Energy & Utilities Civil Remedies

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Faulty Property Description Haunts Louisiana Servitude

Halloween is approaching, so let’s talk poltergeists – troublesome spirits that haunt a specific location. Where do they come from? In Quality Environmental Processes, Inc. v I.P. Petroleum Company, Inc., it was from a faulty...more

Indian Supreme Court Cancels Mining Concessions

On 24 September 2014, the Indian Supreme Court cancelled 214 out of the 218 existing coal-mining licenses. The only mining licences which were not cancelled were four coal blocks made to Government controlled undertakings...more

Kansas Appellate Court Disallows Strict Liability Claims for Refinery’s Alleged Discharge of Pollutants

In City of Neodesha v. BP Corporation North America, Inc., 2014 WL 4116576, which involved BP’s successful defense of claims relating discharges from its refinery, the Court of Appeals of Kansas affirmed the denial of the...more

Texas Supreme Court Orders 10/14 (Six Petitions Granted)

Because there are no opinions and no grants in the Supreme Court's order list this morning, this is a good opportunity for me to do the promised post on the petitions granted in the October 3, 2014 order list. ...more

Texas Supreme Court Declines to Address Recovery for Stigma Damages in the Absence of a Permanent Physical Injury to Property

In a closely watched case, the Texas Supreme Court recently declined to address the issue of a right to recover damages for “stigma” in the absence of a permanent physical injury to property. (Houston Unlimited, Inc. v. Mel...more

Significant Victory for Defendants in Sierra Club Pollution Suit

In Sierra Club v. Energy Future Holdings Corp., No. W-12-CV-108 (W.D. Tex. August 29, 2014), a Texas federal judge recently awarded $6.4 million in attorneys’ fees and costs to the defendants in a pollution suit brought by...more

FinCrimes Update - September 2014 Summary, Volume 1, Issue 7

IN THIS ISSUE: BSA/AML & OFAC | Virtual Currency & Payment Systems | FCPA & Anti-Corruption | Criminal Enforcement. BSA/AML & OFAC: FINCEN OFFERS RED FLAGS GUIDANCE ON HUMAN TRAFFICKING AND...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

B.C. Surface Rights Board Reduces Rent Payable After Landowners Fail to Prove Loss

In the recent decision of the B.C. Surface Rights Board in Encana Corporation v Perry Burl Piper and Leslie Lancelot Dowd, the Board awarded compensation to landowners less than the amount previously offered by the operator. ...more

Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Legal Update: Judge Makes Findings of Gross Negligence and Negligence

While the Deepwater Horizon oil spill has largely disappeared from the news headlines, for the parties involved in the litigation, the legal machinations, particularly with respect to liability, have a long way still to...more

New Jersey Appellate Court Limits Measure of Damages for Contaminated Properties

On August 27, 2014, the Superior Court of New Jersey ruled in favor of Puritan Oil against a New Jersey property owner, finding that where the oil company had already taken steps to remedy contamination it caused on...more

FERC Issues Declaratory Orders in Shell and Pivotal Proceedings Related to LNG Production Facilities

On September 4, 2014, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC” or the “Commission”) issued declaratory orders in response to two petitions, each seeking a jurisdictional determination under the Natural Gas Act (“NGA”)...more

Texas Supreme Court Argument Preview (9/14)

On Wednesday, September 17, 2014, the Texas Supreme Court will hear argument in three cases. The arguments will begin at 9:00 am, and you can watch them live. You can also watch the recording later at the same link....more

Yes, Virginia, It Is Possible To Win A Fee Award Against An Environmental NGO

Last week, Judge Walter Smith, Jr., ordered the Sierra Club to pay more than six million dollars – yes, you read that correctly – to Energy Future Holdings and Luminant Generation, after finding that the Sierra Club’s Clean...more

Freedom to Contract Prevails in New Mexico

Is freedom to contract a good thing for everybody? First Baptist Church of Roswell v. Yates Petroleum Corp. says yes, and confirms that the public policy in New Mexico is freedom to contract. In this case, it was to avoid...more

Nuisance Claims Becoming More Than a Mere Nuisance in Texas

Plaintiffs Bob and Lisa Parr obtained a $2.9 million verdict in April 2014 against Aruba Petroleum, Inc. for health problems allegedly related to oil and gas drilling operations and air emissions near their home. The large...more

CO2 is Good

In French vs. Occidental Permian, Ltd. the Texas Supreme Court held that costs associated with injection of carbon dioxide into a reservoir in a tertiary recovery operation were properly deducted from royalties. This...more

Federal Court of Appeals Rules that California Water District May Recover Expectancy Damages from the United States

Opinion Reverses Trial Court, and Bureau of Reclamation May Owe Additional Damages for Breach of Water Supply Contract - A recent federal appellate decision may clear the way for water purveyors to collect damages when...more

Water District Shorted by Federal Government May Recover Expectancy Damages

A federal appellate court may have made it possible for water purveyors to collect additional damages from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation when water deliveries are shortened due to an inexcusable breach of contract. The...more

Fifth Circuit Reins In Trend of Expanding ESA Liability for Remote Harm

The Fifth Circuit's recent decision in The Aransas Project v. Shaw, No. 13-40317 (5th Cir. June 30, 2014), clarified two points relating to the element of causation in claims under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). ...more

Energy Charter Treaty and the YUKOS/Russia experience

On 28 July 2014, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague published a final award in an Energy Charter Treaty (ECT) arbitration that has been active for the past decade, ordering the Russian Federation (Russia) to pay...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

Historic Award in the Yukos Majority Shareholders Arbitration

In this issue: - Background of dispute - Tax reassessments - Harassment of Yukos - Settlement offers - “Rigged” auction - Harassment of PwC - Bankruptcy - Legal...more

District Court Denies Motion to Enjoin Delta Water Transfers

Last Friday, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California denied a motion brought by environmental groups to enjoin a water transfer project in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta (Delta). Plaintiffs...more

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