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ENVIRONMENTAL LAW Activists claimed WASA failed to control odors from sewer pipe The Clean Water Act cannot be used to enforce complaints about odor, noise, or other nonwater issues, U.S. District Judge Henry Kennedy said on March 2. Three groups claimed that a permit issued by the National Park Service in the 1960s required carbon filters to be installed in the D.C. Water and Sewer Authority’s vent system to control odors emitted from WASA’s Potomac Interceptor sewer line, and that WASA failed to install them, causing intermittent odors. The plaintiffs argued that the National Park Service permit was enforceable under the Clean Water Act’s citizen suit provision. WASA moved for summary judgment, arguing that the plaintiffs’ theory would distort the act. Kennedy agreed. Case/Court/Date: American Canoe Association Inc. v. District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority, No. 99-02798 (U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia), March 2, 2004. Plaintiffs’ attorney: David Bookbinder, Sierra Club, Washington, D.C. Defense attorneys: Benjamin Wilson and David Williamson, Beveridge & Diamond, Washington, D.C. BUSINESS LAW Malpractice insurer overcharged hospital, interfered with its business On a defunct hospital’s counterclaims that its malpractice insurer overcharged it on premiums and encouraged its doctors to transfer to other hospitals, causing it to shut its doors, a D.C. Superior Court jury awarded the hospital $18.2 million on Feb. 17. In 2000, D.C.-based NCRIC Inc. sued Columbia Hospital for Women, also in Washington, claiming that the hospital owed it $3 million in unpaid premiums and interest. The hospital denied this and countersued for breach of contract and tortious interference with a business, claiming that NCRIC overcharged it by about $200,000 in premiums and encouraged its doctors to practice in other hospitals doing business with NCRIC, causing 30 of them to leave in a two-month period. Case/Court/Date: NCRIC Inc. v. Columbia Hospital for Women Medical Center Inc., No. 00-0007308 (D.C. Superior Court), Feb. 17, 2004. Plaintiff’s attorneys: Rodney Page, Bryan Cave, Washington, D.C. Defense attorney: Neil Gorsuch, Kellogg, Huber, Hansen, Todd & Evans, Washington, D.C. INTERNATIONAL TRADE U.S. pipe-fittings maker sought relief from Chinese imports President George W. Bush rejected a recommendation by the International Trade Commission to grant trade relief to McWane Inc., a Birmingham, Ala.-based manufacturer of iron joints and fittings for waterworks systems. McWane sued two Chinese manufacturers, two U.S. distributors, and the China Chamber of Commerce of Metals, Minerals and Chemical Importers and Exporters, claiming that a sharp increase in fittings from China significantly affected not only plaintiff’s sales and profitability, but that of other U.S. manufacturers as well. McWane sought a 95 percent tariff increase. On March 3, President Bush determined that the benefits of providing relief to McWane would be outweighed by the adverse impact of import restrictions on the U.S. economy. Case/Court/Date: McWane v. Beijing, No. TA-421-4 (International Trade Commission), March 3, 2004. Plaintiff’s attorneys: Paul Rosenthal and Robin Gilbert, Collier Shannon Scott, Washington, D.C. Defense attorneys: Hamilton Loeb, Scott Flicker, and Alexander Koff, Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker, Washington, D.C.; Lawrence Bogard, Neville Peterson, Washington, D.C.; Robert Gosselink and Walter Spak, White & Case, Washington, D.C.; Francis Sailer, Lafave Sailer, Washington, D.C. Editor’s Note: These jury verdicts were collected and reported by VerdictSearch, an American Lawyer Media affiliate serving lawyers in the D.C. area and nationwide. More information about these cases, as well as full reports on other verdicts and settlements, can be found in the VerdictSearch National reporter or at www.VerdictSearch.com. For subscription information or jury verdict research, call 1-800-832-1900. To submit a case, call (212) 313-9180, fax (212) 313-9145, e-mail [email protected], or use the form at www.VerdictSearch.com/submit.

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