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Environmental

  • October 4, 2018

    NC City's Residents Say CSX Liable After Florence Flooding

    Businesses, residents and community organizations inundated by flooding when Hurricane Florence hit North Carolina slapped CSX with a proposed class action in federal court Thursday, accusing the railroad company of failing to plug an underpass despite knowing the risk for destruction if a nearby river surged through it.

  • October 4, 2018

    EPA Inspector General Sets Ambitious Five-Year Plan

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Inspector General said it wants to increase its effectiveness by 10 percent between 2019 and 2023, according to a five-year strategic plan the office released Thursday.

  • October 4, 2018

    NL Industries Reaches $13M Deal To Settle Superfund Claims

    NL Industries Inc. on Thursday agreed to pay the federal government $13 million to settle claims related to the cleanup of lead contamination at a Missouri Superfund site.

  • October 4, 2018

    Ex-Fuel Co. Exec Pleads Guilty To $4M Biodiesel Tax Scheme

    A former Keystone Biofuels Inc. executive pled guilty in Pennsylvania federal court Wednesday to a $4.1 million tax fraud conspiracy that involved seeking renewable energy tax refunds by falsely claiming to manufacture biodiesel that met the necessary standards, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

  • October 4, 2018

    FERC Says Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline Can Start Shipping Gas

    The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Thursday gave Williams Cos. the green light to put its $2.65 billion Atlantic Sunrise gas pipeline expansion project into service, even as the D.C. Circuit continues to mull a challenge to the commission's approval of the project.

  • October 4, 2018

    GOP AGs Back Big Oil’s Bid To Ditch Wash. Climate Suit

    Republican attorneys general from 12 states urged a federal court Wednesday to nix King County, Washington's suit seeking to hold Big Oil liable for climate change-related infrastructure damage, arguing the county can't be allowed to use the courts to usurp federal and state regulation of climate change.

  • October 3, 2018

    Del. High Court Won't Decide Chancery Doc Appeal After All

    The Delaware Supreme Court withdrew its acceptance of a litigation appeal earlier this week, saying the appellant’s basis for challenging a lower court’s denial of a change to a document confidentiality order was no longer valid even after the justices heard arguments on the appeal last week.

  • October 3, 2018

    VW Must Face Claims Of Drivers Who Sold Cars Pre-Scandal

    A California federal judge Wednesday largely rejected bids by Volkswagen AG and electronics engineering firm Robert Bosch LLC to dismiss putative class claims from former owners who sold their affected diesel vehicles before news of an emissions-cheating scandal broke, saying the drivers alleged a sufficiently concrete injury.

  • October 3, 2018

    Emissions Crackdown Stretches To Small Auto Parts Makers

    The U.S. Department of Justice and the Environmental Protection Agency’s criminal prosecutions of small businesses that make aftermarket auto components that increase vehicles’ pollution are a show of force that experts say clearly indicates it’s not just giants like Volkswagen that need to be careful about their products’ effects on air quality.

  • October 3, 2018

    DC Circ. Hears Challenges To Cross-State Emissions Regs

    The Environmental Protection Agency faced pointed questioning Wednesday from a D.C. Circuit panel over environmental groups’ claims that the regulator has failed to adequately rein in ozone emissions from so-called upwind states that have kept their neighbors from meeting 2008 air quality standards.

  • October 3, 2018

    Ill. Wants Sterigenics Plant Closed Amid Cancer Concerns

    Illinois’ environmental regulator on Tuesday pushed for a temporary shutdown of a Chicago-area medical equipment facility run by Sterigenics International Inc., amid allegations that the plant has emitted a hazardous pollutant for decades.

  • October 3, 2018

    Georgia Plant Manager Indicted On CWA Violations

    A plant manager at a chemical mixing facility outside Atlanta was arraigned Wednesday over allegations that he instructed employees to use hoses to wash a harmful chemical into nearby waters in violation of the Clean Water Act, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office in Georgia.

  • October 3, 2018

    Calif. Man Says Monsanto Can't Get Redo After $298M Win

    A school groundskeeper who claims Monsanto-made herbicides contributed to his cancer asked a California federal judge to leave intact the $298 million verdict a jury returned for him in August, saying both the causation and damages findings were on solid ground.

  • October 3, 2018

    Trump Taps DOE Policy Head For FERC Commissioner Slot

    President Donald Trump announced Wednesday his intention to nominate the executive director of the office of policy at the U.S. Department of Energy as a member of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

  • October 3, 2018

    Exxon Investors Fight Oil Co.'s 2nd Bid To Ditch Climate Suit

    Investors urged a Texas federal court to deny Exxon Mobil Corp.'s request to take a second look at the court's decision to advance the bulk of a proposed securities fraud class action alleging the oil giant concealed its climate change knowledge.

  • October 3, 2018

    3rd Circ. Revives Medical Costs Row Over Navy's Toxic Spills

    A Third Circuit panel has reversed in part a ruling that barred residents from demanding the government cover the costs of monitoring their health after they discovered local Navy facilities contaminated their drinking water, finding the requests are not considered challenges to cleanup efforts.

