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Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Judge Allows Asbestos Expert's Testimony; Evidence Need Not Be Perfect Fit

NEW ORLEANS - Studies conducted in a more confined environment than the workplace in question are admissible because such evidence need not fit the facts of the case precisely under Daubert, a federal judge in Louisiana held Oct. 11 in largely declining to reject an asbestos expert's testimony (William C. Bell, et al. v. Foster Wheeler Energy Corp., et al., No. 15-6394, E.D. La.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - U.S. Supreme Court Denies Review Of Pennsylvania Tobacco MSA Ruling

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 11 denied a group of tobacco companies' petition for writ of certiorari to review a case involving the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) between a group of tobacco companies and states over whether the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) preempts state law (R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al. v. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, No. 15-1299, U.S. Sup.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - U.S. Supreme Court Denies Review In Maryland MSA Arbitration Ruling

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 11 denied a petition for writ of certiorari from tobacco companies seeking a review on the reach of the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) and whether a Maryland appellate court erred by invalidating a multi-hundred-million-dollar arbitration award involving multiple states and a group of tobacco companies stemming from the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement (R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al v. The State of Maryland, No. 15-1537, U.S. Sup.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - 9th Circuit Panel Denies Petitions For En Banc Review Of CERCLA Ruling

SEATTLE - A Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Oct. 11 denied petitions from the State of Washington and the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation seeking an en banc review of a July 27 ruling in which the panel held that a Canadian company's emissions from its smelter cannot be considered a disposal of hazardous waste under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (Joseph Pakootas, et al. v. Teck Cominco Metals Ltd., No. 15-35228, 9th Cir.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - New York Court: Asbestos Awards Excessive, But Otherwise Supported

NEW YORK - A New York appellate court on Oct. 6 reduced two awards in asbestos cases but said the evidence otherwise supported the verdicts against Crane Co. (In re New York City Asbestos Litigation; Laraine Sweberg, etc. v. ABB Inc., et al., Crane Co., No. 190017/13, N.Y. Sup., App. Div., 1st Dept.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Government's Circumstantial Evidence Supports Verdict Over Dumping, Judge Rules

FRANKFORT, Ky. - A septic tank installer's conviction for discharging an estimated 1,000 gallons of raw sewage into Wildcat Creek in violation of the Clean Water Act (CWA) was affirmed by a federal judge in Kentucky on Oct. 6, after he found that the government's circumstantial evidence was still sufficient to support the jury's finding (United States of America v. David Giles, No. 16-cr-0004-GFVT-REW, E.D. Ky.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 139072).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - New York Court Further Reduces Asbestos Damages Award, Otherwise Affirms Verdict

NEW YORK - A widow must accept a $4.25 million award for past pain and suffering in an asbestos case or face retrial on the issue, a New York appeals court said Oct. 6 while otherwise rejecting Crane Co.'s challenge to the verdict (Ivana Peraica, etc., et al. v. A.O. Smith Water Products Co., et al., Crane Co., No. 190339/11, N.Y. Sup., App. Div., 1st Dept.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Judge Orders DuPont To Produce Documents, Denies Request For Sanctions

COLUMBUS, Ohio - The judge presiding over litigation brought against E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. for alleged injuries stemming from exposure to perfluorooctanoic acid (known as C8) on Oct. 7 ruled that the company is compelled to supplement its discovery requests but held that it would not be subject to sanctions as had been requested by the plaintiffs (In re E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. C8 Personal Injury Litigation, MDL No. 2433, No. 13-2433, S.D. Ohio).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Supreme Court Won't Hear Wrongful Death Benzene Case Against Gasoline Companies

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 11 refused to hear a widow's appeal in her wrongful death lawsuit against gasoline companies that she contended were liable for her husband's death due to his exposure to benzene (Yolande Burst v. Shell Oil Company, et al., No. 16-241, U.S. Sup.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Judge: Existing Frameworks Wanting; Parties Must Brief On Third-Party Parts Liability

NEW ORLEANS - Rejecting both the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals' complete preclusion of liability for manufacturers of products requiring asbestos-containing third-party parts and the existing exemptions for imposing such liability, a federal judge in Louisiana on Oct. 4 asked for additional briefing on the issue (William C. Bell, et al. v. Foster Wheeler Energy Corp., et al., No. 15-6394, E.D. La.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Washington Top Court Finds Wrongful Death Action Requires Valid Underlying Claim

SEATTLE - Wrongful death actions accrue at the time of death, but require that a valid, timely, underlying claim exist, the Washington Supreme Court held Oct. 4 in a 5-4 decision, affirming summary judgment in a daughter's asbestos case (Judy R. Deggs, et al. v. Asbestos Corp. Limited, et al., No. 91969-1, Wash. Sup.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Man's Suit Over Volkswagen's Emissions Belongs In State Court, Judge Rules

NEWARK, N.J. - A man's lawsuit claiming that Volkswagen Group of America Inc. violated the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act and other state laws when marketing "clean diesel" vehicles that contained a defeat device to beat emissions tests belongs in state court because the allegations do not raise a federal question, a federal judge in New Jersey ruled Oct. 4 (Christopher Ruzich v. Volkswagen Group of America Inc., et al., No. 16-4753, D. N.J.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 138436).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Health Groups File Suit Against FDA Over Tobacco Warning Labels

