ALBANY, N.Y. - In a June 7 ruling, the New York Court of Appeals found that enforcement of a law that requires retailers on reservation land to prepay taxes on cigarette sales to patrons who are not members of the Seneca Nation of Indians does not run afoul of Indian Law Section 6 or the Buffalo Creek Treaty of 1842 (Eric White, et al. v. Eric Schneiderman, et al., No. 59, N.Y. App., 2018 N.Y. LEXIS 1353).
MIAMI - A Florida jury on June 6 sided with R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. when, after brief deliberations, it found that a plaintiff's husband - who died in 1994 of lung cancer - was not a member of the Engle class (Eulalia Lopez v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al., No. 2008-076453-CA-01., Fla. Cir., 11th Jud., Miami-Dade Co.).
BUFFALO, N.Y. - A federal judge in New York on June 7 denied a company's request to vacate a judgment for it to add a claim under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) to a suit it is bringing against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, holding that the plaintiff had years to amend its complaint (FMC Corp. v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, No. 14-CV-487, W.D. N.Y., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 96073).
SCRANTON, Pa. - A law firm on June 4 removed to the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania a putative class action brought against it by a man who contends that the firm breached its professional obligations that were part of a contingent fee agreement in an underlying toxic tort lawsuit to which he was party (Stanley Waleski v. Montgomery McCracken Walker & Rhoads, No. 18-1144, M.D. Pa.).
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - In oral arguments on June 6 in a dispute over a vacated $20 million compensatory and punitive damage award, Florida Supreme Court Justice Barbara J. Pariente told an attorney for R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. that the relationship between a plaintiff and her late mother, who died of lung cancer, was so exceptionally close that "every factor" points to "a substantial verdict for her pain and suffering, and loss of companionship" (Gwendolyn E. Odom v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., No. SC17-563, Fla. Sup.).
NEW YORK - A telephone company's missive telling workers they should not cut asbestos-containing plates does not evidence compliance with the directive and is not enough alone to overcome evidence suggesting exposure from electrical work, a New York justice held in an opinion posted June 4 (Anne Marie Fahey, et al. v. ABB Inc., et al., No. 190231/2015, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).
MIAMI - In a per curiam opinion issued June 6, the Third District Florida Court of Appeal rejected a challenge by the widow of a smoker of a July 2017 transfer of her wrongful death claims against R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. from Miami-Dade to Martin County (Phyllis Muro v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., No. 3D17-1765, Fla. App., 3rd Dist., 2018 Fla. App. LEXIS 7820).
DALLAS - In a June 4 order, a federal judge in Texas agreed to send a lawsuit that questions the constitutionality of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's "deeming rule" to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia for further adjudication (Rave Salon Inc., et al., v. U.S. Food and Drug Administration, et al., No. 18-237, N.D. Texas).
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A Florida judge erred in refusing to stay execution of a judgment where R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. complied with Florida's bond-cap statute by posting a $15 million bond, the Fourth District Florida Court of Appeal ruled June 6 (R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. v. Jan Grossman, No. 4D18-627, Fla. App., 4th Dist.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Environmental Protection Agency announced June 5 that it has reached a settlement agreement with Magnolia Waco Properties LLC, which does business as Magnolia Homes, to resolve alleged violations of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) related to home renovations conducted without adequate lead paint protection on the home renovation television show "Fixer Upper."
SEATTLE - A federal judge in Washington on June 4 declined to re-evaluate a jury's damage award in a retrial of an asbestos case while also denying the defendant's challenges to experts, exposure, and causation (Geraldine Barabin v. Scapa Dryer Fabrics Inc., No. 07-1454, W.D. Wash.).
LOS ANGELES - Intentional tort claims escape ERISA preemption, but the failure to allege that insurance defendants denied payments specifically to assist a competing provider dooms a chiropractic care provider's unfair competition law (UCL) claim, a California appeals court held in an opinion published June 1 (Port Medical Wellness Inc. v. Connecticut General Life Insurance Co., et al., No. B275874, Calif. App., 2nd Dist.).
