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Supreme Court's Petition Denial in Clean Air Act Pre-emption Case Reinforces Threat From Common Law Claims

The United States Supreme Court denied a petition for certiorari earlier this month after the Iowa Supreme Court held in June that the plaintiffs' nuisance claims were not pre-empted by the Clean Air Act (CAA) in Freeman v....more

Proof and Causation Matter: District Court Declines to Penalize ExxonMobil in Texas Citizen Suit

On Wednesday, Judge David Hittner, of the District Court for the Southern District of Texas, in a decision long enough to require two separate pdfs, declined to impose an injunction or penalties (plaintiffs sought...more

Proving An Operator’s Gross Negligence: Is Intention Required?

Establishing an operator’s gross negligence requires “a degree of intentionality”, the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench recently held in Bernum Petroleum Ltd v Birch Lake Energy Inc, 2014 ABQB 652 [Bernum]....more

Kentucky Federal Court Holds Tort Claims Not Preempted by Clean Air Act

State common law tort claims based on air emissions from a power plant are not preempted by the federal Clean Air Act (CAA), according to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky. The court agreed to...more

American Pipe Tolling Inapplicable In Texas Negligent Misstatement Case

The Southern District of Texas found that negligent misstatement claims filed more than two years after the last alleged misstatement were time-barred and that the applicable statute of limitations was not tolled under...more

New Jersey Appellate Court Limits Measure of Damages for Contaminated Properties

On August 27, 2014, the Superior Court of New Jersey ruled in favor of Puritan Oil against a New Jersey property owner, finding that where the oil company had already taken steps to remedy contamination it caused on...more

Texas Supreme Court to Hear Defamation Case Involving Fracking Claims

On August 21, 2014, the Texas Supreme Court agreed to hear oral arguments in an ongoing dispute between a homeowner and Texas-based oil driller Range Resources Corp. The case is not a typical homeowner vs. oil driller...more

Which Ground for Federal Jurisdiction is the Safest in Dredging Cases?: Board of Commissioners of the Southeast Louisiana Flood...

The Eastern District of Louisiana recently denied the Board of Commissioners of the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East’s (Plaintiff) Motion to Remand its suit against 92 oil and gas companies back to state...more

Frac(k)ing, Parr v. Aruba, and Minority Oppression

WHAT IS IT, FRACING OR FRACKING? Having gone back-and-forth over how to spell the process, I’ve figured it out....more

D.C. Circuit Rejects Petitions Challenging Proposed NY-NJ Gas Pipeline

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals recently dismissed petitions brought by the City of Jersey City, NJ, and various environmental organizations challenging the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's ("FERC") order granting a...more

Supreme Court Allows Third Circuits GenOn Opinion to Stand: State Law Actions Not Preempted By the Clean Air Act

The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to hear the case of Kristie Bell v. GenOn, where the Third Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Clean Air Act did not preempt state common law actions seeking damages for air pollution....more

Texas Supreme Court weekly orders (6/14)

In its order list for June 20, 2014, the Texas Supreme Court issued opinions in eight cases and granted review in one case. In this post, I will summarize the opinions in four cases, and also describe the case in which the...more

U.S. Supreme Court Allows to Stand Ruling That Sources of Air Pollutants are Subject to State Common Law Tort Claims

On June 2, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court announced it would not review a decision by the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit allowing state common law tort claims against sources of air pollutants. This spells uncertainty...more

Operator Wins JOA Fight

MDU Barnett Ltd. P’ship v. Chesapeake Exploration Ltd. P’ship is at least three things: - The culmination of an unhappy relationship between an operator and non-operators. - What happens when joint owners’ interests...more

Plugging the Wrong Well is Likely to Impact Your Pocketbook

The Texas Railroad Commission’s contractor, Superior, plugged the 708S-5 well on behalf of the Commission. Oops! The contractor plugged the wrong well. ...more

$2.9 Million Verdict for Plaintiffs Against Oil and Gas Driller

On April 22, 2014, after a two-and-a-half week trial, a Dallas County Court at Law entered a final judgment on a split jury verdict awarding $2.925 million to Texas family, Bob and Lisa Parr from Decatur, against Barnett...more

"Hydraulic Fracturing" Verdict in Texas State Court -- Texas family recovers $3 million based on nuisance theory

On April 22, 2014, a six-person jury in Dallas awarded a Texas family $2.925 million in a trial based on medical problems allegedly caused by natural gas development. While the case involved gas wells that had been...more

Important Case on Subsurface Trespass Pending before the Texas Supreme Court

Fluids associated with oil & gas production frequently move across subsurface property lines. For example, injected fracing fluids and disposed saltwater often move beyond the lease on which the particular injection well is...more

Restoring the Duty of Care Analysis to Negligence Claims in Third-party Proceedings

The Alberta Court of Appeal has provided some helpful guidance on the scope of third-party claims in O’Connor Associates Environmental Inc v MEC OP LLC, 2014 ABCA 140, narrowing the scope and application of the decision of...more

$3 Million Verdict in Fracking Case - Fluke or the Harbinger of Claims to Come?

In a highly anticipated verdict reached on April 22, 2014, a Dallas County Court at Law jury awarded the Parr family $2.925 million against Aruba Petroleum on a nuisance claim arising out of drilling in the Barnett Shale in...more

Clean Air Act Ruling May Curb Suits

Last month, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals declined to re-hear en banc a decision handed down last October by a three-judge panel, thereby leaving in place a decision that could be a major hurdle for plaintiffs in...more

Ninth Circuit Denies Rehearing of Clean Air Act Suit and War of Words Ensues

On February 3, 2014, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit declined to rehear en banc a decision handed down last October by a three-judge panel, thereby leaving in place a decision that could significantly...more

The Eyes of Texas are upon a Subsurface Trespass Case

The Texas Supreme Court is now poised to decide whether subsurface migration of fluids from an approved injection well may constitute an actionable trespass under Texas common law. Recently accepting a petition for review in...more

The Fuss Over Fracking: An Examination of the Insurance Issues Associated with Hydro-Fracking

Hydraulic fracturing, commonly referred to as “fracking,” is a drilling process used to extract underground oil or natural gas trapped in hard to reach shale rock formations deep in the earth. The process involves well...more

Citizens Are Not Harmed By the Concept of Pollution Trading: A Challenge to the Chesapeake Bay TMDL Is Dismissed

On December 13, the District Court for the District of Columbia dismissed plaintiffs’ challenge in Food and Water Watch v. EPA to the Chesapeake Bay TMDL’s discussion of pollution trading and offsets. As I had previously...more

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