BOSTON - A group of health organizations on Oct. 4 filed suit against the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in federal court in Massachusetts claiming that the agency has not come up with a new graphic warning label for cigarette boxes and advertisements as it is required to do by law (American Academy of Pediatrics, et al. v. United States Food and Drug Administration, No. 1:16-cv-11985, D. Mass.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Judge Rejects Expert's Cumulative Exposure Testimony, Finds For Defendant

MADISON, Wis. - An expert's opinion that cumulative exposures to asbestos lead to mesothelioma does not differ noticeably from the type of "every exposure" testimony excluded by the court, and the plaintiff cannot otherwise demonstrate exposure or causation, a federal judge held Sept. 30 in granting judgment after a bench trial (Gary Suoja, et al. v. Owens-Illinois Inc., No. 99-475, W.D. Wis.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 135421).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Judge Grants Petition To Perpetuate Testimony To Woman With Mesothelioma

DALLAS - A woman's petition for a deposition in advance of filing a lawsuit seeks only to preserve testimony, and her failed attempt to so in state court does not preclude the remedy, a federal judge in Texas held Sept. 29 (In re: Barbara Reed, No. 16-1964, S.D. Texas; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 135963).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Judge Remands Agent Orange Benefits Denial, Calls For Re-Evaluation Of Decision

WASHINGTON, D.C. - A judge in the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims on Sept. 30 partially remanded a ruling that denied a veteran benefits for his alleged exposure to Agent Orange, concluding that the Board of Veterans Appeals must re-evaluate its definition of inland waterways to determine exposure (James R. Johnson v. Robert A. McDonald, No. 15-1101, U.S. App., Vet. Clms.; 2016 U.S. App. Vet. Claims LEXIS 1503).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Panel Says Staffing Company's Insurer Owes No Duty In Carbon Monoxide Injury Case

NEW ORLEANS - A Louisiana appeals panel on Sept. 28 partially reversed and partially affirmed a ruling in a carbon monoxide poisoning case and determined that the insurer for a staffing company did not owe a duty to defend to the general contractor who had organized the project where two workers sustained their injuries (William F. Spencer v. Chevron Corporation, et al., No. 2016-CA-0174, La. App., 4th Cir.; 2016 La. App. LEXIS 1786).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Defendants Say Flint, Mich., Lead Water Claims Fail, Assert Immunity

DETROIT - Employees of the State of Michigan on Sept. 29 filed a brief in Michigan federal court, arguing that the lawsuit brought against it by residents of Flint, Mich., in relation to the lead-contaminated water crisis should be dismissed because the plaintiffs' attempt to "severely limit the application of absolute immunity only to prosecutors is incorrect" (Frances Gilcreast, et al. v. Lockwood, Andrews & Newnam, No. 16-11173, E.D. Mich.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - California Federal Judge Rules PCB Contamination Case May Proceed Against Monsanto

SAN DIEGO - A federal judge in California on Sept. 28 ruled that the City of San Diego's nuisance claim against Monsanto Co. and its affiliates lack evidence, but he concluded that other claims pertaining to alleged contamination of the San Diego Bay with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were valid (San Diego Unified Port District, et al v. Monsanto Company, et al., No. 15-578, S.D. Calif.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Florida Jury Awards $6.4 Million To Estate In Tobacco Suit

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A Florida jury on Sept. 28 awarded the estate of a man who died from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) $6.4 million after finding that R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.'s role in a conspiracy among tobacco companies to hide the dangers of smoking led to the man's disease and death (Linda Prentice v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., No. 2008-CA-000386, Fla. 4th Jud. Cir. Duval Co.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Sears To Pay $400,000 In Fines In Deal With EPA On Lead Law Violations

CHICAGO - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Sept. 28 announced that it had reached an agreement with Sears Home Improvement Products Inc. under which the company will pay $400,000 to settle claims that it violated federal laws pertaining to toxic substances and property renovation involving lead-based paint hazards (United States of America v. Sears Home Improvement Products Inc., No. 16-9302, N.D. Ill.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Judge Rejects Challenge To Duty To Warn About Third-Party Asbestos Parts

PHILADELPHIA - The argument that a valve company did not have a duty to warn about the dangers of third-party asbestos parts ignores both a previous ruling in the case and legal precedent, a federal judge in Philadelphia held Sept. 28 in affirming a $1,085,000 million verdict (Lynn C. Dobrick, et al. v. Air & Liquid Systems Corp., et al., No. 10-03202, E.D. Pa.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - House Of Representatives Approves $170M For Flint, Mich., Lead Water Crisis

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. House of Representatives on Sept. 28 passed a resolution to improve water resources across the country, including $170 million for repairs to the water infrastructure in Flint, Mich., which continues to deal with lead-contaminated drinking water.

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Defendant: Flint, Mich., Water Crisis Plaintiffs Not Entitled To Extension

DETROIT - An employee of Genesee County, Mich., who is being sued by residents who contend that he is among the parties responsible for the city's lead-contaminated water crisis, on Sept. 27 filed a brief in Michigan federal court contending that the District Court should deny the plaintiffs' motion for an extension of time in which to file their brief opposing the employees' motion to dismiss the lawsuit (Melissa Mays, et al. v. Gov. Rick Snyder, et al., No. 15-14002, E.D. Mich.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Premises Owners Liable For Workers', Contractors' Conduct In Asbestos Case

INDIANAPOLIS - Premises owners can be liable for the conduct of their employees and independent contractors where insufficient evidence suggests that an electrician's own work caused his exposure to asbestos, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Sept. 28 (Larry Myers and Loa Myers v. Bremen Casting Inc. and Mastic Home Exteriors Inc., No. 49A04-1503-MI-113, Ind. App.).