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Headline Pollution Liability Legal News from LexisNexis®



 



3rd Circuit Affirms Man's Sentence For Role In $3.8M Superfund Kickback Scheme
PHILADELPHIA - A Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on April 28 affirmed a man's conviction and order to pay $3.8 million in restitution for violating the Anti-Kickback Act when bidding for work to clean up a Superfund site in New Jersey, holding that the evidence presented by the government was sufficient to support the jury's verdict and that the judge did not err when calculating the restitution amount (United States of America v. John A. Bennett, No. 16-3405, 3rd Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 7615).



5th Circuit Panel Says Documents Do Not Support Oil Spill Revenue Loss
NEW ORLEANS - An aftermarket auto parts merchant's Decline-Only Business Economic Loss (BEL) claim seeking compensation under the Court-Supervised Settlement Program (CSSP) for business losses incurred following the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico was properly denied, a Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled April 27, holding that two letters from a bank denying a request for a line of credit did not sufficiently show that the business lost revenue in 2011 (Claimant ID 100247288 v. BP Exploration & Production, Inc., et al., No. 16-30786, 5th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 7499).



Deckhand's Subsistence Claim Was Properly Denied, 5th Circuit Panel Finds
NEW ORLEANS - A federal judge in Louisiana's decision to decline review of rulings rejecting a subsistence claim filed by a former deckhand who worked aboard a ship that aided in the cleanup of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico following the April 20, 2010, explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig was proper, a Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled April 27, finding that the settlement agreement prevents employees of defendant companies from receiving proceeds from the Economic & Property Damages (E&PD) Settlement (Claimant ID 100001528 v. BP Exploration & Production, Inc., et al., No. 16-30824, 5th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 7624).



Louisiana Parish Announces $45M Settlement With BP Over Gulf Oil Spill Damages
BELLE CHASSE, La. - Plaquemines Parish President Amos Cormier on May 9 announced that a $45 million settlement had been reached between the parish and BP Exploration & Production Inc. over damages stemming from the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico that followed the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig on April 20, 2010 (In re: Oil Spill by the Oil Rig "Deepwater Horizon" in the Gulf of Mexico, on April 20, 2010, MDL 2179, E.D. La.).



Indiana Environmental Law Allows For Contribution, Federal Judge Finds
INDIANAPOLIS - A federal judge in Indiana on May 8 denied a defendant company's motion to dismiss a claim for contribution under the Indiana Environmental Legal Action (ELA) statute, finding that there is no case law to support the argument that the act does not allow for such a remedy (Von Duprin LLC v. Moran Electric Service, Inc., et al., No. 16-cv-01942-TWP-DML, S.D. Ind., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 69638).



Judge Grants In Part Motion To Consolidate CERCLA Suits
NEWARK, N.J. - Two lawsuits stemming from contamination at a site formerly owned by Aluminum Corporation of America, A.P. (Alcoa) were consolidated for discovery purposes by a federal judge in New Jersey on May 3 because the judge found that the suits shared common issues of fact and because consolidation would benefit judicial economy (Borough of Edgewater v. Waterside Construction, LLC, et al., No. 14-5060, D. N.J., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 67976).



Judge Approves Environmental Groups' Request For Fees In Clean Water Act Suit
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - A federal judge in West Virginia on May 2 granted a motion filed by three environmental groups seeking $420,790 in attorney fees, finding that they were prevailing parties in their Clean Water Act (CWA) lawsuit and that the attorneys' calculations were reasonable (Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, et al. v. Fola Coal Company, LLC, No. 13-21588, Consolidated with No. 13-16044, S.D. W.Va., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 66367).



Magistrate Judge Denies Residents' Motion To Intervene In Superfund Cleanup Suit
HAMMOND, Ind. - A motion to intervene filed by residents living near a Superfund site in East Chicago, Ind., that is currently being remediated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was denied May 2 by a federal magistrate judge, after he found that the request was untimely (United States of America, et al. v. Atlantic Richfield Company, et al., No. 14-CV-312-PPS-PRC, N.D. Ind., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 67090).



