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Mealey's Pollution Liability

  • September 4, 2018

    Fourth-Party Plaintiff Cannot Seek Injunctive Relief Under CERCLA, Judge Says

    KANSAS CITY, Kan. — A company cannot seek injunctive relief in a fourth-party suit seeking cost recovery under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), a federal judge in Kansas ruled Aug. 31, finding that the statute does not provide such relief to private litigants (AK Steel Corp. v. PAC Operating LP, et al., No. 15-9260-CM, D. Kan., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 148945).

  • September 4, 2018

    Magistrate Judge Briefly Extends Deadline For Clean Water Act Penalty Payment

    BOISE, Idaho — A federal magistrate judge in Idaho on Aug. 30 gave a company until Sept. 14 to pay a $251,000 civil contempt penalty for ongoing violations of the Clean Water Act and denied the company’s motion to extend the deadline until Dec. 31 because he was not persuaded that its plan to raise money for the penalty by selling cryptocurrency would be successful (Idaho Conservation League, et al. v. Atlanta Gold Corp., No. 11-cv-161-REB, D. Idaho, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 149527).

  • September 4, 2018

    Groups’ Request For Reconsideration On CWA Standing Denied By Judge

    TRENTON, N.J. — A federal judge in New Jersey on Aug. 29 refused to reconsider an earlier ruling that two environmental groups lack standing to bring claims under the Clean Water Act, finding that they could have raised the issue earlier in the litigation (Raritan Baykeeper, et al. v. NL Industries Inc., et al., No. 09-4117, D. N.J., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 147469).

  • August 31, 2018

    Judge: Economic-Loss Rule Bars Some Of Landowner’s Contamination Claims

    RALEIGH, N.C. — A federal judge in North Carolina on Aug. 28 dismissed a landowner’s state law claims for negligence, negligence per se and trespass, as well as a portion of its North Carolina Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act (UDTPA) claim, over its purchase of a site that has contaminated soil and groundwater, finding that the allegations are barred by the economic-loss rule because they stem from assertions that the seller breached the terms of the sales agreement that required it to remediate the property (Avx Corp. v. Corning Inc., et al., No. 15-cv-543, E.D. N.C., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 145790).

  • August 30, 2018

    Judge: Neighboring Property Owner Did Not Operate Hazardous Waste Facility

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — A federal judge in Ohio on Aug. 28 dismissed claims for operating a hazardous waste facility without a permit, failure to have a closure plan, ultrahazardous activity and failure to remove hazardous waste in accordance with an approved closure plan brought by the Ohio attorney general over the owner of a property that neighbors a site with pesticide contamination, finding that the defendant did not operate a hazardous waste facility (Ohio, ex rel Michael DeWine v. John G. Breen, et al., No. 16-cv-802, S.D. Ohio, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 146327).

  • August 29, 2018

    Pennsylvania Supreme Court Denies Insured’s Petition For Appeal In Environmental Suit

    HARRISBURG, Pa. — The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Aug. 22 refused to hear an insured’s appeal of a lower court’s ruling that no coverage is owed for environmental contamination at a number of sites throughout the country because it is not clear that the contamination was caused solely by the insured’s operations and the policies at issue provide coverage only for contamination that was caused by the insured’s operations (Consolidated Rail Corp. v. ACE Property & Casualty Insurance Co., et al., No. 138 EAL 2018, Pa. Sup., 2018 Pa. LEXIS 4399).

  • August 28, 2018

    California City Sues Monsanto, Says PCB Products Contaminated Stormwater

    SAN DIEGO — The city of Chula Vista, Calif., on Aug. 21 sued Monsanto Co., Solutia Inc. and Pharmacia Corp. in California federal court, claiming that their manufacturing of products containing polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) has resulted in contamination to stormwater that is discharged into the San Diego Bay (Chula Vista v. Monsanto Co., et al., No. 18cv1942, S.D. Calif.).

  • August 28, 2018

    3rd Circuit: EPA’s Extension Was Not Final Action, Cannot Be Reviewed

    PHILADELPHIA — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to extend a deadline to respond to the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environment’s petition complaining about emissions from a Pennsylvania power plant cannot be reviewed because it was not a final agency action, a Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Aug. 21 in finding that it lacked jurisdiction over the state agency’s appeal (Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environment v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, No. 17-1644, 3rd Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 23298)

  • August 22, 2018

    Judge Limits Defendants’ CERCLA Counterclaims In Suit Over Site Cleanup

    DAYTON, Ohio — A federal judge in Ohio on Aug. 20 held that two companies in a Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) lawsuit could not seek cost recovery under the Section 107(a) of the statute in their counterclaims but could seek contribution under Section 113(f) because they are named as defendants in the lawsuit (Hobart Corporation, et al. v. The Dayton Power & Light Co., et al., No. 13-cv-115, S.D. Ohio, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 140994).

  • August 20, 2018

    Shoring System Redesign Was Not Cleanup Cost Under Environmental Policy

    SAN FRANCISCO — A California federal judge on Aug. 15 determined that an insurer is entitled to summary judgment because the cost of redesigning a temporary shoring system is not a cleanup cost under an environmental legal liability policy (Essex Walnut Owner L.P. v. Aspen Specialty Insurance Co., No. 17-6435, N.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 138276).

