• September 8, 2014

    Developer Takes 9/11 CERCLA Case To Supreme Court

    A developer has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to weigh whether the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act's "act of war" defense can nix its indemnification claims against the owners and lessees of the World Trade Center and others over damage from the 9/11 attacks.

  • September 8, 2014

    Canadian Solar Teams With Chinese Co. To Start $800M Fund

    Canadian Solar Inc. said Monday it has entered into an agreement with Sichuan Development Investment Management Ltd., an asset management company backed by the Chinese government, to establish an $800 million investment fund to finance solar projects in China.

  • September 5, 2014

    Babst Calland Adds 4 Enviro, Employment Shareholders

    Babst Calland Clements and Zomnir PC has hired a quartet of veteran West Virginia litigators, who have experience in environmental, employment and energy matters, to join its Charleston office as shareholders as part of its move to bolster its strength in the state, according to the firm.

  • September 5, 2014

    ConAgra Pays $5.7M To Settle Superfund Cleanup Fight

    ConAgra Grocery Products Co. LLC will pay $5.7 million to settle the U.S. government's suit demanding the recovery of cleanup costs it incurred removing 34,000 tons of contaminated soil from a former tannery site now owned by the agriculture giant, according to papers filed in Maine federal court Friday.

  • September 5, 2014

    Nixed Casting Co. Merger Spurs Breach Of Contract Suit

    Metals manufacturing materials supplier MRO Resources LLC hit the operator of metal casting foundry Smith Castings Inc. with a lawsuit in a Michigan federal court Thursday, saying the castings company reneged on a merger deal and broke an associated confidentiality agreement.

  • September 5, 2014

    Chevron To Pay $278K In Penalties For Richmond Plant Errors

    Chevron USA Inc. will pay $278,000 in civil penalties for a series of air quality violations at its Richmond, California, refinery that are unrelated to the 2012 explosion and contaminant release at the plant, Northern California regulators said Thursday.

  • September 5, 2014

    USFS Logging Permits Threaten Spotted Owls, Suit Says

    The positive effects of one of California’s biggest wildfires on the local spotted owl population are being undone due in large part to logging permits being handed out by the U.S. Forest Service, according to a suit filed in federal court on Thursday.

  • September 5, 2014

    Mont. Regulators OK $900M Hydro Facilities Sale

    Montana utility regulators on Thursday approved NorthWestern Corp.'s $900 million purchase of 11 hydroelectric facilities from PPL Corp. unit PPL Montana LLC, but NorthWestern won't be able to pass on as much of the deal's costs to its customers as it had hoped.

  • September 5, 2014

    Neb. Justices Suggest Challenge To Keystone Law Has Legs

    Nebraska Supreme Court justices on Friday sharply questioned the state's contention that landowners challenging a law that authorizes the governor to approve the route for the Keystone XL pipeline lacked standing, but offered few clues as to whether they'll conclude the law usurped the authority of state utility regulators.

  • September 5, 2014

    Corps of Engineers Can't Bury Suit Over Levee Soil Deal

    A Louisiana federal court on Thursday rejected an attempt by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to dismiss a case brought by a company the Corps required to buy $1.6 million in environmental mitigation credits in order to supply soil for shoring up flood levees in the state.

  • September 5, 2014

    Pa. Judge Rejects Gas Well Pad In Residential Neighborhood

    A Pennsylvania state judge has ruled in favor of Lycoming County residents who opposed a permit for a natural gas well pad, an early test of a landmark state Supreme Court decision that struck down a law compelling local governments to allow gas operations in all zoned districts.

  • September 5, 2014

    General Mills Loses Bid To Dodge Superfund Class Action

    A Minnesota federal judge on Thursday refused to throw out a proposed class action accusing General Mills Inc. of allowing carcinogens from a Superfund site to seep into a nearby residential area, finding the plaintiffs showed they face a threat of future harm from continued exposure to the chemicals.

  • September 5, 2014

    5 Insights From AT&T General Counsel Wayne Watts

    We had one three-year period where we successfully closed the back-to-back acquisitions of AT&T Wireless Services Inc., AT&T and BellSouth Corporation. Those years were hard to beat, says Wayne Watts, senior vice president and general counsel of AT&T Inc.

  • September 4, 2014

    Deepwater To Deep Trouble: The 4-Year Road To BP Ruling

    More than four years after the fatal Deepwater Horizon explosion, a federal judge held Thursday that the biggest oil spill in U.S. history was the result of BP Exploration and Production Inc.’s gross negligence, laying the lion’s share of the blame on the energy giant. Here's a timeline of events that led up to this landmark ruling and a guide to what’s next for BP.

  • September 4, 2014

    Newly Endangered Plants Stand In Wal-Mart Project’s Way

    The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Wednesday added two South Florida flowers to the endangered species list, a move that threatens to change the course of a massive Wal-Mart-anchored mixed-use development planned for southern Miami on land that is home to these flowers and other endangered species.