Judge Approves $1M Settlement Between Groups, BNSF Over Coal Dust Discharges
SEATTLE - A federal judge in Washington on May 2 approved a settlement between a number of environmental groups and BNSF Railway Co. in which the company will spend $1 million on conservation and restoration projects in Washington and clean up and remove coal dust from areas near waterways where the company's trains carry coal (Sierra Club, et al. v. BNSF Railway Company, No. C13-967, W.D. Wash.).



Federal Judge Orders Volkswagen To Pay $2.8B Fine
DETROIT - A federal judge in Michigan on April 21 ordered Volkswagen AG to pay a $2.8 billion fine for equipping its diesel vehicles with software designed to cheat emissions tests after the company pleaded guilty to counts of conspiracy to defraud the United States, wire fraud and violations of the Clean Air Act (CAA) (United States of America v. James Robert Liang, et al., No. 16-cr-20394, E.D. Mich.).



Judge: Volkswagen Buyers Cannot Seek Restitution In Criminal Proceeding
DETROIT - Consumers who purchased Volkswagen vehicles with software designed to cheat emissions tests cannot seek restitution from the auto manufacturer as part of criminal proceedings brought by the federal government against the company because it would unduly prolong the sentencing process, a federal judge in Michigan ruled April 21 (United States of America v. James Robert Liang, et al., No. 16-cr-20394, E.D. Mich.).



Seafood-Processing Company To Pay $1.3M For Violating 2010 Consent Decree
ANCHORAGE, Alaska - A seafood-processing company on April 17 agreed to pay a $1.3 million civil penalty and spend $1.1 million on air pollution reduction projects to resolve allegations that it violated the terms of 2010 consent decree that settled claims from the federal government that the company violated the Clean Air Act (CAA) (United States of America, et al. v. Westward Seafoods, Inc., No. 17-cv-58, D. Alaska).



EPA: Potomac Electric To Pay $54,000 Over Illegal Hazardous Waste Storage
PHILADELPHIA - A regional office of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced May 8 that Potomac Electric Power Co. has agreed to pay $54,000 to resolve allegations that it violated the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act by failing to properly label store and manage hazardous waste containing lead and mercury at its Washington, D.C., facility.



Battle Over Superfund Site Cleanup Not A Bankruptcy Issue, Judge Says In Remanding
NEWARK, N.J. - A dispute among several companies, including former Chapter 11 debtor G-I Holdings Inc., over who should pay for the cleanup of a 26-acre polluted industrial site in New Jersey does not belong in federal bankruptcy court, a federal judge ruled May 5 in agreeing to remand the case to state court (G-I Holdings Inc., et al. v. Ashland Inc., et al., No. 17-0077, D. N.J.).



Lack Of Jurisdiction Dooms Bid To Enforce Injunction For Environmental Claims
NEWARK, N.J. - A New Jersey federal bankruptcy judge on May 1 declined to decide a request by former Chapter 11 debtor G-I Holdings Inc. to enforce its reorganization plan injunction to bar indemnification claims for cleanup of a polluted industrial site, saying G-I's appeal of a remand order in the dispute deprives her of jurisdiction (In re: G-I Holdings, Inc., et al., Nos. 01-30135 and 01-38790, D. N.J. Bkcy., 2017 Bankr. LEXIS 1194).



Missouri Federal Judge Says New Pollution Conditions Are Not Excluded From Coverage
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - A Missouri federal judge on May 2 denied an insurer's motion for summary judgment after determining that a premises pollution liability policy does not exclude new pollution conditions discovered by the insured because the new pollution conditions are not connected with carrying out or directing a remediation plan (Sunflower Redevelopment LLC v. Illinois Union Insurance Co., No. 15-577, W.D. Mo., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 66446).



Ala. Federal Judge Strikes Insurer's Expert Witness In Environmental Coverage Suit
MOBILE, Ala. - An Alabama federal judge on April 24 granted a motion to strike an insurer's proposed expert witness after determining that the expert's testimony relates to claims that were already decided in an underlying environmental contamination suit (Heartland Catfish Co. Inc. et al., v. Navigators Specialty Insurance Co., No. 15-368, S.D. Ala., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 62379).



