LexisNexis® Legal Newsroom
Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Iowa Supreme Court Allows Wrongful Birth Claims To Proceed

DES MOINES, Iowa - In an 6-1 decision on June 2, a majority of the Iowa Supreme Court found that parents in Iowa have a right to sue doctors for the "wrongful birth" of a child with severe disabilities when doctors fail to show parents severe birth defects discovered in ultrasounds because the theory of a "wrongful birth" claim fits "within general tort principles for medical negligence actions" (Pamela Plowman, et al. v. Fort Madison Community Hospital, et al., No. 15-0974, Iowa. Sup., 2017 Iowa Sup. LEXIS 62).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Appeals Court: Tenant Fails To Show Causation In Lead Paint Poisoning Lawsuit

INDIANAPOLIS - The Indiana Court of Appeals on May 30 ruled that a woman who sued the owner of her rental house failed to establish causation that his negligence in allowing lead-paint hazards on the premises caused her grandson's injuries, which she contended included autism (Myra Duby v. Christopher Woolf, No. 84A05-1612-CT-2815, Ind. App.; 2017 Ind. App. LEXIS 224).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Maryland High Court Reverses Lead Paint Ruling, Says Causation Evidence Sufficient

ANNAPOLIS, Md. - A divided Maryland Court of Appeals on May 30 reversed and remanded a lead-paint poisoning lawsuit, finding that the plaintiff had provided sufficient evidence of causation (Terrence Rogers v. Home Equity USA Inc., No. 57 Sept. Term, Md. App.; 2017 Md. LEXIS 387).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Magistrate Recommends Approving Settlement Of Suit Over Stormwater Discharges

NEW YORK - A federal magistrate judge in New York on May 30 recommended approving a settlement of a lawsuit between an environmental group and defendants accused violating the Clean Water Act (CWA) by discharging stormwater without a permit, finding that the agreement furthers the objectives of the statute (Raritan Baykeeper, Inc. v. Flag Container Services, Inc., et al., No. 16-CV-4634, E.D. N.Y., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 83426).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Court Finds Error In Exclusion Of Co-Worker's Asbestos Testimony

AKRON, Ohio - A judge improperly excluded testimony after wrongly finding that a co-worker relied on hearsay from a supervisor rather than his own experiences regarding work with a defendant's asbestos-containing tape, an Ohio appeals court held May 31 (Ruth Williams v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., and Akron Gasket & Packing Enterprises, No. 28253, Ohio App., 9th Dist., Ohio App. LEXIS 2089).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Maryland Court Rejects Attempt To Keep Asbestos Case Outside Statute Of Repose

ANNAPOLIS, Md. - A woman's reading of the state's statute of repose is both outdated and implausible and does not preclude application of the law to her case alleging exposure from insulation applied to a generator whose construction was completed in June 1970, a Maryland appeals court held May 31 (June Diane Duffy, et al. v. CBS Corp., No. 453 September Term, 2015, June Duffy, et al. v. CBS Corp., No. 40 September Term, 2016, Md. Spec. App., 2017 Md. App. LEXIS 561).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Man Sufficiently Alleged Injury In Suit Over Pesticide Use, Judge Says

TOLEDO, Ohio - A federal judge in Ohio on May 30 denied a motion to dismiss a man's Clean Water Act (CWA) lawsuit over a sanitary district's use of mosquito-killing pesticides, finding that while his notice of intent to sue was deficient, he sufficiently alleged an injury-in-fact and redressability (Matt Cooper v. Toledo Area Sanitary District, No. 16-cv-1698, N.D. Ohio, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 82193).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Court Affirms Remand Where Couple Abandoned Federal Asbestos Claims

NEW YORK - A judge properly remanded a couple's asbestos action after they abandoned claims invoking federal jurisdiction, and dismissal of the last nondiverse defendant does not require a different outcome, a Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel held May 31 (Alton Chapman, Frances Chapman v. Crane Co., et al., No. 16-933, 2nd Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 9732).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Delaware Judge Denies Motion For Class Certification In Tobacco Suit