  • August 15, 2018

    Magistrate Recommends Dismissing Clean Water Act Claims Over Water Quality

    MIAMI — A federal magistrate judge in Florida on Aug. 10 recommended granting a power company’s motion for judgment on a claim brought by three groups saying that discharges from the defendant’s power plant violate the local water quality standards for ammonia, finding that the Clean Water Act (CWA) does not regulate those standards (Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, et al. v. Florida Power & Light Co., No. 16-23017-CIV-GAYLES/OTAZO-REYES, S.D. Fla., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 136422).

  • August 14, 2018

    Monsanto Lacks Standing To Bring Counterclaims Over PCB Contamination, Judge Says

    SAN DIEGO — A federal judge in California on Aug. 10 dismissed counterclaims for unjust enrichment and violation of the Clean Water Act brought by Monsanto Co., Pharmacia LLP and Solutia Inc. (collectively, Monsanto) against the city of San Diego, which claims that the company is liable for polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) contamination, finding that the defendant company lacks standing to bring its claims (City of San Diego v. Monsanto Co., et al., No. 15cv578, S.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 135588).

  • August 13, 2018

    Genuine Disputes Exist Over Whether Emissions Violated Permits, Judge Says

    BATON ROUGE, La. — A federal judge in Louisiana on Aug. 10 denied a motion for summary judgment filed by plaintiffs contending that emissions from a facility owned by Exxon Mobil Corp., doing business as ExxonMobil Chemical Co., exceeded levels of pollutants allowed by permits issued from the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ), finding that disputes exist as to whether the alleged violations occurred (Louisiana Environmental Action Network, et al. v. Exxon Mobil Corp., No. 16-144-SDD-RLB, M.D. La., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 134979).

  • August 13, 2018

    Judge: Plaintiffs’ Claims Over Emissions From Exxon Mobil Facility Redressable

    BATON ROUGE, La. — A federal judge in Louisiana on Aug. 9 granted a motion for summary judgment filed by plaintiffs complaining about emissions from a facility owned by Exxon Mobil Corp., doing business as ExxonMobil Chemical Corp., finding that the plaintiffs’ claims about future violations of the Clean Air Act can be redressed through the suit (Louisiana Environmental Action Network, et al. v. Exxon Mobil Corp., No. 16-144-SDD-RLB, M.D. La., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 134430).

  • August 10, 2018

    Port Can Seek Contribution From Union Pacific For Cleanup Costs, Judge Says

    TACOMA, Wash. — A federal judge in Washington on Aug. 9 found that the Port of Ridgefield can seek contribution from Union Pacific Railroad Co. for costs it incurred in remediating a former wood treatment site, finding that grants it received from the Washington Department of Ecology (DOE) do not prevent it from pursuing its claim (Port of Ridgefield v. Union Pacific Railroad Co., No. 14-6024, W.D. Wash., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 134517).

  • August 8, 2018

    Judge Finds Land Owner’s Claims Over Contamination Untimely, Barred By Deed

    HAMMOND, Ind.— A federal judge in Indiana on Aug. 6 awarded summary judgment to BP North America Inc., finding that a land owner’s state law claims accusing it of withholding information about contamination on the property from underground storage tanks were time-barred and its claims under the Indiana Environmental Legal Action (ELA) statue and the state’s underground storage tank statute were barred by a 2003 deed that waived BP’s liability for present and future contamination (8103 Taft LLC v. BP North America Inc., No. 16 CV 319, N.D. Ind., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 131239).

  • August 8, 2018

    Judge Finds ASARCO Cannot Seek Contribution From Union Pacific For Cleanup

    COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho — A federal judge in Idaho on July 26 ruled that American Smelting and Refining Co. (ASARCO) could not seek contribution under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) from Union Pacific Railway, finding that its claim was barred by a bankruptcy settlement and that the plaintiff company paid less than its allocated share of liability (ASARCO, LLC v. Union Pacific Railway, et al., No. 12-cv-283, D. Idaho, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 126370).

  • August 7, 2018

    Bad Faith, Punitive Damages Claims Survive Dismissal In Contamination Coverage Suit

    FRESNO, Calif. — Claims for bad faith and punitive damages alleged against an insurer in an environmental contamination coverage suit can move forward, a California federal judge said Aug. 1 after determining that the insured has sufficiently alleged facts in support of the claims (City of Fresno v. Tokio Marine Specialty Insurance Co., No. 18-504, E.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 129224).

  • August 7, 2018

    Judge Transfers Land Owner’s Third-Party Suit Against Cleanup Company

    NEW ORLEANS — A federal judge in Louisiana on July 31 transferred a land owner’s breach of contract suit against an environmental cleanup company to Illinois federal court, finding that contracts between the parties contain a forum-selection clause that requires disputes to be resolved in a court in that state (KFC Corp. v. Iron Horse of Metairie Road LLC, et al., No. 16-16791, E.D. La., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 127790).

  • August 6, 2018

    Grand Jury Indicts Arkema, CEO For Texas Plant’s Chemical Release During Hurricane

    LIBERTY, Texas — The district attorney for Harris County, Texas on Aug. 3 announced that a grand jury has indicted chemical manufacturer Arkema North America, its chief executive officer and a plant manager for contamination of the air and the local water supply after the company’s plant was damaged in Hurricane Harvey and released multiple chemical and volatile organic compounds.