WASHINGTON, D.C. - Organizations that oppose President Donald J. Trump's executive order that a government agency may issue a new regulation only if it rescinds at least two existing regulations on June 26 filed a brief in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia arguing that the order - which would affect rules governing exposure to toxic substances - "offends the separation of powers by usurping the constitutional lawmaking power assigned to Congress and violates the president's unambiguous duty to 'take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed,'" pursuant to the Constitution (Public Citizen, Inc. v. Donald Trump, No. 17-253, D. D.C.).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - The California Supreme Court on June 22 denied review of a case in which Monsanto Co. sought to prevent the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) from adding glyphosate, the active ingredient in the herbicide Roundup, to the state's list of chemicals that cause cancer (Monsanto Company v. Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, No. S242595, Calif. Sup.; 2017 Cal. LEXIS 4696).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A panel of the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 23 ruled that a gas company has no standing to appeal a New York agency's failure to address its application for a permit documenting that its pipeline will satisfy the standards of the Clean Water Act because the agency's delay has not caused the company to suffer an injury (Millennium Pipeline Company, LLC v. Basil Seggos, et al., No. 16-1415, D.C. Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 11157).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court voted 7-2 on June 26 to deny New Mexico's motion for leave to file a bill of complaint against Colorado over the Aug. 5, 2015, Gold King Mine disaster, which resulted in the release of more than 3 million gallons of toxic mine sludge and wastewater into the Animas and San Juan rivers (New Mexico v. Colorado, No. 220147-ORG, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on June 26 refused to review a ruling by a District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel that affirmed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's decision to not implement emissions standards for periods when a point source is malfunctioning but granted requests from the Washington Legal Foundation and Southeast Legal Foundation to file amicus curiae briefs (American Municipal Power v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, No. 16-1168, U.S. Sup.).
BALTIMORE - An expert in a mesothelioma case may not testify regarding his opinion that a man's previous kidney cancer also arose from the asbestos exposures in question, a federal judge in Maryland held June 22 in granting unopposed summary judgment on numerous claims (Jeffrey Rockman and Sonja Rockman v. Union Carbide Corp., et al., No. 16-1169, D. Md., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 96227).
SAN FRANCISCO - A law firm retained privilege over a former asbestos attorney's work product and was not required to obtain his permission before disclosing emails between him and a scientific consulting firm, a California appeals court held June 21 (Tucker Ellis v. The Superior Court of City and County of San Francisco, Evan C. Nelson, No. A148956, Calif. App., 1st Dist., 2017 Cal. App. LEXIS 571).
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A Florida appellate panel on June 21 affirmed a trial court's decision to grant summary judgment to a tobacco company in a wrongful death suit because a man who died from smoking related diseases was not an Engle class member and therefore the woman representing his estate cannot be considered an Engle class member and she filed the suit after the statute of limitations for a wrongful death claim had expired (Donna Fanali v. R.J. Reynolds, No. 4D16-67, Fla. App., 4th Dist., 2017 Fla. App. LEXIS 8987).
RICHMOND, Va. - A boiler maker did not need to show that the U.S. Navy specifically rejected additional warnings related to asbestos to successfully remove a case, a Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel held June 22, but on remand, the judge must determine whether Foster Wheeler LLC's removal was timely (Janya Sawyer, et al. v. Union Carbide Corp., et al., No. 16-1530 4th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 11081).
SAN FRANCISCO - A panel of the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 22 ruled that a radiation exposure lawsuit brought by U.S. Navy sailors who assisted in relief efforts when the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant (FNPP) melted down in Japan could proceed in a U.S. court, despite the company's argument to the contrary (Lindsay R. Cooper, et al. v. Tokyo Electric Power Company, et al., No. 15-56424, 9th Cir.; 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 11075).
NEW YORK - New York asbestos plaintiffs may pursue punitive damage claims going forward under a newly instituted case management order (CMO) that also includes changes to hearsay rules designed to help offset the negative impact such a change will have on defendants, the coordinating justice said June 20 (In re: New York City Asbestos Litigation, All Asbestos Cases., No. 40000/88, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).
BATON ROUGE, La. - Deposition testimony and not the transcript itself triggers the "other paper" removal clock, a federal judge in Louisiana held June 21 in remanding an asbestos action (Curtis D. Morgan v. Dow Chemical Co., et al., No. 17-269, M.D. La., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 95308).
