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Answering a key question left open by the U.S. Supreme Court in American Electric Power Co. v. Connecticut , 131 S. Ct. 2527 (2011), a Western District of Pennsylvania judge held that state law tort claims based on carbon dioxide emissions are preempted by the federal Clean Air Act.
In a landmark settlement that may set a benchmark for the resolution of personal injury claims in future mass toxic tort cases, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana approved the medical benefits portion of a class action settlement in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill case (the “Medical Benefits Settlement”).
Striking a blow to class action defendants seeking to litigate class action claims in federal court, the U.S. District Court for the Virgin Islands remanded an environmental tort action brought by more than 400 plaintiffs back to state court.
Underscoring the importance of detailed factual allegations to support a well-pleaded complaint, a federal judge in South Carolina dismissed environmental tort claims against International Paper, finding that the allegations were too vague to support personal injury and property damage claims.
Announcing a new causation standard for Nevada asbestos suits, the Nevada Supreme Court adopted the Fourth Circuit’s substantial contributing factor causation test, under which a plaintiff’s burden of proof on liability is to establish sufficient “frequency, regularity, [and] proximity” of exposure to a defendant’s asbestos-containing products.
In a decision issued approximately one month after the Nevada Supreme Court adopted the Fourth Circuit’s substantial contributing factor causation test, the Virginia Supreme Court instead adopted the Restatement (Third) of Torts’ “multiple sufficient causes” standard for multiple-exposure mesothelioma cases.
Finding that the trial court failed to exercise its gatekeeping responsibility to determine whether expert testimony is relevant and reliable, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit vacated a $9.4 million mesothelioma award.
In a decision that eliminates a potential impediment to oil and gas drilling in West Virginia, the Northern District of West Virginia held that surface disposal of drilling waste in on-site pits does not constitute common law trespass under state law.
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