Toxic Torts Environmental Energy & Utilities

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Texas Court of Appeals Issues Important State Superfund Order

In a “case of first impression,” U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit,texascapitol sitting in Austin, in TCEQ v. Exxon Mobil Corporation, et al., issued an important decision interpreting the scope of the Texas Solid...more

California Environmental Law & Policy Update - March 2016 #3

Environmental and Policy Focus - Bill would limit communications with California Coastal Commission: Santa Barbara Independent - Mar 23 - State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson announced plans to introduce a bill...more

About those calls from MassDEP…

Last month, we wrote about MassDEP’s trichloroethylene (TCE) site reevaluation initiative. MassDEP has begun the process of screening sites previously closed under the MCP to look for sites where TCE might exceed the new...more

Tenth Circuit holds that environmental contamination case doesn’t require remand under Class Action Fairness Act’s “local...

Although the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 (CAFA) permits most significant class actions to be heard in federal court, the law requires district courts to remand so-called “local controversies” to state court. A “local...more

Pennsylvania Jury Awards $4.2 Million in Groundwater Contamination Case

On Thursday, a federal jury in Pennsylvania ordered Cabot Oil & Gas to pay more than $4.2 million in damages to two Pennsylvania families who sued in 2009 alleging that the Texas-based company’s drilling operations...more

An Update on Reopening TCE Sites in Massachusetts

The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection plans to begin contacting some owners of properties with closed trichloroethylene (TCE) remediation sites and requiring them to conduct testing, following a review of...more

EPA and Municipalities Respond to Increased Concerns About Lead in Drinking Water

Since the public discovery of widespread lead contamination of drinking water in Flint, Michigan, there has been increased scrutiny on the status of drinking water regulation and aging water infrastructure. While the crisis...more

Double Counting and Inflexibility Are Unreasonable in 4A Negotiations Says Mass. Appeals Court: Court Affirms Award of Attorneys’...

Seeking 80 percent of remedial costs from each of two potentially responsible parties and “inflexibility” in pre-litigation negotiations are sufficiently unreasonable to trigger attorneys’ fees under the Massachusetts cleanup...more

Lead in Drinking Water: Insurance Coverage Issues

The tragic water crisis in Flint, Michigan raises grave concerns as to the lurking hazards posed by our nation’s aging infrastructure. There are an estimated six million lead service lines in operation in the United States. ...more

Critical Habitat for Right Whales Expanded

Action Item: The National Marine Fisheries Services (“NMFS”) promulgated a final rule identifying critical habitats for the endangered Northern Atlantic Right Whale. Stakeholders involved in spill response, ocean and offshore...more

Implications of the Clean Power Plan on Historical Research

We’ve been closely tracking litigation related to the EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan (CPP), which seeks to reduce carbon pollution from power plants and includes state-by-state mandates. Recently, the Supreme Court stayed...more

Private and Governmental Plaintiffs File Toxic Tort Suits Over L.A. Gas Leak

In perhaps the most well-publicized environmental release incident since Deepwater Horizon, Southern California Gas Co. faces a number of toxic tort-based lawsuits stemming from a natural gas leak at one of its storage wells...more

Federal Court Strikes Town Ordinance Requiring Warning Labels

In a case that may have implications for chemical warning laws, a federal court in New York found a town’s efforts to require warning labels on pesticide-treated utility poles compelled non-commercial speech and infringed on...more

The Ongoing Water Crisis in Flint, Michigan

Last week, citizens of Flint, Michigan filed two class-action lawsuits against Gov. Rick Snyder, Michigan Department of Health & Human Services, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, and other government officials. ...more

T&H Case Study: Creating a Timeline of Fossil Fuel Disasters in America

As mentioned in a previous case study, much of the work we do in support of environmental law and toxic tort cases involves compiling comprehensive site histories. We work with our clients to come up with cost-efficient...more

Flint, Michigan Mayor Declares State of Emergency over Lead Poisoning

Yesterday evening, Karen Weaver, the newly elected mayor in Flint, Michigan, declared a state of emergency due to the number of children and infants who have allegedly suffered lead poisoning from the city’s tap water....more

Jury in C-8 Exposure Case Awards $1.6M in Compensatory Damages, Denies Punitives

An Ohio federal jury in October handed out the first verdict in multi-district litigation (“MDL”) against E.I. DuPont de Nemours and Co. related to ammonium perfluorooctanoate, or C-8, in drinking water around DuPont’s...more

Court Allows Pennsylvania Punitive Damages Claims in Petroleum Exposure Case

The judge in a petroleum exposure case will allow a jury to decide whether a gas station operator and its environmental consultant recklessly failed to inform a plumber of the risks of working in an excavated pit with a...more

Eighth Circuit Holds Fear of Contamination Insufficient to Establish Nuisance Class

In a ruling that underscores the difficulty of securing class certification in toxic tort cases involving fear of contamination claims, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit reversed a Missouri federal...more

Texas Court Requires Expert Testimony to Support Toxic Tort Personal Injury Claims

Reinforcing the requirement for expert testimony to support toxic tort personal injury claims under Texas law, a Texas appellate court held that claims for damages due to “symptoms caused by discomfort” do not fall within the...more

Texas Appellate Court Sides with Energy Industry by Requiring Personal Injury Plaintiffs to Submit Expert Testimony in Nuisance...

In a significant victory for the energy industry, on October 7, 2015, the San Antonio Court of Appeals affirmed summary judgment in favor of Marathon Oil Corporation, Marathon Oil EF, LLC (together “Marathon”) and Plains...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

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

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