4th Circuit Finds CERCLA Does Not Preempt Virginia's Statutes Of Limitations
RICHMOND, Va. - A Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled March 9 that the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act does not preempt Virginia's statutes of limitation on property owners' claims for unjust enrichment, trespass, nuisance and injunctive relief because the plaintiffs could not state claims for cost recovery or contribution under CERCLA (Neal Blankenship, et al. v. Consolidation Coal Company, et al., No. 15-2480, Ira Gordon Ratliff, et al. v. Consolidation Coal Company, et al., No. 15-2482, 4th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 4168).



EPA Rule Exempting Farms From Reporting Animal Waste Releases Vacated By Court
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A federal appeals court in the District of Columbia on April 11 vacated a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rule that exempted farms from reporting air releases of animal waste under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act, and Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know-Act of 1986 (EPCRA), finding that the agency could not justify the exemption (Waterkeeper Alliance v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Nos. 09-1017, 09-1104, D.C. Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 6174).



Magistrate Judge: Questions Exist On GE's Intent To Dispose Of PCB-Capacitors
SYRACUSE, N.Y. - A federal magistrate judge in New York on March 31 denied portions of motions for summary judgment filed by General Electric Co. (GE) and the state of New York, finding that issues of material fact exist as to whether GE intended to dispose of polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB)-containing capacitors at a scrapyard to be considered an arranger of hazardous waste disposal under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (State of New York, et al. v. General Electric Company, No. 14-CV-747, N.D. N.Y., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 50026).



Magistrate Judge Orders Land Owner To Withdraw Request For Site Investigation
SAN FRANCISCO - A federal magistrate judge in California on April 3 ordered a property owner to withdraw a request to the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) to have a former owner conduct additional site investigation for contamination, finding that the request violated the terms of a settlement agreement with the parties (Northern California River Watch v. Fluor Corporation, No. 10-cv-05105-WHO, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 50763).



Judge: Plaintiff Sufficiently Stated Dairy Discharged Hazardous Substances
SAN DIEGO - A federal judge in California on March 24 denied a dairy's motion for judgment on the pleadings after finding that a plaintiff corporation sufficiently alleged that the dairy discharged hazardous substances that are covered by the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) (Citizens Development Corporation v. County of San Diego, et al., No. 12cv0334, S.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 43785).



Judge: Discovery Needed To Interpret Meaning Of Environmental Activities
NEWARK, N.J. - A federal judge in New Jersey on April 3 denied General Electric Co.'s (GE) motion to dismiss a lawsuit seeking cost recovery and contribution under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act for contamination at a site sold to a developer in 2015, ruling that discovery is needed to find the definition of "environmental response activities" in the indemnity and settlement agreement (ISA) (BRG Harrison Lofts Urban Renewal LLC v. General Electric Company, No. 16-6577, D. N.J., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 50265).



6th Circuit: Modification Of Consent Decree For Power Plants Violated Agreement
CINCINNATI - The modification of a consent decree that extended the deadline for upgrades to one of two coal-burning power plants in Rockport, Ind., violated a contract between owners and operators of the facility because it would require the owners to make the improvements and pay for them after expiration of the lease, a Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled April 14 (Wilmington Trust Company, et al. v. AEP Generating Company, et al., No. 16-3496, 6th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 6426).



Judge Gives EPA 3 Years To Create Standards For 20 Pollutants
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A federal judge in the District of Columbia on March 13 gave the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency three years to create rules governing emissions standards for 20 hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) after the agency conceded that it violated the Clean Air Act (CAA) by failing to undertake a nondiscretionary duty to establish the standards (California Communities Against Toxics, et al. v. Scott Pruitt, Administrator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, No. 15-cv-512, D. D.C., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 35268).



Judge Denies Winery's Motion To Strike Portions Of Government's Discharge Suit
FRESNO, Calif. - A federal judge in California on March 20 denied a winery's motion to strike portions of a lawsuit brought by the federal government alleging violations of the Clean Air Act (CAA) and Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), finding that the allegations in the complaint were properly included (United States of America v. Gibson Wine Co., No. 15-cv-1900-AWI-SKO, E.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 39820).



