LexisNexis® Legal Newsroom
Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Couple Seeks Appeal After CBS Obtains Judgment In Asbestos Case

PHILADELPHIA - A couple on Oct. 18 asked a federal court in Pennsylvania to dismiss its case so that they can appeal judgment for a company that allegedly installed asbestos-containing insulation on U.S. Navy ships (Carol Decourcey, et al. v. ABB Inc., et al., No. MDL 875, 14-6337, E.D. Pa.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - 2 Law Firms Ordered To Pay $9.1 Million For Frivolous Engle Progeny Suits

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A panel of judges in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida on Oct. 18 ordered two law firms pay $9.1 million in sanctions for filing 1,250 frivolous Engle progeny complaints (In Re: Engle Cases, No. 3:09-cv-10000, M.D. Fla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 172678).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Injunction, Civil Penalty For Illicit Cigarette Sales On Indian Land Upheld

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A California court correctly imposed a $765,000 civil penalty against a man for illegal cigarette sales at two smoke shops on Indian land because neither federal law nor tribal sovereignty preempts the state's regulation and enforcement of its laws regarding cigarette sales, a state appeals court held Oct. 17 (The People ex rel. Xavier Becerra, as Attorney General, etc., v. Darren Paul Rose, No. C080546, Calif. App., 3rd Dist., 2017 Cal. App. LEXIS 900).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Reinsurance Facultative Certificates Cover Defense Costs In Excess Of Cap

HARRISBURG, Pa. - Reinsurance facultative certificates covered defense expenses in excess of a liability cap, a Pennsylvania appeals panel ruled Oct. 17, affirming that insurers were entitled to interest on certain proofs of loss for asbestos claims issued before 2013 (Century Indemnity Co. v. OneBeacon Insurance Co., No. 1280 EDA 2016, Pa. Super., 2017 Pa. Super. LEXIS 806).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Judge OKs $1.09M Deal For Remediation, Future Costs Due To Tainted Groundwater

FRESNO, Calif. - A federal judge in California on Oct. 13 ruled that a $1.09 million settlement in a lawsuit involving the release of perchloroethylene (PCE) into the groundwater supply was "fair and equitable" because it will provide remediation and future oversight costs for an area that was contaminated by a dry-cleaning business (Viola Coppola, et al. v. Gregory Smith, et al., No. 11-cv-01257, E.D. Calif.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 170002).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Asbestosis Settlement Contemplates, Bars, Mesothelioma Claim, Judge Says

WASHINGTON, D.C. - An agreement resolving a couple's asbestosis claim specifically envisions future mesothelioma claims as among the universe of potential claims and bars a subsequent suit, a federal judge in Louisiana held Oct. 13 (Lorita M. Savoie, et al. v. Huntington Ingalls Inc., et al., No. 15-1220, E.D. La., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 169348).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Judge: Defunct Company's Litigation Efforts Don't Provide Minnesota Jurisdiction

MINNEAPOLIS - A company existing for the last 30 years merely to litigate asbestos claims lacks the type of contacts in a state necessary to overcome diversity removal or to create jurisdiction in the state, a federal judge in Minnesota held Oct. 10 (Michael P. McGill, et al. v. Conwed Corp., No. 17-01047, D. Minn., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 167165).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Asbestos Plaintiff Rejects 'Designed For Delay' Transcript Removal Trigger

BATON ROUGE, La. - Two companies cannot even agree on what their "plain meaning" interpretations of federal law would require, so their interpretations should be rejected in favor of a clear rule that deposition testimony triggers the period for removing an asbestos case, an asbestos plaintiff told the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals Oct. 11 (Curtis D. Morgan v. Dow Chemical Co., et al., No. 17-30523, 5th Cir.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - BASF, Citing Its Employment Of Judge's Sister, Seeks Recusal Of Asbestos Judge

