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).
NEW YORK - A Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on July 11 denied a motion filed by oil companies seeking a rehearing regarding a June 12 ruling in which the appeals court reversed a summary judgment ruling in favor of the companies on the ground that a lawsuit brought by the Orange County Water District (OCWD) was not barred by the doctrine of res judicata (In Re: Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether Products Liability Litigation: Orange County Water District v. Texaco Refining and Marketing Inc. n/k/a TMR Company, No. 15-3934, 2nd Cir.).
NEW YORK - A judge improperly instructed the jury that convicted former Speaker of the New York Assembly Sheldon Silver on the scope of conduct falling within honest services fraud and extortion charges under recent U.S. Supreme Court precedent, the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held July 13 in vacating his conviction involving mesothelioma referrals he sent to a law firm (United States of America v. Sheldon Silver, No. 16-1615, 2nd Cir.).
ST. THOMAS, Virgin Islands - A Virgin Islands judge on July 10 ordered the consolidation of two separate wrongful death suits against R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. for trial because they present nearly identical issues of law against the same defendant (Jevon Gerald v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., No. ST-10-CV-631, Christian Brown v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., No. ST-10-CV-692, Virgin Islands Super., St. Thomas, 2017 V.I. LEXIS 102).
WILMINGTON, Del. - Under Massachusetts law, manufacturers are not liable for failing to warn about hazards posed by third-party replacement parts, dooming a widow's asbestos action, a judge in Delaware said July 11 (Dorothy Charbonneau, et al. v. Cleaver-Brooks Inc., et al., No. N15C-01-045 ASB, Del. Super., New Castle Co.).
LOS ANGELES - A California appellate court on July 12 modified an opinion declining to seal accidently produced privileged documents discussing the cost-benefit analysis of asbestos products, the second time in less than two weeks that it did so (Elaine Margie Paulus, et al. v. J-MM Manufacturing Company Inc., No. B269904, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., 2017 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 4764).
LOS ANGELES - A couple's previous asbestos action bars a widow's wrongful death action seeking loss of consortium, a California appeals court held July 11 while also concluding that the judge below properly offset an economic award for funeral and burial expenses with proceeds from settlements with asbestos bankruptcy trusts (Janet Stewart v. Union Carbide Corp., No. B267405, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., Div. 4).
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - Three companies that own, lease and manage properties on Crown Street in New Haven, Conn., cannot pursue claims that the New Haven Regional Water Pollution Control Authority (RWPCA) and the city of New Haven violated the Clean Water Act (CWA), a federal judge in Connecticut ruled July 11, holding that the plaintiff companies lacked standing (26 Crown Street Associates LLC, et al. v. Greater New Haven Regional Water Pollution Control Authority, et al., No. 15-cv-1439, D. Conn., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 106989).
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The Florida Supreme Court agreed to decide the proper standard for admitting expert causation testimony in the state when on July 11 it accepted a case that originally resulted in an $8 million asbestos award against tobacco and gaskets companies (Richard DeLisle v. Crane Co., et al., No. SC16-2182, Fla. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A 2-1 panel of the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 7 struck portions of a 2015 rule implemented by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency designed to cut down on "sham recycling," a tactic some companies claim to use to say that materials actually get discarded, finding that some parts of the rule were "draconian" (American Petroleum Institute, et al. v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, No. 09-1038, consolidated with 15-1083, 15-1085, 15-1088, 15-1089, 15-1094, D.C. Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 12142).
SPOKANE, Wash. - A federal judge in Washington on July 10 dismissed amended counterclaims asserted by Monsanto Co., Pharmacia Corp. and Solutia Inc. (collectively, Monsanto) seeking cost recovery from the city of Spokane for polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) contamination in the Spokane River, finding that the new allegations did not remedy the deficiencies in the original counterclaims (City of Spokane v. Monsanto Company, et al., No. 15-CV-00201-SMJ, E.D. Wash., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 106136).
MADISON, Wis. - A federal judge in Wisconsin promised that an upcoming asbestos trial will not resemble the "shoot out at the O.K. Corral," while lamenting both sides' apparent lack of familiarity with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and blatantly unnecessary briefing in a July 7 ruling touching on expert testimony, the "every exposure" theory, John Crane Inc.'s wealth and other items (Patricia L. Carroll, et al. v. ABB Inc., et al., No. 15-373, W.D. Wis., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 55705).
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - A Florida jury on July 6 awarded a mesothelioma victim's widow $6,785,000 and found lone remaining defendant John Crane Inc. 75 percent liable for the maintenance worker's injuries (Joyce Moore, et al. v. John Crane Inc., No. 13-011729 , Fla. Cir., Broward Co.).
