Environmental Toxic Torts

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Aboveground Storage Tank Act Interpretive Rule

This morning, the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (“DEP”) filed a proposed interpretive rule (the “Interpretive Rule”) with the West Virginia Secretary of State’s office implementing, in part, the recent...more

Continuing Litigation Over Titanium Dioxide in Sunscreen and Cosmetics Underscores Importance of Exposure Assessments in...

In an ongoing Proposition 65 litigation brought in late 2013 by the Public Interest Alliance (PIA) targeting more than 100 sun-protection and powder-cosmetics manufacturers, plaintiff claims defendants’ products expose...more

PHMSA Proposes Regulations Claimed to Make Business Easier for Retailers and Transporters and Finalizes a Regulation that Could...

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) recently published two proposed regulations that may positively affect retailers and transporters, if implemented as proposed. In addition, PHMSA finalized a...more

MN PUC Affirms Path of Contentious Litigation for Externalities Value Determination

The MN PUC held a hearing on September 4, 2014, to address the impending investigation of social costs of pollutants under Minn. Stat. § 216B.2422 subd. 3 (known as externalities values). First established in the late 1990s,...more

Chance Of 2014 TSCA Reform Shrinking Fast

Stakeholders agree that the chances of legislative reform to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) are small -- and getting smaller as the days progress. Both Hill staff and industry trade representatives acknowledge that...more

Responsible Mercury Management Post-MEBA

Several domestic industries have historically produced elemental mercury as either a main product or a byproduct of their operations. This mercury has typically been sold to third parties that have utilized it in the...more

NPDES Permits Are Construed Narrowly Against the Permittee

In July, we noted that the Clean Water Act’s permit shield defense would be construed narrowly, applying only where a permittee had clearly disclosed that the relevant pollutant to the agency. This week, in Alaska Community...more

No Need To Wait For NJDEP’s Approval When Seeking Contribution For Site Cleanups

Parties that find themselves responsible for the remediation of contaminated property in New Jersey do not have to wait for the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (“NJDEP”) to approve a final cleanup plan...more

EPA's Concern Over TCE Vapor Intrusion Is Misguided

On July 9, 2014, the Director of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Superfund Division in Region 9 issued a memo to staff setting an “operational framework” to address “inhalation exposures [to trichloroethylene] in...more

CERCLA’s Three Year Statute of Limitations for Contribution Applies To Non-CERCLA Settlements

Parties which settle environmental liability in a judicially approved settlement have three years from the date of that settlement in which to seek contribution even if the settlement is not a CERCLA settlement. That is the...more

The Wait Is Over: Liable Parties Can Now Seek Early Contribution Claims Without New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection...

The recent Supreme Court of New Jersey ruling in Magic Petroleum v. Exxon Mobil demonstrates a trial court’s ability to allocate liability to “dischargers” while maintaining the role of the state’s Department of...more

Not So Fast: New York’s High Court Relieves Pressure on Liability Carriers to Disclaim Coverage “As Soon As Possible”

Under a New York statute, a liability insurer that denies coverage for a death or bodily injury claim must provide written notice of its decision “as soon as is reasonably possible.” Last year, in Long Island Lighting Co. v....more

Federal Court Determines Low Levels of Carcinogens PCE and TCE Insufficient to Establish Private RCRA Cause of Action Absent...

Further underscoring the importance of expert testimony to support environmental claims, the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey in Leese v. Lockheed Martin Corp., et al., No. 11-5091 (JBS/AMD), 2014...more

Importance of Judicial Approval of CERCLA Settlements

Before a Superfund settlement becomes enforceable, it must be reviewed by a federal court to confirm that it is fair, reasonable, and consistent with CERCLA’s objectives. This judicial review is at the heart of CERCLA’s...more

Grant Recipients Likely to Accept a 50 Percent Share of Cleanup Costs Under New Washington Grant Funding Rule

The new Department of Ecology (Ecology) grant funding rules, which are expected to go into effect in September 2014, will change the way grant recipients resolve contribution claims against other liable parties under the...more

How Much Deference Do States Get in Entering CERCLA Consent Decrees? Probably A Lot, But Perhaps Not As Much as You Thought

In Cannons Engineering, the First Circuit Court of Appeals famously stated that, when CERCLA consent decrees arrive at the courts of appeal for review, they do so “encased in a double layer of swaddling,” because both the EPA...more

BP Oil Spill Litigation – Current Status of the Litigation

As many are aware, BP entered into a Settlement Agreement to compensate citizens of areas surrounding the Gulf of Mexico for losses arising from the epic oil spill in 2010. There has been substantial litigation and appellate...more

Environmental Claims: Twenty Years Later

A Chapter 11 debtor moved to reopen its bankruptcy case more than 15 years after it was closed in order to enforce the plan confirmation order to prevent claims by a state environmental agency and other potentially...more

New Jersey Supreme Court Allows Early Contribution Claims Under the Spill Act

Parties sued by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (“DEP”) for remediation now have an immediate right to seek contribution from other potentially responsible parties. Following last week’s unanimous ruling...more

Environmental Due Diligence: A Practical Guide to Environmental Site Assessments Part 2

If after a Phase I ESA, the EP determines further investigation is warranted, that more invasive investigation takes the form of a Phase II ESA. The primary purpose in conducting a Phase II ESA is to evaluate any REC(s)...more

Fourth Circuit Affirms Liability for Selenium Discharges - Rejects Permit Shield Defense

By a published decision released on July 11, 2014, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit affirmed a district court decision out of the Western District of Virginia finding that A & G Coal Corporation (“A & G”)...more

Morristown Associates v. Grant Oil

In 2006, Morristown Associates filed a suit against multiple heating companies and the previous owners of a dry cleaning business to seek payment for the costs they incurred redeveloping the property. They cited the source...more

Settling Parties In Government Consent Orders Have CERCLA Claims For Contribution Not Cost Recovery

To the extent there was any remaining uncertainty, the Sixth Circuit has now made crystalline that a party settling some or all of its liability under CERCLA with the United States or a state has a contribution claim under...more

Oregon’s Statute of Repose May Block Common Law Environmental Claims

Oregon’s 10-year statute of repose may now play a bigger role in environmental lawsuits in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling that the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA),...more

The Clean Water Act - Is groundwater included?

There has been much controversy in the courts as to whether groundwater can be defined as “navigable waters” under the Clean Water Act. Courts are split on this decision, with equal numbers of rulings on both sides. One...more

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