Environmental Personal Injury Energy & Utilities

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Sixth Circuit Rejects Clean Air Act Preemption of State Common Law Claims: Four Things to Know

In two decisions released on November 2, 2015, Merrick, et al. v. Diageo Americas Supply, Inc. and Little et al. v. Louisville Gas & Electric Company; PPL Corporation, the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit...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

Texas Court Requires Expert Testimony to Support Toxic Tort Personal Injury Claims

Reinforcing the requirement for expert testimony to support toxic tort personal injury claims under Texas law, a Texas appellate court held that claims for damages due to “symptoms caused by discomfort” do not fall within the...more

Hydrocarbon Exposure Dismissal Affirmed

You might recall previous entries discussing Parr v. Aruba – a suit for personal injuries from oilfield pollution (and a $2.9MM verdict for the plaintiffs). Not all similar suits have the same result....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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Minerals Matter - Autumn 2014

Welcome to the latest edition of Minerals Matters. Whilst the economic picture has certainly improved over the last six months, there have been a number of stops and starts along the way. Data suggests further...more

Kentucky Federal Court Holds Tort Claims Not Preempted by Clean Air Act

State common law tort claims based on air emissions from a power plant are not preempted by the federal Clean Air Act (CAA), according to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky. The court agreed to...more

American Pipe Tolling Inapplicable In Texas Negligent Misstatement Case

The Southern District of Texas found that negligent misstatement claims filed more than two years after the last alleged misstatement were time-barred and that the applicable statute of limitations was not tolled under...more

Supreme Court Roundup: Recent Environmental Law Rulings and Pending Cases

Scaling back considerably from the October 2012 Term, the United States Supreme Court issued only a few rulings affecting environmental law during the October 2013 Term. With significant pronouncements regarding EPA’s Clean...more

New Wave of State Law Air Pollution Torts?

The U.S. Supreme Court’s denial of certiorari in Bell v. Cheswick could pave the way for more state common law air pollution tort suits and greater exposure for emitters. A new wave of state common law air pollution...more

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