Judge Acknowledges Objectors But Approves U.S. Steel's Clean Air Act Settlement
HAMMOND, Ind. - A federal judge in Indiana on March 31 approved a proposed settlement between the federal government, Illinois, Michigan and Indiana and United States Steel Corp. over violations of the Clean Air Act (CAA), but acknowledged comments from objectors to the agreement who sought a harsher civil penalty or an agreement that the company take on more environmental projects (United States of America, et al. v. United States Steel Corporation, No. 12-CV-304-PPS-APR, N.D. Ind., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 47607).



Volkswagen Pleads Guilty To Violating Clean Air Act, Conspiracy To Commit Fraud
DETROIT - Volkswagen AG on March 10 pleaded guilty in Michigan federal court to charges of conspiracy to defraud the United States, violating the Clean Air Act (CAA) and wire fraud as a result of defeat devices the company installed in its diesel vehicles that were designed to cheat emissions tests, according to a docket entry (United States of America v. James Robert Liang, et al., No. 16-cr-20394, E.D. Mich.).



N.J. High Court Finds State Shielded From Liability For Pre-Spill Act Incident
TRENTON, N.J. - The New Jersey Supreme Court on March 27 voted 6-1 in favor of vacating a ruling denying the state of New Jersey's motion to dismiss a contribution lawsuit brought by NL Industries Inc. under the New Jersey Spill Compensation and Control Act (Spill Act), finding that the state could raise the sovereign immunity defense for an incident that occurred before the act was enacted (NL Industries, Inc. v. State of New Jersey, No. A-44-15, N.J. Sup., 2017 N.J. LEXIS 325).



Judge Dismisses Suit Saying EPA Should Require Permits For Storm Water Discharges
BOSTON - A federal judge in Massachusetts on March 24 dismissed without prejudice a lawsuit brought by two environmental groups against the U.S. Environmental Agency and others, finding that the court lacked jurisdiction over the groups' allegations that the agency was not undertaking a nondiscretionary duty to require dischargers of storm water into the Charles River to obtain permits (Conservation Law Foundation, et al. v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, et al., No. 16-10397-RGS, D. Mass., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 43354).



Utility Tainted Drinking Water But Plaintiff Seeks 'Draconian' Penalty, Judge Says
RICHMOND, Va. - A federal judge in Virginia on March 23 ruled that an electric utility company violated the Clean Water Act (CWA) by dumping arsenic into the groundwater but said that the remedy sought by an environmental group was "draconian." The judge also refused to find that the utility had violated its state-issued permits and prescribed "more extensive monitoring" of the site where the contamination occurred (Sierra Club v. Virginia Electric and Power Company, d/b/a Dominion Virginia Power, No. 15-112, E.D. Va.).



Judge Approves Settlement Requiring Company To Obtain Discharge Permit, Pay Fees
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - A federal judge in West Virginia on March 14 approved a consent decree that would require Pocahontas Land Corp. to obtain a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit to resolve allegations brought by three environmental groups that the company was violating the Clean Water Act (CWA) (Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, et al. v. Pocahontas Land Corporation, No. 15-cv-15515, S.D. W.Va., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 36145).



Judge Orders Levee Owner To Pay $4,750 Penalty For Concrete Discharges
ROCK ISLAND, Ill. - A father and son who built a levee on their property to protect it from flooding were ordered by a federal judge in Illinois on March 28 to pay a $4,750 fine for violating the Clean Water Act (CWA) and ordered to obtain under a permit under Section 404 of the act for a portion of the levee (Quad Cities Waterkeeper Inc., et al. v. David G. Ballegeer, et al., No. 12-cv-4075-SLD-JEH, C.D. Ill., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 45829).



