Environmental 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

California Environmental Law & Policy Update - March 2016 #3

Environmental and Policy Focus - Bill would limit communications with California Coastal Commission: Santa Barbara Independent - Mar 23 - State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson announced plans to introduce a bill...more

About those calls from MassDEP…

Last month, we wrote about MassDEP’s trichloroethylene (TCE) site reevaluation initiative. MassDEP has begun the process of screening sites previously closed under the MCP to look for sites where TCE might exceed the new...more

Does Your Toxic Release Inventory Make You a Target for Enforcement?

Summary: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of the Inspector General is examining the Agency’s usage of Toxic Release Inventory data to evaluate companies’ compliance with surface water discharge permitting...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

Pennsylvania Jury Awards $4.2 Million in Groundwater Contamination Case

On Thursday, a federal jury in Pennsylvania ordered Cabot Oil & Gas to pay more than $4.2 million in damages to two Pennsylvania families who sued in 2009 alleging that the Texas-based company’s drilling operations...more

An Update on Reopening TCE Sites in Massachusetts

The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection plans to begin contacting some owners of properties with closed trichloroethylene (TCE) remediation sites and requiring them to conduct testing, following a review of...more

EPA and Municipalities Respond to Increased Concerns About Lead in Drinking Water

Since the public discovery of widespread lead contamination of drinking water in Flint, Michigan, there has been increased scrutiny on the status of drinking water regulation and aging water infrastructure. While the crisis...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

Lead in Drinking Water: Insurance Coverage Issues

The tragic water crisis in Flint, Michigan raises grave concerns as to the lurking hazards posed by our nation’s aging infrastructure. There are an estimated six million lead service lines in operation in the United States. ...more

Critical Habitat for Right Whales Expanded

Action Item: The National Marine Fisheries Services (“NMFS”) promulgated a final rule identifying critical habitats for the endangered Northern Atlantic Right Whale. Stakeholders involved in spill response, ocean and offshore...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

Pennsylvania Appeals Court Rejects Contamination Claim for Lack of Causation

Demonstrating the importance of expert causation evidence, a Pennsylvania appellate court refused a landowner’s request to reopen a case alleging chemicals from a natural gas drilling operation contaminated the landowner’s...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

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