Toxic Torts Civil Procedure

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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

Down in the Dumps: Court Refuses to Apply Pollution Exclusion in Landfill Seepage Case

Claims involving potential coverage for pollution liability pose unique challenges for insurers. In many cases, the polluting activity occurred decades ago and over a large span of time, with only a fraction of the activity...more

Fourth Circuit Continues Trend toward Narrowing Scope of CERCLA Arranger Liability

Action Item: With federal courts moving toward limiting arranger liability under CERCLA, companies that sell new or used products containing hazardous substances should heed the guidance of those courts and take certain...more

Food for Thought: Mirabella v. Vital Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

In Mirabella v. Vital Pharmaceuticals, Inc., consumers sued the manufacturer of Redline Xtreme Energy Drink, alleging that the manufacturer concealed the dangerous side effects of the energy drink. Plaintiffs requested relief...more

RCRA Is a Mess

In a potentially significant opinion last week, in Little Hocking Water Association v. DuPont, Judge Algenon Marbley gave hope to citizen plaintiffs everywhere, with a remarkably expansive reading of the imminent and...more

Expert Testimony May Be Required To Establish CERCLA Innocent Landowner Defense

On January 20, 2015, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California in Coppola v. Smith, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5127, addressed the application of CERCLA’s innocent landowner defense against a somewhat...more

Texas Supreme Court weekly orders (3/15)

The three cases involve (1) whether a liability insurer must pay the plaintiffs who received an assignment from the insured after the insurer failed to defend, (2) whether the former owner of a chemical plant is liable for...more

EU Court limits the scope of environmental liability for new owners of polluted land

The Court of Justice of the European Union (the “CJEU”) has shed light on the application of the “polluter pays” principle in the context of the EU’s Environmental Liability Directive. The judgment, handed down on 4 March...more

Texas Supreme Court Revisits Additional Insured Coverage for Deepwater Horizon Disaster

In In Re Deepwater Horizon, No. 13–0670 (February 13, 2015), the Texas Supreme Court had occasion to consider the extent to which the scope of additional insured coverage is limited by the terms of a contract between the...more

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Declines Review of Case Applying Statute of Repose to Asbestos Claims

As we reported in our July 2014 edition, the Superior Court of Pennsylvania held, in Graver v. Foster-Wheeler Corp., 96 A.3d 383 (Pa. Super. Ct. 2014), that the 12-year statute of repose applicable to claims against designers...more

Judge Finds GenOn Power Plant Suit is Like School on a Saturday … No Class.

A Pennsylvania federal judge recently struck the class allegations from a suit brought against GenOn Power Midwest LP, alleging that its coal-fired power plant released toxic emissions that damaged surrounding property. Even...more

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

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