Toxic Torts Civil Procedure Energy & Utilities

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The Wait Is Over: Liable Parties Can Now Seek Early Contribution Claims Without New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection...

The recent Supreme Court of New Jersey ruling in Magic Petroleum v. Exxon Mobil demonstrates a trial court’s ability to allocate liability to “dischargers” while maintaining the role of the state’s Department of...more

Fourth Circuit Affirms Liability for Selenium Discharges - Rejects Permit Shield Defense

By a published decision released on July 11, 2014, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit affirmed a district court decision out of the Western District of Virginia finding that A & G Coal Corporation (“A & G”)...more

The Clean Water Act - Is groundwater included?

There has been much controversy in the courts as to whether groundwater can be defined as “navigable waters” under the Clean Water Act. Courts are split on this decision, with equal numbers of rulings on both sides. One...more

Oil and Gas Companies Ask Colorado Supreme Court to Approve Trial Court Order Requiring Plaintiffs to Present Preliminary Evidence...

On June 18th, Antero Resources Corp., Antero Resources Piceance Corp, Calfrac Well Services Corp, and Frontier Drilling LLC filed their Opening Brief before the Colorado Supreme Court in a “toxic tort” case concerning...more

One Step Closer… Fifth Circuit Affirms BP Loss on CWA Liability Regarding Gulf Spill

The Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico occurred over four years ago, accompanied by numerous stories trumpeting the fact that BP would likely pay as much as $25 billion to the United States in civil penalties...more

Leach Oil and Mouren-Laurens Oil Sites Add 1,300 New PRPs to Litigation

The Leach Oil Site and the Mouren-Laurens Oil Site are located adjacent to each other in Compton, California. These sites have been the subject of litigation between the current and former owners and operators for almost 15...more

Colorado Supreme Court Grants Petition to Consider Use of Lone Pine Orders in Toxic Tort Case Involving Hydraulic Fracturing

On Monday, the Colorado Supreme Court granted a Petition for Writ of Certiorari in Antero Resources, et al. v. Strudley, et al. The Strudley case involves claims relating to alleged injuries from natural gas drilling...more

Fifth Circuit Limits Pollution Liability

In a significant decision issued February 24, 2014, the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that federal laws preempt state laws in the case of the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, because the event occurred in federal...more

Seventh Circuit Highlights Challenges To Class Certification In Environmental Litigation

Property owners in the town of Roxana, Illinois, a small village on the Mississippi River across from St. Louis, filed suit against Shell Oil Company and ConocoPhillips. The property owners alleged that a refinery owned by...more

Louisiana Court of Appeal Rejects Plaintiff's Attempt to Join Claims of Contamination of Separate Parcels with Different Lessees...

The Third Circuit Court of Appeal in Louisiana issued an opinion on December 11, 2013, that may have a profound impact on litigation related to contamination from historic oil and gas exploration and production operations in...more

Litigation Risks in Texas Are Reduced –The Merits of New Trial Orders by Texas Courts Are Now Subject to Appellate Review

Significant oil and gas exploration and development has occurred and continues to occur in South Texas. Whenever an injury, death, or environmental damage results from these operations, a defendant energy company have often...more

Deepwater Horizon Settlement Fine-Tuned By Fifth Circuit

The Fifth Circuit has taken steps to fine-tune the interpretation and implementation of the agreement BP negotiated to settle its massive liabilities arising from the April 2010 oil spill following the explosion of the...more

The Lone Ranger Rides Again – The Fifth Circuit’s Withdrawal of its Ranger Opinion and Certification to the Texas Supreme Court

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has responded to the request for rehearing in Ranger Insurance, Ltd. v. BP P.L.C., 710 F.3d 388 (5th Cir. Mar. 1, 2013) by withdrawing its March 1, 2013 opinion (reversing the...more

Lone Pine Orders Called Into Question In Colorado

A Lone Pine order is a case management tool often utilized by courts in complex multi-party toxic tort cases to organize plaintiffs’ claims and to focus the parties on key issues early in the litigation. A Lone Pine order...more

Hold On To Your Insurance … Federal Court Certifies Deepwater Horizon Questions To Texas Supreme Court

BP’s woes from the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf continue. The federal Fifth Circuit in In re: Deepwater Horizon, withdrew an opinion of a three-judge panel and certified questions for consideration by the Supreme...more

Colorado Supreme Court Asked To Address Whether “Lone Pine” Orders Are Allowed in Toxic Tort Case Involving Hydraulic Fracturing

On August 29, 2013, Antero Resources asked the Colorado Supreme Court to review the Colorado Court of Appeal’s decision in Strudley v. Antero Resources Corp., a decision by the Colorado Court of Appeals that reversed a trial...more

The Seventh Circuit Still Wrong: Bernstein v. Bankert

Late last year I blogged on the dubious decision by the Seventh Circuit in Bernstein v. Blankert which held that a settling CERCLA party did not resolve its liability to the government until it had performed all of its...more

Fifth Circuit Evaluates Application of Civil Penalty Factors for Oil Spills under the Clean Water Act, Holds Economic Benefit is...

On an appeal of a penalty determination in the first oil spill case to be tried under the civil penalty provisions enacted after the Exxon Valdez catastrophe in the Oil Pollution Act of 1991, the Fifth Circuit Court of...more

Colorado Ruling Raises Stakes in Fracking Litigation and Beyond

In an Independence Day gift to plaintiffs, the Colorado Court of Appeals ruled in Strudley v. Antero Resources Corp., No. 12CA1251 (July 3, 2013), that Colorado law does not allow pre-discovery Lone Pine orders, often used by...more

Late notice by petroleum transporter results in insurance coverage denial

In the matter of Starr Indem. & Liab. Co. v. SGS Petroleum Serv. Corp., Case No. 12-20545 (5th Cir. June 18, 2013), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit recently upheld their prior decision in Matador Petroleum...more

Colorado Court of Appeals Revives Fracking Case – Holds “Lone Pine” Order Not Allowed In Colorado

On July 3, 2013, the Colorado Court of Appeals held that the plaintiffs in a toxic tort case cannot be required to present prima facie evidence to support their claims prior to the initiation of full discovery....more

Second Circuit Holds Pollution Liability Policy Not Triggered

In its recent decision in Colonial Oil Indus. v. Indian Harbor Ins. Co., 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 12946 (2d Cir. June 25, 2013), the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, applying New York law, had occasion to...more

Toxic Tort and Environmental Law Update - October 2012: Ninth Circuit Upholds Dismissal of a Public Nuisance Lawsuit

On September 21, 2012, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal of a lawsuit filed by the Alaskan village of Kivalina against 23 energy companies. Native Village of Kivalina v. ExxonMobil Corp., 2012 WL...more

No Causation, No Case: How Lone Pine Orders Can Increase Judicial Economy and Dispose of Meritless Claims in Hydraulic Fracturing...

In light of sprawling, complex and costly toxic tort claims, courts are turning to case management mechanisms to expedite the resolution of these claims. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 16(c)(12) provides the courts with the...more

McAfee & Taft RegLINC - July 2012: Court dismisses toxic tort case arising from hydraulic fracturing activities by Jessica John...

A state court judge in Denver, Colorado, recently dismissed a toxic tort action brought against three entities involved in the drilling and completion of natural gas wells in Silt, Colorado. The case, Strudley v. Antero...more

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