News & Analysis as of

Contaminated Properties Contamination

Superior Court Invalidates Hexavalent Chromium Drinking Water Standard

Earlier this month, Judge Christopher E. Krueger of the Sacramento Superior Court issued an order invalidating the Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) for hexavalent chromium. The California Department of Public Health (“DPH”)...more

Spoliator Alert! Discarding Your Pipes, Sumps and Slabs Can Cost You

by Cole Schotz on

The New Jersey Appellate Court recently upheld a spoliation claim against a plaintiff company that sued prior owners for violations of New Jersey’s Spill Compensation and Control Act and common law claims of nuisance and...more

Supreme Court of Pennsylvania Holds That Under Prompt Payment Act, Imposition of Penalty and Attorneys’ Fees Is Discretionary, Not...

by Pepper Hamilton LLP on

Scott Enters., Inc. v. City of Allentown, 2016 Pa. LEXIS 1503 (Pa. July 19, 2016) - The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania reversed an order of the Commonwealth Court and held that the prompt payment provisions of the...more

Ninth Circuit Rejects CERCLA Liability for Air Emissions

by Morrison & Foerster LLP on

Do air emissions of hazardous substances create a cleanup liability under the Superfund? In the closely watched case of Pakootas, et al. v. Teck Cominco Metals, Ltd., the Ninth Circuit said, “no,” becoming the highest court...more

They Blew Us Off – Insights into the State of New Mexico’s Suits Against the EPA and the State of Colorado

by Snell & Wilmer on

While speaking at a recent conference on natural resource damages, the Secretary of the New Mexico Environment Department, Ryan Flynn, outlined New Mexico’s grievances against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”)...more

California Environmental Law & Policy Update - August 2015 #3

by Allen Matkins on

Environmental and Policy Focus: Clean Water Act rule faces challenges from both sides - Courthouse News Service - Aug 18: A widely publicized new rule clarifying the definition of ’waters of the United States’ under the...more

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

by Wilson Elser on

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

EPA Issues Long-Delayed Guidance for Assessing and Mitigating Vapor Intrusion Risks at Contaminated Sites

by King & Spalding on

On June 11, 2015, the United States Environmental Protection Agency released long-delayed final guidance for evaluating and mitigating risks at sites where vapor intrusion is an actual or potential concern. The final guidance...more

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

by K&L Gates LLP on

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

Toxic Tort and Environmental Litigation: District Court Finds Expert Proof Insufficient to Prove Causation (1/15)

Causation is often the biggest hurdle a plaintiff must clear in proving a toxic tort case. For that reason, it would be expedient if a plaintiff could get to trial on the issue of causation merely by showing that...more

Environmental Claims: The Gift That Keeps On Giving

by Pepper Hamilton LLP on

Asarco LLC v. Goodwin, 756 F.3d 191 (2nd Cir. 2014) – A reorganized company (Asarco) sought contribution for payment of environmental claims from beneficiaries of trusts created under John D. Rockefeller’s will. The...more

PADEP Proposes Tough New Policy for Enforcing Oil and Gas Violations and Responding to Water Contamination Complaints

by K&L Gates LLP on

On October 3, 2014, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (“PADEP”) unveiled a new draft policy that would strengthen its compliance and enforcement protocols for both unconventional and conventional oil and...more

Studies Identify Flawed Well Construction (not Fracturing) as Source of Gas Contamination: More Questions Posed for Further...

by King & Spalding on

For the past several years, the rapid growth of oil and natural gas production from shale and other unconventional sources has prompted vocal and often sensationalized concerns regarding the potential for migration of gas...more

Is Selenium the Coal Industry’s Kryptonite? Citizen Groups Obtain Summary Judgment Based on Water Quality Criteria Exceedances

Last week, the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition and other NGOs obtained summary judgment that Alex Energy had violated both its NPDES permit and its Surface Mining Permits due to exceedances of the West Virginia water...more

Chemical Safety Board investigator outlines discoveries from West Fertilizer, Charleston water incidents

by Thompson Coburn LLP on

A fertilizer plant surrounded by homes, schools, and a hospital. A chemical tank that was externally examined but not drained of liquid for a more thorough inspection. These were some of the factors that contributed to two...more

Is Death A Defense To CERCLA Liability?

In contrast to the early days of Superfund when no argument for extending CERCLA liability was too far-fetched, the Second Circuit recently rejected one of the all-time “Hail Mary” passes for CERCLA contribution. The case,...more

The Complexity Associated with Setting Non-cancer Indoor Air Remediation Goals for Trichloroethylene Based on Short-term Exposure...

by Pepper Hamilton LLP on

Over the last few years, there has been increasing consideration of vapor intrusion in groundwater investigations, groundwater remedy selection, periodic reviews of the continued safety of already implemented groundwater...more

Oil and Gas Companies Ask Colorado Supreme Court to Approve Trial Court Order Requiring Plaintiffs to Present Preliminary Evidence...

by BakerHostetler on

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

Recent Cases of Note

by Nelson Brown & Co. on

District of New Jersey Denies Class Certification in Title Insurance Case on Grounds of Ascertainability - In the latest in a series of decisions from courts in the Third Circuit regarding ascertainability of a...more

Toxic Tort and Environmental Litigation: Third Department Clarifies Scope of Recoverable Medical Monitoring Damages in Waterborne...

On the heels of the Court of Appeals’ landmark decision rejecting an independent cause of action for medical monitoring in Caronia v. Phillip Morris USA, on February 20, 2014, the Third Department decided Ivory v. IBM. Ivory...more

City Not Required to Analyze Impacts of Existing Soil Contamination

by Best Best & Krieger LLP on

In Parker Shattuck Neighbors v. Berkeley City Council, the Court of Appeal determined that impacts from existing soil contamination on a project’s construction workers or future occupants was not an environmental impact under...more

Contaminated but Remediated Soil and Cortese Listing Does Not Compel Preparation of EIR

As 2013 came to a close, the California court of appeal in Parker Shattuck Neighbors v. Berkeley City Council (1st Dist., Div. 4, 12/30/13, A136873) ___Cal.App.1st___, 2013, upheld the City of Berkeley’s decision not to...more

West Virginia Chemical Spill Likely to Bring Oil and Chemical Inspections and Perhaps Regulatory Changes for Facilities with Large...

by Davis Wright Tremaine LLP on

Last Thursday residents of Kanawha County reported a foul licorice odor in the air. State and local officials traced the smell to a leak from a 35,000-gallon above ground storage tank along the Elk River. The chemical had...more

First District “Doubts” CEQA Operates In Reverse, Upholds Mitigated Negative Declaration For Urban Infill Project Despite Soil and...

by Miller Starr Regalia on

In an opinion recently ordered published, the First District Court of Appeal extensively reviewed the relevant case law and expressed skepticism that CEQA would operate in reverse to require analysis of potential impacts on a...more

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

by Buchalter on

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

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