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Environmental

  • July 20, 2018

    Oncologist Says Roundup Caused Groundskeeper's Cancer

    The active ingredient in Monsanto's weed killers caused a retired groundskeeper's non-Hodgkin lymphoma, the former medical director of the University of Chicago's cancer center testified Friday during a first-of-its-kind California jury trial on whether the company should have warned consumers about its pesticides' cancer risks.

  • July 20, 2018

    Ex-Balch & Bingham Partner, Coal Exec Convicted Of Bribery

    A federal jury has convicted a former Balch & Bingham environmental partner and a coal company executive of bribing an Alabama legislator for his help in dodging cleanup liability with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, prosecutors announced Friday evening.

  • July 20, 2018

    DC Circ. Finds EPA's Exceptional Events Rule Can Stand

    The D.C. Circuit on Friday upheld a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rule for so-called “exceptional events,” like wildfires and volcanic eruptions, rejecting environmental advocates’ contention that the rule would let the agency write off human-caused pollution as natural activity.

  • July 20, 2018

    NEPA-Deficient Uranium Mine License Wrongly Kept: DC Circ.

    The D.C. Circuit ruled Friday that the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission wrongly allowed Powertech to keep a uranium mining license after failing to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act over objections from the Oglala Sioux Tribe, holding that such a decision “vitiates” the environmental law’s requirements.

  • July 20, 2018

    More Quinn Emanuel Attorneys Leave Firm For Dechert

    Dechert LLP on Friday said that 18 attorneys from Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP have joined the firm's product liability team, following Sheila Birnbaum, a defense attorney nicknamed the “Queen of Toxic Torts,” who made the jump in May.

  • July 20, 2018

    Baltimore Sues Chevron, Others Over Climate Change

    The city of Baltimore on Friday added its name to a growing list of local governments that have filed suit against Chevron, BP and a slew of other energy companies accusing them of contributing to climate change that is causing sea level rise, extreme weather and other problems of concern to a city with 60 miles of waterfront.

  • July 20, 2018

    Republican ESA Reform Proposals Face Uphill Battle

    Republicans in Congress and the Trump administration in recent weeks have turned their attention to weakening the Endangered Species Act, but experts say legislation amending the 45-year-old law has a low likelihood of success, and environmentalists are almost certain to challenge new agency rules in court.

  • July 20, 2018

    Refiner Prevails On Renewable Fuel Exemption In 4th Circ.

    The Fourth Circuit on Friday sided with a small West Virginia refinery and threw out the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s rejection of the company’s application for an exemption to the renewable fuel standard program, saying that the decision had wrongly relied on a faulty economic hardship analysis.

  • July 20, 2018

    Canadian Regulator Spotlights Disclosure Deficiencies

    The Canadian Securities Administrators on Thursday released a biennial report that examines common deficiencies and best practices regarding the continuous disclosures filed by companies issuing securities, in an effort to assess and help provide a road map to compliance. 

  • July 20, 2018

    9th Circ. Rebuffs Latest Bid To Dump Kids' Climate Suit

    The Ninth Circuit on Friday rejected another bid to undo a judge's green light for 21 children to sue the U.S. government for allegedly endangering them and future generations with policies that contribute to climate change, the latest setback for the Trump administration in its efforts to nix the suit.

  • July 20, 2018

    Sunrun Investor Suit Booted With Last Chance For Fixes

    The latest iteration of an investor suit claiming Sunrun Inc. fudged customer cancellation numbers to keep its stock afloat fared no better than the first two versions, a federal judge in California found Thursday in a pithy two-page opinion chucking the complaint.

  • July 19, 2018

    Drummond Exec, Balch & Bingham Partner Trial Goes To Jury

    An Alabama federal jury heard that a coal company executive who, along with a former Balch & Bingham partner, stands accused of bribery to help avert liability for an EPA cleanup was "doing his job," as closing arguments wrapped Thursday morning.

  • July 19, 2018

    16 AGs Sue EPA Over 'Super-Polluting' Truck Rule Rollback

    The attorneys general for New York, California and other states sued the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday for suspending a rule that limited the number of remanufactured, heavy-duty trucks that could be sold, a decision issued on Scott Pruitt's last day as agency administrator.

  • July 19, 2018

    Crystal Geyser Dumped Arsenic-Tainted Wastewater: DOJ

    Three companies, including the bottled water company that produces Crystal Geyser, were hit with a 16-count indictment in California federal court Wednesday accusing them of transporting wastewater containing arsenic.

  • July 19, 2018

    DOI, North Fork Tribe Beat Group's Casino Challenge

    A California federal judge tossed a suit challenging the U.S. Department of the Interior’s decision to approve the North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians’ casino project, saying the department didn’t violate federal law when it issued procedures allowing the tribe to offer gambling without a tribal-state compact in place.

  • July 19, 2018

    Energy Cos. To Appeal Climate Tort Ruling To 9th Circ.

    A group of major oil and gas companies including Chevron Corp. told a California federal court that they would be appealing to the Ninth Circuit a recent order that sent climate change-related torts brought by two cities and a county to state court.

