FRESNO, Calif. — A federal judge in California on March 20 denied a winery’s motion to strike portions of a lawsuit brought by the federal government alleging violations of the Clean Air Act (CAA) and Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), finding that the allegations in the complaint were properly included (United States of America v. Gibson Wine Co., No. 15-cv-1900-AWI-SKO, E.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 39820).
NEW ORLEANS — BP Exploration and Production Inc. and BP America Production Co. (collectively, BP) were awarded summary judgment by a federal judge in Louisiana on March 20 after she found that a man was unable to produce evidence that his exposure to dispersants during cleanup activities following the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico caused him to develop lung cancer (Pero Cibilic, et al. v. BP Exploration & Production, Inc., et al., No. 15-995, E.D. La., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 40056).
RICHMOND, Va. — A Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled March 9 that the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act does not preempt Virginia’s statutes of limitation on property owners’ claims for unjust enrichment, trespass, nuisance and injunctive relief because the plaintiffs could not state claims for cost recovery or contribution under CERCLA (Neal Blankenship, et al. v. Consolidation Coal Company, et al., No. 15-2480, Ira Gordon Ratliff, et al. v. Consolidation Coal Company, et al., No. 15-2482, 4th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 4168).
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A federal judge in West Virginia on March 14 approved a consent decree that would require Pocahontas Land Corp. to obtain a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit to resolve allegations brought by three environmental groups that the company was violating the Clean Water Act (CWA) (Ohio Valle Environmental Coalition, et al. v. Pocahontas Land Corporation, No. 15-cv-15515, S.D. W.Va., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 36145).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A federal judge in the District of Columbia on March 13 gave the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency three years to create rules governing emissions standards for 20 hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) after the agency conceded that it violated the Clean Air Act (CAA) by failing to undertake a nondiscretionary duty to establish the standards (California Communities Against Toxics, et al. v. Scott Pruitt, Administrator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, No. 15-cv-512, D. D.C., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 35268).
DETROIT — Volkswagen AG on March 10 pleaded guilty in Michigan federal court to charges of conspiracy to defraud the United States, violating the Clean Air Act (CAA) and wire fraud as a result of defeat devices the company installed in its diesel vehicles that were designed to cheat emissions tests, according to a docket entry (United States of America v. James Robert Liang, et al., No. 16-cr-20394, E.D. Mich.).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A federal judge in California on March 7 stayed a consumer’s lawsuit over the installation of defeat devices in some of Volkswagen Group of America Inc.’s diesel vehicles pending transfer to a multidistrict litigation court, finding that the MDL court can determine if jurisdictional issues warrant remanding the action to state court (Pamela Woodcox, et al. v. Volkswagen Group of America, Inc., d/b/a Volkswagen of America, Inc., et al., No. 17-215 WBS DB, E.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 32609).
OMAHA, Neb. — A federal judge in Nebraska on Feb. 28 consolidated lawsuits filed by the federal government and state of Nebraska seeking to recover a $2.2 million judgment against a company accused of violations of the Clean Water Act (CWA) and state law, finding that the actions arise out of the same factual scenario (United States of America v. Stabl, Inc., et al., No. 16CV233, State of Nebraska v. Stabl, Inc., et al., No. 16CV351, D. Neb., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 28875).
ST. LOUIS — A Missouri federal judge on March 3 denied an insured’s motions to stay and to dismiss an environmental contamination coverage suit filed by insurers after determining that the insurers’ suit is different from a suit filed in Missouri state court by the insured (Clearwater Insurance Co., et al. v. The Doe Run Resources Corp., et al., No. 16-195, E.D. Mo., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 30230).
NEW YORK — A federal judge in New York on March 3 adopted a magistrate judge’s recommendation that a settlement between the federal government and the New York Racing Association to resolve a Clean Water Act (CWA) suit is 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 30368).
CHICAGO — A federal judge in Illinois on March 1 found that Navistar Inc. and Navistar Financial Corp. are liable for violating the Clean Air Act (CAA) by selling 7,749 engines in 2010 without certificates of compliance, finding that the engines were not subject to a certificate issued to the companies in 2009 because they were not saleable (United States of America v. Navistar, Inc., et al., 15 CV 6143, N.D. Ill., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 28600).
SEATTLE — A Washington federal judge on March 1 granted a motion to dismiss third-party claims against a group of insurers after determining that the insured’s settlement with the group of insurers was reasonable and would not cause another insurer involved in the environmental contamination coverage dispute to shoulder an unreasonable burden (King County v. Travelers Indemnity Co., et al., No. C14-1957, W.D. Wash., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 29153).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A collection of community groups, the NAACP and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) on March 2 filed notice of petition with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency seeking emergency action to abate “the imminent and substantial endangerment” to East Chicago, Ind., posed by lead contamination of drinking water.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency must respond by June 30 to two petitions challenging the approval of two Clean Air Act (CAA) permits for power plants in North Carolina, a federal judge in the District of Columbia ruled March 2, finding that the agency failed to discharge its nondiscretionary duty to address the request within 60 days (Sierra Club v. Scott Pruitt, in his official capacity as Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, No. 16-2238, D. D.C., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 29451).
SAN FRANCISCO — A federal judge in California on Feb. 23 overruled objections from the Blue Lake Rancheria Tribe that a consent decree between the federal government and Blue Lake Power LLC to resolve claims that the company violated the Clean Air Act (CAA) was unreasonable, ruling that the agreement would reduce emissions and have long-lasting benefits to the public (United States of America v. Blue Lake Power, LLC, No. 16-cv-00961-JD, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 25662).
FRESNO, Calif. — A dry cleaning company on Feb. 10 filed a brief in California federal court arguing that the city of Visalia, Calif.’s brief seeking a jury trial in a lawsuit brought by a couple seeking remediation costs associated with tetrachloroethylene (PCE) contamination of groundwater “relies on a series of misrepresentations to support its argument” (Viola Coppola, et al. v. Gregory Smith, et al., No. 11-cv-01257, E.D. Calif.).
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — On Feb. 24, 3M Co. filed its answer to a lawsuit brought against it for groundwater contamination, in which it denies any liability and argues that the claim fails because the company has “not caused or contributed to an imminent and substantial endangerment to health or the environment” (Tennessee Riverkeeper Inc. v. 3M Company, et al., No. 16-1029, N.D. Ala.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A panel of the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Feb.28 found that it does not have jurisdiction over a group’s challenge to a statement from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that it would not acquiesce to an Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling on policies the agency implemented on the discharge of water from publicly owned water treatment facilities outside the circuit, holding that the statement was not a rule that could be challenged in the appeals court (Center for Regulatory Reasonableness v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, No. 14-1150, D.C. Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 3576).
NEW YORK — A federal judge in New York on Feb. 27 dismissed an alleged insured’s breach of the covenant of good faith claim because it is redundant to a breach of contract claim (JD2 Environmental, Inc. v. Endurance American Insurance Company, No. 14-cv-8888, S.D. N.Y., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 26977).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The state of North Dakota on Jan. 25 filed a notice of appeal in the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, arguing that a lower court’s denial of its motion to intervene in a lawsuit brought by environmental advocacy groups against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency related to the disposal of waste from hydraulic fracturing should be reversed (Environmental Integrity Project, et al. v. Scott Pruitt, No. 17-5010, D.C. Cir.).