Gulf Oil Spill MDL Judge: Moratoria Hold Claimants Can Opt Out
NEW ORLEANS - The federal judge in Louisiana who is overseeing litigation stemming from damages caused by the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico that followed the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in April 2010 ruled March 17 that individuals whose claims arise from federal moratoria on drilling operations in the Gulf of Mexico can opt out of the Deepwater Horizon Economic Loss and Property Damage Settlement Program if they are not resolved by March 25 (In re: Oil Spill by the Oil Rig "Deepwater Horizon" in the Gulf of Mexico, on April 20, 2010, MDL 2179, Case No. 12-970, E.D. La.).



Lack Of Causation Evidence Fatal To Man's Suit Against BP, Judge Rules
NEW ORLEANS - BP Exploration and Production Inc. and BP America Production Co. (collectively, BP) were awarded summary judgment by a federal judge in Louisiana on March 20 after she found that a man was unable to produce evidence that his exposure to dispersants during cleanup activities following the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico caused him to develop lung cancer (Pero Cibilic, et al. v. BP Exploration & Production, Inc., et al., No. 15-995, E.D. La., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 40056).



Magistrate Judge Finds Port's Product Liability Claims Against Monsanto Are Timely
PORTLAND, Ore. - A federal magistrate judge in Oregon on April 18 recommending denying Monsanto Co.'s motion to dismiss product liability claims brought by the Port of Portland, over polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) contamination, finding that the plaintiff does not clearly state when it discovered the injury (Port of Portland v. Monsanto Co., et al., No. 17-15, D. Ore.).



Town's PCB Claim Against Monsanto Fails, Judge Says; Expert Exclusions 'Moot'
BOSTON - A federal judge in Massachusetts on April 7 granted a motion for summary judgment dismissal of claims for breach of warranty brought by a town against Monsanto and its affiliates related to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in a school building on grounds that the town failed to show that an alternate design was feasible. As a result of that dismissal, the judge ruled that motions to exclude expert witness testimony were "moot" (Town of Westport v. Monsanto Company, No. 14-12041, D. Mass.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 53815).



San Diego: PCB Claims Against Monsanto Valid; Property Interests At Issue
SAN DIEGO - The city of San Diego and its port district on April 7 filed a brief in California federal court contending that their second amended complaint against Monsanto Co. regarding alleged contamination of the city's water system with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) should not be dismissed because the city has multiple property interests that are affected by the company's PCBs (San Diego Unified Port District, et al v. Monsanto Company, et al., No. 15-578, S.D. Calif.).



New York Law Applies In Environmental Dispute, Delaware High Court Says, Reversing
WILMINGTON, Del. - The Delaware Supreme Court on March 23 determined that the law of New York should be applied in a dispute over the allocation of environmental contamination claims because New York has the most significant relationship with the parties and applying the law of the state in which an environmental cleanup site is located, as proposed by the lower court, would result in an inconsistent application of a policy's contract language (Chemtura Corp. v. Certain Underwriters at CCLC Lloyd's, et al., No. 371, 2016, Del. Sup., 2017 Del. LEXIS 127).



Federal Judge Says Insurer Is Entitled To Reimbursement Of Costs Paid Under Deductible
SAN FRANCISCO - An insurer involved in an environmental contamination coverage dispute is entitled to reimbursement of the deductible it paid on behalf of its insured because the policy at issue specifically states that the deductible includes claim expenses such as defense costs, a California federal judge said March 29 in granting the insurer's motion for partial summary judgment (American Guarantee and Liability Insurance Co., et al. v. Technichem Inc., et al., No. 15-03611, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 47103).



Federal Judge Denies Reconsideration Of Ruling In Contamination Dispute
TRENTON, N.J. - A New Jersey federal judge on April 5 denied motions for reconsideration filed by two insurers and their insured after determining that the court did not commit a clear error of law in interpreting the applicability of the policies' per-occurrence limits and absolute pollution exclusion in an environmental contamination dispute (Castoro & Co. Inc. v. Hartford Accident and Indemnity Co. Inc., et al., No. 14-1305, D. N.J., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 52140).



