NEW YORK — With oral arguments not yet scheduled but briefing complete in a dispute over an alleged effort to discredit research on the effects of fossil fuel emissions, the state of Connecticut has recently asserted the significance of decisions by the Ninth and Fourth Circuit U.S. Courts of Appeals in similar cases, but Exxon Mobil Corp. argued May 3 that both supplemental authorities are erroneous.
CINCINNATI — The Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on May 10 affirmed a Michigan federal judge’s decision to order a Michigan county government office to pay 5% of cleanup costs in an action under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act despite also holding that another party was the “sole cause” of the trichloroethylene (TCE) contamination at issue.
NEW ORLEANS — A Louisiana federal judge on May 9 granted a motion to exclude a man’s causation expert who opined that exposure to oil and other contaminants connected to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill caused his injuries and also agreed that without the expert’s testimony, summary judgment is appropriate.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The decision by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to reinstate a waiver it previously issued to California with regard to certain Clean Air Act (CAA) requirements relating to greenhouse gas emissions prompted 17 states to file a petition for review May 12 in the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.
LOS ANGELES — A California state environmental agency on May 9 filed a brief in California federal court arguing that it should not exclude the agency’s expert witness in a groundwater contamination lawsuit because she satisfies federal evidentiary statutes as well as the Daubert standard.
HAMMOND, Ind. — Allegations by the federal government and the state of Indiana that a Burns Harbor, Ind., steel mill discharged excess cyanide into Lake Michigan were resolved May 6, when an Indiana federal judge endorsed a proposed consent decree as “fair, reasonable, consistent with the goals of the environmental statutes, and in the public interest.”
MILWAUKEE — A request for economic damages allegedly sustained by property owners living adjacent to a West Bend, Wis.-owned former landfill that has caused volatile organic compound (VOC) contamination was denied May 4 by a federal judge in Wisconsin.
HARTFORD, Conn. — Allegations by the federal government that a Connecticut family violated the Clean Water Act by dumping dredged material into wetlands will proceed, a federal judge in Connecticut ruled May 6.
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — In a May 4 holding, a federal judge in West Virginia said successful citizen petitioners who sued a coal company for permitting violations are entitled to reimbursement of $86,380 in attorney fees and $20,846 in expenses.
CINCINNATI — In an April 25 holding, a panel of the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said a Michigan federal judge erroneously disregarded a statute of limitations defense to allegations that several paper companies contributed to polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) pollution at a Superfund site.
DENVER — In a loss for farmers who brought state law negligence claims over water pollution caused by a blowout at an inactive gold mine in southwestern Colorado, the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on May 3 held that the statute of limitations of the state where the source of the pollution is located must be used, rather than the limitations period of the forum state for the litigation.
BOSTON — In a win for environmental groups and the federal government, the en banc First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said April 28 that its ruling a year earlier that a limitation in the Clean Water Act precluding citizen suits that seek to apply a civil penalty to those accused of ongoing violations also applies to citizen suits seeking declaratory or prospective injunctive relief from such violations construed the limitation “too broadly.”
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A federal judge in West Virginia on April 29 turned away a request for reconsideration of his November 2021 denial of a property owner’s motion for an emergency order directing the owner of a nearby railyard to withdraw from the state’s voluntary remediation program.
DALLAS — A Texas federal judge on April 28 entered default judgment against an insured and final judgment in favor of an insurer in the insurer’s suit seeking a declaration that the policy’s pollution exclusion bars coverage for two underlying lawsuits arising out of the insured’s landfill operations because the insured failed to respond to the insurer’s complaint and the insurer provided support for its argument that the pollution exclusion bars coverage.
SAN FRANCISCO — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on April 28 affirmed a district court’s ruling that no coverage is owed to insureds under environmental impairment liability and contractors pollution liability policies because the insureds failed to file a claim for coverage during the environmental impairment liability policy periods and made material misrepresentations on their applications for the contractors pollution liability policies.
ST. LOUIS — A federal judge in Missouri on April 26 granted a joint motion to stay a putative class complaint by landfill-adjacent property owners who are alleging improper handling of radioactive waste, pending the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on an anticipated petition for a writ of certiorari in a related action concerning whether the Price-Anderson Act (PAA) applies to the claims.
ST. PAUL, Minn. — The Minnesota Supreme Court on April 19 announced that it will review a recent appellate court ruling that rejected allegations that a permit issued to a precious metals mine is not sufficiently protective of state and tribal water quality.
TAMPA, Fla. — In an April 18 holding, a federal judge in Florida said allegations that Mercedes-Benz USA LLC and others violate a local rule when they service cars without removing “defeat devices” will not proceed because the emissions control systems of the affected cars are not rendered inoperable.
SAN FRANCISCO — San Mateo County and nine Northern California cities filed suit on April 21 in California federal court, accusing Monsanto Corp. of creating an ongoing public and private nuisance and committing trespass in connection with the past production of products containing polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).
SAN FRANCISCO — In an April 21 unpublished ruling, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals turned away a challenge to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s approval of revisions to Arizona’s state implementation plan (SIP) for satisfying the Clean Air Act requirements for the 2008 ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS).