Energy & Utilities Personal Injury

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Emerging Trends in Tort Litigation Alleging Health Injuries Caused by Neighboring Oil and Gas Activities

Last year's $2.9 million verdict in Parr v. Aruba Petroleum, the so-called "first fracking trial," garnered attention in Texas and beyond. The significance laid not only in that the plaintiffs had succeeded on their private...more

Insurance Recovery Law - August 2015

Insured's Notice to Broker Satisfied Policy Requirements, Illinois Court Rules - Why it matters: An insured's notice to its broker satisfied the policy's notice requirements, an Illinois appellate panel recently...more

New Jersey Supreme Court Rejects Broad Expansion of Private Nuisance and Trespass

Action Item: On August 6, 2015, the Supreme Court of New Jersey in Ross v. Lowitz, et al., No. A-101-13 (N.J. Aug. 6, 2015), held that property owners could not prove claims for private nuisance and trespass against the...more

Without So Much as a Fig Leaf . . .

Legal commentators and court watchers rightly complain about activist judges who make laws rather than interpret them. Last month’s decision in the The Babcock & Wilcox Co. et al. v. American Nuclear Insurers, et al., is...more

Oklahoma Supreme Court Finds Subject Matter Jurisdiction Over Earthquake Claims

Potentially opening the door for litigation that seeks to tie deep-well injection of hydraulic fracturing flowback and other wastewater to damage caused by earthquakes, the Oklahoma Supreme Court unanimously held that state...more

Louisiana Federal Court Rejects Expert Testimony Tying Gasoline to AML

Underscoring the importance of the distinction between a product and its component parts, a federal court in Louisiana refused to allow expert testimony that exposure to gasoline caused acute myeloid leukemia (“AML”) in a...more

Michigan Court Finds Expert Testimony Not Necessary to Show Link Between Chemical Exposure and Injury

Issuing an opinion that could lower the bar for proving toxic tort causation, the Michigan Court of Appeals held that direct expert testimony may not be necessary to prove causation in a toxic tort case and that a plaintiff...more

District Court Limits Nuisance Claims Against Chemical Manufacturer in Elk River Spill

Finding only public interests at issue from contamination of public drinking water supplies, a West Virginia federal court dismissed a private nuisance claim, but not a public nuisance claim against a chemical manufacturer. ...more

San Francisco Cannot Sue Federal Agency For Gas Explosion Under APA

Yesterday, the Ninth Circuit issued its Opinion in City & County of San Francisco v. US Department of Transportation, holding the City may not proceed against the Secretary of Transportation and the Pipeline and Hazardous...more

Tenth Circuit Finds Price-Anderson Act Does Not Preempt Nuisance Claims

This decision departs from all other federal circuits that have addressed the issue and, if adopted by other courts, represents a significant expansion of potential liability for operators in the nuclear energy industry....more

Plaintiff Seeks to Use Anti-Discrimination Law to Stop Fracking

On July 14, a complaint was filed in Sacramento County Superior Court against Governor Brown and the Division of Oil, Gas & Geothermal Resources (“DOGGR”) Supervisor Steve Bohlen.  The lawsuit claims Governor Brown and...more

Sweeping Colorado Supreme Court Order Limits Lone Pine Approach

The Colorado Supreme Court issued a sweeping ruling that will limit, if not eliminate, Lone Pine-style case management orders in Colorado toxic tort cases. See Antero Resources v. Strudley, 2015 BL 111122 (Colo. Apr. 20,...more

Pennsylvania Federal Court Strikes Class Allegations in Air Pollution Suit

Underscoring the requirement that class action plaintiffs clearly and objectively define the putative class without reference to the underlying merits of plaintiffs’ claims, a federal district court in Pennsylvania struck...more

Pennsylvania Federal Court Rejects Early Lone Pine Motion in Oil and Gas Nuisance Suit

A federal district court in Pennsylvania cautioned against premature Lone Pine motions in a ruling that may be instructive for future lawsuits involving oil and gas exploration and production operations....more

Texas Supreme Court Holds Plaintiffs Must Prove Lack of Consent in Trespass Suits

Potentially making it more difficult for plaintiffs to prevail on trespass claims in Texas, the Supreme Court of Texas held for the first time that a plaintiff bears the burden of proving the lack of consent in a suit for...more

How Are the Texas Anti-SLAPP Statute and Jade Helm 15 Alike?

May a court “draw rational inferences from circumstantial evidence” when determining if a plaintiff has met its burden in a suit in which the defendant has invoked the Texas Citizens Participation Act . That was the question...more

Pa. Toxic Tort Settlement Shows Potential Danger in Benzene Exposure Lawsuits

A settlement recently reached between U.S. Steel Corp. and the widow of a Pennsylvania man allegedly exposed to benzene may fuel use of toxic tort lawsuits to sue over benzene exposures. ...more

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

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

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