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“Making CEQA A Federal Case? Recent Actions of California’s Supreme Court and the Federal Surface Transportation Board Set Up A...

Controversy has dogged the California high speed rail project since before its inception with the 2008 passage of Proposition 1A, the bond measure providing the project’s initial funding. The controversy has not abated in the...more

Flash No. 44 - 2014 … A Year In Review

2014 was uncomfortably fast. When did you last write 2013 on a check or a letter by mistake? If you did, rest assured that you are not alone. So, while we still have a few weeks before we have to face the start of a new year...more

Real Estate and Land Use - December 2014

San Diego Regional Sustainable Strategies Plan Invalidated; SANDAG Has Requested Supreme Court Review - Cleveland National Forest Foundation et al. v. San Diego Association of Governments (November 24, 2014) Fourth...more

Fourth District’s Split Decision Further Complicates CEQA Requirements Surrounding GHG Impact Analysis and Mitigation Measures –...

Cleveland National Forest Foundation v. San Diego Association of Governments (11/24/14, D063288) - In a split decision on November 24, 2014, the Fourth District California Court of Appeal invalidated the program EIR...more

U.S. Supreme Court Hears Arguments in 4-R Act Case (For the Second Time)

On December 9, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the last of three state and local tax cases that it accepted this term – Alabama Department of Revenue v. CSX Transportation, Inc. (CSX II), a case that had...more

Justices Probe Limits of Non-Delegation Doctrine and Express Due Process Concerns

Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral argument in Dep't of Transp. v. Ass'n of Am. Railroads. At issue is whether Congress may grant Amtrak, a private entity created by Congress, the power to co-author regulations...more

DOT Denies Request to Prohibit Shipment of Bakken Crude Oil on Older Tank Cars; Environmental Groups Push Battle to Courtroom

On December 2, 2014 following the Department of Transportation’s (“DOT”) November 7, 2014 denial of their request for an immediate ban on use of older DOT-111 or CTC-111 railcars for the shipment of crude oil from the Bakken...more

Analysis Of GHGs Under CEQA Just Got More Complex: Fourth District’s Split Decision Invalidates Program EIR For SANDAG’s 2050...

In a 2-1 published opinion filed November 24, 2014, the Fourth District Court of Appeal, Division 1, affirmed and modified the trial court’s judgment granting writ petitions by plaintiff groups challenging the EIR for the San...more

Federal Government May Be Liable for Patent Infringement by Private Companies Performing Quasi-Governmental Functions

IRIS Corp. v. Japan Airlines Corp.; SecurityPoint Holdings, Inc. v. TSA - Addressing the jurisdiction of a patent infringement claim against the U.S. government, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit...more

The (Damaged) Freight Stops Here. (But Now What Do We Do With It?) The Pitfalls Of Salvage And Damage Mitigation

Unfortunately, amongst the millions of freight shipments of all modes that occur on a daily basis, some freight does get damaged. These damages spawn freight claims, and some of them generate litigation. A defense often...more

Court Confirms Award Over Arguments Of “Manifest Disregard,” “Evident Partiality,” And “Corruption”

A transported liquid chemical had been found degraded after shipping from Texas to South Korea. The chemical company contended that the shipper was responsible for the losses as samples taken from the chemical prior to its...more

Construction Case Law Update - November 2014

Personal Injury Liability, Design Standards, Slavin Doctrine, and Certorari Jurisdiction – Certiorari jurisdiction can arise where two parties in the same legal position move for summary judgment under the same theory...more

NTSB Ruling: FAA Regulations Enforceable Against Drones

In the ever shifting landscape of drone law, there has been another seismic shift. In a November 18, 2014 ruling, the NTSB held that the FAA does have the authority to enforce its regulations against certain model aircraft...more

Huerta v. Pirker: NTSB Rules that UAS Are “Aircraft” and Subject to FAA Prohibition on Careless and Reckless Operations

On November 18, 2014, in a unanimous decision, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) concluded that unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) are: “aircraft” within the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) statutory and...more

Huerta v. Pirker—NTSB Says No More “Gray Area” for Drone Operations

Unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) have operated within an uncertain legal framework while players across a rapidly growing range of commercial industries — from energy to rail transport to forestry to all types of...more

Supreme Court to Address Important Business Regulation Question Next Month in Department of Transportation v. Association of...

Next month, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral argument in Dep't of Transp. v. Ass'n of Am. Railroads, a case that may have major ramifications for businesses operating in the United States. This case concerns the limits...more

NTSB Finds That Drones Are “Aircraft” Under Federal Law

Order reverses an earlier ruling by an Administrative Law Judge in a closely watched case that challenged the FAA’s authority to regulate drones - On November 18, 2014, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB)...more

Federal Preemption May Be The Key For Calif. Railroads

Railroad operators across the U.S. are seeing a bright future due to the resurgence in freight rail traffic. Intermodal (i.e., cargo container) shipping is booming. In 2013, intermodal volume on the major railroads totaled...more

Alert: NTSB Determines Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Are Within the FAA'S Jurisdiction

The National Transportation Safety Board ("NTSB") today issued a decision affirming the jurisdiction of the FAA to regulate unmanned aerial vehicles. The NTSB found that the statutory definition of an "aircraft" included in...more

Unmanned Aircraft Systems Are 'Aircraft' Once Again

On November 17, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) reversed an administrative law judge’s decision that had called into question the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) authority to regulate Unmanned Aircraft...more

Agencies Beware: Supreme Court Leans Toward Air Marshal Whistleblower in Oral Argument

On November 4, 2014, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Dep’t of Homeland Security v. MacLean, bringing closer to an end the lengthy dispute between Robert MacLean and his former employer, the Transportation Security...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

Transportation Projects Get A Lot Of Deference in Demonstrating Compliance With Air Quality Standards

In a decision late last month, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals made clear just how much deference agencies can get under the Supreme Court decisions in Chevron and Auer. The question in NRDC v. USDOT was whether, in...more

FAAAA Does Not Preempt California Meal and Rest Period Requirements

In Godfrey v, Oakland Port Services Corp., which was decided on October 28, 2014, the California Court of Appeal issued a published decision holding that the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act of 1994 (FAAAA)...more

The 'Rents: NCDOT Is Looking to Charge Rents, While Residential Tenants Are Denied Class Certification to Collect Rent Deposits

We've been quiet these past few weeks but the world has not been. We'd like to talk today about two entirely unrelated but fascinatingly fun topics: (1) the North Carolina Department of Transportation's ("NCDOT") idea to...more

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