Indiana Federal Judge Denies Insured's Motion For Preliminary Injunction
INDIANAPOLIS - An Indiana federal judge on April 11 denied an insured's motion for a preliminary injunction after determining that the insured has already shown that it can avoid suffering any irreparable harm by paying for its own site remediation contractor rather than switching to the insurers' choice of contractor while its lawsuit against its insurers is pending (Ranburn Corp. v. Argonaut Insurance Co., et al., No. 16-088, N.D. Ind., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 54833).



Judge Finds Property Owner Can Pursue Cost-Recovery Claims, But Not Nuisance
DAYTON, Ohio - A federal judge in Ohio on Feb. 15 ruled that Garrett Day LLC and the Ohio Development Services Agency (DSA) can pursue claims for cost recovery under Section 107(a) of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) and the Ohio Volunteer Action Program (VAP) but that they could not pursue a claim for common-law nuisance because they do not own land adjacent to the contamination (Garrett Day, LLC, et al. v. International Paper, Inc., et al., No. 15-cv-36, S.D. Ohio, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 21643).



Judge: Previous Settlements Do Not Bar Government's Cost Recovery Suit
OKLAHOMA CITY - The federal government's previous settlements with the former owner of a now-defunct oil refinery site that contributed to contamination of the Skull Creek in Cushing, Okla., does not bar it from pursuing a cost recovery claim under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act against another former owner, a federal judge in Oklahoma ruled Feb. 22 in granting the government's motion to strike counterclaims asserted by the defendant companies (United States of America v. Land O'Lakes, Inc., et al., No. CIV-16-170-R, W.D. Okla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 24305).



Bankruptcy Settlement Does Not Bar ASARCO's Contribution Claim, Judge Finds
COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho - The presence of genuine issues of material fact as to whether parties entered into a bankruptcy settlement with ASARCO LLC with the intention of barring the company from pursuing contribution claims under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act prevented a federal judge in Idaho on Feb. 16 from fully granting a motion for summary judgment filed by Union Pacific Railway (ASARCO, LLC v. Union Pacific Railway, et al., No. 12-cv-283, D. Idaho, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 23199).



D.C. Circuit Says It Has No Jurisdiction Over Challenge To EPA Statement
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A panel of the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Feb.28 found that it does not have jurisdiction over a group's challenge to a statement from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that it would not acquiesce to an Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling on policies the agency implemented on the discharge of water from publicly owned water treatment facilities outside the circuit, holding that the statement was not a rule that could be challenged in the appeals court (Center for Regulatory Reasonableness v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, No. 14-1150, D.C. Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 3576).



Federal Judge Orders EPA To Respond To Petitions Challenging Permit Requests
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency must respond by June 30 to two petitions challenging the approval of two Clean Air Act (CAA) permits for power plants in North Carolina, a federal judge in the District of Columbia ruled March 2, finding that the agency failed to discharge its nondiscretionary duty to address the request within 60 days (Sierra Club v. Scott Pruitt, in his official capacity as Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, No. 16-2238, D. D.C., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 29451).



Judge Finds Navistar Liable For Selling Engines Without Certificate Of Compliance
CHICAGO - A federal judge in Illinois on March 1 found that Navistar Inc. and Navistar Financial Corp. are liable for violating the Clean Air Act (CAA) by selling 7,749 engines in 2010 without certificates of compliance, finding that the engines were not subject to a certificate issued to the companies in 2009 because they were not saleable (United States of America v. Navistar, Inc., et al., 15 CV 6143, N.D. Ill., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 28600).



Judge Adopts Recommendation To Award $1.5M In Attorney Fees To Groups
BILLINGS, Mont. - A federal judge in Montana on Feb. 15 adopted a magistrate judge's recommendation to award $1.5 million in attorney fees to environmental groups that partially prevailed in a suit accusing companies of violating the Clean Air Act (CAA), finding that the plaintiff groups were prevailing parties (Sierra Club, et al. v. Talen Montana, LLC, et al., No. CV 13-32-BLG-DLC-JCL, D. Mont., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 21515).



