COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho — The presence of genuine issues of material fact as to whether parties entered into a bankruptcy settlement with ASARCO LLC with the intention of barring the company from pursuing contribution claims under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act prevented a federal judge in Idaho on Feb. 16 from fully granting a motion for summary judgment filed by Union Pacific Railway (ASARCO, LLC v. Union Pacific Railway, et al., No. 12-cv-283, D. Idaho, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 23199).
NEW ORLEANS — A Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Feb. 17 found that a federal judge in Louisiana did not abuse his discretion when refusing to review a business’s appeal of the Court Supervised Settlement Program’s (CSSP) decision that it should receive $29,567.81 as part of the Deepwater Horizon Economic and Property Damages Settlement (E&P Settlement), holding that the plaintiff company was a startup business under the terms of the settlement agreement (Claimant ID 100009540 v. BP Exploration & Production, Inc., et al., No. 15-30964, 5th Cir.).
DAYTON, Ohio — A federal judge in Ohio on Feb. 15 ruled that Garrett Day LLC and the Ohio Development Services Agency (DSA) can pursue claims for cost recovery under Section 107(a) of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) and the Ohio Volunteer Action Program (VAP) but that they could not pursue a claim for common-law nuisance because they do not own land adjacent to the contamination (Garrett Day, LLC, et al. v. International Paper, Inc., et al., No. 15-cv-36, S.D. Ohio, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 21643).
BAY CITY, Mich. — A federal judge in Michigan on Feb. 14 granted in part and denied in part a motion to dismiss a class action lawsuit of purchasers of 2015 Chevrolet Cruze diesel vehicles that contained a defeat device designed to cheat emissions tests, finding that the plaintiffs had standing and that the case should not be stayed pending an investigation by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (Jason Counts, et al. v. General Motors, LLC, No. 16-cv-12541, E.D. Mich., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 20277).
SPOKANE, Wash. — A federal judge in Washington on Feb. 14 dismissed a counterclaim brought by Monsanto Co. and its affiliates against the city of Spokane, ruling that the company failed to state a claim for recovering costs from the city for remediating its groundwater, which is contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) (City of Spokane v. Monsanto Company, et al., No. 15-00201, E.D. Wash.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 20846).
SEATTLE — A federal judge in Washington on Feb. 10 entered default judgment against a property buyer that has failed to continue environmental remediation of a 16-acre site it purchased from a plaintiff company in 2014 and awarded the plaintiff $22 million in compensatory damages (8th Avenue Terminals, Inc. v. DeNovo Seattle LLC, No. C16-1964, W.D. Wash., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 19363).
NEW ORLEANS — A Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Feb. 9 that a federal judge in Louisiana did not err when refusing to review the denial of five auto parts stores’ requests for compensation under the Deepwater Horizon Economic and Property Damages Settlement, holding that the Court Supervised Settlement Program (CSSP) properly found that the stores were not tourism businesses that were not required to show causation (Claimant ID 100212278 v. BP Exploration & Production, Inc., et al., No. 16-30102, 5th Cir.).
SAN JOSE, Calif. — A federal judge in California on Feb. 3 denied a motion filed by Monsanto Co., Solutia Inc. and Pharmacia LLC seeking dismissal of lawsuits brought by the cities of Berkley, San Jose and Oakland, Calif., over polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) contamination in the San Francisco Bay, finding that the plaintiff cities sufficiently stated claims for public nuisance (City of San Jose v. Monsanto Company, et al., No. 15-cv-03178, City of Oakland v. Monsanto Company, et al., No. 15-cv-05152, City of Berkeley v. Monsanto Company, et al., No. 15-cv-00071, N.D. Calif.).
NEWARK, N.J. — A federal magistrate judge in New Jersey on Feb. 7 denied a motion to compel filed by a third-party defendant company in a Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) lawsuit seeking information from another third party, holding that information created as part of an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) process is not discoverable (New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, et al. v. American Thermoplastics Corp., et al., No. 98-CV-4781, D. N.J., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 16743).
