We use cookies on this site to enable your digital experience. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our cookie policy. close

Mealey's Pollution Liability

  • October 9, 2018

    Guam Can Pursue Cost Recovery Suit For Landfill Cleanup, Judge Rules

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — A federal judge in the District of Columbia on Oct. 5 denied the government’s motion to dismiss a Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) lawsuit brought by the government of Guam, finding that a 2004 consent decree between the country and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency does not prevent the country from pursuing a cost recovery claim under the statute (Government of Guam v. United States of America, No. 17-cv-2487, D. D.C., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 172364).

  • October 8, 2018

    Magistrate Judge Trims Claims From Suit Over Oakland’s Stormwater Discharges

    OAKLAND, Calif. — A federal magistrate judge in California on Oct. 5 trimmed claims from a man’s Clean Water Act (CWA) citizen suit accusing the city of Oakland of illegally discharging stormwater containing untreated sewage into the San Francisco Bay but found that the plaintiff had standing to bring his suit (Derron Thibodeaux v. Port of Oakland, No. 18-cv-03353-KAW, N.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 172780).

  • October 8, 2018

    3rd Circuit Finds Landowner Liable For Response Costs Incurred Before Purchase

    PHILADELPHIA — A Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Oct. 5 reversed a federal judge in Pennsylvania’s ruling that a landowner is responsible only for response costs incurred by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PaDEP) after it purchased a piece of contaminated land, holding that the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) states that the landowner is also responsible for response costs that were incurred before its purchase of the site (Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection v. Trainer Custom Chemical LLC, et al., No. 17-2607, 3rd Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 28259).

  • October 5, 2018

    Former Munitions Assembly Site’s Owner’s CERCLA Claims Dismissed By Judge

    TRENTON, N.J. — In a redacted ruling issued Oct. 3, a federal judge in New Jersey granted the federal government’s motion for summary judgment in a Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) action filed by the owner of a site that was used to assemble munitions during World War II and the Korean War, finding that the landowner could not seek cost recovery under the statute and that its claim for contribution was time-barred (Cranbury Brick Yard LLC v. United States, No. 15-2789, D. N.J., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 171458).

  • October 3, 2018

    5th Circuit Affirms Dismissal Of Oil Spill Plaintiffs’ Claims

    NEW ORLEANS — A Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Oct. 2 affirmed the dismissal of three people who submitted claims to the Court Supervised Settlement Program (CSSP) for economic and property damages sustained as a result of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico that followed the April 20, 2010, explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, finding that the evidence showed that the plaintiffs’ revoked their opt-out status or did not properly opt-out of the settlement agreement (In re: Deepwater Horizon, No. 17-30912, 5th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 27902).

  • October 2, 2018

    Government’s Clean Air Act Civil Penalties Claims Untimely, 5th Circuit Finds

    NEW ORLEANS — A Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Oct. 1 agreed with a federal judge in Texas that the government’s request for civil penalties under the Clean Air Act for unpermitted modifications at two power plants was barred by the five-year statute of limitations, holding that the limitations period begins to run on the date the construction begins and does not continue to be tolled as the facility continues operations (United States v. Luminant Generation Co. LLC, et al., No. 17-10235, 5th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 27811).

  • October 1, 2018

    Judge: Government’s Suit Over Cleanup Of Solvents Barred By Res Judicata

    BOSTON — A federal judge in Massachusetts on Sept. 25 granted a company’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit brought by the government under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act for the cleanup of the Naval Weapons Industrial Reserve Plant (NWIRP) in Bedford, Mass., finding that the claims were barred by a 1989 lawsuit brought by the town over a leak of solvents at the facility (United States v. Raytheon Co., No. 17-11816-NMG, D. Mass., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 164929).

  • September 26, 2018

    5th Circuit: Tugboat Company Was Operator Of Barge That Collided With Bridge

    NEW ORLEANS — A Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Sept. 21 upheld a federal judge in Mississippi’s ruling awarding partial summary judgment to the government on its claim that a tugboat company was the operator of two oil-carrying barges that collided with a bridge resulting in an oil spill under the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA), holding that the defendant company was engaged in the activity that caused the pollution (United States of America v. Nature’s Way Marine LLC, No. 17-60698, 5th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 27152).

  • September 26, 2018

    Property Owner’s Contribution Claim For Cleanup Costs Untimely, Judge Rules

    INDIANAPOLIS — A federal judge in Indiana on Sept. 25 dismissed as untimely a plaintiff company’s claim for contribution under Section 113(f) of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), finding that the cause of action accrued when it entered into a settlement agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) in 1998 (Refined Metals Corp. v. NL Industries Inc., No. 17-cv-02565-SEB-TAB, S.D. Ind., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 163988).

  • September 25, 2018

    Judge Denies Injunction In Groundwater Dispute, Says Evidence ‘Merely Speculative’

    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.).

  • September 25, 2018

    6th Circuit: No Liability For Groundwater Contamination Under Clean Water Act

    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).

  • September 24, 2018

    Judge Refuses To Sever Port District’s PCB Claims From San Diego’s

    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).

  • September 21, 2018

    Judge Denies Companies’ Summary Judgment Motions In Contamination Dispute

    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).

  • September 19, 2018

    Attorney Fee Award Was Appropriate In Light Of Evidence, Panel Says

    SEATTLE — A trial court did not abuse its discretion in awarding insureds attorney fees and costs at a rate lower than requested because the insureds failed to prove that the requested fees, incurred as a result of environmental contamination costs, were appropriate, the Division I Washington Court of Appeals said Sept. 17 (Ronald A. Baker, et al. v. Fireman’s Fund Insurance Co., No. 76218-4-I, Wash. App., Div. 1, 2018 Wash. App. LEXIS 2116).

  • September 19, 2018

    Magistrate Judge Says CERCLA Contribution Claim Untimely, Should Be Dismissed

    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).

  • September 18, 2018

    $120M Settlement Reached In Environmental Suit, According To Recent Filing

    NEW YORK — An insured and one of its excess insurers on Aug. 30 notified a New York federal judge that they stipulated to a settlement regarding environmental contamination remediation costs in a suit that was filed by the insured more than 30 years ago (Olin Corp. v. Lamorak Insurance Co., et al., No. 84-1968, S.D. N.Y.).

  • September 17, 2018

    Insurer Owed Duty To Defend Insured Against Environmental Claims

    BOSTON — A Massachusetts federal judge on Sept. 13 adopted a magistrate judge’s recommendation to grant a motion for summary judgment filed by the insured’s assignee in an environmental contamination coverage dispute after determining that the magistrate judge’s analysis regarding the policy’s sudden and accidental exception to the pollution exclusion was correct (Plaistow Project LLC v. Ace Property & Casualty Insurance Co., No. 16-11385, D. Mass., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 155965).

  • September 17, 2018

    9th Circuit Upholds $8.25 Million Award To Tribes For CERCLA Costs

    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).

  • September 13, 2018

    Panel: Power Company Not Liable For Tainted Groundwater

    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.).

  • September 13, 2018

    3rd Circuit Vacates Judge’s Allocation Of Costs In Cleanup Action

    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).