DURHAM, N.C. - An environmental advocacy group on June 20 filed a lawsuit in North Carolina federal court against Duke Energy Progress LLC, alleging that the company's plan to permanently store coal ash and "toxic pollutants" in unlined pits will lead to further contamination of local groundwater (Roanoke River Basin Association v. Duke Energy Progress LLC, No. 17-561, M.D. N.C.).
SAN DIEGO - A federal judge in California on June 20 granted a motion filed by two companies accused of contaminating two sites in the San Diego Port to approve a settlement to resolve claims brought under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) seeking to recover response costs incurred in investigating and remediating the properties (San Diego Unified Port District v. General Dynamics Corporation, No. 07-cv-01955-BAS, San Diego Unified Port District v. Lockheed Martin Corporation, No. 16-cv-02026-BAS, S.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 95076).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on June 21 issued a memorandum indicating that it plans to begin preliminary research to assess how the EPA estimates methane emissions from the oil and natural gas production industry.
NEW ORLEANS - A Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on June 21 denied BP Exploration & Production Inc.'s request for en banc review of a May 23 ruling that four Industry Specific Methodologies (ISMs) for calculating claimant compensation under the Court Supervised Settlement Program for the Deepwater Horizon Economic and Property Damages Class Action Settlement are inconsistent with the agreement (In re: Deepwater Horizon, No. 15-30377, 5th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 11040).
NEW ORLEANS - Asbestos plaintiffs' claims that a shipyard negligently failed to warn about the dangers of asbestos on its premises do not create a colorable defense or causal nexus required for removal, a federal judge in Louisiana held June 19. The shipyard filed a notice of appeal on June 20 (Victor J. Blouin Sr., et al. v. Huntington Ingalls Inc., et al., No. 17-2636, E.D. La., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 93537).
NEWARK, N.J. - NVR Inc., doing business as Ryan Homes, on June 15 agreed to pay a $425,000 civil penalty and agreed to obtain National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits to resolve allegations from the federal government that the home builder was violating the Clean Water Act (United States of America v. NVR, Inc., No. 17cv4346, D. N.J.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The attorneys general for 14 states and the attorney for the city of Chicago on June 20 moved in the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to intervene in a lawsuit brought by environmental advocacy groups against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in connection with the EPA's announcement that it is reconsidering rules on the fugitive emissions of methane (Clean Air Council, et al. v. Scott Pruitt, et al., No. 17-1145. D.C. Cir.).
TULSA, Okla. - A federal judge in Oklahoma on June 20 ruled that the successors to the owner of a former zinc smelting facility can face liability under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act for fugitive air emissions that resulted in contamination at a nearby town (Cyprus Amax Minerals Company v. TCI Pacific Communications, Inc., No. 11-CV-0252-CVE-PJC, N.D. Okla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 94682).
SEATTLE - A federal judge in Washington on June 19 denied a man's request for a new trial over his alleged violation of the Clean Water Act (CWA), finding that the prosecution did not engage in misconduct during closing arguments and that the evidence supported the jury's verdict (United States of America v. Bingham Fox, et al., No. 16-cr-100-RSL, W.D. Wash., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 93985).
SAN FRANCISCO - Monsanto Co. on June 16 filed its answer to one of the complaints in the multidistrict litigation for Roundup products, in which it denied that exposure to its product, which contains glyphosate, could have caused the plaintiff's alleged non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) (In re: Roundup Products Liability Litigation, No. 2741 MDL, N.D. Calif.).
WILMINGTON, Del. - Evidence that a company did not manufacture the type of fully assembled brake product a witness identified frees the company from an asbestos action, a judge in Delaware held June 14 (Amanda Dullinger and Stephen Dullinger v. American Honda Motor Co., et al., No. N15C-04-281, Del. Super., New Castle Co.).
AUSTIN, Texas - The Texas Supreme Court on June 16 declined to wade into whether a nine-year delay in accepting the terms of settlement resolving asbestos claims was appropriate under the terms of the agreement or constituted unreasonable delay (Union Carbide Corp. v. Perry Jones, Rosemary Allegria, et al., No. 16-0648, Texas Sup.).
BOSTON - An environmental group's Clean Water Act (CWA) lawsuit against a company that crushes brick, concrete and asphalt for construction projects was dismissed by a federal judge in Massachusetts on June 16 after he found that the group failed to allege how the company was illegally discharging storm water into the Bogastow Brook (Conservation Law Foundation, Inc. v. American Recycled Materials, Inc., No. 16-12451-RGS, D. Mass., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 92803).