NEWARK, N.J. - A judge's sister's access and control over company documents while employed by a defendant require that the judge recuse herself from a case alleging asbestos contamination of talc and spoliation of evidence, the company claims in an Oct. 10 memorandum (Audrey Sampson, et al. v. 3M Co., et al., No. MID-L-5384-11AS, N.J. Super., Middlesex Co.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Florida Appeals Panel Affirms $34.6 Million Tobacco Verdict

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - A panel of the First District Florida Court of Appeal on Oct. 11 affirmed a judge's decision to read a jury instruction in a tobacco trial after finding that there was not enough evidence to show that the instruction prejudiced a tobacco company (R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. v. Colette S. O'Hara, No. 1D15-5764, Fla. App., 1st Dist., 2017 Fla. App. LEXIS 14233).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - N.Y. Court Told To Nix Asbestos Punitive Damages, Safeguard Trust Transparency

NEW YORK - An appeals court should vacate a provision of the new case management order allowing for punitive damages in asbestos cases and vacate or amend a provision governing how asbestos bankruptcy trust claims are handled, an amicus curiae group told the court on Oct. 10 (In re: New York City Asbestos Litigation, All Asbestos Cases., No. 40000/1988 782000/2017, N.Y. Sup., App. Div., 1st Dept.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Company: Battery Maker Has Duty To Indemnify In Fracking Injury Lawsuit

OKLAHOMA CITY - A hydraulic fracturing company on Oct. 9 filed a brief in an Oklahoma federal court arguing that the company that made a lithium battery pack that exploded on a fracking rig and injured a worker has a direct duty under Oklahoma law to indemnify the fracking operator because the explosion was caused by an allegedly defective design (Jacob McGehee, et al. v. Southwest Electronic Energy Corporation, et al. and Southwest Electronic Energy Corporation v. Engineered Power LP, et al., No. 15-145, W.D. Okla.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Florida Top Court Asked To Review Cumulative Asbestos Exposure Opinion

MIAMI - The Florida Supreme Court should resolve a conflict in the state's appellate courts and firmly reject the discredited "cumulative exposure" asbestos causation theory, a shipyard argues in an Oct. 9 petition (Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., et al. v. Rosa-Maria Britt, et al., No. SC17-1780, Fla. Sup.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Asbestos-Talc Trial Against Johnson & Johnson Ends In Mistrial

LOS ANGELES - A California judge overseeing the first asbestos-tainted consumer talc case against Johnson & Johnson declared a mistrial Oct. 10 after the plaintiff made reference to the potential link between asbestos-free talc and ovarian cancer, sources told Mealey Publications (Tina Herford, et al. v. AT&T Corp., et al., No. BC646315, Calif. Super., Los Angeles Co.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Monsanto: Roundup MDL Cases Fail For Lack Of Causation Between Cancer, Glyphosate

SAN FRANCISCO - Monsanto Co. on Oct. 6 moved in California federal court for dismissal of the multidistrict litigation related to the herbicide Roundup on grounds that the plaintiffs have not satisfied their burden to present expert testimony that is "scientifically reliable and relevant" and that is sufficient to prove general causation concerning whether glyphosate - the active ingredient in Roundup - is capable of causing cancer (In re: Roundup Products Liability Litigation, No. 2741 MDL, N.D. Calif.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - EPA Files Proposed Rule To Repeal Clean Power Plan

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Oct. 10 announced that Administrator Scott Pruitt has issued a notice of proposed rulemaking that would repeal the Clean Power Plan (CPP), which was unveiled by President Barack Obama in 2015 to reduce carbon emissions and greenhouse gas emissions.

