Environmental Toxic Torts Civil Procedure

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PRP in CERCLA Enforcement Action Saves Millions of Dollars with Successful Divisibility Defense

Action Item: On March 15, 2015, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin in United States v. NCR Corp., No. 10-C-910 (E.D. Wis. May 15, 2015), held that a potentially responsible party (“PRP”) at...more

Ninth Circuit Strictly Construes “Single Local Event” Exception to CAFA Jurisdiction for Mass Actions

In a recent decision, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals strictly construed the “single local event” exception to federal jurisdiction under CAFA as not encompassing “events or occurrences” that are of a continuing...more

Are Concurrent CERCLA Claims For Section 107(a) Cost Recovery and Section 113(f) Contribution Permissible?

Given the uncertainties after Cooper Industries v. Aviall about what cause of action a PRP has for recovering response costs under CERCLA, many parties take the prudent course of pleading claims under both for cost recovery...more

California Federal Court Dismisses Medical Monitoring Claims for Lack of Plausible Cancer Risk

In a significant victory for defendants facing toxic tort exposure claims, a California federal court dismissed a medical monitoring putative class action brought by drinkers of certain Pepsi products because Plaintiffs...more

Louisiana Court Rules that Migration of Chemicals from Spill Not a “Continuing Tort”

In a case that may make it more difficult for plaintiffs to maintain years-old toxic tort cases in Louisiana, a state appellate court ruled that a 1983 chemical spill did not constitute a “continuing tort.” ...more

PCB Cleanup Suit Declared Time-Barred

A Connecticut federal judge recently dismissed a suit seeking to hold Monsanto and others responsible for the cleanup of polychlorinated biphenyls (“PCBs”) released from paint, finding that the plaintiff filed its suit after...more

Municipalities Lose First Round in Bid to Hold PCB Manufacturers Liable For Environmental Impacts

Two Massachusetts municipalities are down but not out in their attempts to hold manufacturers of PCBs responsible for the environmental effects of PCB-containing products decades later. ...more

Proposed California Bill Seeks to (Finally) Define “Knowing and Intentional” Element of Proposition 65

On February 23, 2015, Assemblyman Bill Quirk (D-Hayward) introduced legislation that would definitively define the term “knowing and intentional” that is contained in the actual text of Proposition 65 (Prop 65). There has...more

No Statute of Limitations for Private Contribution Claims Under New Jersey’s Spill Act

Selling a piece of commercial property often requires much negotiation and planning, and generally represents the culmination of a result of a well-reasoned business decision. And at the conclusion of the deal—and depending...more

Non-Settling CERCLA Defendants Beware: Ninth Circuit Provides Lower Courts with Discretion to Allocate Liability Using Equitable...

There is a split of authority on how credits for settlements under the Comprehensive Response, Compensation and Liability Act (“CERCLA”) are allocated to non-settlors. Some courts have applied the proportionate share...more

Allocating The Liability Shares of Settling PRPs Under CERCLA

Allocation of liability under CERCLA can get messy. One particularly complex issue arises in a private cost recovery action where some but not all the PRPs have settled with the private party. In contrast to a government...more

Divided Court Affirms Summary Judgment in CERCLA “Arranger” Case

The decision sets a high bar for proving intent to dispose of hazardous substances and may make it easier for a party alleged to be liable as an arranger under CERCLA to secure summary judgment. ...more

Dividing CERCLA Site Just Won't Cut It On Liability

In an order on March 3, U.S. District Judge William C. Griesbach, who is presiding over the long-running Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act litigation concerning the Lower Fox River and...more

Fourth Circuit Continues Trend toward Narrowing Scope of CERCLA Arranger Liability

Action Item: With federal courts moving toward limiting arranger liability under CERCLA, companies that sell new or used products containing hazardous substances should heed the guidance of those courts and take certain...more

RCRA Is a Mess

In a potentially significant opinion last week, in Little Hocking Water Association v. DuPont, Judge Algenon Marbley gave hope to citizen plaintiffs everywhere, with a remarkably expansive reading of the imminent and...more

Expert Testimony May Be Required To Establish CERCLA Innocent Landowner Defense

On January 20, 2015, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California in Coppola v. Smith, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5127, addressed the application of CERCLA’s innocent landowner defense against a somewhat...more

EU Court limits the scope of environmental liability for new owners of polluted land

The Court of Justice of the European Union (the “CJEU”) has shed light on the application of the “polluter pays” principle in the context of the EU’s Environmental Liability Directive. The judgment, handed down on 4 March...more

Scanning The Post-Burlington Northern CERCLA Landscape

Since the U.S. Supreme Court issued its landmark decision in Burlington Northern & Santa Fe Railway Co. v. United States, 556 U.S. 599 (2009), holding that a party must “take intentional steps to dispose of a hazardous...more

Missouri Federal Court Cuts Claims in Pipeline Property Damage Action

Underscoring the need for plaintiffs to show concrete proof of harm in suits alleging property damage, a federal district court dismissed a suit alleging that an oil pipeline contaminated farmland in Missouri. See Henke v....more

Federal Court Holds That “Each and Every Exposure” Theory is Inadmissible

The “single fiber” theory, well known to asbestos litigants and practitioners, is an attempt to circumvent “substantial factor” causation requirements, positing that any exposure to asbestos constitutes an underlying cause of...more

U.S. District Court in Pennsylvania Dismisses Majority of Water Well Contamination Claims Against Oil Drilling Company

Earlier this month, U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III in the Middle District of Pennsylvania completely adopted the “extremely thorough, well-reasoned” recommendations of a U.S. Magistrate Judge and dismissed almost all...more

Eleventh Circuit Reinstates Groundwater Contamination Case Dismissed on Lone Pine Order

In a case that may provide some plaintiffs with protection from early Lone Pine orders, the Eleventh Circuit reversed a trial court’s dismissal of a groundwater contamination case for failure to sufficiently state claims...more

North Carolina’s Amended Repose Law Fails to Save Barred Toxic Tort Claim

Notwithstanding the intent of the North Carolina legislature, a federal court ruled that the state’s recently amended law exempting groundwater contamination suits from a 10-year statute of repose did not save a latent toxic...more

New York Federal Court Finds that CERCLA’s Petroleum Exclusion Covers Benzene Derived from Gasoline Degradation

In White Plains Housing Authority v. Getty Properties Corp., No. 13-cv-6282, 2014 WL 7183991 (S.D.N.Y. Dec. 16, 2014), the district court applied the petroleum exclusion of the Comprehensive Environmental Response,...more

Arkansas Federal Court Denies Class Certification in Property Damage Suit

Exemplifying the reluctance of many courts to allow toxic tort cases to proceed as class actions, a federal judge in Arkansas denied certification of a putative class of neighboring landowners who claimed the Defendant’s...more

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