WILMINGTON, Del. - A judge in Delaware state court on May 30 denied a motion filed by a plaintiff in a tobacco product suit to certify a class of Delaware smokers who spent money on Marlboro lights and denied the tobacco company's motion for summary judgment because the plaintiff's claims arise from state law, not federal law (Mary A. Carroll, et al. v. Philip Morris USA Inc., No. 03C-08-167, Del. Super.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Ire Over Depositions In Asbestos Fraud Case 'Baseless,' Judge Told

NEWARK, N.J. - Having "[sown] poisoned seeds" by conducting a decades-long effort to destroy evidence of asbestos liability, a company now attempts to harvest its crop by complaining that class representatives accusing it of fraud do not know the precise impact of that scheme, plaintiffs told a New Jersey federal judge on May 30 in opposing a sanctions motion (Kimberlee Williams, et al. v. BASF Catalysts LLC, et al., No. 11-1754, D. N.J.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Judge Finds Some Discharges From Mining Company Violated Permits

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - A federal judge in West Virginia on May 26 ruled that environmental groups sufficiently showed that a mining company's discharges of ionic pollution into two waterways violated the narrative water quality standards allowed by permits issued to the company under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) and that the company's discharges into a larger waterway were legal (Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, et al. v. Fola Coal Company, LLC, No. 15-1371, S.D. W.Va., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 81593).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Defendant In Flint Water Case: Jurisdiction Lacking, Inclusion 'Erroneous'

DETROIT - One of the defendants being sued by Flint, Mich., residents seeking damages for lead-contaminated drinking water filed a brief in Michigan federal court on May 25, arguing that the complaint against it should be dismissed for lack of personal jurisdiction and for failure to state a cause of action (Myia McMillian, et al. v. Governor Richard D. Snyder, et al., No. 16-10796, E.D. Mich.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - D.C. Circuit Court Says EPA Correctly Withheld Records Obtained From Power Plants

WASHINGTON, D.C. - A panel of the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on May 30 ruled that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency properly withheld production of financial records obtained from a number of power plants in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request from three environmental groups, finding that Exemption 4 of the FOIA supersedes a provision of the Clean Water Act (CWA) that would allow disclosure of the information (Environmental Integrity Project, et al. v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, No. 16-5109, D.C. Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 9332).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - 6th Circuit: Toxicology Expert Properly Excluded For Lack Of Reliability

CINCINNATI - An Ohio federal court properly excluded expert testimony that people living near a steel mill "will suffer harm to their health" due to elevated levels of manganese on their properties because the expert failed to provide "any actual proof" to support his opinion, the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held May 25 (Michael Abrams, et al. v. Nucor Steel Marion, Inc., No. 15-4422, 6th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 9323).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Justice Allows Deposition Into Italian Asbestos Products' Presence In New York

NEW YORK - Asbestos plaintiffs are entitled to discovery into how an Italian company's products ended up in a New York factory, the justice overseeing New York asbestos litigation held in an opinion posted May 25 (In re: New York City Asbestos Litigation David Cerutti and Steven Cerutti, et al. v. A.O. Smith Water Products Co., et al., No. 190009/2016, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - 9th Circuit Upholds Ruling Finding Government Did Not Arrange Waste Disposal

SEATTLE - A Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on May 25 affirmed a ruling that the federal government could not be held liable as an arranger under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) for the disposal of hazardous waste at a former mining site in Idaho, holding that while the government knew that hazardous substances were being stored on the property, it did not intend for them to be disposed of (United States of America v. Federal Resources Corporation, et al., No. 15-35192, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 9151).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Consumers Sue GM, Parts Maker Over Emissions Defeat Device

