LexisNexis® Legal Newsroom
Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Judge Remands Groundwater Class Action, Says Local Controversy Exception Applies

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas - A federal judge in Texas on April 19 remanded a class action lawsuit alleging groundwater contamination by a group of defendant chemical companies, ruling that the local exception to federal class action law applied (MD Haynes Inc. d/b/a Cici's Pizza, et al. v. Valero Marketing and Supply Co., et al., No. 17-6, S.D. Texas; 2017 U.S. Dist., LEXIS 59495).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Judge: Volkswagen Buyers Cannot Seek Restitution In Criminal Proceeding

DETROIT - Consumers who purchased Volkswagen vehicles with software designed to cheat emissions tests cannot seek restitution from the auto manufacturer as part of criminal proceedings brought by the federal government against the company because it would unduly prolong the sentencing process, a federal judge in Michigan ruled April 21 (United States of America v. James Robert Liang, et al., No. 16-cr-20394, E.D. Mich.).

Mealey's Bankruptcy - 2nd Circuit Dismisses Appeal Of Toxic Tort Plaintiffs' Tronox 'Derivative' Claims

NEW YORK - Because a federal court's ruling enforcing a permanent anti-suit injunction issued as part of a $5.5 billion settlement in the Chapter 11 case of Tronox Inc. is not a final order, it cannot be appealed by 4,300 individuals who say they were injured from the company's operation of a wood-treatment plant in Pennsylvania, the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said April 20 (Avoca plaintiffs, et al. v. Kerr-McGee Corp., et al., No. 16-343, 2nd Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 6949).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Federal Judge Orders Volkswagen To Pay $2.8B Fine

DETROIT - A federal judge in Michigan on April 21 ordered Volkswagen AG to pay a $2.8 billion fine for equipping its diesel vehicles with software designed to cheat emissions tests after the company pleaded guilty to counts of conspiracy to defraud the United States, wire fraud and violations of the Clean Air Act (CAA) (United States of America v. James Robert Liang, et al., No. 16-cr-20394, E.D. Mich.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Man's Last Injurious Asbestos Exposure Occurred In Self-Employment, Court Finds

RALEIGH, N.C. - Substantial evidence supports an industrial commission's conclusion that a mechanic's last injurious exposure to asbestos occurred during his work at his own business, a North Carolina appeals panel held April 18 (Melissa Lovelace, et al. v B&R Auto Service Inc., et al., No. COA16-1045, N.C. App., 2017 N.C. App. LEXIS 310).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Iowa Court Reverses, Orders Retrial Of $4 Million Asbestos Verdict

DES MOINES, Iowa - Counsel's "continuous disregard" for rulings excluding evidence of how much a defendant spent defending asbestos actions and the application of the statute of repose requires a new trial, an Iowa appeals court held April 19 (Shari Kinseth and Ricky Kinseth, et al. v. Weil-McLain Co., and State of Iowa, ex. Rel. Civil Reparations Trust Fund, No. 15-0943, Iowa App.; 2017 Iowa App. LEXIS 363).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Jury Awards $81.5M After Asbestos Friction-Parts Trial In Washington State

TACOMA, Wash. - A Washington jury awarded $81.5 million April 17 to a widow and her two daughters in their case alleging that their decedent suffered exposure to asbestos in automobile friction products, sources told Mealey's Publications (Gerri Coogan, et al. v. Genuine Parts Co. et al., No. 15-2-09504-3, Wash. Super., Pierce Co.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Magistrate Judge Finds Port's Product Liability Claims Against Monsanto Are Timely

PORTLAND, Ore. - A federal magistrate judge in Oregon on April 18 recommending denying Monsanto Co.'s motion to dismiss product liability claims brought by the Port of Portland, over polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) contamination, finding that the plaintiff does not clearly state when it discovered the injury (Port of Portland v. Monsanto Co., et al., No. 17-15, D. Ore.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - 2nd Circuit Dismisses Creosote Injury Case Brought Against Chemical Company

NEW YORK - A panel of the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on April 20 ruled that it lacked jurisdiction to decide a case in which a group of residents sued Tronox Inc. contending that they had been harmed as a result of exposure to wood treated with creosote at the company's plant in Pennsylvania (Avoca Plaintiffs v. Kerr-McGee Corporation; In Re: Tronox Inc., No. 16-343, 2nd Cir.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - New Jersey Residents: Case Against Smelter Is Valid

TRENTON, N.J. - A group of New Jersey residents on April 16 filed a brief in New Jersey federal court contending that their complaint against a refining company alleging contamination from heavy metals asserts valid claims (Juan Duarte, et al. v. United States Metal Refining Company, No. 17-1624, D. N.J.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Company: Causation Lacking In Lawsuit Related To Cancer From Benzene Exposure

ASHEVILLE, N.C. - A company being sued by a North Carolina man who contends that he contracted cancer as a result of groundwater contamination for which the man says the company is liable on April 17 filed a brief in North Carolina federal court, arguing that the case should be dismissed because the plaintiffs cannot show causation (Kent Stahle v. CTS Corporation, No. 14-48, W.D. N.C.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Ohio Top Court Agrees To Hear Asbestos Causation Testimony Challenge

CLEVELAND - Ohio's Supreme Court on April 19 agreed to wade into a dispute over the admissibility of expert causation testimony in an asbestos case, according to its docket (Mark Schwartz, et al. v. Honeywell International Inc., et al., No. 103377, Ohio Sup.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Federal Jury Rules Against Residents In Groundwater Contamination Lawsuit

