HARRISBURG, Pa. - While not uncontested, enough evidence supports a law judge's conclusion that an employee was both exposed to asbestos and other chemicals within the compensable period for a workers' compensation claim and that the exposure was significant enough to cause bladder cancer, a Pennsylvania appeals court held May 4 (Kimberly Clark Corp. v. Workers' Compensation Appeal Board, No. 656 C.D. 2016, Pa. Cmwlth., 2017 Pa. Commw. LEXIS 175).
NEWARK, N.J. - A dispute among several companies, including former Chapter 11 debtor G-I Holdings Inc., over who should pay for the cleanup of a 26-acre polluted industrial site in New Jersey does not belong in federal bankruptcy court, a federal judge ruled May 5 in agreeing to remand the case to state court (G-I Holdings Inc., et al. v. Ashland Inc., et al., No. 17-0077, D. N.J.).
BUFFALO, N.Y. - The nature of coke oven batteries makes their installation a service more so than a product, a New York appeals court held in reversing denial of summary judgment and dismissing a case alleging asbestos exposures (In the matter of the Eighth Judicial District Asbestos Litigation, Donald J. Terwilliger, et al. v. Beazer East Inc., et al., No. 85 CA 16-00947, N.Y. Sup. App., 4th Dist., 2017 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 3580).
BALTIMORE - Testimony from experts in support of Crane Co.'s claim that it followed precise government specifications in manufacturing its valves and that the U.S. Navy would not have permitted additional warnings suffices to keep the asbestos case in federal court in Maryland, a judge held in denying remand May 5 (John C. Dugger Jr., et al. v. Air & Liquid Systems Cop, et al., No. 16-3912, D. Md.).
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - A federal judge in West Virginia on May 2 granted a motion filed by three environmental groups seeking $420,790 in attorney fees, finding that they were prevailing parties in their Clean Water Act (CWA) lawsuit and that the attorneys' calculations were reasonable (Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, et al. v. Fola Coal Company, LLC, No. 13-21588, Consolidated with No. 13-16044, S.D. W.Va., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 66367).
NEWARK, N.J. - Two lawsuits stemming from contamination at a site formerly owned by Aluminum Corporation of America, A.P. (Alcoa) were consolidated for discovery purposes by a federal judge in New Jersey on May 3 because the judge found that the suits shared common issues of fact and because consolidation would benefit judicial economy (Borough of Edgewater v. Waterside Construction, LLC, et al., No. 14-5060, D. N.J., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 67976).
NEW YORK -
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Environmental groups filed two amicus curiae briefs in the U.S. Supreme Court on May 1, arguing that the high court should hear the appeal of a group of Ecuadorian residents and their attorney, who challenge an $18.5 billion fraud judgment they previously won against Chevron Corp. on grounds that "Chevron's schemes in Ecuador and New York highlight why courts do not entertain collateral attacks on foreign judgments" (Steven Donziger, et al. v. Chevron Corporation, No. 16-1178, U.S. Sup.).
ST. LOUIS - Sufficient evidence supports failure-to-warn and design defect claims against Crane Co., as well as a jury's eventual $10 million punitive damages award, a Missouri appeals court held May 2 while also rejecting the company's argument that it could not be liable for asbestos-containing parts used on its bare-metal valves (Jeanette G. Poage, et al. v. 3M Co., et al., No. ED 103953, Mo. App., Eastern Dist., 2017 Mo. App. LEXIS 362).
FRANKFORT, Ky. - A neurologist used proper methodology and produced sufficient documentation to support his opinion that a man is suffering from toxic encephalopathy caused by his exposure to the chemical toluene in the spray paint he used at work, the Kentucky Supreme Court held April 28 in affirming a ruling on the man's disability in a workers' compensation case (Armstrong Coal Company, Inc. v. Nathan Attebury, et al., No. 2016-SC-000368-WC, Ky. Sup., 2017 Ky. Unpub. LEXIS 10).
NEWARK, N.J. - Class counsel's failure to comply with basic discovery obligations requires imposing sanctions and an order mandating compliance, a company accused of hiding and destroying evidence of asbestos-contamination of its talc 25-years ago told a federal judge in New Jersey on May 1. Meanwhile, the parties continue to battle over whether third-party attorneys and firms must turn over evidence relating to the underlying asbestos tort claims (Kimberlee Williams, et al. v. BASF Catalysts LLC, et al., No. 11-1754, D. N.J.).