DETROIT - Consumers of diesel-model Silverado and Sierra trucks made by General Motors LLC from 2011 to 2016 filed a class action May 25 in Michigan federal court against the automaker and the manufacturer of a part that allegedly allows the vehicles to cheat emissions tests, claiming that the car maker misrepresented the vehicles' fuel economy and emission levels (Andrei Fenner, et al. v. General Motors, LLC, et al., No. 17-cv-11661, E.D. Mich.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Federal Judge Orders UPS To Pay More Than $240M For Shipping Untaxed Cigarettes

NEW YORK - A federal judge in New York on May 25 ordered United Parcel Service Inc. to pay a total of $246,975,614 after finding in March that UPS knowingly shipped cigarettes to unauthorized sellers and on behalf of those sellers to residents in New York (The State of New York, et al. v. United Parcel Service Inc., No. 15-cv-1136, S.D. N.Y., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 43495).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Judge: Tribes Must Follow Cigarette Trafficking Act's Record-Keeping Regulations

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The record-keeping provisions of the Contraband Cigarettes Trafficking Act (CCTA) applies to tribal entities for tobacco sales on as well as off the reservation, a District of Columbia federal judge ruled May 24 (Ho-Chunk, Inc., et al. v. Jeff Sessions, in his official capacity as Attorney General of the United States, et al., No. 16-cv-01652, D. D.C., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 79397).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Judge Orders Briefing On Dismissal, Jurisdiction In Asbestos Case

SEATTLE - A couple must file supplemental briefs explaining why dismissal of a complete diversity defeating defendant is possible and providing a better explanation of a second defendant's corporate structure, a federal judge overseeing an asbestos action in Washington state held May 24 (Patrick Jack, et al. v. Asbestos Corporation LTD., et al., No. 17-537, W.D. Wash., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 79813).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - ConocoPhillips To Pay $39M To Settle MTBE Lawsuit

NEW YORK - A federal judge in New York on May 23 approved a $39 million settlement deal under which ConocoPhillips, a defendant in the multidistrict litigation for groundwater contamination from methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE), will be released from the litigation (In Re: Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether Products Liability Litigation, No. 00-1898, MDL 1358, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection v. Atlantic Richfield Company, No. 08-0312, S.D. N.Y.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Louisiana Court Adds $1M To Couple's 'Too Low' Asbestos Verdict

NEW ORLEANS - Evidence presented at trial and past jury awards in mesothelioma cases support raising a jury's noneconomic damages award to $1.5 million from $500,000, a Louisiana appeals court held May 24 (Frank S. Romano Sr. and Lynn Rome Romano v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., et al., No. 2016-CA-0954, La. App., 4th Cir., 2017 La. App. LEXIS 961).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - 5th Company Secures Jurisdiction Dismissal In Asbestos Action

SEATTLE - A couple alleging asbestos exposures in Canada lacks specific or general jurisdiction for a suit in Washington state against a defunct automobile parts seller, a federal judge held May 23 (Matthew Hodjera and Sylvia Hodjera v. BASF Catalysts LLC, et al., No. 17-48, W.D. Wash.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Florida Judge Declares Mistrial In Engle Progeny Lawsuit

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A Florida state court judge on May 23 declared a mistrial in an Engle progeny suit in which a woman claimed that a tobacco company hid the dangers of smoking from her husband, which led to his lung cancer and death, because the judge gave contradictory jury instructions that may confuse the jury (Lorraine Olson v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., No. 2008-CA-00396, Fla. 4th Jud. Cir., Duval Co.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Panel Reverses, Says Tenants In Lead-Paint Case May Compel Discovery From Landlord

NEW YORK - An appeals panel in New York on May 23 reversed a lower court's ruling and concluded that tenants who sued their landlord alleging injuries from exposure to lead-based paint had made a valid request to compel discovery pertaining to potential lead violations in the entire building where their apartment was located (Z.D., by her mother and natural guardian Zaimah A. v. MP Management LLC, No. 3436N, 26043/14, N.Y. Sup., App. Div., 1st Dept.; 2017 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 3989).