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Mealey's Pollution Liability

  • July 12, 2018

    Rhode Island Sues Fossil Fuel Companies Over Climate Change

    PROVIDENCE, R.I.— The state of Rhode Island on July 2 sued 13 companies in state court alleging that they knew about the relationship between global warming and the burning of fossil fuels but continued to promote the products and “engaged in a concerted effort to evade regulation” (Rhode Island v. Chevron Corp., et al., No. PC-2018-4716, R.I. Super., Providence/Bristol Co.).

  • July 11, 2018

    2 Companies Agree To Spend $100M To Clean Up Dioxin Contamination

    PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Two Stanley Black & Decker Inc. subsidiaries on July 9 agreed to spend approximately $100 million to clean up dioxin contamination in sediment and soil at a Rhode Island Superfund site and along the Woonasquatucket River, according to a consent decree filed in Rhode Island federal court (Emhart Industries Inc. v. U.S. Department of the Air Force, et al., No. 11-cv-23, D. R.I.).

  • July 11, 2018

    Refineries’ Owners’ Amended Suit Sufficiently Alleges They Incurred Cleanup Costs

    BAY CITY, Mich.  — A federal judge in Michigan on July 10 ruled that an amended complaint filed by the owners of 12 refineries that were in operation during World War II that are seeking to recover response costs under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) sufficiently describes what actions the plaintiff companies took to remediate contamination at the sites (MRP Properties LLC, et al. v. United States, No. 17-cv-11174, E.D. Mich., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 114099).

  • July 11, 2018

    CERCLA Allows Government’s Request For Mining Company’s Financial Information

    PARK CITY, Utah — A federal judge in Utah on July 9 granted the federal government’s motion for partial summary judgment in a suit brought under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), finding that the statute allows the government to seek financial information from a mining company and its affiliates in order to determine a proper cleanup plan (United States v. United Park City Mines, et al., No. 17-cv-482-DB, D. Utah, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 114039).

  • July 10, 2018

    No Coverage Afforded For Contamination Caused By Dry Cleaning Business

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Insurers of decedents who owned a dry cleaning business and the property on which the business was located owe no coverage for environmental contamination discovered on the property’s site because the environmental contamination was not sudden and accidental as required by the policies’ pollution exclusions, a California federal judge said July 2 (Miller Marital Deduction Trust, et al. v. Estate of Mark B. DuBois, et al., No. 16-1883, E.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 111348).

  • July 6, 2018

    5th Circuit Finds Service Station’s Business Loss Claims Barred By Maritime Law

    NEW ORLEANS — A federal judge in Louisiana did not err when dismissing a lawsuit brought by two service stations that claimed they suffered economic losses following the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig and ensuing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, a Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled July 3, holding that the owners’ claims were barred by maritime law (In re: Deepwater Horizon, No. 17-30233, 5th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 18180).

  • July 3, 2018

    Government Sues 2 Companies To Recover Groundwater Contamination Cleanup Costs

    NEW YORK — The federal government on July 2 sued two companies under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) in New York federal court, seeking to recover the costs it incurred in remediating groundwater contaminated with volatile organic compounds (VOCs), tetrachloroethylene (PCE) and trichloroethylene (TCE) from a 6-1/2-square-mile area in Nassau County, N.Y. (United States v. IMC Eastern Corp., No. CV18-3818, E.D. N.Y.).

  • June 28, 2018

    Missouri Federal Judge Says Pollution Liability Policy Covers Remediation Costs

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A Missouri federal judge on June 25 granted an insured’s motion for partial summary judgment after determining that a premises pollution liability policy provides coverage for remediation costs and that letters from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment notifying the insured of its liability for the remediation constitute a claim under the policy (Sunflower Redevelopment LLC v. Illinois Union Insurance Co., No. 15-577, W.D. Mo., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 105300).

  • June 27, 2018

    Judge Dismisses Climate Change Suit, Says Issue Better Suited For Politicians

    SAN FRANCISCO — A federal judge in California on June 25 dismissed a public nuisance lawsuit brought by the cities of Oakland and San Francisco against five producers of fossil fuels over climate change, finding that the issue is better suited for the executive and legislative branches of government (People of the State of California v. BP Plc, et al., Nos. 17-6011, 6012, N.D. Calif.,2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 106895).

  • June 26, 2018

    Judge Strikes Property Owners’ Request For Jury Trial Over Contamination Cleanup

    SAN DIEGO — A federal judge in California on June 22 struck portions of an amended complaint filed by property owners claiming that contamination from an adjoining property is migrating onto theirs, finding that they could not have their claims tried before a jury and seek a declaration stating that the defendants are responsible for reimbursing them for all past, present and future costs that the plaintiffs will incur in remediating the contamination (Greenfield MHP Associates LP, et al. v. Ametek Inc., et al., No. 15-cv-01525-GPC-AGS, S.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 105091).

