Toxic Torts Updates

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California Declares New Rules for Assignment of Long Tail Claims

Last week, in a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court of California changed the law governing anti-assignment provisions in liability insurance policies. Twelve years ago, in Henkel Corp. v. Hartford Accident & Indemnity...more

It’s All Good – New Jersey Judge Approves NJDEP’s Controversial $225 Million Settlement with ExxonMobil

After months of controversy, public comments, response to public comments, motions to intervene, amicus briefs, oral arguments, editorials and a sustained flurry of activity in social media, the decision we have been waiting...more

U.S. construction companies and manager face fines of nearly $2 million for exposing workers to asbestos

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OHSA) has cited a construction company and its manager for asbestos-related violations and imposed fines of almost $2 million.  Safety regulators are increasingly taking...more

Emerging Trends in Tort Litigation Alleging Health Injuries Caused by Neighboring Oil and Gas Activities

Last year's $2.9 million verdict in Parr v. Aruba Petroleum, the so-called "first fracking trial," garnered attention in Texas and beyond. The significance laid not only in that the plaintiffs had succeeded on their private...more

Illinois Appellate Court Reverses Asbestos Verdict on Sole Proximate Cause Argument

In Smith v. Illinois Central Railroad Co., the Fourth District of Illinois recently overturned a $1.4 million verdict against the Illinois Central Railroad. At trial, the Court had excluded evidence of the decedent's work at...more

Ninth Circuit Reverses Dismissal of Damages Claim in San Diego Contamination Suit

In a decision that may reopen the door to significant damages in a California soil and groundwater contamination suit, the Ninth Circuit reversed a trial court’s dismissal of the City of San Diego’s restoration and real...more

DuPont Wins Partial Summary Judgment in Drinking Water MDL

An Ohio federal district court gave E.I. DuPont de Nemours and Co. a partial victory in litigation over ammonium perfluorooctanoate (“C-8”) drinking water contamination in Ohio and West Virginia by granting partial summary...more

Michigan Court Finds Expert Testimony Not Necessary to Show Link Between Chemical Exposure and Injury

Issuing an opinion that could lower the bar for proving toxic tort causation, the Michigan Court of Appeals held that direct expert testimony may not be necessary to prove causation in a toxic tort case and that a plaintiff...more

District Court Limits Nuisance Claims Against Chemical Manufacturer in Elk River Spill

Finding only public interests at issue from contamination of public drinking water supplies, a West Virginia federal court dismissed a private nuisance claim, but not a public nuisance claim against a chemical manufacturer. ...more

West Virginia Federal Court Finds Personal Jurisdiction Over Out-of-State Parent Company in Elk River Spill

In a ruling that could broaden parent company exposure to suit in West Virginia, the Southern District of West Virginia found that it had personal jurisdiction over the out-of-state parent company of an in-state water company...more

Ninth Circuit Interprets CAFA Exception Narrowly, Facilitating Removal in Environmental Tort Cases

Creating a Circuit split, the Ninth Circuit held that a tort case against a Washington corporation did not fall under the so-called “local event” exception to the Class Action Fairness Act (“CAFA”) and, therefore, had been...more

Considering Consolidating Cases for Trial

We have managed to pretty much avoid asbestos litigation. Sure, we encounter decisions from asbestos cases that sometimes impact our own cases. They even sometimes appear in our posts, but rarely as a focus. We have been...more

Foundation: July 2015 • Vol. II, Issue 2

Warranty/Guaranty Provisions in Construction Contracts - The most confusion I have seen in the discussion of construction topics concerns the concepts of “warranty” and “guaranty.” This article will address the...more

Natural Contaminants Exceed Human-Made Contaminants in California’s Groundwater

Defendants in groundwater contamination cases in California have additional evidence to direct blame where it should be placed – on naturally occurring contaminants. An extensive study by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has...more

Duty to Cooperate Ruling Narrows Insurers’ Ability to Foreclose Coverage for Settled Class Action Claims

Insurance policies typically include a cooperation clause, which requires the insured to cooperate with the insurer in the defense of a covered claim. Insurers routinely use this clause as a sword against their insureds by...more

Foes of the NJDEP $225 Million Settlement with Exxon Mobil Must File “Friend of the Court” Briefs Today

After denying their motions to intervene last week (see our coverage here), Judge Hogan issued a Scheduling Order that sets today as the deadline for the eight environmental organizations and State Senator Lesniak (D-Union)...more

GlaxoSmithKline Files Motion To Consolidate Zofran Litigation In Philadelphia

Zofran was developed to prevent nausea and vomiting caused by cancer chemotherapy. However, doctors prescribed it for the treatment of morning sickness in pregnant women. GlaxoSmithKline is the world’s seventh largest...more

Jury Must Decide Whether Facts Exist to Suspend the Accrual of the Statute of Limitations Under The Discovery Rule

Ismael Rosas v. BASF Corporation, et al. - Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District, Division Five (May 21, 2015) - he general rule regarding statutes of limitation is that they do not begin to run until a cause...more

Hidden Costs of Common Beauty Treatments?

The “toxic trio” is a foreboding name some associate with common and seemingly innocuous manicures and pedicures. Salon workers suffer higher-than-average rates of birth defects, miscarriages, cancers, and skin afflictions...more

Too Little, Too Late: Judge Denies Environmental Groups’ Motion to Intervene in Chris Christie’s Exxon Mobil Settlement

A New Jersey state judge ruled on Monday that eight environmental groups and a New Jersey state senator cannot intervene to challenge the $225 million settlement with Exxon Mobil proposed by the New Jersey Department of...more

BP Reaches Agreement with Gulf States to Pay Historic $18.5 Billion Settlement over Deepwater Horizon

On July 2, 2015, BP reached an agreement in principle with five Gulf States to settle claims against the company arising from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010. This marks the largest environmental settlement in...more

New Application Process Takes Effect for New York Brownfield Cleanup Program, Additional Regulations Pending

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) has announced that as of July 1, 2015, the reformed New York State Brownfield Cleanup Program (BCP) became effective. NYSDEC transitioned to a new...more

California Environmental Law & Policy Update - July 2015

Environmental and Policy Focus - BP pays record $18.7 billion to settle claims in Gulf oil spill Bloomberg - Jul 2: BP Plc reached a record $18.7 billion agreement to settle all federal and state claims from the 2010...more

US Supreme Court Nixes EPA Regulations on Mercury Emissions – Must Consider Costs Early!

In Michigan v. EPA, the U. S. Supreme Court invalidated EPA’s rules limiting emissions of mercury and other pollutants from power plants, ruling that EPA inappropriately ignored the costs of regulation – particularly...more

Texas Supreme Court Rules that CERCLA PRP Letters and Enforcement Proceedings Are “Suits” Subject to the Duty to Defend Under...

On June 26, 2015, the Texas Supreme Court held that enforcement proceedings under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (“CERCLA”)—including the issuance of a “PRP letter” notifying...more

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