Mealey's Pollution Liability

  • March 28, 2019

    Judge Abstains From RCRA Suit Over Site Contamination

    KANSAS CITY, Kan. — A federal judge in Kansas on March 26 dismissed a company’s Resource Conservation and Recovery Act lawsuit seeking to have two other companies and a trust pay for investigating, remediating and monitoring contamination at site where they conducted operations, finding that the court should abstain from exercising jurisdiction over the case due to an earlier proceeding brought by the Kansas Department of Health and the Environment (KDHE) (Raytheon Co. v. NCR Corp., et al., No. 18-2402-CM-GEB, D. Kan., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 49785).

  • March 28, 2019

    Electrical Transformer Maker’s $65M Oil Spill Award Upheld By 5th Circuit

    NEW ORLEANS — A Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled March 26 that a federal judge in Louisiana did not err when denying BP Exploration & Production Inc.’s request for discretionary review of a $65 million settlement award to an electrical transformer manufacturer, finding that a Court Supervised Settlement Program (CSSP) appeals panel did not misapply the Deepwater Horizon Economic and Property Damages Settlement Agreement when upholding the award (BP Exploration & Production Inc., et al v. Claimant ID 100141850, No. 18-30835, 5th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 9121).

  • March 26, 2019

    ‘Dead And Buried’ Company Can Face CERCLA Liability, Judge Rules

    DAYTON, Ohio — A federal judge in Ohio on March 25 denied in part a defendant company’s motion for summary judgment in a Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) cost-recovery lawsuit, finding that the company could still face liability under the act even if it is “dead and buried” (Garrett Day LLC, et al. v. International Paper Inc., et al., No. 15-cv-36, S.D. Ohio, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 49478).

  • March 26, 2019

    Judge: City Need Not Exhaust Administrative Remedies In PCB Suit

    SAN DIEGO — A federal judge in California on March 22 refused to dismiss the city of Chula Vista, Calif.’s public nuisance lawsuit against Monsanto Co. over polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) contamination, finding that the city does not need to exhaust all administrative remedies before the state’s Commission on State Mandates before pursuing its claim (Chula Vista v. Monsanto Co., et al., No. 18cv1942-WQH-AGS, S.D. Calif., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 48323).

  • March 21, 2019

    Judge Erred When Denying Request To Review Basketball Player’s Settlement Award

    NEW ORLEANS — A federal judge in Louisiana erred when denying BP Exploration & Production Inc.’s request for discretionary review of a Court Supervised Settlement Program (CSSP) appeals panel’s decision affirming a $1.4 million award to a player for the New Orleans Hornets who claimed that he lost income as a result of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, a Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled March 20 (BP Exploration & Production Inc., et al. v. Claimant ID No. 100281817, No. 18-30394, 5th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 8325).

  • March 21, 2019

    Judge: Agency Failed To Take ‘Hard Look’ At Climate Impact Of Fracking Leases

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — A judge in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on March 19 ruled that the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) failed to take a “hard look” at the impact its approval of hydraulic fracturing drilling leases would have on climate change and enjoined the agency from authorizing more drilling in Wyoming while the BLM satisfies its obligations under federal law (WildEarth Guardians, et al. v. Ryan Zinke, No. 16-1724, D. D.C., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 44995).

  • March 21, 2019

    5th Circuit Upholds Nonprofit’s $14.5M Oil Spill Settlement Award

    NEW ORLEANS — A Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on March 18 affirmed a federal judge in Louisiana’s decision to decline discretionary review of a Court Supervised Settlement Program (CSSP) appeals panel’s decision to uphold a $14.5 million award to a nonprofit that sought compensation under the Deepwater Horizon Economic and Property Damages Settlement Agreement, holding that panel’s ruling did not misapply the settlement agreement and did not vary from other rulings (BP Exploration & Production Inc., et al. v. Claimant ID100217946, No. 18-30147, 5th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 7918).

  • March 19, 2019

    5th Circuit Upholds Dismissal Of Mexican Fishermen’s Oil Spill Claims

    NEW ORLEANS — A Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on March 18 affirmed the dismissal of claims brought by 337 Mexican fishermen seeking compensation under the Deepwater Horizon Economic and Property Damages Settlement Agreement, finding that a federal judge in Louisiana did not err when holding that the plaintiffs failed to meet a court-ordered deadline to file sworn statements documenting that they were fishermen in the Gulf of Mexico at the time of the oil spill (In re Deepwater Horizon, No. 17-30936, 5th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 7914).

  • March 19, 2019

    Insured Failed To Provide Timely Notice Of Contamination Claim, Federal Judge Says

    CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. — A  New York federal judge on March 14 dismissed an insured’s complaint seeking a declaration that coverage is owed for environmental contamination discovered on its property because the insured failed to provide timely notice of the claim as required by the policy (K.B.K. Huntington Corp. v. Hanover Insurance Co., No. 18-3135, E.D. N.Y., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 42729).

  • March 19, 2019

    Kaiser Gypsum Debtors Settle Dispute Over Cleanup Costs At Oregon Plant

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A North Carolina federal bankruptcy judge on March 15 approved a settlement under which former Chapter 11 debtor Armstrong World Industries Inc. will pay $1 million to current debtors Kaiser Gypsum Co. Inc. and Hanson Permanente Cement Inc. for cleanup cost recovery for a polluted Oregon manufacturing site (In re Kaiser Gypsum Company, Inc., et al., No. 16-31602, W.D. N.C. Bkcy.).