CHICAGO - A jury in Illinois federal court on April 13 issued a verdict against a group of residents who had sued two companies for allegedly contaminating its groundwater with vinyl chloride. The verdict sheet did not elaborate on the jury's decision (Village of Sauk Village v. Roadway Express Inc., et al., No. 15-9183, N.D. Ill.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Ex-Chemistry Teacher's Asbestos Action Belongs In Indonesia, Panel Says

SAN FRANCISCO - Indonesia's interests in preventing, and compensating for, asbestos exposures by residents support a judge's conclusion that Hawaii is not the best forum for a former chemistry teacher's lawsuit, a divided Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel held April 14 (James S. Herbert, et al. v. Fisher Scientific Co. LLC, et al., No. 14-15760, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 6464).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Residents Seek Damages From State, City For Flint, Mich., Lead Water Crisis

DETROIT - A group of Flint, Mich., residents on April 13 sued state and city officials in Michigan federal court, contending that they are liable for lead contamination in the city's drinking water for their respective roles in making the decision to use the Flint River as the water supply for the city without first ensuring that the pipes were protected against corrosion (Kimberly Gaddy, et al. v. City of Flint, et al., No. 17-11166, E.D. Mich.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - 6th Circuit: Modification Of Consent Decree For Power Plants Violated Agreement

CINCINNATI - The modification of a consent decree that extended the deadline for upgrades to one of two coal-burning power plants in Rockport, Ind., violated a contract between owners and operators of the facility because it would require the owners to make the improvements and pay for them after expiration of the lease, a Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled April 14 (Wilmington Trust Company, et al. v. AEP Generating Company, et al., No. 16-3496, 6th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 6426).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Federal Judge Dismisses Counterclaim In Tobacco Contract Suit

RENO, Nev. - A federal judge in Nevada on April 13 found that a cigar company that filed a counterclaim against the owner of several properties in Nevada failed to state a "cognizable" counterclaim in a suit where the property owner claimed that the cigar company failed to collect taxes on tobacco products as required by Nevada law (Wynn Las Vegas LLC v. Cigar Row LLC, No. 2:15-CV-01079, D. Nev., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 56886).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Judge Dismisses Coal Ash Case To Allow Plaintiffs To File It In State Court

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - A federal judge in Kentucky on April 12 dismissed a lawsuit brought by a class of residents who contended that they were exposed to hazardous chemicals from a coal-fired power plant so that the plaintiffs could file the claims in Kentucky state court. The judge declined to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the state law claims (Kathy Little, et al. v. Louisville Gas & Electric Company, No. 13-1214, W.D. Ky.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 56467).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Justice: Regulatory Evidence, Tyndall Lighting Tests Admissible At Asbestos Trial

NEW YORK - Some post-exposure regulatory material, evidence relating to studies involving animals and videotapes of Tyndall lighting tests demonstrating the dust released during certain work may be used at an asbestos trial, a justice in New York held in an opinion posted April 11 (Jeanne Evans, et al. v. 3M Co., et al., No. 190109/2015, N.Y. Sup., New York Co., 2017 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 1223).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Florida Panel Restores $32 Million Verdict In Tobacco Lawsuit

LAKELAND, Fla. - Recognizing that its ruling created a conflict with other appellate courts in Florida, a panel of the Second District Florida Court of Appeal on April 12 found that a trial court in an Engle progeny suit erred by reducing a compensatory award to a couple because a Florida statute governing negligence cases does not require compensatory awards to be reduced by the plaintiff's comparative fault (Philip Morris USA Inc., et al. v. Richard Boatright, et al., No. 2D15-622, Richard Boatright, et al. v. Philip Morris USA Inc., et al., No. 2D15-1781, Fla. App. 2nd Dist., 2017 Fla. App. LEXIS 5027).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Judge Appoints Administrator, Special Master For DuPont C8 Injury Settlement Plan

COLUMBUS, Ohio - A federal judge in Ohio on April 12 issued an order appointing a claims administrator and a special master to oversee the master settlement agreement to resolve the multidistrict litigation against E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. for alleged injuries connected to exposure to perfluorooctanoic acid (known as C8) (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 - 2 Glyphosate Cancer Cases Against Monsanto Sent To California MDL

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPMDL) on April 13 transferred two more lawsuits filed against Monsanto Co. regarding cancer allegedly caused by exposure to glyphosate, the active ingredient in the company's herbicide Roundup, to the multidistrict litigation in California (In Re: Roundup Products Liability Litigation, No. 2741, JPMDL).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Pilots Who Sprayed Glyphosate In Ecuador Were Not Its Employees, Contractor Says

WASHINGTON, D.C. - A private military contractor on April 9 filed a brief in District of Columbia federal court contending that it is not liable for the conduct of pilots that sprayed herbicides in Ecuador and allegedly caused injuries to Ecuadorian residents because the pilots were not employed by the contractor (Venancio Aguasanta Arias, et al. v. DynCorp, No. 01-01908, and Nestor Ermogenes Arroyo Quinteros, et al. v. DynCorp, No. 07-01042, D. D.C. [consolidated]).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - San Diego: PCB Claims Against Monsanto Valid; Property Interests At Issue

SAN DIEGO - The city of San Diego and its port district on April 7 filed a brief in California federal court contending that their second amended complaint against Monsanto Co. regarding alleged contamination of the city's water system with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) should not be dismissed because the city has multiple property interests that are affected by the company's PCBs (San Diego Unified Port District, et al v. Monsanto Company, et al., No. 15-578, S.D. Calif.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Judge Remands PCB Case Against Monsanto, Says Removal Was Improper

ST. LOUIS - A federal magistrate judge in Missouri on April 10 remanded a lawsuit brought by residents who contend that polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) manufactured by Monsanto Co. are liable for their development of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) on grounds that it was improperly removed to federal court (Kent N. Burford v. Monsanto Co., et al., No. 16-536, E.D. Mo.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 54293).