Toxic Torts Updates

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EPA To Hold Public Meeting on Biotechnology Algae

On August 25, 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a notice in the Federal Register announcing a Public Meeting and Opportunity for Public Comment on Considerations for Risk Assessment of Genetically...more

Court Of Chancery Grants Stay Of Derivative Case

A stay of derivative litigation is hard to get even when there is another case pending elsewhere. But when, as here, the other litigation may expose the company to significant liability, a stay of the derivative action...more

Insurance Code §520 Requires Reversal of Prior Supreme Court Decision Upholding Insurance Policy Language Barring Post-Loss...

Fluor v Superior Court (Hartford) California Supreme Court (August 20, 2015) In 2003, the California Supreme Court ruled in Henkel Corp. v. Hartford Accident & Indemnity Co. (2003) 29 Ca.4th, 934, that a...more

“Not the Stuff of Science”: “Differential Etiology” Causation Opinions Fail Daubert in 7th Circuit Toxic Tort Case

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed a district court’s grant of summary judgment in an environmental toxic tort case, holding that the testimony of all three of plaintiffs’ causation experts – James Dahlgren,...more

In Reversal, California Supreme Court Allows Assignment of Coverage for Liability Claims

California’s Supreme Court has reversed its own heavily criticized decision from 2003 in Henkel Corp. v. Hartford Accident & Indem. Co. (2003) 29 Cal. 4th 934. In Fluor Corp. v. Superior Court, the Court announced that its...more

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

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