DETROIT — Consumers of diesel-model Silverado and Sierra trucks made by General Motors LLC from 2011 to 2016 filed a class action May 25 in Michigan federal court against the automaker and the manufacturer of a part that allegedly allows the vehicles to cheat emissions tests, claiming that the car maker misrepresented the vehicles’ fuel economy and emission levels (Andrei Fenner, et al. v. General Motors, LLC, et al., No. 17-cv-11661, E.D. Mich.).
NEW YORK — A federal judge in New York on May 23 approved a $39 million settlement deal under which ConocoPhillips, a defendant in the multidistrict litigation for groundwater contamination from methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE), will be released from the litigation (In Re: Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether Products Liability Litigation, No. 00-1898, MDL 1358, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection v. Atlantic Richfield Company, No. 08-0312, S.D. N.Y.).
SEATTLE — An environmental group’s Clean Water Act lawsuit claiming that a cargo terminal and distribution facility is discharging excessive amounts of pollutants into waterways in Tacoma, Wash., was stayed May 18 by a federal judge in Washington, who found that a proceeding involving the defendant company and the Washington Pollution Control Hearings Board (PCHB) could impact the case (Puget Soundkeeper Alliance v. APM Terminals Tacoma, LLC, No. C17-5016 BHS, W.D. Wash., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 74653).
PHILADELPHIA — A group of Pennsylvania residents on May 22 filed a brief in Pennsylvania federal court arguing that their groundwater contamination lawsuit against a group of chemical companies should not be dismissed because their claims are “proper” and are not barred by the doctrine of primary jurisdiction (Hanah Bates, et al. v. 3M Company, et al., No. 16-4961, E.D. Pa.).
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — An insurance coverage dispute over two polluted sites in Oregon and Washington between Chapter 11 debtor Kaiser Gypsum Co. and its insurers will not be decided by a North Carolina bankruptcy court after the court remanded the case May 16 (In re Kaiser Gypsum Company, Inc., et al., No. 16-31602, W.D. N.C. Bkcy.).
NEW ORLEANS — Four industry specific methodologies (ISMs) for calculating claimant compensation under the Court Supervised Settlement Program for the Deepwater Horizon Economic and Property Damages Class Action Settlement are inconsistent with the agreement, a Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled May 22, finding that the methods allow the claims administrator to remove revenue from the requested compensation period and spread it throughout noncompensation months (In re Deepwater Horizon: Lake Eugene Land & Development, Inc. et al. v. BP Exploration & Production, Inc., et al., No. 15-30377, 5th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 8915).
MACON, Ga. — An environmental group and individuals owning property near a facility operated by a protective fabrics manufacturer sufficiently stated claims that the company’s use of a land application system (LAS) to treat industrial wastewater is in violation of the Clean Water Act (CWA) and have standing to bring a citizen suit under the statute, a federal judge in Georgia ruled May 12 in denying the company’s motion to dismiss (Flint Riverkeeper, Inc. v. Southern Mills Inc., d/b/a Tencate Protective Fabrics, No. 16-CV-435, M.D. Ga., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 72574).
NEW ORLEANS — A federal judge in Louisiana did not abuse his discretion when refusing to review the denial of a food grocer’s claim for $2.4 million under the Deepwater Horizon Economic and Property Damages Class Action Settlement, a Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled May 18, holding that the claims administrator did not misapply or contradict the terms of the settlement by allowing program accountants to calculate the grocer’s monthly profits and losses (Claimant ID 100217021 v. BP Exploration & Production, Inc., et al., No. 16-30930, 5th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 8770).
NEW ORLEANS — A Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on May 12 affirmed a federal judge in Louisiana’s ruling ordering a shrimp-processing company to repay more than $1 million it received from the Deepwater Horizon Economic Claims Center (DHECC), finding that the company misrepresented that it was not a failed business in order to receive the payout (In re Deepwater Horizon: Crystal Seafood Company, Inc. v. Patrick A. Juneau, No. 16-30717, 5th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 8463).
