Toxic Torts Civil Procedure

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April 2014: Insurance Litigation Update

New York Court of Appeals Answers Important Questions About Whether an Increased Risk of Harm Constitutes a Physical Injury. Over the past fifteen years, the question of whether tort claims for medical monitoring fall within...more

Hercules and the Lernaean Hydra: The Hercules Removal Jurisprudence Sprouts Yet Another Head

In yet another twist in the tortured labors of the Hercules jurisprudence regarding removal of general maritime law claims under 28 U.S.C. §1441(a), the Eastern District of Louisiana has generated a new, divergent “head” on...more

Colorado Supreme Court Grants Petition to Consider Use of Lone Pine Orders in Toxic Tort Case Involving Hydraulic Fracturing

On Monday, the Colorado Supreme Court granted a Petition for Writ of Certiorari in Antero Resources, et al. v. Strudley, et al. The Strudley case involves claims relating to alleged injuries from natural gas drilling...more

New York’s Highest Court Reaffirms Specific Causation Rule under Parker in Toxic Tort Cases

On March 27, 2014, New York’s Court of Appeals issued a ruling reversing an Appellate Division decision and sustaining the lower court’s decision granting a defendant’s motion to dismiss the plaintiff’s complaint alleging...more

Toxic Tort and Environmental Litigation: Court of Appeals Revisits and Clarifies Causation Requirements for Expert Opinions

Causation is the crux of any toxic tort litigation. The Court of Appeals’ recent decision in Cornell v. 360 West 51st Street Realty, LLC, No. 16 (N.Y. Mar. 27, 2014) underscores that principle and revisits the causation...more

Storing Heating Oil In Residential Tank Is Not An Abnormally Dangerous Activity In New Jersey

The Appellate Division recent held that the storage of home heating oil in an underground storage tank is not an abnormally dangerous activity. In Ross v. Lowitz, the plaintiffs, John and Pamela Ross, owned property that was...more

Recent Developments in Medical Monitoring Case Law (2013-2014)

Over the last 30 years, state and federal courts have grappled with how best to address claims filed by plaintiffs who do not currently suffer from an actual injury or illness, but rather seek damages for their risk of...more

Baltimore City Circuit Court Rejects Attempt to Consolidate Asbestos Cases

Order refusing to consolidate more than 13,000 non-mesothelioma cases continues a U.S.-wide trend of courts moving away from mass trial consolidations in asbestos cases. On March 5, the Circuit Court for Baltimore...more

Toxic Tort and Environmental Litigation: Third Department Clarifies Scope of Recoverable Medical Monitoring Damages in Waterborne...

On the heels of the Court of Appeals’ landmark decision rejecting an independent cause of action for medical monitoring in Caronia v. Phillip Morris USA, on February 20, 2014, the Third Department decided Ivory v. IBM. Ivory...more

Fifth Circuit Limits Pollution Liability

In a significant decision issued February 24, 2014, the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that federal laws preempt state laws in the case of the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, because the event occurred in federal...more

BP Oil Spill Update

On April 18, 2012, BP Exploration and Production Inc. and BP America Production Company (collectively “BP”) entered into an economic and property damages class action settlement with the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee in the...more

Weekly Law Resume - January 2014: Insurance Coverage – Additional Insured Endorsements

Transport Insurance Company v. Superior Court of Los Angeles County - Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District (January 13, 2014)- Ambiguities in an insurance policy are normally resolved “in favor of the...more

Objectors Seek Writ of Certiorari to SCOTUS Over Monsanto Agent Orange Settlement

On January 21, 2014, objectors to a class action settlement over contamination from Monsanto Agent Orange herbicide filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari with the Unites States Supreme Court. The Petition asked the Court to...more

Seventh Circuit Rejects Class Action Alleging Groundwater Contamination From Refinery Because Homeowners’ Claims Lack Commonality

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit recently reversed the certification of a class of property owners who alleged an Illinois refinery leaked potentially carcinogenic chemicals into their property and water...more

Seventh Circuit Highlights Challenges To Class Certification In Environmental Litigation

Property owners in the town of Roxana, Illinois, a small village on the Mississippi River across from St. Louis, filed suit against Shell Oil Company and ConocoPhillips. The property owners alleged that a refinery owned by...more

Louisiana Court of Appeal Rejects Plaintiff's Attempt to Join Claims of Contamination of Separate Parcels with Different Lessees...

The Third Circuit Court of Appeal in Louisiana issued an opinion on December 11, 2013, that may have a profound impact on litigation related to contamination from historic oil and gas exploration and production operations in...more

The Use of Forensic Psychiatry in Catastrophic Injury and Multi-Party Litigation

Catastrophic accidents often lead to claims for severe emotional distress including allegations of post-traumatic stress disorder (‘‘PTSD’’). Similarly, allegations of acute neuropsychological disorders and fear of cancer can...more

California Appellate Court Limits Application of Sophisticated User Doctrine

Stepping back from broad application of the sophisticated user doctrine in product liability and toxic tort litigation, the Second District of the California Court of Appeal, recently affirmed a jury’s $21 million verdict for...more

Threshold for Admissibility of Expert Opinion Affirmed by Pennsylvania Appellate Court

Pennsylvania’s intermediate appellate court recently affirmed an order granting summary judgment for Rohm and Haas (R&H) in a chemical exposure wrongful death action, finding the plaintiff’s expert’s opinion regarding...more

PA Supreme Court Allows Certain Mesothelioma Claimants to Sue Their Employer

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court recently issued a ground-breaking decision that could potentially expose employers to a wave of new lawsuits by former employees suffering from mesothelioma. In its November 22, 2013 opinion in...more

Pennsylvania Continues Trend of Stricter Review of Experts in Product Liability and Toxic Tort Cases

For years, plaintiffs in product liability and toxic tort cases have viewed Pennsylvania's state court system as a favorable forum. Over the past year and a half, however, the Pennsylvania appellate courts have issued...more

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Rules on Workers’ Compensation Act Case

Court finds in Tooey that Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act does not bar latent occupational disease lawsuits against employers. On November 22, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in Tooey et al. v. AK Steel Corp. et...more

Why Exxon Case Will Likely Become A Plaintiff Favorite

For decades, commentators have warned that California’s discovery rule exception has been swallowing statutes of limitations. See, e.g., Stephen V. O'Neil, Accrual of Statutes of Limitations: California's Discovery Exceptions...more

Litigation Risks in Texas Are Reduced –The Merits of New Trial Orders by Texas Courts Are Now Subject to Appellate Review

Significant oil and gas exploration and development has occurred and continues to occur in South Texas. Whenever an injury, death, or environmental damage results from these operations, a defendant energy company have often...more

CERCLA, RCRA, and Vapor Intrusion: Does What Happens in Vegas Really Stay in Vegas?

In Voggenthaler v. Maryland Square LLC, 724 F.3d 1050 (9th Cir. 2013), the defendants argued that contamination that happened in Vegas, stayed in Vegas, and therefore the Commerce Clause barred the application of CERCLA. The...more

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