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Federal Court Orders DOT to Respond to Sierra Club’s Unsafe Tank Car Lawsuit

A Federal Court has ordered the Department of Transportation (DOT) to respond to a lawsuit filed by three environmental organizations—Earthjustice, Sierra Club and ForestEthics—in which the parties asked the court to order...more

California’s High Speed Rail Project. Are We Done With the Drama?

Proponents of California’s high-speed rail project cleared a major hurdle this past week when the California Supreme Court declined to review a California Court of Appeals ruling which held that the state’s funding plan did...more

Environmental Groups Seek to Derail Bakersfield Crude-by-Rail Project

A coalition of environmental groups has filed a lawsuit challenging Kern County’s approval of the first substantial oil-by-rail expansion project at a California refinery, alleging that the comprehensive Environmental Impact...more

Mainbrace - October 2014, No. 3

In This Issue: - Maritime Cybersecurity: A Growing Threat Goes Unanswered - Valuation in Maritime Chapter 11 Cases: Genco and “NAV” - Is the U.S. Prepared Legally and Operationally to Protect Its Arctic...more

District Judge Allows Rail Union to Side Step Rule 23 with Pattern-Or-Practice Claim

A federal district judge in Hammond, Indiana, has permitted a rail union to pursue injunctive remedies in a Title VII pattern-or-practice discrimination claim on behalf of its black members without compliance with Rule 23. In...more

Conservative Kansas Joins the Liberal Ninth Circuit in Rejecting the Independent Contractor Classification of Delivery Drivers

Last month we blogged about two Ninth Circuit opinions that deemed FedEx Ground drivers to be employees rather than independent contractors under California and Oregon law. Last week the Kansas Supreme Court joined them,...more

First Circuit Favors Broad Application of Analogue to Airline Deregulation Act Preemption Provision

On September 30, 2014, in Massachusetts Delivery Association v. Coakley, No. 13-2307 (September 30, 2014), the First Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a lower court’s refusal to preempt a Massachusetts independent...more

California Proposes Overhaul of Standards for Analyzing Traffic Impacts

Last month Governor Jerry Brown’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR) released for public review and debate proposed draft amendments to the California Environmental Quality Act’s implementing guidelines (CEQA Guidelines)....more

Airline Industry Legal Alert: Ninth Circuit Hears Argument on Strike Injunction Against Non-Union Employees

Yesterday, Douglas Hall, a partner in the Airline Group of FordHarrison, appeared before an en banc panel of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to defend an injunction obtained on behalf of Aircraft Service...more

Level of Detail Adequate in High Speed Rail Authority’s Program EIR for Central Valley to Bay Area Rail Corridor

Town of Atherton v. California High-Speed Rail Authority (7/24/14, C070877) - The appellate court upheld the California High-Speed Rail Authority’s Program EIR for the Central Valley to Bay Area portion of the route,...more

Real Estate and Land Use - Sep 2014

Evidence of Economic Infeasibility of CEQA Alternatives Explained (SPRAWLDEF v. San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission) - Why it matters: In upholding the approval of a 260-acre expansion to the...more

Frequent-Flyer Class Actions Likely To Be Less Frequent

Airlines offer frequent-flyer programs to reward loyal customers and attract new ones by awarding various perks based on the “miles” each member accumulates. In practice, however, frequent-flyer programs too often attract...more

If it doesn’t matter, pay up! The High Court keeps a broad interpretation of Section 54

Maxwell v Highway Hauliers Pty Ltd [2014] HCA 33 - The High Court today handed down a decision concerning Section 54 (1) of the Insurance Contracts Act. The decision is important for many insurers, particularly those...more

English Appellate Court Dismisses Appeal Of Judgment Declaring No Liability Under A Cargo Liability Reinsurance Policy

A judgment found that certain Lloyd’s reinsurers were not liable to cover the destruction of cargo on board a vessel that capsized in the Philippines during a Typhoon. The trial court relied on a typhoon warranty clause...more

Earthquake in the Independent Contractor Misclassification Field: Changed Landscape Following Serious Legal Blow to FedEx Ground...

FedEx Ground has been at the epicenter of the crackdown on IC misclassification by government regulators, state legislators, and plaintiffs’ class action lawyers since 2007, when a California appellate court found...more

Flash No. 42 FedEx Ground Drivers Found to be Employees: A Sequel To Ruiz

In a decision issued on August 27, the Ninth Circuit Federal Court of Appeals, in a case captioned Alexander v. FedEx Ground Package System, determined that FedEx Ground drivers were employees as a matter of law under...more

Federal Ninth Circuit Court Of Appeals Rules FedEx Drivers Are Employees, Not Independent Contractors, Under Both California's and...

Class actions were brought against FedEx in both California and Oregon by FedEx drivers contending they had been misclassified as independent contractors. (Alexander, et al. v. FedEx Ground Package System, Inc. and Slayman,...more

Ninth Circuit Court Of Appeals Rules That Emission Of Locomotive Diesel Particulate Matter Is Not Disposal Under RCRA

In a unanimous decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on August 20, 2014, upheld a lower court’s ruling and rejected an attempt by several environmental groups to use the citizen suit provision under the...more

Ninth Circuit Rejects Environmental Groups’ RCRA Claims Against Railyard Operators

The Ninth Circuit has affirmed the dismissal of claims by environmental groups attempting to characterize air emissions from California railyards as “disposal” of waste under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA)....more

National Transportation Safety Board Procedures to Change: Comments Due by October 14, 2014

If you have participated in the investigation of a major transportation calamity, you are likely familiar with the bold yellow lettering on the blue jackets of National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigators. These...more

It’s Really Difficult to Site a Highway in a Refuge

In an important decision last week, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals made clear just how high the hurdles are in the way of building highways in wildlife refuges. The decision in Defenders of Wildlife v. North Carolina DOT...more

Kern County’s CEQA Mitigation Measure For Wind Farm Project Relying On FAA Review and Determination of Aviation Safety Impacts Is...

Alleged land use conflicts between newly proposed land uses and existing nearby airports are nothing new, and can produce heated CEQA battles as project opponents often raise “life safety” issues as potential project impacts....more

New Hampshire Court Dismisses Negligent Hiring and Retention Claims as Redundant of Motor Carrier’s Vicarious Liability

A New Hampshire trial court recently ruled that negligent hiring and retention claims asserted against a motor carrier on behalf of persons seriously injured in a multi-vehicle accident are redundant of the motor carrier’s...more

CEQA Alert: Court of Appeal Blunts Latest CEQA Attack on California’s High-Speed Train System

On July 24, 2014, California’s Third Appellate District affirmed a trial court’s ruling that the California High-Speed Rail Authority’s (Authority’s) revised final program environmental impact report/environmental impact...more

Court Signals Green to $8.6bn California High-Speed Rail Bond Issuance

The Third District Court of Appeal reversed a Sacramento Superior Court Judge’s ruling that prohibited the High Speed Rail Authority (HSRA) from selling bonds under Proposition 1A to construct the High Speed Rail Project...more

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