MIAMI - Expert testimony challenges from both an asbestos plaintiff and a friction defendant confuse the distinction between admissibility and credibility, a federal judge in Florida said July 11 while also declining to take a third look into whether jurisdiction exists over a different defendant (James John Waite Jr. and Sandra Waite v. AII Acquisition Corp., et al., No. 15-62359, S.D. Fla.).
CONCORD, N.H. - A group of Portsmouth, N.H., residents can intervene in a lawsuit brought by the federal government against the city over its disposal of wastewater, but limited their involvement to the second modification of a consent decree that requires the city to build a second wastewater disposal facility (United States of America v. City of New Hampshire, No. 09-cv-283, D. N.H.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 90139).
PORTLAND, Ore. - The City of Portland, Ore., on July 12 sued Monsanto Co. and two of its affiliates in Oregon federal court, contending that the city's water supply and environment are contaminated by polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and the company - which was the sole manufacturer of the chemical compound - concealed the truth about its toxicity from the public and government (City of Portland, Ore. v. Monsanto Company, et al., No. 16-1418, D. Ore.).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) on July 12 announced that its Bureau of Safe Drinking Water will oversee and work with the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority (PWSA) in response to test results that indicate that the levels of lead and copper in the city's drinking water require remediation.
SOUTH BEND, Ind. - A federal judge in Indiana on July 11 denied a couple's motion to remand its groundwater contamination case to state court on grounds that the defendant's motion to remand was timely and that the local controversy to the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA) did not apply (Amos Hostetler, et al. v. Johnson Controls Inc., No. 15-226, N.D. Ind.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 89278).
LOS ANGELES - A federal judge in California on July 11 partially granted a defense motion for a directed verdict, reducing by $800,000 a jury award against a retailer that sold a copyrighted hookah without the maker's permission because two of the flavors it sold were not counterfeited Kaloud Inc. v. Shisha Land Wholesale Inc., No. 2:15-cv-3706, C.D. Calif.).
NEW ORLEANS - A federal judge in Louisiana on July 11 denied a motion by class members seeking to remand to state court their case alleging that Chevron USA Inc. has contaminated their groundwater with naturally occurring radioactive material (NORM), concluding that there is diversity jurisdiction and that the amount in controversy exceeds the limit that requires the case to be tried in federal court (Joseph Robertson, et al. v. Chevron USA Inc., et al., No. 15-00874, E.D. La.).
FRESNO, Calif. - A federal judge in California on July 7 denied Monsanto Co.'s motion to dismiss a lawsuit brought by a woman who contends that her exposure to the company's herbicide containing glyphosate caused her to develop cancer, ruling that none of the evidence relied upon by Monsanto established that the herbicide is not carcinogenic, nor did it establish that the product in question was not misbranded under federal law (Yolanda Mendoza v. Monsanto Company, No. 16-406, E.D. Calif.).
SEBRING, Fla. - A Florida jury on July 7 returned a defense verdict for CertainTeed Corp. on claims that a man's fatal mesothelioma arose from exposure to the company's asbestos-containing pipe, sources told Mealey Publications (Mark V. Mclean, Michael Fitch, Lisa Sherman, and James Archie Bennett as Personal Representatives for the Estate of Leonard C. Smith, III, v. Bird & Son, Inc., et al., No. 2010CA000905, Fla. Cir., 10th Jud. Cir., Highlands Co.).
DETROIT - A federal judge in Michigan on July 7 denied a motion to dismiss a lawsuit brought by residents of Flint, Mich., who allege that Michigan state and city officials are liable for the lead-contaminated water crisis in the City of Flint. The judge said the plaintiffs have demonstrated that their case has merit on its claim that the defendants exhibited a level of control over the water situation (Concerned Pastors for Social Action, et al. v. Nick A. Khouri, et al., No. 16-10277, E.D. Mich.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 88217).
COLUMBUS, Ohio - A federal judge in Ohio on July 11 issued a judgment for a combined $5.6 million in compensatory and punitive damages to a man who sued E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. alleging that he developed cancer as a result of exposure to perfluorooctanoic acid (known as C8) (In re E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. C8 Personal Injury Litigation, MDL No. 2433, No. 13-2433, S.D. Ohio).
NEW ORLEANS - The federal judge in Louisiana overseeing litigation stemming from the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico following the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in April 2010 did not err when refusing to consider a car dealership's request to review whether the claims administrator presiding over the Court Supervised Settlement Program (CSSP) abused his discretion when finding that it was not a start-up business, a Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled July 11 (Holmes Motors Inc. v. BP Exploration & Production Inc., et al., No. 15-30860, 5th Cir.).
WILMINGTON, Del. - Ford Motor Co. on July 6 joined in a motion by Honeywell International Inc. seeking access to asbestos claimants' data in the Chapter 11 case of W.R. Grace & Co. to review the information for evidence of fraud in the tort system by asbestos plaintiffs and their attorneys (In re: W.R. Grace & Co., et al., No. 01-01139, D. Del. Bkcy.).
