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Showing 26 posts from 2011.

On Monday, the Second Circuit issued two opinions in the consolidated case of State of New York v. Solvent Chemical Co., Nos. 10-2026-cv, 10-2166-cv, & 10-23830-cv (2nd Cir. Dec. 19, 2011).  The first was a Summary Opinion, without precedential effect, which partially affirmed and partially rejected the district court’s method of allocating liability for past response costs incurred by Solvent Chemical Co. in remediating contamination at a site along the Niagara River in New York.  The second, a precedential opinion, reversed the trial court’s decision denying Solvent a declaratory judgment holding two other PRPs, DuPont and Olin Corp., liable for future remediation costs.  In essence, the Court of Appeals held that if the trial court could determine that DuPont and Olin were partially liable for past remediation costs, then it was required to find them liable for future costs, even if the trial court was not then able to allocate those future costs.  From a purely logical standpoint, not a very controversial or earth-shattering decision. Read More »

In a pair of December cases, the National Association of Home Builders (“NAHB”) has found itself without standing to challenge determinations made by the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers with respect to whether certain “waters” fall within the agencies’ regulatory powers under the Clean Water Act (“CWA”).   Read More »

In one of the first lawsuits seeking personal injuries and medical monitoring in connection with natural gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale – one of the largest and most recent natural gas plays in North America – the first blow has been dealt to the plaintiffs, who have been ordered by a Special Master tasked with overseeing discovery to produce all of their medical records to the defendants. Read More »

Two months ago I blogged about  DeLalla v. Hanover Ins., No. 10-3933 (3rd Cir. Oct. 12, 2011), a case in which the Third Circuit held that, when it comes to removal, each defendant gets its own thirty-day window to file a Notice of Removal such that a later-served defendant is not foreclosed from seeking removal if the thirty-day window has already closed on the first-served defendant.  As befitting a precedential Third Circuit decision, there was clearly a lot of effort put into the 22 page opinion. Read More »

Both before and after the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes, 131 S.Ct. 2451 (2011), removal to federal court under the Class Action Fairness Act (“CAFA”) was a key tool in the arsenal employed by class action defendants, as federal courts have become increasingly more skeptical of certifying classes in toxic tort class actions.  But with many state court procedural rules patterned after their federal counterparts, federal trends can influence state courts, and the recent Louisiana Supreme Court decision in Price v. Roy R. Martin, 2011-C-0853 (Dec. 6, 2011), is a perfect example. Read More »

As mentioned a few months ago, this coming Thursday, December 8, Kate and I will be participating in an ALI-ABA webcast on medical monitoring claims in a Post-Dukesworld.  It’s a great panel including Kate, plaintiff’s attorney Tom Morrone, Former Rohm and Haas associate general counsel Ellen Friedell, and public health expert Dr. Phillip Lewis.   With a variety of different viewpoints and approaches, we’re expecting a lively discussion on both law and policy.  A good opportunity to get in those end-of-the-year CLE hours.  More Details:  ALI-ABA Medical Monitoring Webcast

I love dissents.  While majority opinions focus on legal analysis, as they should, dissents tell the story, because it is usually only in the context of the story that the legal analysis of the majority can be directly attacked.  Such is the case with the recent en banc decision by the Pennsylvania Superior Court in Barrick v. Holy Spirit Hospital, 2011 Pa. Super. 251 (2011).  But more on the dissent later. Read More »

In a case of dueling summary judgment motions, a defendant insurance company came up on the short end of the stick on two principal legal issues resulting in a summary judgment finding in favor of Plaintiff, Wells Cargo, Inc. Read More »

I recently wrote an article for the Association of Corporate Counsel’s Greenhouse Counsel column on negotiating Access Agreements for environmental sampling.  You can sample the article itself here.

In a decision that should pique the interests of environmental consultants across the country, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri issued an opinion last month in BancorpSouth Bank v. Environmental Operations, Inc.Case No. 4:11CV9 HEA (E.D. Mo. Oct. 11, 2011),allowing a CERCLA claim to survive against several engineering firms hired to handle the remediation of an old landfill slated for a Brownfields redevelopment project.  The complaint alleged that the defendants failed to properly design and construct an engineered cell on the site (which didn’t account for the potential for methane gas to escape the cell), and further failed to adequately screen hazardous materials from the dirt on the site prior to spreading it around as fill material.  These activities, according to the plaintiff, not only constituted malpractice, but also turned the engineering firms into “operators” and/or “arrangers” under CERCLA, subjecting them to strict, joint and several liability for alleged damages in excess of $10 million. Read More »