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In a decision that may make it easier for plaintiffs to maintain tort claims against certain facilities permitted under the federal Clean Air Act, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit held that property owners could bring nuisance, negligence, and trespass claims against a power plant allegedly releasing particulates onto their properties.
Calling into question a jury’s multi-million dollar award to the neighbors of a landfill, the South Carolina Supreme Court sided with the minority of states and determined that South Carolina law does not recognize a cause of action for trespass solely from odors.
In a victory for hydraulic fracturing interests, the Fourth Circuit held that Chesapeake Energy Corp. did not commit common law trespass upon surface owners’ rights by developing natural gas wells below their farmland.
In the first test case in a series of actions involving about 48,000 plaintiffs, a Texas jury declined to award damages in an action against Defendant BP Products North America’s Texas City Refinery, despite finding that the refinery had negligently flared approximately 500,000 pounds of noxious chemicals.
In a decision that may discourage the assertion of certain medical monitoring claims, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit upheld $250,000 in sanctions on Plaintiffs’ counsel for filing “meritless” medical monitoring claims against Chevron, USA, Inc.
Bolstering the defense view that competent expert testimony is typically required to prove causation in toxic tort actions, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit granted summary judgment dismissing property owners’ claims that the Defendant paper mill’s effluent interfered with their right to use and enjoy property.
Overturning what some commentators had considered a leading opinion rejecting the so-called “any exposure” theory, Maryland’s highest court ruled that an expert may testify that “every exposure to asbestos is a substantial contributing cause” of mesothelioma.
Striking a blow to toxic tort plaintiffs who rely on estimates, as opposed to actual data, the Iowa Court of Appeals found that expert testimony relying on such “exposure estimates” was insufficient to prove causation of birth injuries associated with use of a pesticide.
Although courts often decline to certify classes in environmental exposure or contamination cases due to differing circumstances among the plaintiffs, the Georgia Court of Appeals found that a group of property owners claiming hydrogen sulfide gas emissions from a paper mill had damaged their property had demonstrated sufficient commonality to warrant class certification.
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