ST. LOUIS - Though unopposed, a summary judgment motion filed in a previous asbestosis case gave the plaintiffs a fair chance to contest their case's merits and litigated the same exposure issues now at the heart of a new case alleging mesothelioma, a federal judge in Missouri held July 5 (Diane MacCormack, Nancy Broudy, and Karen Loftus, as personal representatives of Berj Hovsepian v. The Adel Wiggins Group, et al., No. 16-414, E.D. Mo., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 103399).
NEW ORLEANS - A federal judge in Louisiana on July 6 declined to stay the remand of an asbestos case over a shipyard defendant's complaint about the "patently erroneous" remand order (Stephen R. Legendre, et al. v. Huntington Ingalls Inc., et al., No. 17-02162, E.D. La., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 103928).
ALBANY, N.Y. - Three scientific equipment suppliers simply attempt to poke holes in a woman's evidence and do not eliminate the possibility that they supplied asbestos-containing products to her employer, a New York appeals court held in reversing summary judgment June 6 (Eileen A. O'Connor, et al. v. Aerco International Inc. and Fisher Scientific Co. LLC, et al., No. 523122, N.Y. Sup. App. Div., 3rd Dept., 2017 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 5355).
ST. CROIX, Virgin Islands - A Virgin Islands judge on June 29 refused to consolidate 99 asbestos cases filed in 2015 for pretrial purposes, saying that while the status quo cannot continue, the parties must confer as to more efficient methods of addressing the growing case load (Albert A. Edwards v. Hess Oil Virgin Islands Corp., and Hess Corp., No. 15-CV-382, St. Croix Super., 2017 V.I. LEXIS 95).
ST. CROIX, Virgin Islands - Upcoming holidays and the burden of answering 101 asbestos cases in no more than 30 days warrants granting an extension of time where the request was made before expiration of the deadline, a judge in the Virgin Islands held in a July 5 corrected opinion (Albert A. Edwards v. Hess Oil Virgin Islands Corp., and Hess Corp., No. 15-CV-382, St. Croix Super., 2017 V.I. LEXIS 95).
LOS ANGELES - A California appeals panel on June 30 modified an opinion discussing a company's conduct surrounding privileged document discussing the risk-benefit analysis of asbestos products, but otherwise denied rehearing after refusing to seal the record to protect the document (Elaine Margie Paulus, et al. v. J-MM Manufacturing Company Inc., No. B269904, Calif. App., 2nd Dist.).
HOUSTON - A federal judge in Texas on June 29 denied a defendant company's motion for summary judgment and awarded summary judgment sua sponte to a plaintiff group seeking cost recovery and contribution under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), after finding that the act's petroleum exclusion does not apply to oil that becomes mixed with other substances in wastewater (USOR Site PRP Group v. LEI Rone Engineers Ltd., et al., No. 14-cv-2441, S.D. Texas, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 101418).
PHILADELPHIA - A man presents sufficient allegations that a purchaser's retention of the executives, employees and business operations of the company it purchased puts it outside Pennsylvania's general prohibition on successor liability, a federal judge in Pennsylvania held June 28 in remanding the case (In re: Asbestos Products Liability Litigation, Maynard Herman, et al. v. Ametek Inc., et al., No. MDL 875, 17-1602, E.D. Pa., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 100635).
MADISON, Wis. - Owens-Illinois Inc. asked the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeal on June 28 for permission to address defenses asbestos plaintiffs' raised in their response to an order to show cause as to why sanctions should not be imposed for filing a frivolous appeal and intentionally obfuscating the true word count of their brief (Janet Pecher, et al. v. Owens-Illinois Inc., No. 16-1799, Dianne Jacobs, et al. v. Rapid American and Weyerhaeuser Co. and Owens-Illinois Inc., No. 16-2376, Katrina Masephol v. Weyerhaeuser Co., et al., No. 16-2377, Robert Sydow, et al. v. Owens-Illinois Inc., No. 16-2378, Kathy Boyer v. Owens-Illinois Inc., No. 16-2379, Janice Seehafer v. Weyerhaeuser Co., et al., No. 16-2380., 7th Cir.).
MIAMI - A Florida appellate panel on June 28 reversed a trial court's decision to hold a new trial against a tobacco company on a product liability claim because the jury instructions did not mislead the jury; the panel reinstated the full verdict (R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. v. Paul R. Larkin, et al., No. 3D16-910, Fla. App., 3rd Dist., 2017 Fla. App. LEXIS 9422).
LOS ANGELES - Plaintiffs on June 28 downplayed the relevance of alleged errors in an California appellate opinion detailing a company's delay in seeking to protect a privileged document discussing the risk-benefit analysis of asbestos products, saying the company's June 22 petition for rehearing attempts to camouflage its own conduct by conflating the right to seal documents with privilege (Elaine Margie Paulus, et al. v. J-MM Manufacturing Company Inc., No. B269904, Calif. App., 2nd Dist.).