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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

Underground Access

Draft legislation currently before the UK parliament proposes some significant changes to existing trespass laws to facilitate the development and growth of the geothermal and shale-gas industries in the UK. Originally...more

Womble Client Wins Stormwater Case in Charlottesville

Another victory in Central Virginia for Womble Carlyle. Last week, Albemarle County Circuit Court Judge Cheryl Higgins ruled in favor of the Shops at Stonefield (also known as Albemarle Place), finding the stormwater...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

Minerals Matter - Autumn 2014

Welcome to the latest edition of Minerals Matters. Whilst the economic picture has certainly improved over the last six months, there have been a number of stops and starts along the way. Data suggests further...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

Supreme Court Roundup: Recent Environmental Law Rulings and Pending Cases

Scaling back considerably from the October 2012 Term, the United States Supreme Court issued only a few rulings affecting environmental law during the October 2013 Term. With significant pronouncements regarding EPA’s Clean...more

Deepwater Horizon ruling puts focus on prevention

Last week’s decision by District Judge Carl Barbier exposes the UK-headquartered energy giant to up to $18bn in fines for the 2010 drillship incident because, under the same US laws that cover tanker spills, civil penalties...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

New Wave of State Law Air Pollution Torts?

The U.S. Supreme Court’s denial of certiorari in Bell v. Cheswick could pave the way for more state common law air pollution tort suits and greater exposure for emitters. A new wave of state common law air pollution...more

Nuisance Claims Becoming More Than a Mere Nuisance in Texas

Plaintiffs Bob and Lisa Parr obtained a $2.9 million verdict in April 2014 against Aruba Petroleum, Inc. for health problems allegedly related to oil and gas drilling operations and air emissions near their home. The large...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

Nuisance Verdicts in the Barnett Shale: Two claims arising out of the same natural gas operations yield two very different...

On April 10, 2014, a Fort Worth jury rejected a landowner's nuisance claim against a well operator in Teri Anglim v. Chesapeake Operating Inc., 2011-008256-1. Plaintiff Teri Anglim claimed that Chesapeake's operations at two...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

$2.9 Million Jury Award For Texas Fracking Claim: Lessons for Energy Company Risk Managers

A jury in Dallas recently awarded $2.9 million to a Texas family in one of the first trials involving allegations that hydraulic fracturing caused nearby residents to suffer health problems and property damage. Although...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

The Construct - May 2014

In This Issue: - Green Law Corner - You Decide: Green Globes vs. LEED: The U.S. General Services Administration recently added Green Globes as an additional third-party green building certification system for...more

Dallas Jury Awards $3 Million Verdict Against Oil and Gas Production Company

On April 22, 2014, a Dallas jury awarded almost $3 million to a Texas family in a nuisance case referred to in media headlines as the first-of-its-kind “fracking” case. Parr v. Aruba Petroleum, Inc., No. 11-01650-E (County...more

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