For those who are interested in tort litigation (especially large toxic tort cases) the Maryland Court of Appeals (the state's highest court) is going to be hearing oral arguments on two cases related to a gasoline leak from an Exxon station in Jacksonville, Maryland starting at 10:00am Eastern Standard Time. (The link is below.)
The two cases are:
No. 15 Exxon Mobil Corporation v. Thomas M. Albright, et al.
Issues- Torts - 1) Whether, in an action for fraud, evidence of the Defendant's false, sworn testimony to the government, made with the intent of influencing government action, & relied upon by it to the Plaintiff's detriment, satisfies the requirement that Plaintiffs prove reliance? 2) Whether property owners whose sole source of potable water has been contaminated with a genotoxic substance for which there is no safe level of exposure, are entitled to damages for fear of cancer or for medical monitoring. 3) Whether, in an action for property damage, evidence that the Defendant released contaminants into the aquifer that serves as the Plaintiff's sole source of potable water is sufficient to establish Defendant's liability for an invasion of the Plaintiff's land?
No. 16 Exxon Mobil Corporation v. Paul D. Ford, et al.
Issues - Torts - 1) Does MD permit awards for emotional distress due to fear of developing cancer &, if so, must claimant prove that his or her wrongful exposure to a carcinogen makes it more likely than not that he or she will develop cancer? 2) May a jury's verdict that all of Plaintiffs' properties were worthless be upheld where (a) the properties were all still habitable & many had no contamination; (b) all experts testified that the properties retained substantial value; & (c) those properties which were sold all sold for a substantial price? 3) Did CSA err in holding that counsel for Petitioner did not waive his client's right to challenge the compensatory damage awards, despite implicit acquiescence in the jury verdict? 4) Should Plaintiff's property damage expert's opinions have been admitted where he failed to use any generally accepted method of valuation & he failed to consider actual sales or forecast accurately those arms length valuations? 5) Should emotional distress verdicts be overturned where the uniform awards ignored the substantial differences among Plaintiffs, evidence satisfying the Vance standards for recovery of such damages was not presented, & the jury instruction permitted recovery for fear of cancer without any evidence of exposure to the alleged carcinogen or that the exposure made it "reasonably probable" that a Plaintiff would contract cancer? 6) Did CSA err in holding that the "fear of cancer" jury instruction was erroneous & prejudicial 7) Does MD law permit damages for medical monitoring & if so, may such damages be awarded where a) no Plaintiff claimed to have any current disease caused by exposure to contaminant, b) there was no proof that any Plaintiff had a significantly increased risk of developing any disease, & c) as to many Plaintiffs, there was no proof of exposure? 8) Is a new damages trial required when a jury's award of compensatory damages is not based on the Plaintiff's alleged injuries? 9) Did CSA violate CJP § 1-403(c) when it issued its in banc decisions without a "concurrence of a majority of the incumbent judges of the entire Court"? 10) Did CSA reach a majority vote of the sitting judges on the issue of medical monitoring and, if they did, was there error in holding that the evidence was insufficient to support an award for medical monitoring?