Mealey's Pollution Liability

  • February 23, 2017

    Bankruptcy Settlement Does Not Bar ASARCO’s Contribution Claim, Judge Finds

    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).

  • February 21, 2017

    5th Circuit Upholds Amount Awarded To Startup Business In Oil Spill Settlement

    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.).

  • February 17, 2017

    Judge Finds Property Owner Can Pursue Cost-Recovery Claims, But Not Nuisance

    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).

  • February 16, 2017

    Judge Finds Proposed Class Has Standing To Sue Over Defeat Devices

    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).

  • February 15, 2017

    Judge: Monsanto’s Claim For Recovery Of Costs Related To PCB Contamination Fails

    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).

  • February 13, 2017

    Judge Awards $22M To Seller Over Property Buyer’s Failure To Continue Cleanup

    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).

  • February 10, 2017

    5th Circuit: Auto Parts Stores Were Not Tourism Businesses For Settlement Purposes

    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.).

  • February 9, 2017

    Judge Denies Monsanto’s Motion To Dismiss Cities’ Public Nuisance Suits

    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.).

  • February 9, 2017

    Magistrate Judge: Information Created During ADR Process Is Not Discoverable

    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).

  • February 8, 2017

    Manufacturing Facility Owner To Upgrade Wastewater System To Resolve Suit

    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.).

  • February 8, 2017

    Shipping Company Agrees To Pay $725,000 Fine Over 2013 Molasses Spill

    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).

  • February 8, 2017

    Magistrate Recommends Approving Settlement Over Racing Association’s Discharges

    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).

  • February 7, 2017

    Delaware Company Pleads Guilty To Clean Water Act Violations, Will Pay $3.5M

    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.).

  • February 6, 2017

    Federal Magistrate Judge Says Sanctions Against Insurer Are Not Warranted

    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).

  • February 3, 2017

    New Jersey High Court: Assignment Valid; Coverage Owed For Environmental Claims

    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).

  • February 2, 2017

    7th Circuit Says It Lacks Jurisdiction Over Appeals Of Discovery Rulings

    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).

  • February 1, 2017

    Judge: Diligent Prosecution Bar Precludes Group’s Suit Over Wastewater Discharges

    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).

  • January 30, 2017

    2nd Circuit Says Insured’s Notice Of Environmental Claims Was Not Timely

    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).

  • January 30, 2017

    Judge Finds $3M Civil Penalty For Oil Spills Is Not Recoverable

    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).

  • January 26, 2017

    Water District: MTBE Damages Properly Disclosed; Expert Is Qualified To Testify

    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.).