{ Banner Image }
Search this blog

Subscribe for updates

Recent Posts

Blog editor

Blog Contributors

Showing 2 posts in Seventh Circuit.

Since the United States Supreme Court decided Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes, 131 S.Ct. 2451 (2011), plaintiffs in contamination cases have struggled to meet the raised bar for class certification.  And that bar was certainly not lowered by the Seventh Circuit in its decision in Parko v. Shell Oil Co., Nos. 13-8023 & 13-8024 (7th Cir. Jan 17, 2014).  Parko involved a putative class comprised of property owners in the town of Roxana, Illinois, who claimed that their property values had been diminished by benzene contamination of the groundwater from an adjacent oil refinery which had been in operation for nearly 100 years.  In checking off the certification requirements, the district court held that the question of whether the multiple defendants who owned and operated the refinery during the preceding 90 plus years failed to “contain petroleum byproduct [resulting] in contamination to Roxana property” predominated.   The Seventh Circuit panel unanimously disagreed.  Judge Posner, writing for the Court, described the opinion as necessary for clarification of a trial court’s responsibility to conduct a “rigorous analysis” of whether common issues predominate; in doing so, he did not hesitate to take the district judge to task for “treat[ing] predominance as a pleading requirement” rather than an evidentiary one.  Read More »

A little creativity goes a long way and cash-strapped municipal entities need all the creativity they can get. But it doesn’t always put money in your pocket. And such was the result in Emergency Services Billing Corporation, Inc. v. Allstate Insurance Co., No. 11-2381 (7th Cir. Feb. 2, 2011) which upheld a trial court’s determination that automobiles owned and used for personal purposes are not “facilities” under CERCLA and hence drivers (and their insurance carriers) are not liable for “response costs” incurred in responding to motor vehicle accidents. And thus the Volunteer Fire Department of Westville, Indiana, cannot recoup the amounts it spent in responding to the four separate, unrelated auto accidents that were the subject of the collection efforts. Read More »