  • June 25, 2018

    Fruit, Vegetable Producer To Pay Fine For Stormwater Discharges

    SAN FRANCISCO — Taylor Farms Retail Inc. on June 20 agreed to pay a $64,670 civil penalty to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for failure to obtain a permit to discharge stormwater from its Salinas, Calif., facility to resolve an administrative proceeding accusing the company of violating the Clean Water Act (In the Matter of: Taylor Farms Retail Inc., No. CWA-09-2018-0010, EPA Admin.).

  • June 21, 2018

    4th Circuit Vacates Groups’ Summary Judgment Award In Clean Water Act Suit

    RICHMOND, Va. — A Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on June 20 vacated a federal judge in West Virginia’s ruling awarding summary judgment to four environmental groups that complained that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency had failed to perform a nondiscretionary duty to impose total maximum daily load (TMDL) limits for biologically impaired waters in the state, holding that West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP) is working on a methodology to create the limits (Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, et al. v. Scott Pruitt, et al., No.  17-1430, 4th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 16622).

  • June 19, 2018

    Settlement Agreement Included 2 Insurers’ Policies, Federal Judge Says

    SEATTLE — A Washington federal judge on June 11 granted a motion for summary judgment filed by two insurers in an environmental contamination allocation proceeding after determining that a 1997 settlement agreement and release clearly included the policies issued to the insured and released the insurers from liability (King County v. Travelers Indemnity Co., et al., No. 14-1957, W.D. Wash., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 97868).

  • June 15, 2018

    Colorado Mine Spill Cases Should Not Be Consolidated, Navajo Nation, Others Say

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The Navajo Nation and the states of New Mexico and Utah on June 7 filed a brief in a New Mexico federal court arguing that their lawsuit should not be consolidated with others against the companies that spilled 3 million gallons of acid mine drainage and heavy metals into the Animas and San Juan rivers. The Navajo Nation and the states argue that the spill has tainted the groundwater supply (In re:  Gold King Mine Release in San Juan County, Colorado on August 5, 2015, No. 18-2824, D. N.M.).

  • June 13, 2018

    Ruling In Favor Of Insured In Environmental Suit Is Not Appealable, Judge Says

    NEW YORK — A New York federal judge on June 7 clarified that a prior ruling that an excess insurer owes its insured more than $55 million for environmental contamination costs incurred by the insured is not a final and appealable judgment (Olin Corp. v. Lamorak Insurance Co., et al., No. 84-1968, S.D. N.Y.).

  • June 8, 2018

    Judge: Company’s Request To Add Environmental Claim Untimely

    BUFFALO, N.Y. — A federal judge in New York on June 7 denied a company’s request to vacate a judgment for it to add a claim under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) to a suit it is bringing against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, holding that the plaintiff had years to amend its complaint (FMC Corp. v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, No. 14-CV-487, W.D. N.Y., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 96073).

  • June 6, 2018

    Pipeline Owner Awarded Summary Judgment In Suit Over 2014 Spill

    TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — A federal judge in Alabama on June 4 awarded summary judgment to a pipeline company on plaintiffs’ claims for violations of the Clean Water Act (CWA) and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), finding that a 2014 spill was not an ongoing violation and that the plaintiffs were unable to produce reliable expert evidence to show that any remaining gasoline vapors presented an imminent threat to human health (Day LLC, et al. v. Plantation Pipe Line Co., et al., No. 16-cv-00429-LSC, N.D. Ala., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 93749).

  • June 5, 2018

    Judge Orders EPA To Produce Records About Climate Change

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — A federal judge in the District of Columbia on June 1 ordered the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to respond to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request from a group seeking records that administrator Scott Pruitt relied upon when publicly stating that human activity was not the largest factor driving climate change, holding that the request was unduly burdensome (Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, No 17-652, D. D.C., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 91367).

  • June 5, 2018

    Insurers Have No Duty To Defend Insured Against Contamination Proceedings

    LOS ANGELES — A California federal judge on May 22 entered judgment in favor of two insurers in an environmental contamination coverage suit after finding that no duty to defend or indemnify an insured exists because an administrative proceeding filed against the insured by the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) was not a suit per the terms of the policies at issue (Arrow Electronics Inc. v. Aetna Casualty & Surety Co., et al., No. 17-5247, C.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 88014).

  • June 4, 2018

    Texas High Court To Review Ruling In Gulf Oil Spill Coverage Dispute

    AUSTIN, Texas — The Texas high court on June 1 granted an insured’s petition for review to determine if an exception to a policy’s joint venture provision applies to provide coverage to an insured seeking coverage for damages incurred as a result of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico (Anadarko Petroleum Corp., et al. v. Houston Casualty Co., et al., No. 16-1013, Texas Sup.).