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Parties In Flint Water Case Debate Jurisdiction Before 6th Circuit

CINCINNATI - An attorney representing employees of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) on Oct. 6 argued before a panel of the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals that a lawsuit pertaining to the lead-contaminated water crisis in Flint, Mich., brought against the employees belongs in federal court (Tamara Nappier v. Richard Snyder, et al., No. 17-1401, 6th Cir.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Asbestos Defendant Fails In Bid For Appeal Of Ruling Denying Dismissal

ASHEVILLE, N.C. - A company unable to escape what it portrays as a "shotgun" asbestos complaint at the motion to dismiss stage has not shown that an interlocutory appeal is warranted or that it would help forward the litigation, a federal judge in North Carolina held Oct. 5 (Tommy Lineberger, et al. v. CBS Corp., et al., No. 16-390, W.D. N.C.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Jury Hears Opening Arguments In 1st Asbestos-Talc Trial Against Johnson & Johnson

LOS ANGELES - Attorneys representing parties to the first asbestos-tainted talc case against Johnson & Johnson presented opening arguments Oct. 5 in the Los Angeles County Superior Court, arguing over what the testing says about the source of the talc used in the company's products and alternative sources of a woman's mesothelioma (Tina Herford, et al. v. AT&T Corp., et al., No. BC646315, Calif. Super., Los Angeles Co.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - New York Court Affirms Brake-Grinding Maker's Liability, $9M Asbestos Award

NEW YORK - A manufacturer of brake-grinding machines had a duty to warn about the dangers the use of its machines with asbestos-containing brakes posed, a New York appellate court held Oct. 5 while also affirming a stipulated $9 million award (Walter Miller v. BMW of North America LLC, et al., No. 190087/2014, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - 9th Circuit Reverses Ruling Finding Government Owes Nothing For Cleanup Costs

PASADENA, Calif. - A federal judge in California erred when finding that the federal government does not have to contribute toward the cleanup of a 44-acre site used by a military contractor hired to manufacture aircraft and aircraft parts, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Oct. 4, holding that the judge misapplied two earlier rulings that addressed how cleanup costs between military contractors and the government (TDY Holdings, LLC v. United States of America, No. 15-56483, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 19371).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Alabama Supreme Court: No Immunity For Tribal Parties For Crash Tort Claims

MONTGOMERY, Ala. - The Alabama Supreme Court on Oct. 3, in a car crash negligence case against an Indian casino, held that "the doctrine of tribal sovereign immunity affords no protection to tribes with regard to tort claims asserted against them by non-tribe members" (Casey Marie Wilkes, et al. v. PCI Gaming Authority d/b/a Wind Creek Casino and Hotel Wetumpka, et al., No. 1151312, Ala. Sup., 2017 Ala. LEXIS 105).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Judge Finds Allegations Don't Put Asbestos Case Outside Workers' Comp Laws

ASHEVILLE, N.C. - Merely knowing of the presence of asbestos and its hazards is not enough to escape the state's workers' compensation exclusivity provision, a federal judge in North Carolina held Sept. 29 (Howard Milton Moore Jr., et al. v. Alcatel-Lucent USA Inc., et al., No. 16-157, W.D. N.C., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 162517).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Putative Class Of 100,000 Files Flint Water Complaint In Michigan Federal Court

DETROIT - A putative class of residents and other individuals affected by the lead-contaminated water crisis in the city of Flint, Mich., on Sept. 29 filed a consolidated class action in Michigan federal court, contending that multiple state and local authorities caused a public health crisis by exposing the plaintiffs to contaminated water and exacerbated the crisis by concealing and misrepresenting its scope (In re Flint Water Cases [Luke Waid, et al. v. Richard D. Snyder, et al.], No. 16-10444, E.D. Mich.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - 3rd Circuit: Maritime Negligence Claims Survive Asbestos Bare-Metal Defense

PHILADELPHIA - The bare-metal defense does not bar asbestos negligence actions under maritime law's "bedrock principle" of protecting sailors, a Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel held Oct. 3 (In re: Asbestos Products Liability Litigation [No. VI], Roberta G. DeVries, et al. v. Buffalo Pumps Inc., et al., No. 16-2602, Shirley McAfee, et al. v. Ingersoll-Rand & Co., No. 16-2669, 3rd Cir.).