  • October 2, 2018

    Ailing Lobster Thief Settles $37M Fight With Feds For $7M

    Federal prosecutors and a fishery owner convicted of overfishing South African lobsters and smuggling them into the U.S. got a Manhattan federal judge’s blessing on Tuesday to settle a $37 million judgment for $7 million, with a prosecutor saying a higher recovery was unlikely.

  • October 2, 2018

    CEQA Doesn’t Require Health Analysis, Calif. High Court Told

    The environmental impact report for a 2,500-unit retirement community in Fresno County met state regulatory standards, an attorney for the county told the California Supreme Court Tuesday, saying the report wasn’t required to discuss the human health impact of anticipated air pollution — an analysis he said it wasn’t scientifically possible to perform.

  • October 2, 2018

    Munck Wilson Brings On Complex Litigation Partner In Dallas

    Munck Wilson Mandala has hired a former name partner from what is now Godwin Bowman PC to be a senior partner in Munck Wilson's Dallas office, where she brings decades' worth of experience in complex commercial litigation.

  • October 2, 2018

    Stakeholder Cries Foul Over $270M Sale Of Colo. Wind Farm

    A limited liability company filed a lawsuit in Delaware Chancery Court challenging the $270 million sale of a company that owned a wind farm in Colorado, claiming it was denied its right to vote on the transaction after refusing to sell its minority interest in the venture.

Expert Analysis

  • 4 Key Components To New Firm Partnership Agreements

    Russell Shinsky

    A well-drafted partnership agreement protects a law firm's founders, establishes a process for new and outgoing partners, and sets forth guidelines for navigating conflict along the way. Startup firms can begin with something less complex, but there are important elements that every agreement should include, says Russell Shinsky of Anchin Block & Anchin LLP.

  • Why Lead Paint Litigation May Go To The Supreme Court

    Catherine Connors

    The U.S. Supreme Court has been asked to review ConAgra Grocery Products Co. and NL Industries v. People of California, a case that concerns whether companies that manufactured lead paint long ago can still be held liable for creating a public nuisance — and there's a decent chance cert will be granted, says Catherine Connors of Pierce Atwood LLP.

  • Opinion

    Open The Federal Courthouses

    David Oscar Markus

    Forget about cameras, reporters in the Manafort trial were not even permitted in the courtroom with their phones, tablets or computers. That meant no live reporting on Twitter and no emails to the newsrooms with updates. In a world focused on information and news as it happens, this is unacceptable, says trial attorney David Oscar Markus.

  • Calif. Gas Storage Rules Impose New Burdens On Operators

    William Rice

    In June, the California Conservation Commission adopted strict new regulations addressing the safety of underground natural gas storage facilities. Compliance with the rules’ highly detailed data requirements may be a daunting process for natural gas operators in the state, say William Rice and James Bowe Jr. of King & Spalding LLP.

  • Brexit: Bracing For A No-Deal Scenario

    Ross Denton

    Once considered the “cliff edge,” the possibility of the United Kingdom exiting from the European Union without agreeing on a trade deal has moved from unthinkable to increasingly likely. Both sides are ramping up preparations for a no-deal scenario, which would have significant implications for businesses in all sectors, say attorneys with Baker McKenzie LLP.

  • IRS Takes Uncharitable View Of Property Donation Deductions

    Ronald Levitt

    In the evolution of the ongoing IRS attack on conservation easements, the cases discussed in this article demonstrate that the IRS will attack charitable gifts of property with contentions of quid pro quo consideration, receipt of enhancement value and the substantial benefit analysis in U.S. v. American Bar Endowment — and the Tax Court appears receptive to such arguments, say Ronald Levitt and Tucker Thoni at Sirote & Permutt PC.

  • Exxon Investors' Climate Suit Turns Up The Heat On Oil Cos.

    Mike Biles

    A Texas federal judge's decision last week in Ramirez v. Exxon Mobil — the first climate change-related securities class action against a major oil and gas company — is strikingly pro-shareholder and departs from opinions of numerous federal courts, say Mike Biles and Jessica England of King & Spalding LLP.

  • 'High Availability' — A Key Term In Law Firm IT Strategy

    Jeff Norris

    While most law firm executives and partners may instinctively want to tune out terms like "high availability" and "disaster recovery" — concepts that IT managers usually worry about — there are five reasons you should lean in and wrestle with the vocabulary, say Jeff Norris of Managed Technology Services LLC and Greg Inge of information security consulting firm CQR.

  • The 'Post-Fact' Jury In The 'Fake News' Era

    Ross Laguzza

    The "fake news" phenomenon is ever more prominent in the political arena — but not in the jury box. At a trial, jurors don’t have to rely on the media or any other source to tell them the facts and issues, since they have a front-row seat to the action, says Ross Laguzza, a consultant at R&D Strategic Solutions LLC.

  • Section 45Q Tax Credit Increase May Spur Carbon Capture

    David Lowman

    The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 significantly increased and extended the Section 45Q tax credit for the capture and sequestration of carbon oxides. This development is expected to significantly boost deployment of carbon capture and storage across the U.S. and represents a potential opportunity for emitting companies, oil and gas companies and industrial users of carbon oxides, say David Lowman and Frederick Eames of Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP.