Toxic Torts Energy & Utilities

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Offensive Discovery after Strudley and Changes to the Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure

Toxic tort cases often involve real property, especially in areas with large mining and energy sectors like the West and Southwest. The cases frequently have large potential damage values and require extensive discovery....more

Emerging Trends in Tort Litigation Alleging Health Injuries Caused by Neighboring Oil and Gas Activities

Last year's $2.9 million verdict in Parr v. Aruba Petroleum, the so-called "first fracking trial," garnered attention in Texas and beyond. The significance laid not only in that the plaintiffs had succeeded on their private...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

Natural Contaminants Exceed Human-Made Contaminants in California’s Groundwater

Defendants in groundwater contamination cases in California have additional evidence to direct blame where it should be placed – on naturally occurring contaminants. An extensive study by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has...more

Foes of the NJDEP $225 Million Settlement with Exxon Mobil Must File “Friend of the Court” Briefs Today

After denying their motions to intervene last week (see our coverage here), Judge Hogan issued a Scheduling Order that sets today as the deadline for the eight environmental organizations and State Senator Lesniak (D-Union)...more

Too Little, Too Late: Judge Denies Environmental Groups’ Motion to Intervene in Chris Christie’s Exxon Mobil Settlement

A New Jersey state judge ruled on Monday that eight environmental groups and a New Jersey state senator cannot intervene to challenge the $225 million settlement with Exxon Mobil proposed by the New Jersey Department of...more

BP Reaches Agreement with Gulf States to Pay Historic $18.5 Billion Settlement over Deepwater Horizon

On July 2, 2015, BP reached an agreement in principle with five Gulf States to settle claims against the company arising from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010. This marks the largest environmental settlement in...more

California Environmental Law & Policy Update - July 2015

Environmental and Policy Focus - BP pays record $18.7 billion to settle claims in Gulf oil spill Bloomberg - Jul 2: BP Plc reached a record $18.7 billion agreement to settle all federal and state claims from the 2010...more

US Supreme Court Nixes EPA Regulations on Mercury Emissions – Must Consider Costs Early!

In Michigan v. EPA, the U. S. Supreme Court invalidated EPA’s rules limiting emissions of mercury and other pollutants from power plants, ruling that EPA inappropriately ignored the costs of regulation – particularly...more

What Comes Next for Mercury Emissions from Power Plants?

The U.S. Supreme Court held this morning that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) acted unreasonably when it determined in 2000, and again in 2012, that it was “appropriate and necessary” to regulate mercury...more

Supreme Court: EPA Must Consider Costs in Power Plant Rule

The U.S. Supreme Court issued its opinion in Michigan v. EPA, reversing a ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and holding that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) must consider...more

EPA Takes Positions on Vapor Intrusion

In a busy day for vapor intrusion, last week the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency made several announcements about vapor intrusion. First, it announced it had submitted a draft rule to the White House OMB seeking to...more

Environmental Notes - June 2015

In this Issue: - EPA Issues SIP Call to Eliminate SSM Defense - EPA and Corps Define “Waters of The United States” - Frequent Questions: EPCRA 313 - Generators Need to be Vigilant About TCLP Sampling...more

California Environmental Law & Policy Update - June 2015 #2

Environmental and Policy Focus: Offshore oil drilling banned along new stretch of California coast - San Jose Mercury News - Jun 10: In the largest expansion of national marine sanctuaries in California in 23 years, the...more

EPA Releases Draft Assessment of Potential Hydraulic Fracturing Impacts on Drinking Water Resources

On June 4, 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a draft of its highly anticipated study, Assessment of the Potential Impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing for Oil and Gas on Drinking Water Resources (the...more

Recent Maritime Cases Illustrate the Different Legal Risks Involved with Conducting Offshore Oil and Gas Operations

In May 2015 a U.S. District Court and U.S. Court of Appeals each issued opinions that address important legal issues concerning risk management in the offshore energy industry. In Marquette Transportation Co. Gulf-Inland, LLC...more

California Environmental Law & Policy Update - May 2015 #4

Environmental and Policy Focus - Crews struggle to clean up oil spill near Santa Barbara: KQED - May 21: Crews will begin excavating the 24-inch pipeline that ruptured Tuesday, unleashing a flow of crude oil that has...more

Part 3 Of Biofuels Digest Series On TSCA And The Bioeconomy

Part 3 of Biofuels Digest's "Thought Leadership" series highlighting some of the ways the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) applies to biobased products was published May 18, 2015. Summaries of the first two "TSCA and the...more

Reported Relationship Between Indoor Radon Concentrations and Unconventional Marcellus Shale Drilling Must Be Interpreted With...

Johns Hopkins researchers recently published a paper titled, "Predictors of Indoor Radon Concentrations in Pennsylvania, 1989-2013," in Environmental Health Perspectives. The study reported the results of a mathematical...more

FERC Issues Policy Statement Regarding Pipeline Modernization Surcharges

On April 16, 2015, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a Policy Statement regarding Cost Recovery Mechanisms for Modernization of Natural Gas Facilities (Docket No. PL15-1-000). The Policy Statement affords...more

Colorado Supreme Court Restricts Use of "Lone Pine" Discovery Orders

On April 20, 2015, the Colorado Supreme Court released an important decision restricting the use of so-called "Lone Pine" orders. See Antero Resources Corp. v. Strudley. Lone Pine orders require plaintiffs in toxic tort cases...more

TSCA Reform: House Subcommittee Holds Markup of Revised Draft TSCA Bill and Passes Amended Draft

On May 14, 2015, the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy held a markup of a revised discussion draft of the TSCA Modernization Act of 2015, prepared by Subcommittee Chair John Shimkus (R-IL)...more

Louisiana Court Rules that Migration of Chemicals from Spill Not a “Continuing Tort”

In a case that may make it more difficult for plaintiffs to maintain years-old toxic tort cases in Louisiana, a state appellate court ruled that a 1983 chemical spill did not constitute a “continuing tort.” ...more

Colorado High Court Nixes Use of Lone Pine Orders to Streamline Colorado Fracking Litigation

On April 20, 2015, the Colorado Supreme Court issued a ruling interpreting Rule 16 of the Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure and implicating the scope of a trial court’s inherent authority to manage the cases before it. In...more

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