Toxic Torts Updates

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A $6 Million Reminder to Observe Corporate Formalities: Environmental Prosecutors Pierce Another Corporate Veil with Ohio Decision

With ever-growing concern about environmental liability exposures, many shareholders rely on corporate structures – both simple and complex – to help insulate themselves from direct responsibility for the acts and omissions...more

District Court Imposes Divisibility Cap on Superfund Liability

A Wisconsin district court has ruled that NCR Corporation’s liability for contamination in the Fox River is limited to NCR’s share of contamination contributed to the river....more

Reinsurers’ Motion To Vacate Arbitration Award Held Time-Barred

A federal judge in New York has denied reinsurers’ motions for relief from a prior judgment. The reinsurers, Equitas Insurance Limited and Certain Underwriters at Lloyd’s of London, argued that they were entitled to judicial...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

PRP in CERCLA Enforcement Action Saves Millions of Dollars with Successful Divisibility Defense

Action Item: On March 15, 2015, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin in United States v. NCR Corp., No. 10-C-910 (E.D. Wis. May 15, 2015), held that a potentially responsible party (“PRP”) at...more

Court at the Fox River Site Opens Door to Superfund Divisibility

On May 19, a district court ruled that a company had established divisibility for its liability at a major downstream segment of the Fox River mega-site in Wisconsin, capping its liability for that segment at 28%. This same...more

Is the Shrinking Availability of Joint And Several Liability In Superfund Cases A Good Thing?

Although it has taken a surprisingly long time, the holding in Burlington Northern which greatly lowered the standard for apportionment in Superfund cases is finally being embraced by lower courts. Last fall I blogged about...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

Ninth Circuit Strictly Construes “Single Local Event” Exception to CAFA Jurisdiction for Mass Actions

In a recent decision, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals strictly construed the “single local event” exception to federal jurisdiction under CAFA as not encompassing “events or occurrences” that are of a continuing...more

Are Concurrent CERCLA Claims For Section 107(a) Cost Recovery and Section 113(f) Contribution Permissible?

Given the uncertainties after Cooper Industries v. Aviall about what cause of action a PRP has for recovering response costs under CERCLA, many parties take the prudent course of pleading claims under both for cost recovery...more

Is There Any End to Post-Closure Care Under RCRA?

Late last month EPA issued draft guidance on adjusting post-closure periods under RCRA. It’s not good news. ...more

California Federal Court Dismisses Medical Monitoring Claims for Lack of Plausible Cancer Risk

In a significant victory for defendants facing toxic tort exposure claims, a California federal court dismissed a medical monitoring putative class action brought by drinkers of certain Pepsi products because Plaintiffs...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

Far-Reaching Information Request on Nanoscale Chemical Substances Proposed by EPA

For the first time, and after multi-year negotiations with, and review by, the Office of Management and Budget, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is proposing to use its authority under the federal Toxic Substances...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

Ohio Federal Court Rules that Policyholder’s Asbestos Liabilities Arose from Multiple Occurrences Under Ohio Law

On April 7, 2015, a federal judge in the Northern District of Ohio granted partial summary judgment in favor of plaintiffs Mahoning Valley Supply (“MVS”) and Westfield Insurance Company (“Westfield”) and against defendant...more

How Are the Texas Anti-SLAPP Statute and Jade Helm 15 Alike?

May a court “draw rational inferences from circumstantial evidence” when determining if a plaintiff has met its burden in a suit in which the defendant has invoked the Texas Citizens Participation Act . That was the question...more

Pa. Toxic Tort Settlement Shows Potential Danger in Benzene Exposure Lawsuits

A settlement recently reached between U.S. Steel Corp. and the widow of a Pennsylvania man allegedly exposed to benzene may fuel use of toxic tort lawsuits to sue over benzene exposures. ...more

New Jersey Court Applies Continuous Trigger Theory and Finds That No Coverage Is Available Because Damage Manifested Prior to...

In Cypress Point Condo. Ass’n. v. Selective Way Ins. Co., 2015 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 721 (March 30, 2015), the New Jersey Law Division dismissed a declaratory judgment action filed against an insurer for a framing...more

California Appellate Court Finds Railroad Company Not Subject to Jurisdiction

In BNSF Railway Company v. Superior Court (2015) 185 Cal.Rptr.3d 391, the California Court of Appeal, Second District, reversed a trial court order denying BNSF Railway Company’s motion to quash service of summons for lack of...more

PCB Cleanup Suit Declared Time-Barred

A Connecticut federal judge recently dismissed a suit seeking to hold Monsanto and others responsible for the cleanup of polychlorinated biphenyls (“PCBs”) released from paint, finding that the plaintiff filed its suit after...more

Colorado Supreme Court Rejects Orders Requiring Plaintiffs to Present Early Evidence Supporting Their Toxic Tort Claims

In an April 20, 2015, decision that was highly anticipated by the energy industry, the Colorado Supreme Court rejected a procedural device called a “Lone Pine” order that requires plaintiffs to make a threshold evidentiary...more

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