Toxic Torts Updates

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Insurance Recovery Law - February 2015 #2

Separate Contract Serves to Limit Insurance Coverage for Deepwater Horizon Spill, Texas Supreme Court Rules - Why it matters: The Texas Supreme Court rejected BP’s $750 million claim for coverage under Transocean...more

Proposed Assembly Bill 356 Would Require Additional Groundwater Monitoring by Oil & Gas Operators

California Assemblymember Das Williams (D-Carpinteria) has introduced an oil and gas bill to ensure that the state comes into compliance with the Class II underground injection (“UIC”) requirements under the federal Safe...more

CERCLA’s Confusion Between Section 107 and Section 113

Over a decade after the Supreme Court’s decision in Cooper Industries v. Aviall, the divide between CERCLA Section 107 cost recovery claims and Section 113 contribution claims remains unsettled. PRPs incurring response costs...more

Manufacturing Matters – Winter 2015

In This Issue: - Pre-action costs protection in environmental claims - Shared Parental Rights – what you need to know - Due diligence on your partner in China – are you talking to the right person? - An Interview...more

Seventh Circuit Finds Attorney Fee Dispute Arbitrable

The Seventh Circuit recently held that a cost-sharing agreement (“CSA”) between Hennessy Industries Inc. (“Hennessy”) and National Union Fire Insurance Co. (“National Union”) required the parties to arbitrate a dispute over...more

Wrap-Up of Federal and State Chemical Regulatory Developments, February, 2015

EPA OEI Office Announces Transfer Of TRI Program To OPPT: On January 22, 2015, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Office of Environmental Information (OEI) announced that EPA has begun the process of transferring the...more

New Jersey Supreme Court Rules Unanimously: There is No Statute of Limitations Defense to Contribution Actions Under the Spill Act

On January 26, 2015, the New Jersey Supreme Court unanimously ruled in Morristown Associates v. Grant Oil Co. that the general six-year statute of limitations for injury to real property does not apply to contribution claims...more

Illinois Court Finds Duty to Defend Underlying Toxic Tort Claims

In its recent decision in Ill. Tool Works Inc. v. Travelers Cas. & Sur. Co., 2015 IL App (1st) 132350 (Ill. App. Ct. 1st Dist. 2015), the Appellate Court of Illinois, First District, had occasion to consider whether an...more

Missouri Federal Court Cuts Claims in Pipeline Property Damage Action

Underscoring the need for plaintiffs to show concrete proof of harm in suits alleging property damage, a federal district court dismissed a suit alleging that an oil pipeline contaminated farmland in Missouri. See Henke v....more

Federal Court Holds That “Each and Every Exposure” Theory is Inadmissible

The “single fiber” theory, well known to asbestos litigants and practitioners, is an attempt to circumvent “substantial factor” causation requirements, positing that any exposure to asbestos constitutes an underlying cause of...more

U.S. District Court in Pennsylvania Dismisses Majority of Water Well Contamination Claims Against Oil Drilling Company

Earlier this month, U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III in the Middle District of Pennsylvania completely adopted the “extremely thorough, well-reasoned” recommendations of a U.S. Magistrate Judge and dismissed almost all...more

Eleventh Circuit Reinstates Groundwater Contamination Case Dismissed on Lone Pine Order

In a case that may provide some plaintiffs with protection from early Lone Pine orders, the Eleventh Circuit reversed a trial court’s dismissal of a groundwater contamination case for failure to sufficiently state claims...more

North Carolina’s Amended Repose Law Fails to Save Barred Toxic Tort Claim

Notwithstanding the intent of the North Carolina legislature, a federal court ruled that the state’s recently amended law exempting groundwater contamination suits from a 10-year statute of repose did not save a latent toxic...more

New York Federal Court Finds that CERCLA’s Petroleum Exclusion Covers Benzene Derived from Gasoline Degradation

In White Plains Housing Authority v. Getty Properties Corp., No. 13-cv-6282, 2014 WL 7183991 (S.D.N.Y. Dec. 16, 2014), the district court applied the petroleum exclusion of the Comprehensive Environmental Response,...more

Arkansas Federal Court Denies Class Certification in Property Damage Suit

Exemplifying the reluctance of many courts to allow toxic tort cases to proceed as class actions, a federal judge in Arkansas denied certification of a putative class of neighboring landowners who claimed the Defendant’s...more

Federal Judge Strikes Class Allegations Pre-Certification and Discovery

Too many times a defendant is forced to foot the bill for costly discovery and motion practice before being able to successfully challenge class allegations. The recent decision in Bell v. Cheswick Generating Station, et al.,...more

Fifth Circuit Relieves Company of "Arranger" Liability under CERCLA

In Vine Street LLC v. Borg Warner Corp., No. 07-40440, the Fifth Circuit held that, in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Burlington Northern & Santa Fe Railway Co. v. United States, 556 U.S. 599 (2009), BorgWarner...more

Virginia Court Nixes Claim Chinese Drywall Damage to HVAC Systems is Covered as Equipment Breakdown

In Travco Ins. Co. v. Ward, 284 Va. 547, 736 S.E.2d 321 (2012), the Virginia Supreme Court held that loss occasioned by the sulfuric gas released by defective Chinese drywall was excluded under the primary coverage grant of a...more

New Jersey Supreme Court Rules No Time Bar for Spill Act Contribution Claims

In a unanimous decision on January 26, 2015, the Supreme Court of New Jersey, in Morristown Associates v. Grant Oil Co., overturned two lower-court decisions and held that the six-year statute of limitations for damage to...more

No Diagnosis, No "Damages": Wisconsin's Construction Statute of Repose in Asbestos Cases

How to apply Wisconsin’s construction statute of repose, Wis. Stat. § 893.89, in asbestos cases has recently been a hot topic dividing trial courts. The statute bars a broad category of claims if they are brought more than 10...more

DRM client wins important case precluding termination of insurer insolvency before contingent or unliquidated claims can be...

The Vermont Supreme Court has ruled in In Re Ambassador Ins. Co., 2015 VT 4 (Vt. Jan. 23, 2015) that the liquidator of Ambassador Insurance acted unreasonably in setting a December 31, 2013 bar date for policyholder claims...more

Case Settled! New Jersey Supreme Court Says No Time Limits to Spill Act Contribution Claims

Action Item: Defendants can no longer assert a statute of limitations defense to claims of contribution under the New Jersey Spill Compensation and Control Act, N.J.S.A. 58:10-23.11, et seq. (“Spill Act”). ...more

Recent Cases on Clean Air Act Preemption of Common Law Torts Upend Conventional Wisdom

Two recent appellate-level decisions allowing state common law tort claims against an intrastate emitting source to avoid Clean Air Act (CAA) preemption have surprised many CAA litigators. The outcome in both Bell v....more

Toxic Tort and Environmental Litigation: District Court Finds Expert Proof Insufficient to Prove Causation (1/15)

Causation is often the biggest hurdle a plaintiff must clear in proving a toxic tort case. For that reason, it would be expedient if a plaintiff could get to trial on the issue of causation merely by showing that...more

The Need For Expert Evidence To Make Out An Innocent Landowner Defense Under CERCLA

As every litigator knows, evidence almost always tells a story that is untidy and riddled with loose ends. This was illustrated by a recent innocent landowner case in California — Coppola v. Smith. There, a company had...more

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