NEW ORLEANS — A Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Nov. 28 found that a federal judge in Louisiana did not abuse his discretion when refusing to review a now-defunct outpatient surgery center’s claim for economic damages under 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, holding that neither the claims administrator nor the appeals panel erred when denying the claim (Claimant ID 100227611 v. BP Exploration & Production Inc., et al., No. 18-30396, 5th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 33357).
CINCINNATI — The Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Nov. 26 denied a petition for rehearing en banc in a groundwater contamination lawsuit pursuant to the Clean Water Act (CWA) and the Resource Recovery and Conservation Act (RCRA), ruling that the issues raised in the petition were fully considered in the original submission and decision of the case (Kentucky Waterways Alliance, et al. v. Kentucky Utilities Co., No. 17-cv-292-DCR, 6th Cir.).
NEW YORK — A New York federal magistrate judge on Nov. 7 determined that an excess insurer has no further duty to indemnify its insured for oil spill remediation costs because the evidence shows that the parties never intended for the excess insurer to continue paying pollution defense costs after the policy’s limit for pollution cleanup and response costs was reached (American Commercial Lines LLC, et al. v. Water Quality Insurance Syndicate, No. 09-7957, S.D. N.Y., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 194202).
EUGENE, Ore. — A federal judge in Oregon on Nov. 21 stayed a lawsuit brought by a number of youths over the government’s knowledge about the burning of fossil fuels and climate change pending the decision by the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals as to whether the judge erred when denying the government’s motion to dismiss the action (Kelsey Cascadia Rose Juliana, et al. v. United States, et al., No. 15-cv-01517, D. Ore.).
NEW YORK — An insured seeking coverage for environmental remediation costs is not entitled to coverage under excess policies because the costs, when allocated on a pro rata basis over a 40-year period, do not reach the attachments points of the excess policies, a New York federal judge said Nov. 24 (Olin Corp. v. Certain Underwriters at Lloyd’s, London, et al., No. 18-8197, S.D. N.Y., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 199079).
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — An insurer’s suit filed in North Carolina federal court and seeking a declaration that no coverage is owed to an insured for more than $3 million in environmental remediation costs must be dismissed because the dispute can be litigated in Missouri federal court where the insured’s suit against the insurer is pending, a North Carolina federal judge said Nov. 15 (Great American E&S Insurance Co. v. Butterball LLC, No. 18-113, E.D. N.C., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 194871).
NEW YORK — New York City says in a Nov. 8 brief filed in the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals that a federal judge’s ruling dismissing its suit against five producers of fossil fuels over climate change should be reversed because the court can provide remedies for local harms stemming from the defendants’ alleged nuisance and trespass (City of New York v. BP PLC, et al., No. 18-2188, 2nd Cir.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A federal judge in the District of Columbia on Nov. 8 dismissed without prejudice a lawsuit brought by the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) against the U.S. Department of State and its acting secretary John J. Sullivan that seeks to require the department to submit and disclose two greenhouse gas concentration reports required by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), finding that the organization lacked standing (Center of Biological Diversity v. United States Department of State, et al., No. 18-563 D. D.C., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 191073)
SAN FRANCISCO — A Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Nov. 8 stayed proceedings in a lawsuit brought by youths claiming that the government failed to implement policies to protect against climate change, finding that the government’s third petition for a writ of mandamus “raises issues that warrant an answer” (In re: United States of America, No. 18-73014, 9th Cir.).
SAN FRANCISCO — The federal government on Nov. 5 filed in the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals its third petition seeking a writ of mandamus in a suit brought by a number of youths accusing the government of failing to inform the public that it knew about the association between the burning of fossil fuels and climate change but failed to implement any policies to prevent the environment (In re: United States, No. 18-73014, 9th Cir.).
EUGENE, Ore.— The federal government on Nov. 5 asked a federal judge in Oregon to reconsider her ruling refusing to certify for interlocutory appeal a decision denying its motion to dismiss a lawsuit brought by a number of youths over climate change, citing a Nov. 2 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court that denied its motion to stay the suit (Kelsey Cascadia Rose Juliana, et al. v. United States, et al., No. 15-cv-01517, D. Ore.).