PHILADELPHIA - A Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on April 28 affirmed a man's conviction and order to pay $3.8 million in restitution for violating the Anti-Kickback Act when bidding for work to clean up a Superfund site in New Jersey, holding that the evidence presented by the government was sufficient to support the jury's verdict and that the judge did not err when calculating the restitution amount (United States of America v. John A. Bennett, No. 16-3405, 3rd Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 7615).
AUSTIN, Texas - The Supreme Court of Texas on April 28 affirmed a lower appellate court in remanding a medical malpractice suit after finding that a doctor being sued for the death of a patient and her unborn twins was not an employee of a governmental entity under the Texas Tort Claims Act (Leah Anne Gonski Marino M.D. v. Shirley Lenoir, et al., No. 15-0610, Texas Sup., 2017 Tex. LEXIS 411).
NEW ORLEANS - A federal judge in Louisiana's decision to decline review of rulings rejecting a subsistence claim filed by a former deckhand who worked aboard a ship that aided in the cleanup of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico following the April 20, 2010, explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig was proper, a Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled April 27, finding that the settlement agreement prevents employees of defendant companies from receiving proceeds from the Economic & Property Damages (E&PD) Settlement (Claimant ID 100001528 v. BP Exploration & Production, Inc., et al., No. 16-30824, 5th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 7624).
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - The Board of Governors for West Virginia State University on April 27 filed a lawsuit in state court against Dow Chemical Co. and a group of chemical companies, alleging that they are liable for groundwater contamination at the university "with three likely carcinogens" (West Virginia State University Board of Governors v. The Dow Chemical Co., et al., No. 17-C-599, W.Va. Cir., Kanawha Co.).
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Residents of West Virginia and a group of defendants filed a joint brief in West Virginia federal court on April 27, arguing that the court should approve a $151 million settlement deal reached among the parties in a groundwater contamination lawsuit related to the chemical spill of 4-methylcyclohexane methanol (MCHM) (Crystal Good, et al. v. American Water Works Co. Inc., No. 14-1374, S.D. W.Va.).
ALBANY, N.Y. - Plaintiffs need only present evidence that asbestos exposures were sufficient to cause disease and need not provide a specific numerical value, a New York court held April 28 on its way to affirming a $4 million verdict (Nicholas Dominick and Lorraine J. Dominick v. Charles Millar & Son Co., et al., No. 16-02017, N.Y. Sup., App. Div., 4th Dept.).
OKLAHOMA CITY - A group of Oklahoma residents on April 25 filed a brief in Oklahoma federal court arguing that a district court's "way forward" of joining all claims against a zinc smelter related to groundwater contamination into a single trial "is the most elegant and thoughtful way to conduct an efficient and just trial" (Helen Briggs, et al. v. Freeport McMoran Copper & Gold Inc., No. 13-1157, W.D. Okla.).
BALTIMORE - A man's asbestos-related exposures occurring during work covered by the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act (LHWCA) provide his employer with immunity from third-party claims, a federal judge in Maryland held April 25 in granting a railroad summary judgment (Charles Lemuel Arbogast Jr., et al. v. A.W. Chesterton Co., et al., No. 14-4049, D. Md.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 62255).
BATON ROUGE, La. - A company defending an asbestos action may conduct destructive fiber burden analysis testing of pathology materials, a federal judge in Louisiana held April 26 (William D. Coleman v. Anco Insulations Inc., et al., No. 15-821, M.D. La., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 62987).
NEW ORLEANS - Removing a case alleging negligence arising from a shipbuilder's alleged discretionary use of asbestos requires more than a simple showing that the U.S. Navy mandated use of the mineral since the claims stem not from its presence, but from its misuse, a federal judge in Louisiana said April 25 (Stephen R. Legendre, et al. v. Huntington Ingalls Inc., et al., No. 17-02162, E.D. La., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 62364).
SAN FRANCISCO - An expert's knowledge regarding U.S. Navy practices and procedures qualifies him to testify that the asbestos-containing insulation to which a man was exposed was likely original to the boilers in question, and he need not have firsthand knowledge, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel held April 26 (Geraldine Hilt, et al. v. Foster Wheeler LLC, FKA Foster Wheeler Corp., No. 15-17301, 9th Cir.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPMDL) on April 25 transferred two more glyphosate injury lawsuits to the multidistrict litigation for Roundup products liability litigation in California federal court (In re: Roundup Products Liability Litigation, No. 2741 MDL, N.D. Calif.).