Energy & Utilities Personal Injury

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News & Analysis as of

Lone Pine Loss: Supreme Court of Colorado Says State Rules Don’t Allow Use of Lone Pine Orders in Natural Gas Drilling Case

Earlier this week, the Supreme Court of Colorado issued its long-awaited decision in Antero Resources Corp. v. Strudley and held that the Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure do not allow a trial court to issue a modified case...more

Senator Allain Proposes Mandatory Mediation in Legacy Lawsuits

Legacy litigation refers to hundreds of lawsuits in Louisiana seeking damages allegedly related to environmental harm caused by oil and gas exploration and production activities. These lawsuits have been likened to winning...more

Fracking: Not “Abnormally Dangerous” Says Middle District of PA

Civil liability for damages normally requires evidence of a defendant’s negligence as the cause of the property damage or injury involved....more

Not Saved By The Bell: Dismissing Classes Prediscovery

Two billion dollars. That is what the top legal counsel at nearly 350 companies spent on the defense of class actions in 2014. In addition to the cost of outside counsel, on average, companies dedicate six in-house...more

Highlights from the Admiralty Law Institute

The 25th Biennial Admiralty Law Institute kicked off with great success on March 11, 2015. Informative presentations continued on March 12-13, building on the theme of this year’s conference, “Symposium on Maritime Personal...more

Zachry Construction Corp.: The End to Indemnity for Exemplary Damages?

In August 2014, the Texas Supreme Court decided Zachry Construction Corp. v. Port of Houston Authority of Harris County, 2014 WL 4472616 (Tex.). While the case involves construction issues—and specifically the enforceability...more

Texas Supreme Court Opinions and Orders (3/15)

In its weekly order list, the Supreme Court of Texas issued four opinions and accepted a certified question from the Fifth Circuit. ...more

Subsurface Trespass Claims Remain an Open Question in Texas

On February 6, 2015, the Texas Supreme Court released its unanimous and long-awaited opinion in the case Environmental Processing Systems, L.C. v. FPL Farming Ltd., 2015 WL 496336 (Tex. 2015), which did not surprise many...more

Petroleum Companies Dismissed from Pair of Louisiana Federal Lawsuits Alleging Environmental Impact to Canals and Coastal Lands

Federal judges in the Eastern District of Louisiana recently dismissed a pair of cases against petroleum companies relating to their legacy exploration and production activities. In Alford v. Anadarko E&P Onshore LLC, 2015...more

Judge Finds GenOn Power Plant Suit is Like School on a Saturday … No Class.

A Pennsylvania federal judge recently struck the class allegations from a suit brought against GenOn Power Midwest LP, alleging that its coal-fired power plant released toxic emissions that damaged surrounding property. Even...more

Locke Lord QuickStudy: No Duty to Protect the Levee Districts’ Interest in the “Buffer Zone”

In a lengthy opinion issued on February 13, 2015, Judge Nannette Brown of the United States District Court for the Eastern District Of Louisiana found that the eighty-eight oil and gas defendants sued by the Board of...more

Locke Lord QuickStudy: What’s Underground Is Still Up For Grabs in Texas

Since the first oilman drilled the first water disposal well, cases have come through the courts in the U.S. trying to determine what rights each estate owner has, as well as the potential liability attributable to using...more

Texas Supreme Court Incorporates Limitations From An “Insured Contract” Into GL Policy

In In re Deepwater Horizon, Cause No. 13-0670, Slip Op., Feb. 13, 2015, the Texas Supreme Court held that an allocation of liability found in an “insured contract” would determine the coverage provided to an additional...more

Recovery for Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress Under California Law Gains a Greater Clarity

The recent decision in Wilson v. Southern California Edison Co., __Cal. App. 4th__, 2015 WL 522578, provides increased clarity into the California rule permitting claims for negligent infliction of emotional distress (NIED)...more

Texas Supreme Court Orders and Opinions (2/15)

Today, the Supreme Court of Texas issued opinions in two argued cases. The Court did not grant any new petitions or set any mandamus petitions for argument. ...more

Texas Supreme Court Leaves Trespass Question Unanswered

Last week, the Texas Supreme Court issued its opinion in Environmental Processing Systems LC v. FPL Farming Ltd., case number 12-0905, and specifically declined to address the issue of whether wastewater that migrates under...more

Is Wastewater Migration From Disposal Wells A Trespass Under Texas Law? The Texas Supreme Court Declines to Answer

In Environmental Processing Systems, L.C. v. FPL Farming Ltd., a landowner sued the operator of a neighboring wastewater disposal facility on the theory that deep subsurface wastewater trespassed beneath the landowner’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

Indemnification by Insurance Precluded under Wyoming Anti-indemnity Statute in Oil & Gas Personal Injury Coverage Dispute

On December 19, 2014, the Federal District Court in Wyoming issued a decision in Lexington Insurance Company v. Precision Drilling Co., LP, et al. , D. Wyo., Case No. 12-cv-070-J, extending the reach of the anti-indemnity...more

California Appellate Court Upholds Bar to Liability by Premises Owners for Secondary Exposure

In Wanda Beckering v. Shell Oil Company, 2014 WL 6611088, the Second District of the California Court of Appeal affirmed the granting of summary judgment in favor of defendant Shell Oil Company, finding that the plaintiff was...more

Supreme Court's Petition Denial in Clean Air Act Pre-emption Case Reinforces Threat From Common Law Claims

The United States Supreme Court denied a petition for certiorari earlier this month after the Iowa Supreme Court held in June that the plaintiffs' nuisance claims were not pre-empted by the Clean Air Act (CAA) in Freeman v....more

Proof and Causation Matter: District Court Declines to Penalize ExxonMobil in Texas Citizen Suit

On Wednesday, Judge David Hittner, of the District Court for the Southern District of Texas, in a decision long enough to require two separate pdfs, declined to impose an injunction or penalties (plaintiffs sought...more

Underground Access

Draft legislation currently before the UK parliament proposes some significant changes to existing trespass laws to facilitate the development and growth of the geothermal and shale-gas industries in the UK. Originally...more

Womble Client Wins Stormwater Case in Charlottesville

Another victory in Central Virginia for Womble Carlyle. Last week, Albemarle County Circuit Court Judge Cheryl Higgins ruled in favor of the Shops at Stonefield (also known as Albemarle Place), finding the stormwater...more

Proving An Operator’s Gross Negligence: Is Intention Required?

Establishing an operator’s gross negligence requires “a degree of intentionality”, the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench recently held in Bernum Petroleum Ltd v Birch Lake Energy Inc, 2014 ABQB 652 [Bernum]....more

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