Mealey's Pollution Liability

  • March 10, 2020

    Suncor Energy To Pay $9M To Colorado Department Over Refinery Violations

    DENVER — Suncor Energy (U.S.A.) Inc. on March 6 agreed to pay $9 million to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment for emissions and operating and monitoring violations that occurred at its Commerce City, Colo., refinery between 2017 and 2019, the department announced, stating that it is the largest payment the state has received for violations at one facility (In the Matter of Suncor Energy (U.S.A.) Inc., Nos. 2019-097, 2019-194, Colo. Dept. Public Health & Envir.).

  • March 10, 2020

    City, County Of Honolulu Sue Fossil Fuel Producers Over Climate Change

    HONOLULU — The city and county of Honolulu on March 9 filed a lawsuit in state court accusing 20 fossil fuel producers of public nuisance, trespass and strict liability for their conduct in marketing and promoting their products despite knowing that the burning of fossil fuels contributes to climate change (City and County of Honolulu v. Sunoco LP, et al., No. 1CCV-2020-0000380, Hawaii Cir., 1st Cir.).

  • March 09, 2020

    Judge: Insurer Has Duty To Defend Suits Arising From Contaminated Groundwater Claims

    SAN DIEGO — A federal judge in California on Feb. 28 held that an insurer has a duty to defend its insureds against underlying third-party complaints seeking indemnity and contribution for a putative class action lawsuit over contaminated groundwater, finding that if he were to adopt the insurer’s reading of the pollution exclusion, he would be at risk of extending the exclusion beyond a layperson's understanding (Kingsley Management, Corp., et al. v. Occidental Fire & Casualty Company Of North Carolina, et al., No. 19-1361, S.D. Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 34836).

  • March 06, 2020

    4th Circuit Panel Affirms Remand Of Baltimore’s Climate Change Suit

    RICHMOND, Va. — A Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on March 6 affirmed a ruling remanding the mayor and city council of Baltimore’s lawsuit alleging that producers and sellers of fossil fuels are liable for climate change-related damages to the city’s infrastructure, finding that the federal officer doctrine was not grounds for removing the case to federal court (Mayor and City Council of Baltimore v. BP Plc, et al., No. 19-1644, 4th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 7083).

  • March 04, 2020

    Youths, Group Petition 9th Circuit For Rehearing In Climate Change Suit

    PORTLAND, Ore. — A number of youths and an environmental group claiming that the federal government knew about the association between climate change and the burning of fossil fuels on March 2 petitioned the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals for an en banc rehearing, arguing that a divided Jan. 17 ruling that found that the plaintiffs’ claims could not be redressed in federal court should be vacated (Kelsey Cascadia Rose Juliana, et al. v. United States, et al., No. 18-36082, 9th Cir.).

  • March 04, 2020

    5th Circuit Panel Vacates Ruling Affirming Claimant’s $77M Oil Spill Award

    NEW ORLEANS — A Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on March 3 vacated a federal judge in Louisiana’s ruling denying BP Exploration & Production Inc.’s challenge to an oil spill claimant’s $77 million award, finding that the judge erred when not considering evidence possibly showing that the claimant’s decreased profits during the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico following the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in April 2010 resulted from a spike in the price of fertilizer rather than the spill (BP Exploration & Production Inc., et al. v. Claimant ID No. 100191715, No. 19-30264, 5th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 6667).

  • March 03, 2020

    Prior Judgment Against Insured Bars Claims Against Insurers In CERCLA Coverage Suit

    INDIANAPOLIS — A federal judge in Indiana on Feb. 28 held that a default judgment entered against an insured in a Michigan lawsuit precludes a third party’s claims against insurers because the present lawsuit seeks coverage for the insured’s liability for contaminated groundwater “under the very same policies at issue” in the Michigan lawsuit (Lusher Site Remediation Group v. National Fire Insurance Company of Hartford, et al., No. 18-03785, S.D. Ind., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 34919).

  • March 02, 2020

    Explosives Maker To Pay $2.9M To Settle Government’s Suit Over Discharges

    JOPLIN, Mo. — An explosives manufacturer entered into an agreement with the federal government in Missouri federal court on Feb. 27 in which it agreed to pay $2.9 million to resolve allegations that it violated the Clean Water Act and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) at two of its facilities (United States v. Dyno Nobel Inc., No. 19-5031, W.D. Mo.).

  • February 26, 2020

    Judge Dismisses Property Owner’s Cost Recovery Claim From Cleanup Suit

    ALBANY, N.Y.  — A federal judge in New York on Feb. 12 dismissed without prejudice a property owner’s claims for cost recovery under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), finding that the plaintiff’s claim was precluded because it entered into an agreement with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) that released it from liability (BASF Corp. v. Albany Molecular Research Inc., et al., No. 19-CV-0134, N.D. N.Y., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 24240).

  • February 26, 2020

    Judge Denies Parties’ Motions Seeking Summary Judgment On CERCLA Cost Recovery

    WILMINGTON, Del. — A federal judge in Delaware on Feb. 14 denied motions for summary judgment on a defendant company’s counterclaim for cost recovery under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), finding that a former property owner that used a California site for 50 years cannot claim that it is not a potentially responsible party for contamination under the act and that there is a dispute as to whether the defendant company’s decision to conduct demolition and excavation at the site triggers its liability under the act (Alcoa Inc. v. Alcan Rolled Products-Ravenswood LLC, et al., No. 06-451-JFB-SRF, D. Del., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 27737).