SAN FRANCISCO - A California school district and a water company on June 4 filed two separate complaints against The Dow Chemical Co. in California state court, contending that it and other chemical companies are liable for contaminating the local groundwater with 1,2,3-trichloropropane (TCP) (Superior Mutual Water Company v. The Dow Chemical Company, et al., No. CGC-18-566968, Rio Bravo-Greeley Union School District v. The Dow Chemical Company, et al., No. CGC-18-566967, Calif. Super., San Francisco Co.).
MADISON, Wis. - Evidence that 3M Co.'s internal testing of a respirator showed compliance problems, even while it was seeking an extension of approvals for use to filter asbestos, is sufficient to rebut the presumption that a product given the federal stamp of approval is not defective, a federal judge in Wisconsin held June 1 in denying summary judgment (Pamela Kilty, et al. v. Weyerhaeuser Co., et al., No. 16-515, Scott Spatz, et al. v. Weyerhaeuser Co., et al., No. 16-726, W.D. Wis., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 92931).
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - A federal judge in Alabama on June 4 awarded summary judgment to a pipeline company on plaintiffs' claims for violations of the Clean Water Act (CWA) and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), finding that a 2014 spill was not an ongoing violation and that the plaintiffs were unable to produce reliable expert evidence to show that any remaining gasoline vapors presented an imminent threat to human health (Day LLC, et al. v. Plantation Pipe Line Co., et al., No. 16-cv-00429-LSC, N.D. Ala., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 93749).
CHICAGO - A Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on June 4 agreed with a federal judge that fraud and racketeering suits filed by frequent asbestos defendant John Crane Inc. (JCI) against two law firms and their principals do not belong in Illinois federal court just because JCI is located in that state (John Crane Inc. v. Shein Law Center Ltd., et al., Nos. 17-1809 and 17-1926, John Crane Inc. v. Simon Greenstone Panatier Bartlett, et al., No. 17-1814, 7th Cir.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A federal judge in the District of Columbia on June 1 ordered the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to respond to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request from a group seeking records that administrator Scott Pruitt relied upon when publicly stating that human activity was not the largest factor driving climate change, holding that the request was unduly burdensome (Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, No 17-652, D. D.C., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 91367).
CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. - A municipal water district on May 31 filed a brief in a New York federal court contending that Northrop Grumman's bill of costs in the litigation between the parties concerning contaminated groundwater should be denied in its entirety (Bethpage Water District v. Northrop Grumman Corporation, et al., No. 13-6362, E.D. N.Y.).
LOS ANGELES - A group of California residents on May 30 moved in California federal court seeking class certification for their injury lawsuit against Exxon Mobil Corp. related to damages they allege they have suffered as a result of an explosion at the company's Torrance Refinery in 2015 (Arnold Goldstein, et al. v. Exxon Mobil Corporation, et al., No. 17-2477, C.D. Calif.).
MELBOURNE, Fla. - An Engle progeny case ended in a mistrial on May 30 after jurors empaneled in the 18th Judicial Circuit Court for Brevard County, Fla., announced that they were unable to reach a verdict (Pearl Morse, as Personal Representative for the Estate of Jay S. Morse v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., No. 08-CA-6848, Fla. 18th Jud. Cir., Brevard Co.).
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - A public interest group lacks standing to sue an energy company over its plan to close ash basins that store coal combustion residuals (CCR) at a power plant, a federal judge in North Carolina ruled May 30, finding that the group failed to allege that the proposed plan has resulted in illegal discharges into nearby waterways (Roanoke River Basin Association v. Duke Energy Progress LLC, No. 17-cv-707, M.D. N.C., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 91293).
NEW ORLEANS - A federal judge in Louisiana on May 30 held that buyers of land that is in the process of being remediated cannot pursue a counterclaim for detrimental reliance against the seller, finding that the claim sounds in tort rather than contract and that it is prescribed by a one-year statute of limitations (KFC Corp. v. Iron Horse of Metairie Road LLC, et al., No. 16-16791, E.D. La., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 89540).
SEATTLE - With another eight months before discovery closes, a plaintiff should be provided the opportunity to continue developing her asbestos case against a named defendant, a federal judge in Washington held May 25 in denying summary judgment without prejudice (Donald Varney, et al. v. Air & Liquid Systems Corp., et al., No. 18-5105, W.D. Wash., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 88225).