Court Roundup ...

MARYLAND
Exxon bid for federal litigation is rejected by appeals court
BALTIMORE (AP) — A federal appeals court has rejected Exxon Mobil Corp.’s bid to have a suit litigated in federal court, not state court.

The multibillion-dollar lawsuit filed in Harford County Circuit Court in 2004 against ExxonMobile Corp. alleges that about 750 Fallston residents were exposed to groundwater contaminated with a potential carcinogen from the former Upper Crossroads Exxon Station.

A second case with the same claims and nearly identical plaintiffs was moved to U.S. District Court in 2011, but because of the time the first case was pending in state court, a federal judge abstained from action in the case last year.

The Daily Record reports that 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed that ruling Wednesday. The case in state court was on hold while this matter was resolved.
 

QUEBEC
U.S. firm in Quebec rail tragedy granted creditor protections
MONTREAL (AP) — A Canadian judge on Thursday granted creditor protection to a rail company whose runaway oil train caused an explosion that killed 47 people in Quebec, a day after the company filed for bankruptcy.

Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway Ltd. and its Canadian counterpart, Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Canada Co., have filed for bankruptcy protection in the U.S. and Canada, citing debts to more than 200 creditors following the disaster in Lac-Megantic.

Rosemont, Ill.-based Rail World owns a controlling interest in Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Ltd.

Quebec Superior court Justice Martin Castonguay called the railway’s actions since the July 6 disaster “lamentable” but did not elaborate.

The company faces lawsuits following the fiery crash and estimates the cleanup costs will surpass $200 million.

Documents filed in U.S. court say Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway Ltd. has between $50 million and $100 million in estimated assets and between $1 million and $10 million in estimated liabilities.

The next court hearing is scheduled for Aug. 23.


RHODE ISLAND
Narragansett tribe seeks to have legal fee suit dismissed
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — The Narragansett Indian Tribe has asked a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit brought by its former lawyer accusing it of reneging on more than $1 million in legal fees.

The Providence Journal reports that lawyer John F. Killoy Jr. said Wednesday that sovereign immunity prohibits civil actions against the Indian tribe. He says the tribe never explicitly waived its sovereign rights when it entered an agreement for work to be done by lawyer Douglas J. Luckerman.

Anthony Muri, a lawyer for Luckerman, says the tribe waived its sovereign rights when it hired a lawyer to help represent it after state police smoke-shop raid in 2003.

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