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BP Oil Spill Update

On April 18, 2012, BP Exploration and Production Inc. and BP America Production Company (collectively “BP”) entered into an economic and property damages class action settlement with the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee in the...more

Seventh Circuit Rejects Class Action Alleging Groundwater Contamination From Refinery Because Homeowners’ Claims Lack Commonality

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit recently reversed the certification of a class of property owners who alleged an Illinois refinery leaked potentially carcinogenic chemicals into their property and water...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

Why Exxon Case Will Likely Become A Plaintiff Favorite

For decades, commentators have warned that California’s discovery rule exception has been swallowing statutes of limitations. See, e.g., Stephen V. O'Neil, Accrual of Statutes of Limitations: California's Discovery Exceptions...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

CERCLA, RCRA, and Vapor Intrusion: Does What Happens in Vegas Really Stay in Vegas?

In Voggenthaler v. Maryland Square LLC, 724 F.3d 1050 (9th Cir. 2013), the defendants argued that contamination that happened in Vegas, stayed in Vegas, and therefore the Commerce Clause barred the application of CERCLA. The...more

Second Circuit Clarifies “Removal” vs. “Remedial” Action Under CERCLA

In the CERCLA context, knowing whether a cleanup action is a “removal” or “remedial” action is crucial to the length of time allowed for the cleanup, the amount of money that may be spent on the cleanup, and the statute of...more

Third Circuit Expands CERCLA Contribution Rights and Narrows RCRA Injunctive Power

In Trinity Industries, Inc. v. Chicago Bridge & Iron Company, No. 12-2059, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals issued a precedential opinion interpreting contribution rights under the Comprehensive Environmental Response,...more

CERCLA Preempts State-Law Claims Arising Out Of Petroleum Contamination

In what appears to be a first, a federal district court has held that the “Petroleum Exclusion” under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (“CERCLA”) preempts state-law contribution claims...more

Incremental Reform Bill Passes, But Governor’s Broader Changes Stall

California Gov. Jerry Brown promised earlier this year to get serious about reforming some of what the business community calls the worst abuses of Proposition 65 (Prop. 65) – changes in the definition of what constitutes a...more

Debtors Beware: Resolving Environmental Liabilities in a Judicially Approved Bankruptcy Settlement Triggers the Statute of...

When an entity that has filed a petition for relief under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code resolves its environmental liability to a state or the United States via a settlement agreement, there are several steps...more

Six-Year Statute of Limitations Applies to Spill Act Contribution Claim

On August 23, 2013, the New Jersey Appellate Division held that the general six-year statute of limitations for property damage applies to a private claim for contribution under the Spill Compensation and Control Act,...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

Third Circuit Holds “Source State” Common Law Tort Claims Not Preempted by Federal Clean Air Act

In an opinion filed on Tuesday, August 20, 2013, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit held that the federal Clean Air Act (CAA) does not preempt common law tort claims grounded in state law and brought against a...more

Six-Year Statute Of Limitations Applies To Spill Act Contribution Claims

In a stunning decision, the New Jersey Appellate Division held on August 23 that the State’s general six-year statute of limitations for property damage applies to private claims for contribution under the New Jersey Spill...more

Ninth Circuit Opinion Highlights Vapor Intrusion Risks and Challenges Faced by Brownfields Developers and Their Lenders

A recent ruling by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit illustrates the challenges faced by developers of contaminated properties and their lenders, as well as the extraordinary risks associated with...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

Environmental Nuisance Claims — It Helps To Have Experts

The old warning that “past performance is no guarantee of future results” apparently applies not only to investments but also to environmental nuisance suits in Tennessee. ...more

In Alabama, Bad Faith Claim Defeated As A Matter Of Law Though Basis For Coverage Denial Was Debatable

A policyholder’s tort claim for the bad faith refusal to pay a claim was dismissed as a matter of law where a legitimate dispute existed as to coverage liability at the time of the coverage decision by the U.S. District Court...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

Ontario Divisional Court Confirms That Former Directors and Officers Must Remediate While Order Is Under Appeal

On June 19, 2013, in Baker v. Ministry of the Environment, 2013 ONSC 4142 [Baker], the Ontario Divisional Court upheld the decision of the Ontario Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) that refused to stay a Director’s order...more

When Is An Arranger Not An Arranger? When It Sells Some Good Stuff Along With The Junk

As Superfund lawyers know, the Supreme Court decision in Burlington Northern required proof of an intent to dispose hazardous substances as a prerequisite to imposition of arranger liability. While lower courts have often...more

Which Is Worse? EPA Oversight or Citizen Oversight?

Everyone who represents PRPs in Superfund settlements has his or her own horror stories regarding the scope of EPA’s oversight cost claims. We all know that oversight costs can end up as an appreciable percentage of total...more

Northern District Of Georgia Rejects “Local Controversy” Exception To CAFA Jurisdiction

In Anderson v. King America Finishing, Inc., No. 1:11-cv-2258-JEC, 2013 WL 1213267 (N.D. Ga. March 25, 2013), class action plaintiffs alleged that defendant released a toxic chemical into the Ogeechee River from its...more

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