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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

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

Uncertainty about the time limit for filing a groundwater contamination claim in North Carolina.

What is the latest date upon which a private plaintiff must file a claim for personal injury or property damage based on groundwater contamination in North Carolina? Until recently, the answer to this question appeared...more

Supreme Court Finally Schedules Oral Argument In CEQA Categorical Exemption Case

At long last, the California Supreme Court has scheduled oral argument in the case of Berkeley Hillside Preservation, et al. v. City of Berkeley, Supreme Court Case No. S201116. By its long-awaited order issued October 31,...more

With Sewers Backing Up, Messy Damage Claims are On the Rise

Many homeowners and other property insurance policies contain an exclusion to address one of the by-products of the increased frequency of severe weather: it bars coverage for property damage caused by “water which backs up...more

N.J. Federal Court Dismisses Environmental Suit Against Lockheed Martin for Lack of Health Threat

A New Jersey federal court recently dismissed an environmental suit against Lockheed Martin, rejecting the plaintiffs’ argument that any exposure to particular environmental contaminants is harmful. Leese v. Lockheed Martin...more

Federal Court Determines Low Levels of Carcinogens PCE and TCE Insufficient to Establish Private RCRA Cause of Action Absent...

Further underscoring the importance of expert testimony to support environmental claims, the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey in Leese v. Lockheed Martin Corp., et al., No. 11-5091 (JBS/AMD), 2014...more

Sierra Club v. County of Fresno

Why it matters: The court refined its previous test for air quality impacts analysis under CEQA, and required recirculation of an EIR due to its failure to specifically analyze the impacts on human health resulting from the...more

What's a ROG and Can It Hurt Me? EIR Overturned For Failure to Explain Air Quality Impacts to Human Health

In Sierra Club v. County of Fresno (Cal. Ct. App. 5th Dist. May 27, 2014), the Fifth Appellate District found fault with the County of Fresno’s (County) review of the Friant Ranch Project (Project) under the California...more

EIR Air Quality Analysis Insufficient: Lack of Specificity Regarding Human Health Impacts, Mitigation Measure Enforceability, and...

Faced with an appeal of the Superior Court of Fresno’s approval of a controversial Environmental Impact Report, the Fifth District Court of Appeal reversed and found that the challenged EIR violated the California...more

Statute of Repose: A New Weapon in Environmental Defense Counsel’s Arsenal

The June 9, 2014, Supreme Court ruling in CTS Corp v. Waldburger represents a victory for companies and landowners with legacy environmental liabilities in states with a statute of repose applicable to tort claims. Moreover,...more

Supreme Court rules that statutes of repose may bar state tort claims under CERCLA

On June 9, 2014, the United States Supreme Court, in CTS Corp. v. Waldburger, ruled that an individual state’s statute of repose is not preempted by the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of...more

Fifth District Says Show Me the Health Impacts, Not Just the Numbers

In a decision that will likely impact projects all across the state, the Court of Appeal for the Fifth Appellate District issued its second major CEQA decision of the year, finding that when a project will result in pollutant...more

CEQA Alert: Court of Appeal Rules that EIR Must Analyze Correlation Between Project’s Incremental Impact on Air Quality and Impact...

In Sierra Club v. County of Fresno (opinion filed 5/27/14; link below), California’s Fifth Appellate District held that the County violated the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) by failing to adequately analyze,...more

California Judicial Council Approves New Court Rules To Implement Expedited Procedures For CEQA Lawsuits Attacking Large...

New court rules will significantly expedite the timeline for lawsuits brought under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) to challenge the certification of the environmental impact report (EIR) or the granting of...more

Federal Court Rejects Homeowners’ Expert’s Valuation of Alleged Diminution in Value Due to Environmental Contamination

In a recent environmental contamination case, a New Jersey federal judge rejected an expert valuation of alleged diminution in value on Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, 509 U.S. 579 (1993) grounds. In Leese, et al. v....more

Take That! Second District Court of Appeal Clears Major Hurdles for Newhall Ranch Project, Provides Guidance on California’s...

California’s Second District Court of Appeal, Division Five, issued a decision on March 20 in Center for Biological Diversity v. Department of Fish & Wildlife (Case No. BS131347), overturning the trial court’s decision...more

Bowman v. California Coastal Commission: New California Court of Appeal Decision Holds that a Collateral Attack is no Substitute...

Sometimes in land use law, the most impactful court holdings come from the simplest of cases. That may be the situation with the new California Court of Appeal decision in Bowman v. California Coastal Commission, issued by...more

Tower Lane Properties v. City of Los Angeles: JMBM Prevails in Published Court of Appeal Opinion Holding that a City's Erroneous...

JMBM has prevailed in the Court of Appeal on behalf of its client in a well-publicized and hotly-contested development project in the City of Los Angeles. The court's published opinion will come as welcome relief to property...more

Real Property, Financial Services & Title Insurance Case Law Update: Week Ending January 31, 2014

I. FLORIDA STATE CASES - ILAN NIEUCHOWICZ - - Sinkhole Insurance Claim: trial court was required by Fla. Stat. § 627.7074 to stay insured’s lawsuit against insurer immediately after insurer filed request for neutral...more

Seventh Circuit Rejects Class Action Alleging Groundwater Contamination From Refinery Because Homeowners’ Claims Lack Commonality

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit recently reversed the certification of a class of property owners who alleged an Illinois refinery leaked potentially carcinogenic chemicals into their property and water...more

“Spot Zoning” Found Permissible Where Small Parcel Given Greater Rights than Surrounding Properties and New Zoning Served the...

The Orange County Board of Supervisors (“Board”) approved a proposed senior citizen living community (“Project”) on a seven-acre parcel, creating a new zoning definition for senior residential housing and rezoning the parcel...more

Contaminated but Remediated Soil and Cortese Listing Does Not Compel Preparation of EIR

As 2013 came to a close, the California court of appeal in Parker Shattuck Neighbors v. Berkeley City Council (1st Dist., Div. 4, 12/30/13, A136873) ___Cal.App.1st___, 2013, upheld the City of Berkeley’s decision not to...more

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