Civil Procedure Toxic Torts

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California Federal Court Dismisses CERCLA Claims and Strikes Request for Attorneys’ Fees

In N. Cal. River Watch v. Fluor Corp., __F.Supp.3d__, 2014 WL 4954638 (N.D. Cal. Oct. 2, 2014), a Northern California district court dismissed Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (“CERCLA”)...more

Pennsylvania Appeals Court Affirms Defendants’ Summary Judgments on Bystander Exposure Claims

Allegations of bystander exposure to asbestos via laundry is a common claim in cases where a plaintiff has no apparent occupational exposure but instead alleges that her asbestos-related disease was caused by exposure to...more

UPDATE: United States Supreme Court Declines Review of Ninth Circuit Decisions Involving “Any Exposure” Theory and Government...

As reported in our January 2014 edition, the Ninth Circuit en banc affirmed a prior ruling vacating a $10 million jury verdict in an asbestos personal injury action, holding that the Washington federal district court abused...more

Minnesota Federal Court Clarifies Pleading Standard in Vapor Contamination Case

In an opinion that may help clarify the jurisdictional and pleading requirements for plaintiffs seeking damages and injunctive relief for alleged injuries from vapor intrusion, the federal district court in Minnesota denied a...more

Third Circuit Affirms Dismissal of Toxic Tort Claims Based on Unreliable Experts

Underscoring the importance of reliable expert methodology, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit upheld the dismissal of a personal injury suit based on unreliable expert testimony. See Henry v. St Croix Alumina,...more

New Jersey Landowner Forfeits Damages by Allowing Defendant to Remediate

In what may be a cautionary tale for owners of contaminated property, a New Jersey appellate court has ruled that a landowner forfeited any claim to property damages when he allowed the responsible party to perform...more

October 2014: Product Liability Update

Some Courts Loosening Restrictions on Punitive Damages. The 1990s and 2000s saw many developments 9 restricting the frequency and size of punitive damages awards in tort litigation, including both state tort-reform...more

Hydrocarbon Exposure Reconsidered

You might recall previous entries discussing the $2.9 million Dallas County verdict and judgment in Parr v. Aruba. Not all similar suits have the same result. Michael and Myra Cerny sued Marathon Oil Corp. and Plains...more

Tenant Who Sublets A Superfund Site Is Not Likely To Be A CERCLA Liable Party

It is generally the rule that a lessee who does not operate the property it rents will not be liable under CERCLA except in the unusual circumstance where the lessee qualifies as an “owner” of the property. Typically, this...more

California's Eastern District: Government Agency Liable for Costs When Site Cleanup Is Mismanaged

In a ruling last month (California Department of Toxic Substances Control v. Jim Dobbas, Inc., et al), the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California held that the Department of Toxic Substances...more

NJ Supreme Court to Rule on Application of General Six-year Statute of Limitations to Spill Act Claims

The Supreme Court of New Jersey recently heard arguments on whether private claims for contribution brought under the New Jersey Spill Compensation and Control Act, N.J.S.A. 58:10-23.11 et seq. (Spill Act) are subject to a...more

Beveridge & Diamond Secures Pennsylvania Supreme Court Review in Toxic Tort Case

Litigators in the Firm’s Washington, DC office persuaded the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to grant an appeal in a tort case in which 34 plaintiffs allege that the land application of biosolids to farmland created a nuisance and...more

Karl Rove's Efforts to "Buy" Courts Harmed America, Says Legendary Attorney [Video]

Oct. 8, 2014 (Mimesis Law) -- Fred Levin, one of the most successful and controversial plaintiffs lawyers in America, talks with Lee Pacchia about a new book by Josh Young detailing his colorful life and his views on civil...more

Third-Party Protections In Mass Tort Chapter 11 Cases

A defendant facing thousands of mass tort lawsuits in federal and state courts throughout the country often will seek to address the litigation by seeking Chapter 11 relief under the Bankruptcy Code. The Chapter 11 process...more

The Expanding Availability of Apportionment To Limit Liability in Superfund Cases

In Burlington Northern in 2008, the US Supreme Court ruled that Superfund liability could be apportioned whenever there was a reasonable basis for showing that the harm was divisible, such as by considering the length of time...more

The Class Action Chronicle - Fall 2014

This is the fifth edition of The Class Action Chronicle, a quarterly publication that provides an analysis of recent class action trends, along with a summary of class certification and Class Action Fairness Act rulings...more

Texas Supreme Court oral arguments (9/14)

No. 12-0803 -- Texas Dep't of Aging & Disability Servs. v. Cannon -- The plaintiff brought a wrongful-death case against the department and department employees. The department moved to dismiss the employees, arguing that...more

No Need To Wait For NJDEP’s Approval When Seeking Contribution For Site Cleanups

Parties that find themselves responsible for the remediation of contaminated property in New Jersey do not have to wait for the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (“NJDEP”) to approve a final cleanup plan...more

In re Paulsboro Derailment Cases: Putting the Brakes on Defendants’ Momentum Regarding Recent Ascertainability Developments Within...

In a recent unpublished decision, Judge Robert B. Kugler of the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey addressed the rapidly developing “ascertainability” requirement in class action litigation within the...more

Georgia-Pacific Consumer Products, LP v. Ratner et al.: Proving Commonality in Class Certification Cases Post-Wal-Mart v. Dukes

After the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Wal-Mart Stores Inc. v. Dukes, 131 S.Ct. 2541 (2011) — which heightened requirements for plaintiffs seeking class certification — at least two courts reviewing toxic-tort issues have...more

CERCLA’s Three Year Statute of Limitations for Contribution Applies To Non-CERCLA Settlements

Parties which settle environmental liability in a judicially approved settlement have three years from the date of that settlement in which to seek contribution even if the settlement is not a CERCLA settlement. That is the...more

The Wait Is Over: Liable Parties Can Now Seek Early Contribution Claims Without New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection...

The recent Supreme Court of New Jersey ruling in Magic Petroleum v. Exxon Mobil demonstrates a trial court’s ability to allocate liability to “dischargers” while maintaining the role of the state’s Department of...more

Not So Fast: New York’s High Court Relieves Pressure on Liability Carriers to Disclaim Coverage “As Soon As Possible”

Under a New York statute, a liability insurer that denies coverage for a death or bodily injury claim must provide written notice of its decision “as soon as is reasonably possible.” Last year, in Long Island Lighting Co. v....more

Federal Court Determines Low Levels of Carcinogens PCE and TCE Insufficient to Establish Private RCRA Cause of Action Absent...

Further underscoring the importance of expert testimony to support environmental claims, the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey in Leese v. Lockheed Martin Corp., et al., No. 11-5091 (JBS/AMD), 2014...more

Importance of Judicial Approval of CERCLA Settlements

Before a Superfund settlement becomes enforceable, it must be reviewed by a federal court to confirm that it is fair, reasonable, and consistent with CERCLA’s objectives. This judicial review is at the heart of CERCLA’s...more

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