Toxic Torts Civil Procedure

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Scanning The Post-Burlington Northern CERCLA Landscape

Since the U.S. Supreme Court issued its landmark decision in Burlington Northern & Santa Fe Railway Co. v. United States, 556 U.S. 599 (2009), holding that a party must “take intentional steps to dispose of a hazardous...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

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

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

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

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

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 Strategy of Lone Pine Orders: Timing Matters

Federal and state courts are using Lone Pine orders to effectively manage and control mass tort cases and other complex litigation. A Lone Pine order is a case management order that requires all plaintiffs to furnish...more

Federal District Court Ruling in Fukushima Daiichi Case Has Implications for Global Nuclear Liability Management

A recent ruling in Cooper v. Tokyo Electric Power Company, No. 12-CV-3032, S.D. Cal., Oct. 28, 2014, one of three lawsuits filed in the United States related to the 2011 incident at the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear power plant,...more

Claims Administration and Handling in Mass Tort Cases: Lessons from Deepwater Horizon

In mass casualty and toxic tort litigation, an effective means of providing prompt and efficient compensation to victims can benefit all stakeholders. Claimants receive prompt payment for lost property or business expenses,...more

Class Certification Denied in Chemical Leak Lawsuit

An Arkansas federal judge recently denied a motion to certify a proposed class of property owners alleging that Whirlpool’s failure to clean up toxic chemicals at its facility diminished the value of their surrounding...more

Res Judicata Prevents Plaintiff from Recovering Exemplary Damages

Earlier this month, in Oleszkowicz v. Exxon Mobil Corp., et al., 2014-0256 (La. 12/9/14), 2014 WL 7009533, the Supreme Court of Louisiana barred a plaintiff from relitigating an exemplary damages claim arising from alleged...more

Reinsurance Arbitration Award Confirmed, Reaching Result Contrary To Previous Award Against Different Reinsurer

On March 11, 2014, we reported on the First Circuit’s ruling in a contested arbitration between OneBeacon America Insurance Co. and certain of its reinsurers over reinsured asbestos claims. The reinsurers filed a declaratory...more

Insurance Recovery Law -- December 2014 #2

Ammonia Release Constitutes “Direct Physical Loss” Under Policy - Why it matters: A New York federal court recently ruled that the discharge of ammonia at a manufacturing plant – causing a facility shutdown for...more

NJ Spill Act Contribution Rights in Jeopardy Under Proposed Bill: Points to Consider - M&E Environment & Energy Alert

A bill (A-3880/S-444) recently introduced in both houses of the New Jersey legislature would prevent companies and private individuals from exercising their existing contribution rights under New Jersey’s Spill Act to recover...more

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