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Showing 6 posts by Toren M. Elsen.

Court Rejects Post-Removal Complaint Amendment as Effort to Defeat Diversity

Illustrating a court’s ability to limit forum shopping in a class action, a federal judge in New York denied a motion to remand in a suit brought against Northrop Grumman Corporation over alleged hazardous waste pollution. See Romano v. Northrop Grumman Corp, No. 16-cv-5760 (E.D.N.Y. Dec. 15, 2017). Current and former Nassau County residents filed their putative class action in 2016 in Nassau County Supreme Court alleging injury from the release of hazardous substances. Northrop Grumman removed the suit to federal court asserting, among other things federal jurisdictional hooks, Class Action Fairness Act (“CAFA”) jurisdiction. Subsequent to removal, Plaintiffs amended the complaint to add the Town of Oyster Bay as a Defendant, which would have destroyed the diversity necessary for CAFA jurisdiction. Read More ›

Washington State’s Suit Against Monsanto Remanded to State Court

Clarifying the application of a doctrine called “federal officer jurisdiction,” a federal judge in Washington held that the federal government’s actions involving procurement of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) from Monsanto were not enough to show that Monsanto was supervised or influenced by the government. See Washington v. Monsanto Co., No C17-53RSL (W.D. Wash. July 28, 2018). Washington originally brought suit against Monsanto in December 2016 alleging statewide PCB contamination under state product liability theories. Monsanto removed the suit to federal court asserting federal question jurisdiction and federal officer jurisdiction, which can be invoked by a private party if it is “sued for acts performed while acting under a federal agency or officer.” Read More ›

Last Product Liability Claims Dismissed in Massachusetts PCB Suit

In a win for manufacturers of products containing PCBs, a Massachusetts federal court dismissed the last few PCB-related product liability claims in a sprawling case brought by a local school because injuries related to caulking made with PCB-containing plasticizers were not reasonably foreseeable when the caulk was first used.  See Town of Westport v. Monsanto Co., No. 14-12041 (D. Mass. Apr. 7, 2017). Read More ›

Texas Supreme Court Tosses Untimely Damages Claims, Leaves Open Possibility of Injunctive Relief

Highlighting the importance of proving a factual timeline in a statute of limitations analysis, the Texas Supreme Court held that a cattle ranch owners’ claims related to alleged contamination from long-dormant oil and gas operations were barred by Texas’s statute of limitations. See ExxonMobil v. Lazy R Ranch, LP , No. 15-0270 (Tex. Feb. 24, 2017). However, the court did not reach the issue of whether a plaintiff can obtain injunctive relief, e.g. for remediation, that costs more than the diminution of property value. Read More ›

New York Lead Paint Suit Barred by Statute of Limitations

Illustrating the limits of New York’s discovery rule, a New York appeals court dismissed claims alleging injuries from lead paint exposure as barred by the statute of limitations. See Vasilatos v. Dzamba, No. 523286 (N.Y. App. Div., Mar. 2, 2017). Read More ›

West Virginia Federal Court Issues Trio of Rulings Against Defendant in Class Action

In the class action lawsuit stemming from the 2014 spill of Crude MCHM into the Elk River near Charleston, WV, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia recently issued three rulings in favor of plaintiffs and against Defendant Eastman Chemical Co.  Those three developments are summarized below.  Previous coverage of the Elk River spill litigation is available here. Read More ›