TRENTON, N.J. — A New Jersey appeals court panel on Oct. 17 affirmed a $66,200 civil penalty imposed by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) against a shopping center owner accused of violating the New Jersey Industrial Site Recovery Act (ISRA) and Site Remediation Reform Act (SSRA), finding that the agency could impose penalties under the statutes despite not proving that the spill of occurred after 1977 (New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Site Remediation Compliance and Enforcement v. Raritan Shopping Center, No. A-1150-16T1, N.J. Super., App. Div., 2018 N.J. Unpub. LEXIS 2291).
COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Ohio Supreme Court on Oct. 24 denied an insured’s petition seeking review of a trial court’s ruling in favor of insurers involved in an environmental contamination dispute arising out of the insured’s construction of a treatment plant to prevent the discharge of acid water from a mine (Bellaire Corp. v. American Empire Surplus Lines Insurance Co., et al., No. 2018-1159, Ohio Sup., 2018 Ohio LEXIS 2513).
PORTLAND, Maine — A German shipping company pleaded guilty on Nov. 2 in Louisiana federal court to charges of violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships (APPS) and obstruction of justice for illegally discharging bilge oil from one of its ships over a nine-month period and agreed to pay a $3.2 million civil penalty (United States v. MST Mineralien Schiffahrt Spedition Und Transport GMBH, No. 17cr117, D. Maine).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A 7-2 U.S. Supreme Court on Nov. 2 lifted Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.’s Oct. 19 stay of a lawsuit brought by 21 youths accusing the government of withholding information about the relationship between burning fossil fuels and climate change, finding that any relief sought by the government can be obtained through the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals (In re: United States, No. 18A410, U.S. Sup., 2018 U.S. LEXIS 6514).
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — An expert’s opinions on the human harms caused by an Illinois power plant’s violations of the Clean Air Act (CAA) should be vetted at a trial slated to determine the remedies to be imposed on the plant, a federal judge decided Nov. 2 in denying a bid to exclude the expert’s testimony (Natural Resources Defense Council, et al. v. Illinois Power Resources Generating, LLC, No. 13-cv-1181, C.D. Ill., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 187612).
WORCESTER, Mass. — A federal judge in Massachusetts on Oct. 31 clarified an earlier ruling in which he granted in part a motion for summary judgment filed by defendants accused of violating the Clean Water Act (CWA), explaining that the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is diligently prosecuting claims that a development is violating a comparable state law (Blackstone Headwaters Coalition Inc. v. Gallo Builders Inc., et al., No. 16-40053, D. Mass., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 186121).
CHICAGO — The owner of the largest natural gas processing facility in the United States on Oct. 29 agreed to pay a $2.7 million civil penalty and spend $4.5 million on improvements to its pollution controls to resolve allegations brought by the federal government in Illinois federal court that it violated the Clean Air Act (CAA) (United States v. Aux Sable Liquid Products LP, No. 18cv7198, N.D. Ill.).
CINCINNATI — Two environmental groups in an Oct. 22 petition ask the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals for an en banc rehearing of a case in which they claim that the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) violated the Clean Water Act (CWA) by discharging coal ash waste from its wastewater treatment system that reached navigable waterways through groundwater (Tennessee Clean Water Network, et al. v. Tennessee Valley Authority, No. 17-6155, 6th Cir.).
PITTSBURGH — A federal magistrate judge in Pennsylvania on Oct. 26 denied Buffalo & Pittsburgh Railroad Inc.’s (BPRR) motion seeking dismissal of a Clean Water Act (CWA) lawsuit brought by two environmental groups, finding that it is a properly joined party because it has right of way access to land that may need to be remediated (PennEnvironment, et al. v. PPG Industries Inc., et al., No. 12-342, W.D. Pa., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 183752).