Environmental Residential Real Estate

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CEQA Alert: Court of Appeal Rules that EIR Must Analyze Correlation Between Project’s Incremental Impact on Air Quality and Impact...

In Sierra Club v. County of Fresno (opinion filed 5/27/14; link below), California’s Fifth Appellate District held that the County violated the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) by failing to adequately analyze,...more

Evaluating Environmental Risks in Real Estate Transactions

Evaluating environmental risks associated with real estate transactions is a standard, and often standardized, practice for sophisticated real estate practitioners. However, in light of several recent developments - the...more

HUD adopts updated standard for Phase I Environmental Site Assessments

Construction SignHUD’s Office of Housing and the Federal Housing Administration’s adoption of a new technical standard for conducting Phase I Environmental Site Assessments (“Phase I ESA”) took effect on May 16, 2014....more

Insurer Sues Municipalities Over Claims Stemming from Climate Change

Farmers Insurance has filed a series of class action lawsuits against several Chicago area municipalities for allegedly failing to address climate change in their storm water runoff plan. Farmers claims that this led to...more

CERCLA’s Statutory Liability Defenses — How Strict Is CERCLA Liability?

It was no surprise that the Second Circuit in In re September 11 Ligitation recently affirmed the lower court’s ruling that contamination caused by the 9/11 attacks was within CERCLA’s “Act of War” defense. Although CERCLA...more

California Judicial Council Approves New Court Rules To Implement Expedited Procedures For CEQA Lawsuits Attacking Large...

New court rules will significantly expedite the timeline for lawsuits brought under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) to challenge the certification of the environmental impact report (EIR) or the granting of...more

Federal Court Rejects Homeowners’ Expert’s Valuation of Alleged Diminution in Value Due to Environmental Contamination

In a recent environmental contamination case, a New Jersey federal judge rejected an expert valuation of alleged diminution in value on Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, 509 U.S. 579 (1993) grounds. In Leese, et al. v....more

Duped Subcontractor Can’t Recover From Landowner Payments Owed by General Contractor Under CERCLA

On March 18, 2014, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit resolved a dispute of apparent first impression regarding the federal Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA). The...more

“Tiny Houses:” A Panacea For Social And Environmental Ills?

Could the answers to crushing mortgage debt, homelessness and ecological degradation be one and the same? Across the globe, a ‘tiny’ movement is taking root....more

Department of Housing and Urban Development Adopts Updated ASTM Standard

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced on April 16, 2014 that, effective May 16, 2014, it is adopting the recently updated Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) Standard, ASTM E1527-13. HUD...more

Cities Alive: The Future of Green Infrastructure

If you follow the construction industry you know that green is the new gold. As well as LEED bronze, silver and platinum. Green building, which not long ago conjured images of hippie architects and wealthy eccentrics,...more

Take That! Second District Court of Appeal Clears Major Hurdles for Newhall Ranch Project, Provides Guidance on California’s...

California’s Second District Court of Appeal, Division Five, issued a decision on March 20 in Center for Biological Diversity v. Department of Fish & Wildlife (Case No. BS131347), overturning the trial court’s decision...more

Ruling May Put The Brakes On Some CEQA Investigations

For years, public agencies have utilized a statutory "right-of-entry" procedure to gain access to private property to conduct investigations and testing before deciding whether to move forward with a condemnation action....more

Bowman v. California Coastal Commission: New California Court of Appeal Decision Holds that a Collateral Attack is no Substitute...

Sometimes in land use law, the most impactful court holdings come from the simplest of cases. That may be the situation with the new California Court of Appeal decision in Bowman v. California Coastal Commission, issued by...more

California’s New Building Energy Efficiency Standards to Go Into Effect July 1, 2014

California builders should be aware of a new set of energy efficiency standards set to go into effect on July 1, 2014. The California Energy Commission’s Energy Efficiency Standards (Standards) were promulgated in 1977 to...more

Court Rejects Statute Allowing Court Ordered Entry Onto Private Property by Public Agencies for Pre-Acquisition Testing

California Eminent Domain Law allows public agencies to obtain a court order permitting access onto private property to conduct pre-acquisition testing and inspections. These tests and inspections can help an agency...more

Mainebiz Real Estate Insider – The Winds of Change: Maine’s Transitioning Forest Products Industry

Maine’s economy has faced a difficult transition. Gone are the days of robust and stable economic growth based on our abundance of tangible natural resources. In weathering the consequences of the electronics age for our pulp...more

2 and 1/2 Strikes and the NGOs May Be Out: EPA Refuses to Exercise Residual Designation Authority

Stormwater regulation is a thorny issue. There is widespread agreement that nutrient run-off can be a significant problem, but little agreement on what to do about it, since stormwater infrastructure is normally managed by...more

EPA Approves the New Phase I Standard

Many in the construction industry are familiar with Phase I testing as the first step in identifying environmental risk to any site. Since 2005, the industry standard for a Phase I has been the ASTM E 1527-05. Recently,...more

Green Law Corner: What LEED v4 Means for You

In late 2013, the U.S. Green Building Council released its latest version of LEED, Version 4. Most of you have certainly heard of LEED but you may not know what LEED really means. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and...more

Legal Alert: Marvin M. Brandt Revocable Trust v. United States: Supreme Court Opens the Door to Potential Fifth Amendment Takings...

In what is commonly known as a rails-to-trails case, the U.S. Supreme Court held on March 10, 2014, in an eight-to-one decision, that certain railroad rights-of-way revert to private property owners following the railroad’s...more

Tower Lane Properties v. City of Los Angeles: JMBM Prevails in Published Court of Appeal Opinion Holding that a City's Erroneous...

JMBM has prevailed in the Court of Appeal on behalf of its client in a well-publicized and hotly-contested development project in the City of Los Angeles. The court's published opinion will come as welcome relief to property...more

California Building Energy Efficiency Standards Delayed to July 1, 2014

The California Contractors State License Board (“CSLB”) has issued an Industry Bulletin providing further information regarding the delayed implementation of the California Building Energy Efficiency Standards which has been...more

Massachusetts Supreme Court Endorses Broad Regulatory Authority Under The Massachusetts Endangered Species Act

On February 18, 2014, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court issued a decision in Pepin v. Division of Fisheries and Wildlife that upheld the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife’s ( “DFW’s”) regulatory scheme...more

New York Landowners Sue Governor Cuomo Over Fracking Review

A large group of New York property owners have filed suit against Governor Andrew Cuomo, demanding that the state concludes its five-year-long assessment of whether to allow high-volume hydraulic fracturing. The group, called...more

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