Environmental

  • June 01, 2020

    DOI Says ND Has Mineral Rights Under River On Tribal Land

    The U.S. Department of the Interior's chief attorney has killed part of an Obama-era decision by his predecessor backing tribal claims against North Dakota to mineral rights, saying the state legally owns submerged lands beneath the Missouri River where it flows through a tribe's reservation.

  • June 01, 2020

    9th Circ. Revives Post-Sale Claims In VW Emissions Suit

    The Ninth Circuit told Volkswagen Group of America Inc. and other automakers Monday that they must face claims by two counties over the post-sale modification of "defeat devices" intended to fool emissions testing, saying the Clean Air Act only preempts the counties' claims over new vehicles.

  • June 01, 2020

    Md. Accuses Paper Mill Of Polluting Potomac River

    Maryland has accused a Verso Corp. entity that owns a paper mill of leaching a substance into the Potomac River that has such a high pH it can cause chemical burns and asked to join a pending lawsuit against the company.

  • June 01, 2020

    IRS Rules Would Open Doors For Carbon Capture Projects

    Proposed IRS rules on the carbon capture tax credit would allow another avenue for businesses to prove they meet the credit's requirements for enhanced oil recovery projects, which would provide flexibility for projects without jettisoning monitoring, reporting and verification standards.

  • June 01, 2020

    Tribe Can't Block Irrigation Plan In Its Bid To Protect Salmon

    A California federal judge has rejected the Yurok Tribe's bid to lift a stay in a suit against the federal government seeking to protect a salmon species from the impacts of an irrigation project in the Klamath River.

  • June 01, 2020

    Supreme Court Won't Hear Camp Lejeune Toxic Water Suits

    The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to take up two appeals stemming from dismissed multidistrict litigation brought by military families over drinking water contamination at the Camp Lejeune military base in North Carolina.

  • June 01, 2020

    2nd Circ. Side-Eyes Vehicle Emissions Penalty Rollback

    A Second Circuit panel appeared skeptical Monday about whether the Trump administration was within its rights to implement a nearly 61% rollback of penalties for violations of motor vehicle average fuel economy standards.

  • June 01, 2020

    EPA Defends Easing Pollution Enforcement Policy For Virus

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency told a federal court that environmental groups suing it for relaxing how it handles pollution standards noncompliance during the coronavirus outbreak are seeking unreasonable relief for a hypothetical injury.

  • June 01, 2020

    EPA Finalizes Restraints On State, Tribal Water Permit Power

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Monday hobbled the authority of states and tribes to block projects like pipelines, export terminals and dams over Clean Water Act concerns, saying the power had been abused to unfairly restrict commerce.

  • May 29, 2020

    PG&E Objector Suggests Weil Atty's Son Raises Conflict

    A bench trial over whether to confirm Pacific Gas and Electric Co.'s $58 billion bankruptcy reorganization plan entered its third day Friday, with an objector questioning whether a conflict exists because a Weil LLP attorney representing PG&E is the father of a director of the company running its confirmation process.

  • May 29, 2020

    5th Circ. Agrees With EPA's Review Of Exxon Refinery Permit

    The Fifth Circuit on Friday upheld the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's decision not to oppose Exxon Mobil Corp.'s air pollution permit application to enlarge a Texas petrochemical plant, rejecting arguments the permit should have received more scrutiny.

  • May 29, 2020

    Insurers Cleared To Arbitrate Hurricane Harvey Coverage Row

    A Texas federal judge on Friday granted a bid by a group of Lloyd's of London insurers to arbitrate a property owner's dispute over $1 million in Hurricane Harvey damage, saying the policy doesn't let the court override the arbitrator's power to decide whether arbitration is valid.

  • May 29, 2020

    Corporate Bond Rush Brings A Big Wave Of Firsts

    The tidal wave of corporate debt offerings in recent months has enabled companies to raise billions in cash and gain much-needed breathing room to navigate the coronavirus pandemic, setting records and ushering in several first-of-their kind deals along the way.

  • May 29, 2020

    Gov't Contracts Of The Month: Virus, Space And Google Deals

    The federal government looked to the future in May, injecting $1.2 billion into AstraZeneca's candidate COVID-19 vaccine and infusing billions into the U.S.'s space-bound ambitions. Other megadeals include remediation of a nuclear site and Google's partnership with the Pentagon.