  • February 26, 2020

    Former Landowner Sues Nissan, Says Migrating Contamination Reduced Sales Price

    LOS ANGELES — The former owners of a property neighboring a site that previously housed a Nissan North America Inc. dealership sued the automaker in California federal court on Feb. 24, seeking cost recovery under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act on the ground that contamination from Nissan’s property migrated onto their property and caused the sales value to decrease by nearly $3 million (Ideal Metal & Salvage Co. v. Nissan North America Inc., No. 20-cv-01751, C.D. Calif.).

  • February 25, 2020

    Land Buyer Tells 7th Circuit To Vacate $10M Cleanup Indemnification Ruling

    CHICAGO — A railroad company that was told by a federal judge in Illinois that it must pay more than $10 million to indemnify the previous owner of a 2.3-acre parcel of land it purchased in 1987 for the remediation of contamination told the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in a brief filed Feb. 21 that the ruling should be reversed because claims regarding contamination at the site were raised during an 10-year indemnification period that required the seller to pay for any environmental liabilities (Wisconsin Central Ltd. v. Soo Line Railroad Co., No. 19-3129, 7th Cir.).

  • February 24, 2020

    Industrial Supplier To Pay $100,000 To Resolve Clean Air Act Violations

    SEATTLE — An industrial materials supplier on Feb. 20 agreed to pay a $100,000 civil penalty and implement a risk management plan to detect, prevent and minimize accidental releases of chlorine and sulfur dioxide its stores at its Pasco, Wash., facility to resolve allegations from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that it was in violation of the Clean Air Act (CAA) (In the matter of OXARC Inc., No. CAA-10-2020-0035, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency).

  • February 21, 2020

    Judge Denies County’s Motion To Dismiss Third-Party Contamination Complaint

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A federal judge in California on Feb. 19 denied Yolo County’s motion to dismiss a third-party lawsuit brought by a defendant company in a Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act action, finding that it sufficiently stated a claim for contribution under the statute (West Sacramento, et al. v. R&L Business Management, et al., No. 18-cv-900, E.D. Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 28352).

  • February 20, 2020

    New York Town Settles Government’s 4th Suit Over Discharges From Sewer System

    NEW YORK — The village of Northport, N.Y., on Feb. 20 entered into an agreement in federal court in New York to pay the federal government a $125,000 civil penalty, conduct inspections and sampling of its outfalls from its municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4) and implement rehabilitation work to eliminate any illicit discharges to resolve the government’s fourth lawsuit accusing the town of violating the Clean Water Act (CWA) (United States, et al. v. Northport, N.Y., No. 20-890, E.D. N.Y.).

  • February 18, 2020

    Judge Says Group’s Allegations Over Stormwater Discharges Lack Specificity

    SAN FRANCISCO — A federal judge in California on Feb. 13 granted in part a stone and synthetic resin materials maker’s motion to dismiss an environmental group’s citizen suit under the Clean Water Act (CWA), finding that the group does not provide dates of when discharges of stormwater from the company’s facility violated the limits allowed in a National Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit issued to the company (Eden Environmental Citizen’s Group LLC v. American Custom Marble Inc., et al., No. 19-cv-03424-EMC, N.D. Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 25394).

  • February 14, 2020

    Atlantic Richfield Agrees To Pay $150M For Cleanup Of Montana Superfund Site

    BUTTE, Mont. — The U.S. Department of Justice announced Feb. 13 that the federal government and Atlantic Richfield Co. have reached an agreement wherein the company will spend $150 million to remediate a portion of a Montana Superfund site by removing contaminated sediment and expanding treatment of contaminated stormwater before it flows into nearby creeks (United States v. Atlantic Richfield Co., et al., No. CV 89-039, D. Mont.).

  • February 13, 2020

    Neighbors Say Sawmills’ Increased Activities Are Violating Environmental Laws

    PITTSBURGH — Two residents who live next to two sawmills filed a lawsuit against the owners Feb. 12 in federal court in Pennsylvania, complaining that increased activity at the sawmills is adversely affecting their property and health and violating a number of state and federal environmental laws (Nancy Adams, et al. v. David J. Miller, et al., No. n/a, W.D. Pa.).

  • February 13, 2020

    Oil Companies Urge 10th Circuit To Review Entire Climate Change Remand Ruling

    DENVER — Defendant companies in a suit brought by the board of commissioners of two Colorado counties and a city in the state over climate change tell the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in a Jan. 21 reply brief that an entire order remanding the plaintiffs’ case should be reviewed for error and not limited to the federal officer doctrine because the case was removed under Title 28 of the U.S. Code, Section 1442 (Board of County Commissioners of Boulder County, et al. v. Suncor Energy [U.S.A.] Inc., et al., No. 19-1330, 10th Cir.).

  • February 13, 2020

    Owners Of 3 Metal Recycling Facilities Agree To Settle Suits Over Stormwater

    LEWISTON, Maine — The owners of three metal recycling facilities on Feb. 10 entered into an agreement with the federal government in federal court in Maine to resolve allegations that the companies were violating the Clean Water Act through discharges of stormwater from the sites (United States v. Grimmel Industries Inc., et al., No. 16-cv-00191, D. Maine).

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