Toxic Torts Updates

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Colorado Supreme Court Rejects Orders Requiring Plaintiffs to Present Early Evidence Supporting Their Toxic Tort Claims

In an April 20, 2015, decision that was highly anticipated by the energy industry, the Colorado Supreme Court rejected a procedural device called a “Lone Pine” order that requires plaintiffs to make a threshold evidentiary...more

Court Affirms Arbitration Panel’s $14 Million Award In Favor Of Insured In Reinsurance Dispute Over Asbestos Claims

A federal district court has confirmed a $14 million arbitration award entered in favor of Amerisure against its reinsurer Everest. As we earlier reported, the court had previously denied the motion to seal briefing...more

Lone Pine Loss: Supreme Court of Colorado Says State Rules Don’t Allow Use of Lone Pine Orders in Natural Gas Drilling Case

Earlier this week, the Supreme Court of Colorado issued its long-awaited decision in Antero Resources Corp. v. Strudley and held that the Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure do not allow a trial court to issue a modified case...more

Getting SSD benefits for asbestos exposure

Asbestos is a set of minerals that occur naturally in the form of fiber bundles. Today, asbestos is recognized as a health hazard and closely regulated. However, asbestos has been used in various products, and as Social...more

New York Court Sets Aside $11 Million Verdict and Puts the Onus on Plaintiffs to Quantify Exposures to Asbestos

On April 13, 2015, Justice Barbara Jaffe of the Supreme Court, New York County, issued a decision and order granting the motion by Ford Motor Company to set aside the verdict of $11 million in Juni v. A.O. Smith Water...more

Policyholder Insider Quarterly

Makers and Users of Smart Devices Beware: You May Have a Critical and Costly Gap in Your Insurance Coverage - The drumbeat of high-profile data breaches has led to rapid growth in the number of companies purchasing or...more

Property Owners Denied Class Certification in Halliburton Contamination Suit

Earlier this month, a federal district court in Oklahoma denied class certification to a group of property owners living near a contaminated research facility owned by Halliburton Energy Services, Inc. in Duncan, Oklahoma,...more

Municipalities Lose First Round in Bid to Hold PCB Manufacturers Liable For Environmental Impacts

Two Massachusetts municipalities are down but not out in their attempts to hold manufacturers of PCBs responsible for the environmental effects of PCB-containing products decades later. ...more

More Plaintiffs Go Home (Eventually And Based on Bauman)

Two days ago, we posted on a West Virginia Supreme Court decision that told non-resident plaintiffs the closing time refrain “you don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here.” OK, we took some liberties there, but the...more

Plaintiffs Go Home: West Virginia Supreme Court Affirms Forum Non Dismissals of Non-Resident Zoloft Plaintiffs

Last weekend, we saw the surprisingly effective “Danny Collins,” a new movie starring Al Pacino as an aging rock star wondering how the focus of his life would have changed if he’d known contemporaneously about an admiring...more

Proposed California Bill Seeks to (Finally) Define “Knowing and Intentional” Element of Proposition 65

On February 23, 2015, Assemblyman Bill Quirk (D-Hayward) introduced legislation that would definitively define the term “knowing and intentional” that is contained in the actual text of Proposition 65 (Prop 65). There has...more

No Statute of Limitations for Private Contribution Claims Under New Jersey’s Spill Act

Selling a piece of commercial property often requires much negotiation and planning, and generally represents the culmination of a result of a well-reasoned business decision. And at the conclusion of the deal—and depending...more

Arizona Enacts New Asbestos Trust Claim Disclosure and Evidence Statute

The Arizona legislature recently enacted A.R.S. § 12-782 to prohibit claimants from obtaining duplicative or excessive recoveries in asbestos personal injury lawsuits. Section 12-782 impacts personal injury plaintiffs that...more

Non-Settling CERCLA Defendants Beware: Ninth Circuit Provides Lower Courts with Discretion to Allocate Liability Using Equitable...

There is a split of authority on how credits for settlements under the Comprehensive Response, Compensation and Liability Act (“CERCLA”) are allocated to non-settlors. Some courts have applied the proportionate share...more

Environmental Indemnities

It is not often that one discovers that a senior housing facility was once an oil exploration complex or the site of a former dry cleaner but it does happen, and while your company may get comfortable with the acquisition and...more

Ninth Circuit Widens Judges’ Discretion to Allocate CERCLA Contribution Damages

Trial court may select the method of accounting for prior settlement in allocating response costs among liable parties, but claims to recover settlement payments are limited to costs consistent with the National Contingency...more

Second Circuit Affirms Application Of Illinois Notice/Prejudice Rule In Reinsurance Row

Granite State Insurance Company (“Granite State”) brought an action against Clearwater Insurance Company (“Clearwater”) regarding a dispute over reinsurance claims Granite State made, and which Clearwater denied based on late...more

Town Gets Schooled on Class Definition in PCB Contamination Case

The Town of Lexington, Massachusetts filed a putative class action in 2012 on behalf of itself and alleged similarly situated Massachusetts school districts that have one or more buildings with airborne...more

Amendment Reducing Illinois Juries from 12 to 6 About to Take Effect

Courtrooms in Illinois will begin to see a new makeup of juries soon, as effective June 1, 2015, all jury cases shall be tried by a jury of six. Previously, cases in which alleged damages exceeded $50,000 were tried by a jury...more

8 dangerous substances you may be exposed to at work

Not all workplace injuries involve falls and collisions. Some of the damage done on the job is more gradual and subtle. Many jobs in Illinois involve hazardous levels of exposure to chemicals and other harmful substances. ...more

Allocating The Liability Shares of Settling PRPs Under CERCLA

Allocation of liability under CERCLA can get messy. One particularly complex issue arises in a private cost recovery action where some but not all the PRPs have settled with the private party. In contrast to a government...more

Divided Court Affirms Summary Judgment in CERCLA “Arranger” Case

The decision sets a high bar for proving intent to dispose of hazardous substances and may make it easier for a party alleged to be liable as an arranger under CERCLA to secure summary judgment. ...more

Dividing CERCLA Site Just Won't Cut It On Liability

In an order on March 3, U.S. District Judge William C. Griesbach, who is presiding over the long-running Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act litigation concerning the Lower Fox River and...more

California Restricts Principles of “General” Personal Jurisdiction

In BNSF Railway Company v. Superior Court (Kralovetz) (Filed 3/27/2015, No. B260798), the California Court of Appeal, Second District, held a Delaware railroad corporation, with its principal place of business in Texas, was...more

Appellate Court Rules On Loss Allocation And Notice Disputes Concerning Reinsurance Claim

A New York appellate court affirmed the denial of summary judgment but with modifications. New Hampshire Insurance Company (“New Hampshire”) together with other insurers, settled with Kaiser Aluminum & Chemical Corporation...more

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