  • May 29, 2020

    Native American Tribes Sue Feds Over Keystone Pipeline

    Two Montana-based Native American tribes filed a lawsuit against the U.S. government on Friday challenging the approval of an oil pipeline being built near the Fort Peck Indian Reservation, claiming federal agencies failed to consider how the project would impact the tribes.

  • May 29, 2020

    SEC Says Volkswagen, Ex-CEO Can't Escape Emissions Suit

    U.S. securities regulators told a California federal judge that Volkswagen knowingly misled bond investors by failing to disclose its "clean diesel" emissions cheating scheme, so it's still on the hook for securities fraud even after reaching settlements with other agencies.

  • May 29, 2020

    Homeowners Ask 7th Circ. To Revive Toxic Dust Suit Again

    Wisconsin property owners say a district court has failed twice now to properly apply environmental protection laws after a 2015 facility demolition allegedly spewed up so much contaminated dust that they needed windshield wipers to drive.

  • May 29, 2020

    RI Says 9th Circ. Agrees Climate Suit Belongs In State Court

    Rhode Island told the First Circuit that a pair of recent Ninth Circuit decisions lend support to its argument that a lower court correctly sent back to state court the state's lawsuit seeking to pin climate change-related infrastructure costs on energy giants like Chevron.

  • May 29, 2020

    Borrowers Denied Cert. In Green Home Loans Suit

    A federal judge in California on Thursday denied a bid for class certification in a suit accusing a green home upgrades financing company of misrepresenting the terms of its loans, telling the borrowers they didn't show they had actually viewed various versions of the company's alleged misrepresentations.

  • May 29, 2020

    Feds Will Contribute $7.5M To Exit Landfill Cleanup Fight

    The federal government will pay $7.5 million to exit a long-running dispute over the cleanup of hazardous waste at a Washington state landfill, according to an agreement filed in federal court.

  • May 29, 2020

    Energy Co. Says It Hasn't Seen $63M Award 5th Circ. Upheld

    Renewable energy company Soaring Wind Energy asked a Texas federal judge Thursday to order the American arm of China's state-run aerospace corporation to hand over a nearly $63 million arbitral award it allegedly has refused to pay even after the Fifth Circuit upheld it in January.

  • May 28, 2020

    CPUC Approves PG&E's $58B Ch. 11 Plan Despite Criticism

    The California Public Utilities Commission on Thursday voted unanimously in favor of Pacific Gas and Electric Co.'s $58 billion bankruptcy reorganization plan after hearing more than 100 public comments from customers against it and three comments in support of it.

  • May 28, 2020

    Remanding Mass. Exxon Climate Case Clear Call, Judge Says

    A Massachusetts federal judge said Thursday the state attorney general's suit claiming ExxonMobil Corp. lied to investors and the public about climate change-associated risks relies on "mundane theories of fraud" that can be litigated in state court.

  • May 28, 2020

    Alsup Slams 'Criminal' PG&E's 'C-R-A-P-P-Y' Fire Mitigation

    U.S. District Judge William Alsup slammed wildfire mitigation efforts by "recalcitrant criminal" Pacific Gas and Electric Co. on Thursday, saying the bankrupt utility is violating probation by failing to trim enough trees and that, "if ever there was a corporation that deserved to go to prison, it's PG&E."

  • May 28, 2020

    MIT Expands Patent Fight Over Ford Engines

    The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has geared up for round two of its patent fight with Ford Motor Corp., lodging another lawsuit in Delaware federal court that accuses the auto giant of stealing its technology for fuel-efficient engines.

Expert Analysis

  • How Lawyers Can Network Better, Virtually And In Person

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    The current decrease in formality and increase in common ground due to the work-from-home environment can make it easier to have a networking conversation, says Megan Burke Roudebush at Keepwith.

  • Practical Tips For Presenting Your Case To Litigation Funders

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    One mistake that attorneys commonly make when presenting a case to a third-party funder is focusing almost exclusively on liability and giving short shrift to the damages analysis — resulting in an aspirational damages estimate that falls apart under scrutiny, say Cindy Ahn and Justin Maleson at Longford Capital and Casey Grabenstein at Saul Ewing.

