TRENTON, N.J. — A federal judge in New Jersey on Sept. 21 denied a motion for preliminary injunction filed by two environmental groups that have brought claims against a manufacturer for alleged violations of the Clean Water Act (CWA), concluding that the groups’ evidence that a proposed marina would cause “irreparable injury” was “merely speculative” (Raritan Baykeeper, et al. v. NL Industries Inc., et al., No. 09-4117, D. N.J.).
CINCINNATI — A split panel of the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Sept. 24 affirmed the dismissal of a groundwater contamination lawsuit pursuant to the Clean Water Act (CWA), ruling that the CWA does not impose liability on surface water pollution that comes via groundwater. The panel, however, reversed and remanded the case with regard to the claim asserted by environmental groups under the Resource Recovery and Conservation Act (RCRA) (Kentucky Waterways Alliance, et al. v. Kentucky Utilities Co., No. 17-cv-292-DCR, 6th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 27238).
SAN DIEGO — A federal judge in California on Sept. 21 refused to sever the San Diego Unified Port District’s public nuisance claims against Monsanto Co. over polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) contamination from those brought by the city of San Diego, finding that “fundamental fairness and judicial economy weigh against severance” (San Diego Unified Port District, et al. v. Monsanto Co., et al., No. 15cv598-WQH-AGS, S.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 162122).
CHICAGO — A federal judge in Illinois on Sept. 19 denied motions for summary judgment filed by a legal entity in charge of remediating the Lake Calumet Cluster Superfund Site and two potentially responsible parties, finding that questions exist as to whether they should contribute to remediation costs under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) because genuine disputes exist on whether waste resin in tanks delivered by one company is hazardous and who arranged for the disposal of jet fuel waste associated with the other company (LCCS Group v. A.N. Webber Logistics Inc., et al., No. 16 C 5827, N.D. Ill., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 159803).
NEW YORK — A federal magistrate judge in New York on Sept. 10 recommended dismissing with prejudice a land owner’s claim for contribution under Section 113(f) of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), finding that it was untimely because the three-year statute of limitations began to run when the plaintiff company entered into an Administrative Order of Consent (AOC) with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) in 2007 (Brooklyn Union Gas Co. v. Exxon Mobil Corp., et al., Non. 17-CV-0045, E.D. N.Y., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 145903).
SEATTLE — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Sept. 14 affirmed a federal court’s finding that the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation are entitled to recover more than $8.25 million in response costs from a polluter of the Columbia River for enforcement actions taken under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) (Joseph A. Pakootas, et al. v. Teck Cominco Metals, Ltd., No. 16-35742, 9th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 26098).
RICHMOND, Va. — A panel of the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Sept. 12 partially reversed and partially affirmed a lower court’s ruling that a power company did not violate the conditions of its discharge permit and was not liable for groundwater contamination (Sierra Club v. Virginia Electric & Power Company f/k/a Dominion Virginia Power, No. 17-1895, 4th Cir.).
PHILADELPHIA — A Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Sept. 11 overturned a decision that a defendant company in a Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) lawsuit was responsible for 62 percent of cleanup costs incurred in remediating a property in Greenville, Pa., finding that the judge used a flawed methodology to calculate the amount (Trinity Industries Inc., et al. v. Greenlease Holding Co., et al., Nos. 16-1994, 16-2244, 3rd Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 25693).
SAN DIEGO — A federal judge in California on Sept. 6 denied a motion for judgment on the pleadings filed by the San Diego Unified Port District and city of San Diego, finding that their requests to dismiss Monsanto Co.’s affirmative defenses to claims that the company is liable for polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) contamination cannot be decided at this stage of the proceedings (San Diego Unified Port District, et al. v. Monsanto, et al., No. 15cv578-WQH-AGS, S.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 152221).
FORT WAYNE, Ind. — An Indiana federal judge on Sept. 5 agreed with an insurer that a former insurance claims handler is not qualified to testify on environmental matters and said the insured’s expert testimony should be limited to insurance claims procedures (Valley Forge Insurance Co. v. Hartford Iron & Metal Inc., et al., No. 14-6, N.D. Ind., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 150478).
