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High Court Divided: Is A Fish A Tangible Object?

Gulf fisherman John Yates was cited by a federally-deputized Florida Fish & Wildlife officer for having caught a few red grouper that were about an inch under the 20” minimum limit at the time (they’d have been legal under...more

Supreme Court Decides Yates v. United States

On February 25, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court decided Yates v. United States, No. 13-7451, holding that fish are not “tangible objects” within the meaning of 18 U. S. C. §1519, a federal law providing that a person who...more

South Carolina Legislative Update

The South Carolina House of Representatives last week adopted the South Carolina Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, several ethics reform measures, and revisions to the South Carolina Whistleblower and Public Employee...more

Is It Too Late to Just Throw Superfund to the Curb?

Last week, Judge Paul Borman of the Eastern District of Michigan, allowed a motion by the United States for judgment on the pleadings, dismissing a third-party complaint brought against the United States by Michigan...more

Missouri Federal Court Cuts Claims in Pipeline Property Damage Action

Underscoring the need for plaintiffs to show concrete proof of harm in suits alleging property damage, a federal district court dismissed a suit alleging that an oil pipeline contaminated farmland in Missouri. See Henke v....more

Federal Court Holds That “Each and Every Exposure” Theory is Inadmissible

The “single fiber” theory, well known to asbestos litigants and practitioners, is an attempt to circumvent “substantial factor” causation requirements, positing that any exposure to asbestos constitutes an underlying cause of...more

U.S. District Court in Pennsylvania Dismisses Majority of Water Well Contamination Claims Against Oil Drilling Company

Earlier this month, U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III in the Middle District of Pennsylvania completely adopted the “extremely thorough, well-reasoned” recommendations of a U.S. Magistrate Judge and dismissed almost all...more

High Court Finds Plausible Showing of Amount in Controversy Sufficient to Remove Action

In a decision that may make it somewhat easier for defendants to remove putative class actions from state to federal court, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that defendants in such cases do not need to offer evidence in their...more

Eleventh Circuit Reinstates Groundwater Contamination Case Dismissed on Lone Pine Order

In a case that may provide some plaintiffs with protection from early Lone Pine orders, the Eleventh Circuit reversed a trial court’s dismissal of a groundwater contamination case for failure to sufficiently state claims...more

Louisiana Federal Court Excludes “Every Exposure” Testimony

Adding to the growing body of case law that rejects the so-called “every exposure” theory, a federal court in Louisiana has excluded specific causation opinions of a plaintiffs’ expert who relied on the theory, finding that...more

Washington Federal Court Finds Nuisance Claims Displaced by CERCLA

Expanding the reach of the federal displacement doctrine and the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in AEP v. Connecticut, a federal district court for the first time held that the Comprehensive Environmental Response,...more

North Carolina’s Amended Repose Law Fails to Save Barred Toxic Tort Claim

Notwithstanding the intent of the North Carolina legislature, a federal court ruled that the state’s recently amended law exempting groundwater contamination suits from a 10-year statute of repose did not save a latent toxic...more

New York Federal Court Finds that CERCLA’s Petroleum Exclusion Covers Benzene Derived from Gasoline Degradation

In White Plains Housing Authority v. Getty Properties Corp., No. 13-cv-6282, 2014 WL 7183991 (S.D.N.Y. Dec. 16, 2014), the district court applied the petroleum exclusion of the Comprehensive Environmental Response,...more

Arkansas Federal Court Denies Class Certification in Property Damage Suit

Exemplifying the reluctance of many courts to allow toxic tort cases to proceed as class actions, a federal judge in Arkansas denied certification of a putative class of neighboring landowners who claimed the Defendant’s...more

Ninth Circuit to Consider Civil Rights Issue in Review of California SIP

On February 12, 2015, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals will hear arguments in El Comite Para El Bienestar De Earlimart v. EPA, a case challenging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) approval of provisions in a...more

Analysis: Early closure of the ROCs regime ruled lawful

The Government’s decision to close the Renewables Obligations Certificates (ROC) subsidy scheme for larger solar PV installations (above 5MW) two years early, and the grace periods introduced to mitigate the effects of the...more

Environmental Alert: "Texas Supreme Court Declines to Determine Effect of Permit in Subsurface Trespass Case"

The Supreme Court of Texas upheld a jury verdict finding that a landowner did not suffer trespass from a wastewater injection well located on adjacent property. Environmental Processing Systems, L.C., v. FPL Farming Ltd.,...more

Texas Supreme Court opinions (2/15)

In its weekly orders (2/6/15), the Texas Supreme Court issued four new opinions and granted no petitions for review. The new opinions are as follows: No. 12-0136, Wackenhut Corp. v. Gutierrez -- This case...more

Fifth Circuit Relieves Company of "Arranger" Liability under CERCLA

In Vine Street LLC v. Borg Warner Corp., No. 07-40440, the Fifth Circuit held that, in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Burlington Northern & Santa Fe Railway Co. v. United States, 556 U.S. 599 (2009), BorgWarner...more

New Jersey Supreme Court Rules No Time Bar for Spill Act Contribution Claims

In a unanimous decision on January 26, 2015, the Supreme Court of New Jersey, in Morristown Associates v. Grant Oil Co., overturned two lower-court decisions and held that the six-year statute of limitations for damage to...more

Locke Lord QuickStudy: EPA Stakes Out Approach to Address GHG Permitting for Authorized Sources Affected

On December 19, 2014 the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued two memoranda outlining the Agency’s planned response to the Supreme Court’s June 2014 decision in Utility Air Regulatory Group (UARG) v. Environmental...more

Environmental Contamination Can Significantly Impact the Merits of a Property Tax Appeal

The New Jersey Tax Court recently ruled in Methode Electronics, Inc. v. Twp. Of Willingboro, Docket Nos. 019012-2010 and 014098-2011 (Tax January 22, 2015) that the assessment on contaminated property located in Willingboro,...more

Case Settled! New Jersey Supreme Court Says No Time Limits to Spill Act Contribution Claims

Action Item: Defendants can no longer assert a statute of limitations defense to claims of contribution under the New Jersey Spill Compensation and Control Act, N.J.S.A. 58:10-23.11, et seq. (“Spill Act”). ...more

A Federal Court Rules that Increased Conductivity Impairs a Stream — How Shocking!

On Tuesday, Chief Judge Robert Chambers ruled that Fola Coal Company violated the Clean Water Act by discharging mine waste with sufficiently high levels of conductivity to cause or materially contribute to impairment of...more

Undisclosed Change in Building Height Requires Supplemental EIR

Ventura Foothill Neighbors v. County of Ventura (12/15/14, 2d Civil No. B254120) - The Court of Appeal for the Second Appellate District of California has ruled that (i) a 20% increase in the actual height of a...more

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