  • Avoiding Inadvertent Privilege Waivers In E-Communications

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    Attorneys at WilmerHale highlight recent developments in privilege law, the significant challenges raised by nontraditional working arrangements popularized during the pandemic, and ways to avoid waiving attorney-client privilege when using electronic communications.

  • How Energy Co. Buyers Can Limit Environmental Liability Risk

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    As potential buyers look to purchase assets of energy companies driven into bankruptcy by the coronavirus pandemic, there are a number of precautionary steps they should take to reduce the risk of liability for the seller's environmental obligations, say Jacob Hollinger and Darren Azman of McDermott.

  • Opinion

    Keystone XL Ruling Paralyzes Infrastructure Permit Process

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    A Montana federal judge's recent ruling revoking water permits for the Keystone XL pipeline and imposing a nationwide moratorium on dredging and filling operations by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers seriously undermines a tried and true regulatory process, say Tom Magness at Grow America's Infrastructure Now and Patrice Douglas at Spencer Fane.

  • Opinion

    Don't Cancel Your Summer Associate Programs

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    While pulling off an effective summer associate program this year will be no easy feat, law firms' investments in their future attorneys should be considered necessary even during this difficult time, says Summer Eberhard at Major Lindsey.

  • How Hollywood Can Inspire Courtroom Presentations

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    As attorneys patiently wait for jury trials to resume, they can explore three effective transition techniques commonly used in movies to bring their courtroom PowerPoint presentations to the next level, say Adam Bloomberg and David Metz at Litigation Insights.

  • Aquaculture, Fishing Cos. Stand To Net Big Gains From Aid

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    A recent Trump administration executive order and a plan to distribute CARES Act funding to aquaculture and fishing businesses represent ambitious new federal support for these industries, and stakeholders should engage proactively as spending plans and application processes are developed, say attorneys at K&L Gates.

  • Early Securities Litigation Trends Stemming From Recent IPOs

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    Attorneys at WilmerHale analyze Securities Act complaints against companies that went public immediately prior to and during the COVID-19-induced market volatility, providing preliminary insights into whether, when and on what basis recent issuers are facing securities litigation.

  • Trial By Webcam: Tips From A Firsthand Experience

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    Initially incomprehensible, it turns out that conducting trial by video is reasonable and relatively convenient, as long as lawyers do not try to recreate the courtroom experience, say Wheeler Trigg attorneys Joel Neckers and Peter Herzog, who recently participated in an online bench trial in United Power v. Tri-State before the Colorado Public Utilities Commission.

  • 5 Ways To Reduce Post-Pandemic Legal Malpractice Exposure

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    History suggests that legal malpractice claims will rise following the current economic downturn, and while a certain percentage of the claims will be unavoidable, there are prophylactic steps that law firms can take, says John Johnson at Cozen O'Connor.

  • Leaving The Tort System Behind Via Corporate Risk Transfer

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    With an increasingly litigious tort environment for corporate defendants, companies holding legacy liabilities would do well to investigate a capital markets solution for transferring their risks, say Mark Hemmann at FARA LLC and Peter Kelso at Roux Associates.

  • NY Order Kicks Power Grid Modernization Into High Gear

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    The New York Public Service Commission's recent order directing investor-owned utilities to rapidly review their distribution and local transmission infrastructure represents a turning point in the state's efforts to update its electric grid for green energy — so interested stakeholders must weigh in soon, says Kevin Blake at Phillips Lytle.

  • A Guide To Evaluating And Advertising COVID-19 Products

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    As businesses evaluate products claiming to make workplaces safer during the pandemic, or look at marketing such products themselves, they should be aware of the highly regulated world of disease prevention claims if they wish to avoid enforcement and private litigation, say attorneys at Crowell & Moring.

  • Opinion

    Credibility Concerns About Virtual Arbitration Are Unfounded

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    Concerns that videoconferenced arbitration hearings compromise an arbitrator's ability to reliably resolve credibility contests are based on mistaken perceptions of how many cases actually turn on credibility, what credibility means in the legal world, and how arbitrators make credibility determinations, says Wayne Brazil at JAMS.

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