BOSTON — The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts on Sept. 4 affirmed the implementation of caps implemented by the state’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from electric providers, finding that the agency and the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs did not exceed their authority (New England Power Generators Association Inc., et al. v. Department of Environmental Protection, et al., No. SJC-12477, Mass. Sup., 2018 Mass. LEXIS 564).
KANSAS CITY, Kan. — A company cannot seek injunctive relief in a fourth-party suit seeking cost recovery under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), a federal judge in Kansas ruled Aug. 31, finding that the statute does not provide such relief to private litigants (AK Steel Corp. v. PAC Operating LP, et al., No. 15-9260-CM, D. Kan., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 148945).
BOISE, Idaho — A federal magistrate judge in Idaho on Aug. 30 gave a company until Sept. 14 to pay a $251,000 civil contempt penalty for ongoing violations of the Clean Water Act and denied the company’s motion to extend the deadline until Dec. 31 because he was not persuaded that its plan to raise money for the penalty by selling cryptocurrency would be successful (Idaho Conservation League, et al. v. Atlanta Gold Corp., No. 11-cv-161-REB, D. Idaho, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 149527).
TRENTON, N.J. — A federal judge in New Jersey on Aug. 29 refused to reconsider an earlier ruling that two environmental groups lack standing to bring claims under the Clean Water Act, finding that they could have raised the issue earlier in the litigation (Raritan Baykeeper, et al. v. NL Industries Inc., et al., No. 09-4117, D. N.J., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 147469).
RALEIGH, N.C. — A federal judge in North Carolina on Aug. 28 dismissed a landowner’s state law claims for negligence, negligence per se and trespass, as well as a portion of its North Carolina Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act (UDTPA) claim, over its purchase of a site that has contaminated soil and groundwater, finding that the allegations are barred by the economic-loss rule because they stem from assertions that the seller breached the terms of the sales agreement that required it to remediate the property (Avx Corp. v. Corning Inc., et al., No. 15-cv-543, E.D. N.C., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 145790).
COLUMBUS, Ohio — A federal judge in Ohio on Aug. 28 dismissed claims for operating a hazardous waste facility without a permit, failure to have a closure plan, ultrahazardous activity and failure to remove hazardous waste in accordance with an approved closure plan brought by the Ohio attorney general over the owner of a property that neighbors a site with pesticide contamination, finding that the defendant did not operate a hazardous waste facility (Ohio, ex rel Michael DeWine v. John G. Breen, et al., No. 16-cv-802, S.D. Ohio, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 146327).
HARRISBURG, Pa. — The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Aug. 22 refused to hear an insured’s appeal of a lower court’s ruling that no coverage is owed for environmental contamination at a number of sites throughout the country because it is not clear that the contamination was caused solely by the insured’s operations and the policies at issue provide coverage only for contamination that was caused by the insured’s operations (Consolidated Rail Corp. v. ACE Property & Casualty Insurance Co., et al., No. 138 EAL 2018, Pa. Sup., 2018 Pa. LEXIS 4399).
SAN DIEGO — The city of Chula Vista, Calif., on Aug. 21 sued Monsanto Co., Solutia Inc. and Pharmacia Corp. in California federal court, claiming that their manufacturing of products containing polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) has resulted in contamination to stormwater that is discharged into the San Diego Bay (Chula Vista v. Monsanto Co., et al., No. 18cv1942, S.D. Calif.).
PHILADELPHIA — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to extend a deadline to respond to the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environment’s petition complaining about emissions from a Pennsylvania power plant cannot be reviewed because it was not a final agency action, a Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Aug. 21 in finding that it lacked jurisdiction over the state agency’s appeal (Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environment v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, No. 17-1644, 3rd Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 23298)
DAYTON, Ohio — A federal judge in Ohio on Aug. 20 held that two companies in a Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) lawsuit could not seek cost recovery under the Section 107(a) of the statute in their counterclaims but could seek contribution under Section 113(f) because they are named as defendants in the lawsuit (Hobart Corporation, et al. v. The Dayton Power & Light Co., et al., No. 13-cv-115, S.D. Ohio, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 140994).