  • September 4, 2014

    KeySpan Coverage Saga Over NY Plant Cleanup Heads To Trial

    The 17-year-old dispute pitting Century Indemnity Co. and others against current policyholder KeySpan Corp. over remediation costs for polluted manufactured gas plant sites on Long Island is finally headed for trial, as a New York judge on Thursday cast doubt on the case’s dismissal.

  • September 4, 2014

    Deepwater Horizon Ruling Places $18B Bull's-Eye On BP

    The gross negligence finding imposed on BP Exploration and Production Inc. for its role in the Deepwater Horizon disaster is a worst-case scenario for the energy giant, experts say, putting BP on the hook for up to $18 billion in Clean Water Act penalties and leaving open the possibility of billions more in punitive damages.

  • September 4, 2014

    Halliburton Sanctioned For Destroying Deepwater Evidence

    A Louisiana federal judge sanctioned Halliburton Co. for destroying evidence related to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster amid a rash of decisions entered after the first phase of the trial on Thursday.

  • September 4, 2014

    Hunton & Williams Brings On EPA Vet As Senior Atty In SF

    Hunton & Williams LLP has lured a veteran administrative lawyer from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s office of the general counsel to serve as a senior attorney in the firm’s San Francisco office, the firm announced on Wednesday.

  • September 4, 2014

    Prudential Accused Of Fraud Over Polluted Land Sale In NJ

    The onetime owner of a Whippany, New Jersey, property has sued The Prudential Insurance Co. of America for allegedly concealing environmental issues when it sold the site, as well as accusing Alcatel-Lucent USA Inc. of shrinking the land's value through contamination from its former campus nearby.

Expert Analysis

  • 'Vicarious Liability' Suits In Vain After 5th Circ. Case

    Patricia T. Barmeyer

    The Fifth Circuit's ruling in The Aransas Project v. Shaw will make it harder for environmental groups to hold state and local regulatory agencies "vicariously liable" for failing to use their authorities to prevent harm to federally protected species, say attorneys at King & Spalding LLP.

  • Contract Management Survey Reveals Untapped Opportunities

    Jeff Catanzaro

    In a recent survey of 100 legal technology and contract management professionals, 57 percent of respondents expressed concern about their company’s existing contract management procedures. Their responses to other questions reveal the underlying reasons — and areas of opportunity, says Jeff Catanzaro of Huron Legal.

  • Arguments Of The Opposition To EPA's Clean Power Plan

    Jennelle Arthur

    Opponents of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan, which seeks to acheive long-term reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, have challenged aspects of the EPA's proposed rules seeking to implement it, from the computation of state budgets to the agency's legal authority to promulgate them, says Jennelle Arthur of Jackson Kelly PLLC.

  • Expect Spike In Calif. Suits Over Environmental 'Reform'

    Kevin Haroff

    It seems reasonable to expect even more litigation in California over urban planning and development issues after the Legislature's exemption of broad categories of development from environmental scrutiny under the California Environmental Quality Act, say Kevin Haroff and Marina Cassio of Marten Law PLLC.

  • Long-Term GHG Reduction Rule Could Change Nature Of EPA

    Jonathan Martel

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's proposal to reduce emissions by 2030 will require “beyond-the-fence” measures and represents a potential shift from the agency's traditional role as an environmental regulator to that of an energy regulator — a shift that may test the limits of state and EPA regulatory authority, say attorneys at Arnold & Porter LLP.

  • OPINION: Lawyers Should Think In Terms Of Big Data

    James H. Wendell

    The vast majority of civil cases in the United States settle before trial. Knowing how many on a particular topic were filed, how many settled, when they settled, and on what terms clearly would be useful to a lawyer advising a client. Big Data could make it possible — yet this type of research is generally ignored by lawyers, says James Wendell of Riddell Williams PS.

  • Denied Rule Petitions In Texas Will Have No Day In Court

    Dale Wainwright

    The Austin Court of Appeals' holding in Texas Commission on Environmental Quality v. Bonser-Lain is significant because it precludes private parties from asking courts for "second opinions" on state agency denials of requests for rulemaking, thereby avoiding a protracted and potentially costly resolution of such requests, say attorneys at Bracewell & Giuliani LLP.

  • Dukes May Have Doomed Toxic Tort Class Certification

    Peter E. Seley

    Heightened focus on commonality and the other Rule 23 prerequisites post-Dukes has been a tremendous hurdle for toxic tort class action plaintiffs as courts reject classes based on the individual nature of exposure, causation and damages and the insufficiency of expert testimony, say attorneys at Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP.

  • Death Rattle For Unfinished Business Claims?

    Angelo G. Savino

    In a departure from Jewel v. Boxer, the decisions in the cases of Thelen LLP and Heller Ehrman LLP reflect a shift in the manner by which courts treat trustees’ claims for post-dissolution fees, say Angelo Savino and Julie Moeller Albright of Cozen O'Connor.

  • Arguing Injury Can Prevent Harm From EPA Water Listing

    Brian G. Glass

    In light of City of Dover v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, those seeking to challenge impaired waters listings may be better served alleging injuries predicated on property value reductions since these kinds of injuries are more immediate than injuries based on regulatory impact — courts may be more willing to find they satisfy the requirements for Article III standing, says Brian Glass of Warren Glass LLP.