  • July 19, 2018

    Trump Admin Proposes Weakening Endangered Species Rules

    The Trump administration on Thursday proposed a package of Endangered Species Act regulatory reforms, one of which would roll back a nearly 40-year-old rule that extends the same protections afforded to species listed as endangered to those listed as threatened, which denotes a less imperiled status.

  • July 19, 2018

    Ford, Bosch Say Super-Duty Truck Emissions Suit Baseless

    Ford Motor Co. and auto parts supplier Robert Bosch LLC rebuked a proposed Michigan class action alleging they rigged 500,000 heavy-duty trucks to cheat emissions tests, saying Wednesday the vehicle owners’ unsubstantiated racketeering and fraud claims based on contrived road tests won’t hold up in court.

  • July 19, 2018

    Energy Cos. Seek To Enforce €128M Award Against Spain

    Two foreign companies on Thursday asked a D.C. federal court to enforce a €128 million ($149 million) arbitral award against Spain issued following a dispute over renewable energy subsidies, resuming their U.S. enforcement efforts several months after voluntarily dismissing their original suit in New York for procedural reasons.

  • July 19, 2018

    FERC Still Won't Override NY's $683M Pipeline Permit Denial

    The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Thursday stood by its decision to leave intact New York’s denial of a Clean Water Act permit for a $683 million natural gas pipeline, dealing a fresh setback to Williams Cos. Inc. unit Constitution Pipeline Co. LLC.

Expert Analysis

  • Suddenly, ALJs Become Political Appointees

    Brian Casey

    Less than three weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court decided Lucia v. Securities and Exchange Commission, President Donald Trump signed an executive order applying the court’s rationale in Lucia to the hiring — and firing — of all administrative law judges in the federal government, making them entirely beholden to the heads of their agencies or the president for their jobs, says Brian Casey of Barnes & Thornburg LLP.

  • A Lawyer's Guide To Genomics In Toxic Tort Cases: Part 3

    Kirk Hartley

    Genetic data and techniques are becoming ever more powerful tools for explaining when and how diseases arise. They can also have very strong evidentiary value, and in some toxic tort cases, genetic findings can provide conclusive answers for a judge or jury, say Kirk Hartley and David Schwartz of ToxicoGenomica.

  • DC Circ. Set A Higher Bar For Hydro License Renewal

    Walker Stanovsky

    On July 6, the D.C. Circuit torpedoed a hydroelectric license renewal issued in 2013 because the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service did not consider environmental damage already caused by the project. In doing so, the court rejected FERC’s long-standing practice of using existing conditions and operations as an environmental baseline, say attorneys at Davis Wright Tremaine LLP.

  • A Lawyer's Guide To Genomics In Toxic Tort Cases: Part 2

    Kirk Hartley

    The use of genetic testing in tort litigation is relatively new. Such testing may uncover one or more gene variants that help identify individuals at an increased risk of developing a disease. Whole genome sequencing can be the best and most appropriate approach for toxic tort civil litigation, say Kirk Hartley and David Schwartz of ToxicoGenomica.

  • Congressional Forecast: July

    Layth Elhassani

    While Senate hearings on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court will draw much attention during July, Congress remains very busy with fiscal year 2019 appropriations bills. The chambers may go to conference this month on the first of several appropriations "minibuses," says Layth Elhassani of Covington & Burling LLP.

  • What Kavanaugh's Writing Tells Us About His Personality

    Matthew Hall

    People with certain personality traits tend to use certain words. A computer analysis of Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s D.C. Circuit opinions reveals that he is highly extraverted, which means that he would be a prominent voice on the U.S. Supreme Court, says Matthew Hall, a professor at the University of Notre Dame.

  • Opinion

    3 Pros, 3 Cons Of Litigation Finance

    Ralph Sutton

    An educated guess puts the number of new litigation funders launched in the past 18 months at 30 — an astonishing number, with more to come. Is this a blessing to our legal system or something more akin to tulip mania? Maybe both, says Ralph Sutton, founder and CEO of litigation funding firm Validity Finance LLC.

  • A Lawyer's Guide To Genomics In Toxic Tort Cases: Part 1

    Kirk Hartley

    Genomic data and technologies can assist both plaintiffs and defendants in toxic tort and personal injury cases in uncovering the underlying causes of disease. In coming years, the influence of genomics in civil law will be even broader than its influence in criminal law, say attorney Kirk Hartley and scientific consultant David Schwartz of ToxicoGenomica.

  • Modern Communication Brings E-Discovery Challenges

    Thomas Bonk

    As new communications platforms displace email, the legal industry is awkwardly grappling with complex e-discovery questions. Fortunately, this environment provides a very fertile ground of incentives for innovation in both e-discovery technology and service offerings, says Thomas Bonk of Epiq.

  • Opinion

    It's Not All About The Benjamins, Baby (Lawyer)

    J.B. Heaton

    Notwithstanding the latest salary war among prominent law firms, I urge my middle-aged and older colleagues to help the recent graduates we know focus on the long term. Even if the salary is the same, there is a big difference between an institutional firm and the relatively younger firms matching BigLaw, says J.B. Heaton, a University of Chicago business law fellow and former partner at Bartlit Beck.