CONCORD, N.H. — The company that owns a Jaffrey, N.H., industrial manufacturing facility on Jan. 30 entered into an agreement in New Hampshire federal court in which it stated that it would upgrade its wastewater treatment system and pay a civil penalty of $385,000 to resolve allegations that it violated the Clean Water Act when failing to comply with the terms of its National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit (United States of America v. EMD Millipore Corporation, No. 17-cv-34, D. N.H.).
HONOLULU — Matson Terminals Inc. on Jan. 19 agreed to pay a $725,000 civil penalty for violating the Clean Water Act that stemmed from a 2013 spill of 233,000 gallons of sugar cane molasses into the Honolulu Harbor during ship-loading activities (United States of America v. Matson Terminals, Inc., No. 17-cv-22, D. Hawaii).
NEW YORK — A federal magistrate judge in New York on Feb. 3 recommended approving a settlement agreement between the federal government and the New York Racing Association over the association’s discharges of wastewater into New York state’s and the city of New York’s sewer systems without a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit, finding that the terms of the agreement were fair and reasonable (United States of America v. The New York Racing Association, No. 16 CV 5442, E.D. N.Y., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 16621).
WILMINGTON, Del. — International Petroleum Corporation of Delaware (IPC) on Feb. 2 pleaded guilty in Delaware federal court to conspiracy to violate the Clean Water Act (CWA) and will pay $2.2 million in restitution to the city of Wilmington as well as a $1.3 million fine (United States of America v. International Petroleum Corporation of Delaware, No. 16-cr-97, D. Del.).
HATTIESBURG, Miss. — A Mississippi federal magistrate judge on Feb. 2 denied a motion for sanctions filed by insureds seeking coverage for a gasoline leak because despite the insureds’ contentions, the insureds were able to complete a deposition and obtained sufficient responsive answers from the insurer during the deposition (Grain Dealers Mutual Insurance Co. v. Tammy Cooley, et al., No. 16-39, S.D. Miss., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 14615).
TRENTON, N.J. — The New Jersey Supreme Court on Feb. 1 affirmed that an assignment of rights under numerous insurance policies issued between 1964 and 1986 is enforceable and valid because the assignment was made after the loss occurred and the insurers’ obligation to insure the risk under the policies was not altered by the assignment to a successor company (Givaudan Fragrances Corp. v. Aetna Casualty & Surety Co., et al., No. 2015, 076523, N.J. Sup., 2017 N.J. LEXIS 121).
CHICAGO — A Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Jan. 31 denied appeals from a company in a suit brought under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), finding that it lacked jurisdiction to review three rulings on motions seeking discovery from a nonparty company based in England (P.H. Glatfelter Co. v. Windward Prospects Ltd., Nos. 15-3847, 16-1197, 16-1310, 7th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 1707).
SELMA, Ala. — A federal judge in Alabama on Jan. 24 awarded summary judgment to a company accused of violating the Clean Water Act (CWA), after finding that the diligent prosecution bar precludes an environmental group from bringing a citizen suit under the act (Black Warrior Riverkeeper v. Southeastern Cheese Corporation, No. 16-0083-KD-B, S.D. Ala., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 9533).
NEW YORK — The Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 27 affirmed that two insurers in an environmental contamination coverage dispute did not waive their right to assert a late-notice defense because the insured’s notice of the underlying environmental claims was not timely (Travelers Indemnity Co., et al. v. Northrop Grumman Corp., et al., No. 15-3117, 2nd Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 1471).
SALT LAKE CITY — Chevron Pipeline Co. (CPL) cannot attempt to recover a portion of a $3 million civil penalty it paid to the Utah Water Quality Board (UWQB) and Salt Lake City to resolve violations of the Utah Water Quality Act (UWQA) and Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA) that stemmed from two pipeline leaks in 2010, a federal judge in Utah ruled Jan. 27, holding that the money cannot be recovered from third parties under either act (Chevron Pipeline Company v. Pacificorp, d/b/a Rocky Mountain Power, No. 12-CV-287, D. Utah; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11778).
SANTA ANA, Calif. — A California water district filed a brief in California federal court on Jan. 25 defending the qualifications of one of its experts to testify in a groundwater contamination case involving methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE). The water district also contends in a separate brief that its claim for $34 million in damages “will be amply supported” by the testimony provided (Orange County Water District v. Unocal Corporation, et al., No. 03-1742, C.D. Calif.).