  • March 15, 2019

    Majority Of Group’s Clean Water Act Claims Against ExxonMobil Survive Dismissal

    BOSTON — A federal judge in Massachusetts on March 14 denied ExxonMobil Corp.’s motion to dismiss a Clean Water Act (CWA) lawsuit accusing the company of violating the terms of a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit regarding the discharge of stormwater from a storage facility by failing to consider the effects of climate change and allowed the company to subpoena the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for testimony regarding the applicability of the primary jurisdiction doctrine (Conservation Law Foundation v. ExxonMobil Corp., et al., No. 16cv11950, D. Mass.).

  • March 12, 2019

    Chemical Maker Cannot Seek Contribution From Farm Over Possible Contamination

    TACOMA, Wash. — An organic chemical manufacturer that supplied a spongy waste material that contained plant nutrients and some hazardous substances to the owner of three farms that in turn used the material for fertilizer cannot seek contribution under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), a federal judge in Washington ruled March 5, holding that the maker’s consent decree with the Washington Department of Ecology did not allow it to pursue the claim (Emerald Kamala Chemical LLC v. Fire Mountain Farms Inc., No. C17-5472, W.D. Wash., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 35206).

  • March 11, 2019

    High Court Review Sought For $8.25 Million Award To Tribes For CERCLA Costs

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court should reverse a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals finding that the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation are entitled to recover more than $8.25 million in response costs from a Canadian industrial polluter of the Columbia River for enforcement actions taken under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), the company liable for the pollution says in a petition for certiorari docketed March 6 (Teck Metals Ltd. v. The Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, et al., No. 18-1160, U.S. Sup.).

  • March 07, 2019

    Judge Refuses To Sever Port District, San Diego From PCB Contamination Suit

    SAN DIEGO — A federal judge in California on March 1 refused to sever claims brought by the San Diego Unified Port District and city of San Diego against Monsanto Co. over polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) contamination in the San Diego Bay, finding that fundamental fairness and judicial economy weigh against severance (San Diego Unified Port District v. Monsanto Co., et al., No. 15cv578, S.D. Calif., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 33236).

  • March 07, 2019

    Judge Finds Government Should Cover 15 Percent Of Contactor’s Cleanup Costs

    SAN DIEGO — Following remand from the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, a federal judge in California held March 1 that the federal government should reimburse a military contractor for 10 percent of the costs the company incurred in remediating contamination from chlorinated solvents and 5 percent of the costs the company incurred in remediating chromium contamination at a 44-acre site the contractor used to manufacture aircraft and aircraft parts (TDY Holdings LLC v. United States, No. 07-CV-787-CAB-BGS, S.D. Calif., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 34162).

  • March 07, 2019

    7th Circuit: No Need For Additional Cleanup At GE’s Former Site

    CHICAGO — A Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on March 4 upheld a federal magistrate judge in Illinois’ ruling denying requests from the owner of a golf course and nearby residents for additional cleanup of a site that formerly housed a manufacturing plant operated by General Electric Co. (GE) of the property, holding that the magistrate judge’s finding that the company was liable for contamination under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) does not automatically warrant injunctive relief (LAJIM LLC, et al. v. General Electric Co., Nos. 18-1522, 18-2880, 7th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 6519).

  • March 05, 2019

    Judge Remands Cleanup Suit, Finds Allegations Do Not Challenge EPA’s Plan

    CHICAGO — A port district’s lawsuit against a company that formerly produced manufactured gas was remanded March 4 by a federal judge who ruled that the port district’s action does not raise federal question jurisdiction because the allegations do not seek to challenge a remediation plan approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (Waukegan Port District v. North Shore Gas Co., No. 18 CV 7312, N.D. Ill., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 33690).

  • March 05, 2019

    Judge: Port Of Seattle Can Face Group’s Suit Over Stormwater Discharges

    SEATTLE — The Port of Seattle’s motion to dismiss a suit brought by an environmental group accusing it of violating the Clean Water Act (CWA) by allowing for excessive levels of stormwater discharges was denied March 4 by a federal judge in Washington, who found that non-permit holders can also face liability under the act (Puget Soundkeeper Alliance v. Total Terminals International LLC, No.  C18-0540RSL, W.D. Wash., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 34042).

  • March 05, 2019

    Navajo Nation’s, States’ Claims Against EPA, U.S. Survive 2 Dismissal Bids

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A federal judge on Feb. 28 mostly declined to dismiss claims for recovery under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act leveled by the Navajo Nation, New Mexico and Utah against the U.S. government for damages caused by the 2015 Gold King Mine explosion and acid mine drainage spill (In Re:  Gold King Mine Release, No. 1:18-md-02824, D. N.M., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 33321).

  • March 04, 2019

    Judge: Government Can Appeal Ruling Allowing Guam’s Cost-Recovery Claim

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — A federal judge in the District of Columbia on Feb. 28 granted the federal government’s motion for leave to appeal an Oct. 5 decision denying its motion to dismiss the government of Guam’s claim for cost recovery under Section 107(a) of the a Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), explaining that there is substantial ground for a difference of opinion with regard to how the court interpreted a 2004 settlement agreement between Guam and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and whether the agreement allowed Guam to pursue the claim (Government of Guam v. United States, No. 17-cv-2487, D. D.C., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS).

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