WILMINGTON, Del. - Ford Motor Co. on July 6 joined in two motions filed in Delaware federal bankruptcy court by Honeywell International Inc. seeking access to asbestos claimants' data in the Chapter 11 cases of W.R. Grace & Co. and The Flintkote Co. to review the information for evidence of fraud in the tort system by asbestos plaintiffs and their attorneys (In re: W.R. Grace & Co., et al., No. 01-01139, D. Del. Bkcy.; In re: The Flintkote Co., No. 04-11300, D. Del. Bkcy.).
BUFFALO, N.Y. - Crane Co. is entitled to a new trial on the issue of whether it acted with reckless disregard for others, leaving it jointly and severally liable for a $3 million asbestos verdict, a New York appeals court held July 8 in otherwise rejecting the company's challenges (In the Matter of the Eighth Judicial District Asbestos Litigation, Beth Ann Pienta, et al. v. A.W. Chesterton Co., et al., No. 15-01240, N.Y. Sup., App. Div., 4th Dist.; 2016 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 5315).
RICHMOND, Va. - A Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 8 affirmed the decision of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to issue a permit under the Clean Water Act (CWA) to Raven Crest Contracting LLC allowing the company to discharge fill materials, holding that the Corps did not have to consider the effects of surface mining on public health when issuing the permit (Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, et al. v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, No. 14-2129, 4th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 12598).
SPOKANE, Wash. - The United States on July 5 asked a federal judge in Washington in a motion for summary judgment to force King Mountain Tobacco Co. Inc. to pay $6.3 million in statutory assessments and late payment interest (United States of America v. King Mountain Tobacco Co. Inc., No. 1:14-cv-03162-RMP, E.D. Wash.).
TACOMA, Wash. - A federal judge in Washington on July 6 denied Union Pacific Railroad Co.'s third motion to stay a lawsuit brought by a local municipality over remediation of contamination at the Lake River Industrial site, finding that the defendant company could simultaneously litigate the Port of Ridgefield's claim for contribution and negotiate a consent decree with the Washington Department of Ecology (DOE) (Port of Ridgefield v. Union Pacific Railroad Company, No. 14-CV-6024, W.D. Wash.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 87619).
SAN FRANCISCO - Volkswagen AG agreed on July 7 to pay an additional $86 million in civil penalties to the state of California to resolve allegations that the car manufacturer installed "defeat devices" in its 2.0- and 3.0-liter diesel vehicles to evade emissions, according to an unopposed motion to enter a partial consent decree filed in California federal court (In re: Volkswagen "Clean Diesel" Marketing, Sales Practices, and Products Liability Litigation, MDL 2672, Case No. 15-md-2672, People of the State of California v. Volkswagen AG, et al., No. 16-cv-3620, N.D. Calif.).
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A state jury in Florida on July 6 awarded the estate of a woman who died from lung cancer caused by smoking cigarettes made by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. and Philip Morris USA Inc. $68,300 in punitive damages, bringing the total award to $133,300 (Michael Sermons v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al., No. 2008-CA-000397, Fla. 4th Jud. Cir., Duval Co.).
LOS ANGELES - A federal judge in California on July 1 refused to approve a proposed $16 million settlement to resolve a Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) lawsuit over a contaminated site in Compton, Calif., finding that the proposed agreement did not properly assure that the settlement money would be used for recoverable costs (Rev 973 LLC v. John Mouren-Laurens, et al., No. 98-10690, C.D. Calif.).
TRENTON, N.J. - A premises owner's duty to protect employees' household members from toxic exposures extends beyond spouses, New Jersey's top court held July 6 in answering a certified question from the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals about the limits of the duty it imposed in an asbestos case (Brenda Ann Schwartz v. Accuratus Corp., No. A-73 September Term 2014 076195, N.J. Sup.; 2016 N.J. LEXIS 691).
NEW YORK - Union Carbide Corp., which is being sued by a putative class action that alleges personal injuries from exposure to fugitive chemicals from the closed Bhopal, India, pesticide refinery from which methyl isocyanate was released in 1984, on July 7 filed a brief in the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, arguing that the plaintiffs' motion to certify state law questions following an opinion that decided an appeal is "improper" (Jargarnath Sahu, et al. v. Union Carbide Corp., et al., No. 14-3087, S.D. N.Y.).
FRESNO, Calif. - A federal judge in California on July 1 granted Visalia Unified School District's (VUSD) motion to approve the settlement of a groundwater contamination case in which it agreed to pay $110,000 toward remediation of tetrachloroethylene (PCE) contamination, after finding that the agreement was reached in good faith (Viola Coppola, et al. v. Gregory Smith, et al., No. 11-cv-01257, E.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 86257).
MOUNT VERNON, Ill. - Consulting firm Exponent Inc. must produce unredacted versions of agendas for its meetings with Ford Motor Co. and other asbestos-friction defendants, an Illinois appeals court held June 30 (In re: All Litigation filed by Maune, Raichle, Hartley, French & Mudd LLC v. 3M Co., et al., No. 5-15-0235, Ill. App., 5th Dist.; 2016 Ill. App. Unpub. LEXIS 1392).