., App. Div., 2017 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 3129).
ST. LOUIS - The U.S. Supreme Court on Dec. 29 gave an asbestos plaintiff more time to respond to a petition urging the court to use a $10 million verdict to clarify the proper standard for evaluating punitive damages awards under existing due process and award ratio precedent (Crane Co. v. Jeanette G. Poage, No. 17-900, U.S. Sup.).
HELENA, Mont. - A 6-1 Montana Supreme Court on Dec. 29 found that property owners who live near the Anaconda Smelter Superfund site can seek restoration damages for arsenic contamination on their properties after finding that the cause of action is not preempted by the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) (Atlantic Richfield Co. v. Montana Second Judicial District Court, Silver Bow County, et al., No. 16-0555, Mont. Sup., 2017 Mont. LEXIS 730).
SAN FRANCISCO - A federal judge in California on Dec. 21 refused to dismiss a complaint against the Environmental Protection Agency brought by environmental advocacy groups seeking to compel the agency to initiate a rulemaking procedure to ban the introduction of "fluoridation chemicals" into drinking water on grounds that they cause brain damage (Food & Water Watch Inc., et al. v. United States Environmental Protection Agency, et al., No. 17-2162, N.D. Calif.).
OLYMPIA, Wash. - The Washington Supreme Court on Dec. 21 found that a couple can attempt to recover the costs they incurred when investigating lube oil contamination on their property pursuant to the Model Toxic Control Act (MTCA), but a trial court judge must determine the amount, if any, a paving company must reimburse them (Harlan D. Douglass, et al. v. Shamrock Paving Inc., No. 94087-8, Wash. Sup., 2017 Wash. LEXIS 1149).