Civil Procedure Energy & Utilities

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Sixth Circuit Dismisses Whistleblower’s Claims Made By Job Applicant

This week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled that a job applicant lacks standing to bring whistle-blower claims under the Energy Reorganization Act and the False Claims Act (“FCA”) because those laws’...more

Illinois Supreme Court Debates Scope of Whistleblower Statute

During the September term, the Illinois Supreme Court debated an important question about the scope of the state Whistleblower Act: does a plaintiff state a claim under the statute by alleging that the defendant falsified...more

Avoiding “Gotcha” Moments: Excusing Non-Production to Address Mechanical Issues Under the Temporary Cessation of Production...

In Landover Production Company, LLC v. Endeavor Energy Resources, L.P., et al., the Texas Court of Appeals re-affirmed the application of the implied, “temporary cessation of production doctrine” to prevent an oil and gas...more

Supreme Court Asked to Allow Immediate Judicial Review of Clean Water Act Jurisdictional Determinations

A landfill developer has asked the Supreme Court to review a decision of the Fifth Circuit holding that a jurisdictional determination by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is not final agency action subject to judicial review....more

Court of Appeal Finds: Environmental and Natural Resources Existing Flood Danger Was Not An Impact Of Proposed Dam Upgrade...

In Paulek v. California Dept. of Water Resources (2014) (October 31, 2014, E060038) __ Cal.App.4th __, the Court of Appeal upheld the final environmental impact report (“EIR”) prepared by the California Department of Water...more

The Fate of FERC Demand Response Order No. 745: Efforts to Adapt While the Judicial and Complaint Processes Play Out

Since our last update regarding the D.C. Circuit’s vacatur of FERC Order No. 745 in Electric Power Supply Ass’n v. FERC ( “EPSA”), several developments have occurred in EPSA and related proceedings. The appeals process and...more

Ninth Circuit Rebuffs Shell’s Declaratory Judgment Act Suit

The Ninth Circuit recently rejected “a novel litigation strategy” under the Declaratory Judgment Act (DJA). Shell Gulf of Mex. v. Ctr. for Biological Div., 13-35835 (9th Cir. Nov. 12, 2014) (Slip Op.). According to the Ninth...more

CEQA Lawsuit to Enforce Climate Change Mitigation Measure Prevails

On October 29, 2014 the California Court of Appeal affirmed a trial court’s judgment enforcing a mitigation measure adopted by a county in its program environmental impact report (PEIR). As of the date of this blog post,...more

Derailing an Expert in the Rail Freight Fuel Surcharge Antitrust Litigation: What Every Litigator Needs to Know

The business of buying, selling, investing in, and arbitraging legal claims continues to grow, and carries with it hidden pitfalls. This is particularly the case when a litigation expert has a business relationship with a...more

Courts Uphold Supplemental Assessment of Wells and Related Facilities/Improvements; and Validate Use of Cost Approach

The County of Kern Tax Assessor’s (“Assessor”) use of the cost approach to value to appraise new oil and gas wells for the purpose of levying supplemental assessments has been upheld by the Fifth District Court of Appeal. In...more

California Environmental Law and Policy Update - November 2014

Environmental and Policy Focus - Coastal California residents using far less water: Associated Press - Nov 4: Residents in coastal communities use far less water than their inland counterparts, but still find ways to...more

Numerous Parties Line Up in Support of Petition in Delta Smelt Case

As we reported here, on October 6, 2014, a number of public water agencies and other entities that represent agricultural and municipal water users in California filed a petition for writ of certiorari with the U.S. Supreme...more

FERC Issues Declaratory Order Disclaiming Jurisdiction Over Proposed CNG Facility

On September 19, 2014, FERC issued a declaratory order holding that it would not have jurisdiction under the Natural Gas Act ("NGA") over the construction or operation of a compressed natural gas ("CNG") facility that Emera...more

California Low Carbon Fuel Standard Overhaul Continues

I. LCFS Readoption - The California Air Resources Board (“ARB”) is on the cusp of readopting the Low Carbon Fuel Standard (“LCFS”) regulation to remedy legal defects in the initial adoption process found by the...more

Proving An Operator’s Gross Negligence: Is Intention Required?

Establishing an operator’s gross negligence requires “a degree of intentionality”, the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench recently held in Bernum Petroleum Ltd v Birch Lake Energy Inc, 2014 ABQB 652 [Bernum]....more

A Cautionary Tale: English Courts Further Depart from a Traditional Approach to Liquidated Damages in Unaoil v Leighton

In September 2014, the Commercial Court handed down an unprecedented decision, finding that a liquidated damages ("LD") clause in a contract was a "genuine pre-estimate of loss" at the time the parties entered into the...more

UPDATE: Examination Of Title To Unpatented Mining Claims

For purposes of “discovery” of a valuable mineral deposit, the Interior Board of Land Appeals (IBLA) has recently held that the “prudent man” test does not require that Bureau of Land Management (BLM) consider the current...more

The Well Operator Should Have Listened To My Mother

My mother used to give us good advice. For example: Don’t lie … do your homework. Sabella v. Appalachian Development Corporation agrees with my mother. Sabella bought minerals in 1997 under 66 acres in Warren...more

Kentucky Federal Court Holds Tort Claims Not Preempted by Clean Air Act

State common law tort claims based on air emissions from a power plant are not preempted by the federal Clean Air Act (CAA), according to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky. The court agreed to...more

Paris Energy Series No. 7: Take-or-Pay Conditions in Gas Supply Agreements

Take-or-pay provisions are now fairly common in long-term offtake and supply agreements in the energy sector, a notable example being gas supply agreements. In essence, take-or-pay provisions provide that a buyer must...more

Maine Supreme Court Affirms Broad Review Powers for BEP in Clearing Way for Wind Project

The Maine Supreme Judicial Court (the Law Court) recently issued an important decision that confirms the broad authority of the Maine Board of Environmental Protection (BEP) to review decisions of the Commissioner of the...more

City of Fort Collins, Colorado, Appeals Ruling Striking Down Fracking Bans

The week of September 22, the Fort Collins, Colorado, City Council voted to appeal a decision rendered last month that struck down the city’s fracking ban. In that August 2014 decision, a Larimer County District Court...more

California Environmental Law and Policy Update - October 2014 #4

Environmental and Policy Focus - Groups sue EPA over failure to reduce air pollution: KPCC - Oct 17: Environmental groups have filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in San Francisco against the U.S. Environmental...more

D.C. Circuit Grants Motion to Stay Issuance in Order No. 745 Cases

As we previously reported, on May 23, 2014, the D.C. Circuit vacated FERC’s Demand Response Order No. 745, holding that the order (1) exceeded FERC’s jurisdiction, and (2) was arbitrary and capricious, particularly in its...more

Hydrocarbon Exposure Reconsidered

You might recall previous entries discussing the $2.9 million Dallas County verdict and judgment in Parr v. Aruba. Not all similar suits have the same result. Michael and Myra Cerny sued Marathon Oil Corp. and Plains...more

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