NEW YORK — A Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on May 11 refused to overturn the ruling in Commander Oil Corp. v. Barlo Equip. Corp., 215 F.3d 321, 329 (2000), which sets out when a lessee can be considered an owner of a property under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) to reverse a federal judge in New York’s decision to award summary judgment to defendant companies accused of contaminating a property with perchloroethylene (PCE) (Next Millenium Realty, LLC, et al. v. Adchem Corp., et al., No. 16-1260-CV, 2nd Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 8476).
BELLE CHASSE, La. — Plaquemines Parish President Amos Cormier on May 9 announced that a $45 million settlement had been reached between the parish and BP Exploration & Production Inc. over damages stemming from the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico that followed the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig on April 20, 2010 (In re: Oil Spill by the Oil Rig “Deepwater Horizon” in the Gulf of Mexico, on April 20, 2010, MDL 2179, E.D. La.).
HAMMOND, Ind. — A motion to intervene filed by residents living near a Superfund site in East Chicago, Ind., that is currently being remediated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was denied May 2 by a federal magistrate judge, after he found that the request was untimely (United States of America, et al. v. Atlantic Richfield Company, et al., No. 14-CV-312-PPS-PRC, N.D. Ind., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 67090).
SEATTLE — A federal judge in Washington on May 2 approved a settlement between a number of environmental groups and BNSF Railway Co. in which the company will spend $1 million on conservation and restoration projects in Washington and clean up and remove coal dust from areas near waterways where the company’s trains carry coal (Sierra Club, et al. v. BNSF Railway Company, No. C13-967, W.D. Wash.).
INDIANAPOLIS — A federal judge in Indiana on May 8 denied a defendant company’s motion to dismiss a claim for contribution under the Indiana Environmental Legal Action (ELA) statute, finding that there is no case law to support the argument that the act does not allow for such a remedy (Von Duprin LLC v. Moran Electric Service, Inc., et al., No. 16-cv-01942-TWP-DML, S.D. Ind., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 69638).
PHILADELPHIA — A regional office of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced May 8 that Potomac Electric Power Co. has agreed to pay $54,000 to resolve allegations that it violated the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act by failing to properly label store and manage hazardous waste containing lead and mercury at its Washington, D.C., facility.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A Missouri federal judge on May 2 denied an insurer’s motion for summary judgment after determining that a premises pollution liability policy does not exclude new pollution conditions discovered by the insured because the new pollution conditions are not connected with carrying out or directing a remediation plan (Sunflower Redevelopment LLC v. Illinois Union Insurance Co., No. 15-577, W.D. Mo., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 66446).
NEWARK, N.J. — A dispute among several companies, including former Chapter 11 debtor G-I Holdings Inc., over who should pay for the cleanup of a 26-acre polluted industrial site in New Jersey does not belong in federal bankruptcy court, a federal judge ruled May 5 in agreeing to remand the case to state court (G-I Holdings Inc., et al. v. Ashland Inc., et al., No. 17-0077, D. N.J.).
NEWARK, N.J. — Two lawsuits stemming from contamination at a site formerly owned by Aluminum Corporation of America, A.P. (Alcoa) were consolidated for discovery purposes by a federal judge in New Jersey on May 3 because the judge found that the suits shared common issues of fact and because consolidation would benefit judicial economy (Borough of Edgewater v. Waterside Construction, LLC, et al., No. 14-5060, D. N.J., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 67976).
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A federal judge in West Virginia on May 2 granted a motion filed by three environmental groups seeking $420,790 in attorney fees, finding that they were prevailing parties in their Clean Water Act (CWA) lawsuit and that the attorneys’ calculations were reasonable (Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, et al. v. Fola Coal Company, LLC, No. 13-21588, Consolidated with No. 13-16044, S.D. W.Va., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 66367).
NEWARK, N.J. — A New Jersey federal bankruptcy judge on May 1 declined to decide a request by former Chapter 11 debtor G-I Holdings Inc. to enforce its reorganization plan injunction to bar indemnification claims for cleanup of a polluted industrial site, saying G-I’s appeal of a remand order in the dispute deprives her of jurisdiction (In re: G-I Holdings, Inc., et al., Nos. 01-30135 and 01-38790, D. N.J. Bkcy., 2017 Bankr. LEXIS 1194).