BOSTON — An environmental advocacy group and a beach club on May 26 filed a joint motion in the First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals seeking remand of a groundwater contamination lawsuit against a beach club, arguing that it should remand the case to district court for entry of a proposed consent decree in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in County of Maui v. Hawai’i Wildlife Fund (Conservation Law Foundation Inc. v. Longwood Venues & Destinations Inc., et al., No. 20-1024, 1st Cir.).
SAN FRANCISCO — A Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on May 26 limited its review of a federal judge in California’s ruling that remanded three climate change lawsuits brought by counties and municipalities against energy companies and held that the judge properly found that the companies were not acting under the government’s direction when extracting, producing and selling fossil fuels (County of San Mateo, et al. v. Chevron Corp., et al., No. 18-15499, 9th Cir.).
ATLANTA — A Georgia federal judge on May 22 refused to dismiss a pollution liability insurer’s third-party claims against a company that contracted with its insured because the company is properly named as a third-party defendant by the pollution liability insurer (Colonial Pipeline Co. v. AIG Specialty Insurance Co., et al., No. 19-762, N.D. Ga., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 90137).
SAN FRANCISCO — A Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on May 26 overturned a federal judge in California’s ruling denying motions to remand filed by California cities claiming that five energy companies withheld information about the burning of fossil fuels and its effect on climate change, ruling that the cities’ public nuisance claim did not arise under federal law (City of Oakland, et al. v. BP PLC, et al., No. 18-16663, 9th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 16644).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on May 26 refused to review a Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling finding that a cost recovery lawsuit under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act brought against an Indiana-based steel manufacturing was timely because it was filed within the three-year statute of limitations for removal actions (Joslyn Manufacturing Co. LLC, et al. v. Valbruna Steel Corp., et al., No. 19-917, U.S. Sup.).
FRESNO, Calif. — A California city’s lawsuit seeking a declaration that remedial activities required to clean up perchloroethylene (PCE) contamination at a site that formerly housed a dry cleaning business should be subject to the state’s public contracts code was remanded by a federal judge in California on May 20, the judge found that the city’s lawsuit is not an attack on a February 2019 order that requires the party to share future cleanup costs (City of Visalia v. Mission Linen Supply Inc., No. 19-CV-1809, E.D. Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 89052).
LOS ANGELES — The current owners of a site in Lynwood, Calif., filed a lawsuit in federal court in California on May 20 against the former owners and users of the property seeking cost recovery and contribution under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act as well as other state laws for remediation of arsenic contamination (Sticks Lynwood LLC, et al. v. Union Pacific Railroad Co., et al., No. 20-cv-04540, C.D. Calif.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A company storing hazardous waste on Indian tribes’ land presents no valid reason for the U.S. Supreme Court to review a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals’ decision affirming the tribes’ jurisdiction over the company, the tribes assert in a May 20 response brief (FMC Corporation v. Shoshone-Bannock Tribes, No. 19-1143, U.S. Sup.).
NEW YORK — A New York federal judge on May 18 confirmed a $25 million arbitration award entered against an excess liability insurer and said that prejudgment interest is warranted in the environmental contamination coverage dispute because the arbitration tribunal did not misapply the law in interpreting the policy terms at issue (ExxonMobil Oil Corp. v. TIG Insurance Co., No. 16-9527, S.D. N.Y., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 87407).
PITTSBURGH — A federal judge in Pennsylvania on May 14 dismissed with prejudice an environmental group’s lawsuit accusing U.S. Steel Corp. of violating the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) by failing to report to the National Reporting Center (NRC) emissions of coke oven gases from one of its facilities following fires in 2018 and 2019, holding that the emissions were subject to Clean Air Act (CAA) permits and thus exempt from CERCLA’s reporting requirement (Clean Air Council v. U.S. Steel Corp., No. 19-cv-1072, W.D. Pa., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 84927).
