Civil Remedies Constitutional Law Energy & Utilities

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Justices Spar Over Pre-Emption as High Court Allows State Law Antitrust Claims to Proceed Against Interstate Pipelines

The recent 7-2 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Oneok, Inc. et al. v. Learjet, Inc. et al. ruled that state law antitrust claims brought against interstate pipeline companies by a group of manufacturers and other retail buyers...more

Alien Tort Case Development: Ninth Circuit Affirms Dismissal of Claims Against Occidental Petroleum

In mid-December, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal of claims filed pursuant to the Alien Tort Statute (“ATS”) against Occidental Petroleum. Plaintiffs in the case argued that Occidental should be held...more

Commonwealth Court Rejects Constitutional Challenge to Natural Gas Production on State-Owned Lands and Use of Lease Funds in...

The Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania has dismissed a lawsuit filed by the Pennsylvania Environmental Defense Foundation (PEDF) to declare unconstitutional and enjoin natural gas extraction from State park and forest land....more

Industry Challenging County and Municipal Bans on Multiple Fronts

Municipalities and counties have joined forces with environmental groups to halt hydraulic fracking and related well stimulation techniques. Environmental groups have filed suits under the National Environmental Policy Act...more

Ninth Circuit Rejects Use of Preemptive Litigation to Validate Federal Approvals

Shell Gulf of Mexico, Inc., v. Center for Biological Diversity, (11/12/14, No. 13-35835) The Ninth Circuit has rejected a “novel litigation strategy” that Shell Gulf of Mexico, Inc., employed in an effort to preempt a...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

District of Arizona Rethinks NEPA’s Zone of Interests in Light of Recent Supreme Court Opinion on “Prudential” Standing

On September 30, 2014, the United States District Court for the District of Arizona (Campbell, D.J.) issued an order in Yount v. Salazar, Nos. 11-8171 et al., 2014 WL 4904423 (D. Ariz. Sept. 30, 2014). As part of this order,...more

Easements Made Easier: Building Pipelines with the Power of Eminent Domain Under the Natural Gas Act

Any person or entity seeking to construct a natural gas pipeline and successful in obtaining a certificate of convenience and necessity from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission may exercise the power of eminent domain to...more

Court Provides Guidelines on Valuing Natural Resources in Eminent Domain Proceedings

Valuing mineral rights in eminent domain proceedings is inherently speculative and can lead to wide swings in property valuations. So how do appraisers best deal with the uncertainty involved in mineral exploitation? The...more

The Koontz Decision; Back to Florida

In the recent landmark decision of the United States Supreme Court in Koontz v. St. Johns Water Mgmt. Dist., 133 S. Ct. 2586 (2013), the Court majority held that exactions sought by local governments, which are not rationally...more

Precondemnation "Right of Entry" Statutes Challenged as Unconstitutional Takings

For years, public agencies have utilized a statutory "right of entry" procedure to gain access to private property to conduct investigations and testing before deciding whether to move forward with a condemnation action. ...more

Contrary Legal Winds At Cape Wind - Opponents Of Offshore Wind Sue Asserting Preemption

Would you care to hazard a guess at how long it takes to bring online an offshore wind farm in the United States? At the moment, it is 12+ years and counting. A recent court filing arguing constitutional questions is...more

Fracking: A New Contact Sport

One of the more interesting developments coming from the rise in hydraulic fracturing (fracking) is the efforts by municipalities to prohibit or limit fracking in their backyards, and the ensuing debates on the...more

DISPUTE RESOLUTION - Oil & Gas Litigation - Heightened Scrutiny of Pipeline Companies' Common Carrier Status Perhaps a New Reality

Two recently-decided Texas cases illustrate that heightened scrutiny of pipeline companies' status as common carriers may be applied when landowners challenge their ability to secure easements by eminent domain. ...more

Court Affirms Authority of NJ Board of Public Utilities to Override Municipalities

Court Affirms Authority of NJ Board of Public Utilities to Override Municipalities by Dennis C. Linken on May 3, 2013 A recent State Superior Court, Appellate Division, case has affirmed the overarching authority of the...more

Virginia Supreme Court Opinion Affecting Local Government Law: September 14, 2012

On September 14, 2012, the Virginia Supreme Court issued no opinions affecting the practice of Virginia local government law. Actually, that is not true. While no opinions involved cases with local government parties,...more

DISPUTE RESOLUTION: Implications for Pipeline Construction after Denbury

On March 2, 2012, the Texas Supreme Court issued a new opinion[1] that has reinforced and modified its landmark 2011 Denbury decision, which has particularly significant implications for the pipeline industry in Texas. At...more

Land-Use Planning and Natural Resource Rights - The Alberta Land Stewardship Act

Alberta’s new Land Stewardship Act is unique regional land-use planning legislation that affects both private and public land in the province. Significantly, the regional plans to be developed will adversely affect, amend and...more

New Mexico Supreme Court Hears Oral Argument on Domestic Wells

On Thursday, October 13, 2011, the New Mexico Supreme Court heard oral arguments in two cases challenging the state statutes on domestic wells. The cases essentially challenge the Constitutionality of several state statutes...more

Tax Injunction Act Does Not Bar a Levy Imposed on a Single Entity

On June 20, 2011, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ruled that the federal district court for the District of Maryland has jurisdiction to adjudicate a case involving the constitutionality and validity of a...more

Supreme Court To Decide Fate Of Global Warming Litigation In American Electric Power Co. v. Connecticut

On December 6, 2010, the Supreme Court granted certiorari in American Electric Power Co. v. Connecticut, a federal nuisance case on appeal from the Second Circuit. Plaintiffs -- eight states, the City of New York and three...more

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