Personal Injury Civil Procedure 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

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

Fracking-Related Earthquake Litigation Gains Momentum

On June 30, 2015, the Oklahoma Supreme Court issued a decision that opened the courthouse doors to lawsuits for property damage and personal injuries caused by earthquakes purportedly related to fracking activities. See Ladra...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

New Jersey Supreme Court Rejects Broad Expansion of Private Nuisance and Trespass

Action Item: On August 6, 2015, the Supreme Court of New Jersey in Ross v. Lowitz, et al., No. A-101-13 (N.J. Aug. 6, 2015), held that property owners could not prove claims for private nuisance and trespass against the...more

Without So Much as a Fig Leaf . . .

Legal commentators and court watchers rightly complain about activist judges who make laws rather than interpret them. Last month’s decision in the The Babcock & Wilcox Co. et al. v. American Nuclear Insurers, et al., is...more

Oklahoma Supreme Court Finds Subject Matter Jurisdiction Over Earthquake Claims

Potentially opening the door for litigation that seeks to tie deep-well injection of hydraulic fracturing flowback and other wastewater to damage caused by earthquakes, the Oklahoma Supreme Court unanimously held that state...more

Louisiana Federal Court Rejects Expert Testimony Tying Gasoline to AML

Underscoring the importance of the distinction between a product and its component parts, a federal court in Louisiana refused to allow expert testimony that exposure to gasoline caused acute myeloid leukemia (“AML”) in a...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

San Francisco Cannot Sue Federal Agency For Gas Explosion Under APA

Yesterday, the Ninth Circuit issued its Opinion in City & County of San Francisco v. US Department of Transportation, holding the City may not proceed against the Secretary of Transportation and the Pipeline and Hazardous...more

Tenth Circuit Finds Price-Anderson Act Does Not Preempt Nuisance Claims

This decision departs from all other federal circuits that have addressed the issue and, if adopted by other courts, represents a significant expansion of potential liability for operators in the nuclear energy industry....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

Pennsylvania Federal Court Rejects Early Lone Pine Motion in Oil and Gas Nuisance Suit

A federal district court in Pennsylvania cautioned against premature Lone Pine motions in a ruling that may be instructive for future lawsuits involving oil and gas exploration and production operations....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

How Are the Texas Anti-SLAPP Statute and Jade Helm 15 Alike?

May a court “draw rational inferences from circumstantial evidence” when determining if a plaintiff has met its burden in a suit in which the defendant has invoked the Texas Citizens Participation Act . That was the question...more

Lone Pine Loss: Supreme Court of Colorado Says State Rules Don’t Allow Use of Lone Pine Orders in Natural Gas Drilling Case

Earlier this week, the Supreme Court of Colorado issued its long-awaited decision in Antero Resources Corp. v. Strudley and held that the Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure do not allow a trial court to issue a modified case...more

Fracking: Not “Abnormally Dangerous” Says Middle District of PA

Civil liability for damages normally requires evidence of a defendant’s negligence as the cause of the property damage or injury involved....more

Not Saved By The Bell: Dismissing Classes Prediscovery

Two billion dollars. That is what the top legal counsel at nearly 350 companies spent on the defense of class actions in 2014. In addition to the cost of outside counsel, on average, companies dedicate six in-house...more

Zachry Construction Corp.: The End to Indemnity for Exemplary Damages?

In August 2014, the Texas Supreme Court decided Zachry Construction Corp. v. Port of Houston Authority of Harris County, 2014 WL 4472616 (Tex.). While the case involves construction issues—and specifically the enforceability...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

Judge Finds GenOn Power Plant Suit is Like School on a Saturday … No Class.

A Pennsylvania federal judge recently struck the class allegations from a suit brought against GenOn Power Midwest LP, alleging that its coal-fired power plant released toxic emissions that damaged surrounding property. Even...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

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