Environmental Civil Procedure Toxic Torts

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More Legal Action in the Wake of Flint Water Crisis

We blogged about the Flint water crisis when class action lawsuits were filed earlier this year. The crisis began when Flint switched its water supply from Lake Huron via Detroit’s water system to the Flint River in April...more

Something in the Water: Flint Judge Disqualifies Himself and Staff as Theoretical Plaintiffs

In late April, U.S. District Court Judge Mark A. Goldsmith, in Concerned Pastors for Social Action, et al. v. Nick A. Kouri, et al., FlintRiverissued an interesting Order Regarding Disqualification. During an April 6, 2016...more

Texas Court of Appeals Issues Important State Superfund Order

In a “case of first impression,” U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit,texascapitol sitting in Austin, in TCEQ v. Exxon Mobil Corporation, et al., issued an important decision interpreting the scope of the Texas Solid...more

4th Circuit Revisits N.C.’s Statute of Repose; No Bar to Hazardous Waste-Related Personal Injury Claims

Twice, courts have been called upon to interpret North Carolina’s 10-year statute of repose in connection with injuries allegedly stemming from the release of hazardous substances. CTS Corporation v. Waldburger involved CTS’s...more

Tenth Circuit holds that environmental contamination case doesn’t require remand under Class Action Fairness Act’s “local...

Although the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 (CAFA) permits most significant class actions to be heard in federal court, the law requires district courts to remand so-called “local controversies” to state court. A “local...more

Double Counting and Inflexibility Are Unreasonable in 4A Negotiations Says Mass. Appeals Court: Court Affirms Award of Attorneys’...

Seeking 80 percent of remedial costs from each of two potentially responsible parties and “inflexibility” in pre-litigation negotiations are sufficiently unreasonable to trigger attorneys’ fees under the Massachusetts cleanup...more

Complaints Are Not Totally Meaningless: A CERCLA Plaintiff Must Allege Disposal Against a Former Owner

I know it may surprise some litigators, but occasionally the allegations in a complaint do matter. In Garrett Day v. International Paper, the Court dismissed CERCLA claims brought by the current owner of a former paper mill...more

Implications of the Clean Power Plan on Historical Research

We’ve been closely tracking litigation related to the EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan (CPP), which seeks to reduce carbon pollution from power plants and includes state-by-state mandates. Recently, the Supreme Court stayed...more

Private and Governmental Plaintiffs File Toxic Tort Suits Over L.A. Gas Leak

In perhaps the most well-publicized environmental release incident since Deepwater Horizon, Southern California Gas Co. faces a number of toxic tort-based lawsuits stemming from a natural gas leak at one of its storage wells...more

North Dakota High Court Rejects “Take-Home” Asbestos Claim

In a case of first impression that may clarify the duty of care in secondary exposure claims in North Dakota, the state’s highest court rejected claims based on childhood exposure to asbestos brought home on an insulation...more

Iowa Trial Court Certifies Class of 4,000 Residents in Corn Mill Nuisance Suit

In a victory for toxic tort class action plaintiffs, an Iowa trial court certified a class covering approximately 4,000 residents who alleged property damages due to air emissions from a nearby corn milling plant. See...more

Federal Court Strikes Town Ordinance Requiring Warning Labels

In a case that may have implications for chemical warning laws, a federal court in New York found a town’s efforts to require warning labels on pesticide-treated utility poles compelled non-commercial speech and infringed on...more

Iowa Trial Court Certifies Class of 4,000 Residents in Corn Mill Nuisance Suit

In a victory for toxic tort class action plaintiffs, an Iowa trial court certified a class covering approximately 4,000 residents who alleged property damages due to air emissions from a nearby corn milling plant. See...more

Sixth Circuit Rules that Clean Air Act Does Not Preempt State Tort Claims

In a decision that may leave facilities open to private tort liability despite compliance with federal Clean Air Act (CAA) requirements, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit concluded that the CAA does not preempt...more

Environmental exposure: a step towards compensation of neighbours of former asbestos-using plants?

On 22 October 2015, the Paris Civil Court ("Tribunal de grande instance de Paris") handed down a judgment concerning environmental exposure to asbestos which could pave the way towards compensation of neighbours of industrial...more

The Ongoing Water Crisis in Flint, Michigan

Last week, citizens of Flint, Michigan filed two class-action lawsuits against Gov. Rick Snyder, Michigan Department of Health & Human Services, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, and other government officials. ...more

Jury in C-8 Exposure Case Awards $1.6M in Compensatory Damages, Denies Punitives

An Ohio federal jury in October handed out the first verdict in multi-district litigation (“MDL”) against E.I. DuPont de Nemours and Co. related to ammonium perfluorooctanoate, or C-8, in drinking water around DuPont’s...more

Court Allows Pennsylvania Punitive Damages Claims in Petroleum Exposure Case

The judge in a petroleum exposure case will allow a jury to decide whether a gas station operator and its environmental consultant recklessly failed to inform a plumber of the risks of working in an excavated pit with a...more

Third Circuit Affirms First-Filed Rule to Nix Toxic Tort Forum Shopping

Chastising the Plaintiffs for forum shopping, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit upheld a district court’s decision to dismiss a matter with prejudice on the grounds that the Plaintiffs had previously...more

Seventh Circuit Affirms Exclusion of Plaintiffs’ Causation Experts in Vinyl Chloride Case

Underscoring the importance of sound science in expert opinions, the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit upheld the exclusion of expert testimony that did not adequately draw or extrapolate from reliable...more

Texas Appellate Court Sides with Energy Industry by Requiring Personal Injury Plaintiffs to Submit Expert Testimony in Nuisance...

In a significant victory for the energy industry, on October 7, 2015, the San Antonio Court of Appeals affirmed summary judgment in favor of Marathon Oil Corporation, Marathon Oil EF, LLC (together “Marathon”) and Plains...more

“Not the Stuff of Science”: “Differential Etiology” Causation Opinions Fail Daubert in 7th Circuit Toxic Tort Case

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed a district court’s grant of summary judgment in an environmental toxic tort case, holding that the testimony of all three of plaintiffs’ causation experts – James Dahlgren,...more

DuPont Wins Partial Summary Judgment in Drinking Water MDL

An Ohio federal district court gave E.I. DuPont de Nemours and Co. a partial victory in litigation over ammonium perfluorooctanoate (“C-8”) drinking water contamination in Ohio and West Virginia by granting partial summary...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

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