Toxic Torts Energy & Utilities Civil Procedure

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Divided Court Affirms Summary Judgment in CERCLA “Arranger” Case

The decision sets a high bar for proving intent to dispose of hazardous substances and may make it easier for a party alleged to be liable as an arranger under CERCLA to secure summary judgment. ...more

RCRA Is a Mess

In a potentially significant opinion last week, in Little Hocking Water Association v. DuPont, Judge Algenon Marbley gave hope to citizen plaintiffs everywhere, with a remarkably expansive reading of the imminent and...more

Texas Supreme Court Revisits Additional Insured Coverage for Deepwater Horizon Disaster

In In Re Deepwater Horizon, No. 13–0670 (February 13, 2015), the Texas Supreme Court had occasion to consider the extent to which the scope of additional insured coverage is limited by the terms of a contract between the...more

Judge Finds GenOn Power Plant Suit is Like School on a Saturday … No Class.

A Pennsylvania federal judge recently struck the class allegations from a suit brought against GenOn Power Midwest LP, alleging that its coal-fired power plant released toxic emissions that damaged surrounding property. Even...more

Scanning The Post-Burlington Northern CERCLA Landscape

Since the U.S. Supreme Court issued its landmark decision in Burlington Northern & Santa Fe Railway Co. v. United States, 556 U.S. 599 (2009), holding that a party must “take intentional steps to dispose of a hazardous...more

New Jersey Supreme Court Rules Unanimously: There is No Statute of Limitations Defense to Contribution Actions Under the Spill Act

On January 26, 2015, the New Jersey Supreme Court unanimously ruled in Morristown Associates v. Grant Oil Co. that the general six-year statute of limitations for injury to real property does not apply to contribution claims...more

Missouri Federal Court Cuts Claims in Pipeline Property Damage Action

Underscoring the need for plaintiffs to show concrete proof of harm in suits alleging property damage, a federal district court dismissed a suit alleging that an oil pipeline contaminated farmland in Missouri. See Henke v....more

U.S. District Court in Pennsylvania Dismisses Majority of Water Well Contamination Claims Against Oil Drilling Company

Earlier this month, U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III in the Middle District of Pennsylvania completely adopted the “extremely thorough, well-reasoned” recommendations of a U.S. Magistrate Judge and dismissed almost all...more

Federal District Court Ruling in Fukushima Daiichi Case Has Implications for Global Nuclear Liability Management

A recent ruling in Cooper v. Tokyo Electric Power Company, No. 12-CV-3032, S.D. Cal., Oct. 28, 2014, one of three lawsuits filed in the United States related to the 2011 incident at the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear power plant,...more

Claims Administration and Handling in Mass Tort Cases: Lessons from Deepwater Horizon

In mass casualty and toxic tort litigation, an effective means of providing prompt and efficient compensation to victims can benefit all stakeholders. Claimants receive prompt payment for lost property or business expenses,...more

Res Judicata Prevents Plaintiff from Recovering Exemplary Damages

Earlier this month, in Oleszkowicz v. Exxon Mobil Corp., et al., 2014-0256 (La. 12/9/14), 2014 WL 7009533, the Supreme Court of Louisiana barred a plaintiff from relitigating an exemplary damages claim arising from alleged...more

Hydrocarbon Exposure Reconsidered

You might recall previous entries discussing the $2.9 million Dallas County verdict and judgment in Parr v. Aruba. Not all similar suits have the same result. Michael and Myra Cerny sued Marathon Oil Corp. and Plains...more

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

Toxic Tort & Product Liability Quarterly Volume 7, Number 3

PREEMPTION - Supreme Court Says CERCLA Does Not Preempt Repose Defense for Tort Claims - The U.S. Supreme Court has put to rest a longstanding legal question affecting the deadline for plaintiffs to bring toxic tort...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

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