FRESNO, Calif. — A federal judge in California on May 12 denied a motion to enforce a judgment that requires a city and a former dry cleaning operator to equally share the future costs of remediating perchloroethylene (PCE) contamination under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act, holding that the city should not be ordered to provide a schedule of repairs to its sewer system and pay half of the cost of a pilot study that has yet to be conducted (Mission Linen Supply v. City of Visalia, No. 15-CV-0672 AWI EPG, E.D. Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 83630).
NEW YORK — A New York federal judge on May 12 granted an insured’s motion to confirm an arbitration award in favor of the insured for underlying groundwater contamination liabilities because the arbitration panel’s interpretation of a portion of the pollution exclusion was not a manifest disregard of the law (HDI Global SE, f/k/a HDI Gerling Industrie Versicherung AG v. Phillips 66 Co., No. 20-631, S.D. N.Y., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 83834).
NEW YORK — Nine state attorneys general filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and its administrators in federal court in New York May 13, complaining that the agency’s recent rule that allows parties to self-determine compliance with federal laws in light of the novel coronavirus pandemic is arbitrary and capricious (New York, et al. v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, et al., No. 20-cv-3714, S.D. N.Y.).
HAMMOND, Ind. — An environmental group says in a May 11 brief filed in federal court in Indiana that the U.S. Supreme Court’s April 23 Clean Water Act (CWA) ruling should be considered when deciding if the amount of the civil penalty in a proposed settlement between the government and U.S. Steel Corp. over an April 2017 hexavalent chromium spill into Burns Waterway is adequate because the high court held that permitting is required for discharges that occur directly from a point source or if a “functional equivalent of a direct discharge” of a contaminant reaches a navigable waterway of the United States through the ground (United States, et al. v. U.S. Steel Corp., No. 18-cv-00127, N.D. Ind.).
LOS ANGELES — A California appeals panel on May 6 vacated dismissal of a lawsuit brought by the city of Riverside, Calif., against a number of companies accused of contributing to perchlorate contamination, finding that a trial court erred in dismissing the suit based on the city’s failure to name the federal government as a defendant (City of Riverside v. Black & Decker U.S. Inc., et al., No. B292133, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., 5th Div., 2020 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 2835).
GREAT FALLS, Mont. — An insured is not entitled to coverage for pollution damage under a commercial umbrella policy because the umbrella policy’s pollution exclusion clearly bars coverage, a Montana federal judge said May 6 (BITCO General Insurance Corp. v. J. Burns Brown Operating Co., No. 18-87, D. Mont., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 80035).
NEW ORLEANS — A federal judge in Louisiana’s decision to not conduct a discretionary review of a bridge builder’s $2.5 million award under the Deepwater Horizon Settlement Agreement was affirmed May 6 by a Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel, which held that the claimant’s causation attestation was plausible and that it the actual loss requirement was inapplicable (BP Exploration, et al. v. Claimant ID 100179569, No. 19-30298, 5th Cir.).
HONOLULU — A federal judge in Hawaii stayed a lawsuit brought by the city and county of Honolulu alleging public nuisance, trespass and strict liability against 20 fossil fuel sellers over infrastructure damage caused by climate change pending a Ninth Circuit ruling on whether similar cases brought by counties and municipalities in California should remain in federal court, according to a docket entry May 1 (City and County of Honolulu v. Sunoco LP, et al., No. 20-cv-163, D. Hawaii).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — An Indiana-based steel manufacturing company tells the U.S. Supreme Court in a May 4 reply brief that review of a Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel’s ruling that its Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act lawsuit is untimely requires review because a split among circuit courts over what triggers the statute of limitations is complex and not merely fact-bound (Joslyn Manufacturing Co. LLC, et al. v. Valbruna Steel Corp., et al., No. 19-917, U.S. Sup.).
PHILADELPHIA — A Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on May 4 affirmed a ruling finding that the federal government is not liable for cleanup costs associated with the remediation of a site that was used to process chromium during World War I and World War II, holding that the government was not an operator of the facility under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (PPG Industries Inc. v. United States, et al., No. 19-1165, 3rd Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 14156).