Judge Overrules Tribe's Objections To Consent Decree Over Facility's Emissions
SAN FRANCISCO - A federal judge in California on Feb. 23 overruled objections from the Blue Lake Rancheria Tribe that a consent decree between the federal government and Blue Lake Power LLC to resolve claims that the company violated the Clean Air Act (CAA) was unreasonable, ruling that the agreement would reduce emissions and have long-lasting benefits to the public (United States of America v. Blue Lake Power, LLC, No. 16-cv-00961-JD, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 25662).



5th Circuit Upholds Amount Awarded To Startup Business In Oil Spill Settlement
NEW ORLEANS - A Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Feb. 17 found that a federal judge in Louisiana did not abuse his discretion when refusing to review a business's appeal of the Court Supervised Settlement Program's (CSSP) decision that it should receive $29,567.81 as part of the Deepwater Horizon Economic and Property Damages Settlement (E&P Settlement), holding that the plaintiff company was a startup business under the terms of the settlement agreement (Claimant ID 100009540 v. BP Exploration & Production, Inc., et al., No. 15-30964, 5th Cir.).



5th Circuit: Auto Parts Stores Were Not Tourism Businesses For Settlement Purposes
NEW ORLEANS - A Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Feb. 9 that a federal judge in Louisiana did not err when refusing to review the denial of five auto parts stores' requests for compensation under the Deepwater Horizon Economic and Property Damages Settlement, holding that the Court Supervised Settlement Program (CSSP) properly found that the stores were not tourism businesses that were not required to show causation (Claimant ID 100212278 v. BP Exploration & Production, Inc., et al., No. 16-30102, 5th Cir.).



Judge Finds Proposed Class Has Standing To Sue Over Defeat Devices
BAY CITY, Mich. - A federal judge in Michigan on Feb. 14 granted in part and denied in part a motion to dismiss a class action lawsuit of purchasers of 2015 Chevrolet Cruze diesel vehicles that contained a defeat device designed to cheat emissions tests, finding that the plaintiffs had standing and that the case should not be stayed pending an investigation by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (Jason Counts, et al. v. General Motors, LLC, No. 16-cv-12541, E.D. Mich., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 20277).



Judge: MDL Court Can Rule On Jurisdictional Issues In Volkswagen Emissions Suit
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A federal judge in California on March 7 stayed a consumer's lawsuit over the installation of defeat devices in some of Volkswagen Group of America Inc.'s diesel vehicles pending transfer to a multidistrict litigation court, finding that the MDL court can determine if jurisdictional issues warrant remanding the action to state court (Pamela Woodcox, et al. v. Volkswagen Group of America, Inc., d/b/a Volkswagen of America, Inc., et al., No. 17-215 WBS DB, E.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 32609).



Texas High Court: Lower Court Should Decide If ExxonMobil Should Clean Up Site
AUSTIN, Texas - The Texas Supreme Court held Feb. 24 that a lower court judge should determine if a landowner can seek an order requiring ExxonMobil Corp. to remediate two sites where it conducted oil drilling and production operations, finding that the issue was not properly raised on appeal (ExxonMobil Corporation v. Lazy R. Ranch, LP, et al., No. 15-0270, Texas Sup., 2017 Tex. LEXIS 210).



3M: Groundwater Case Fails; Any Alleged Injuries Stem From Acts Beyond Control
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - On Feb. 24, 3M Co. filed its answer to a lawsuit brought against it for groundwater contamination, in which it denies any liability and argues that the claim fails because the company has "not caused or contributed to an imminent and substantial endangerment to health or the environment" (Tennessee Riverkeeper Inc. v. 3M Company, et al., No. 16-1029, N.D. Ala.).



Company: Jury Trial Brief In Groundwater Case Relies On 'Misrepresentations'
FRESNO, Calif. - A dry cleaning company on Feb. 10 filed a brief in California federal court arguing that the city of Visalia, Calif.'s brief seeking a jury trial in a lawsuit brought by a couple seeking remediation costs associated with tetrachloroethylene (PCE) contamination of groundwater "relies on a series of misrepresentations to support its argument" (Viola Coppola, et al. v. Gregory Smith, et al., No. 11-cv-01257, E.D. Calif.).



Judge Awards $22M To Seller Over Property Buyer's Failure To Continue Cleanup
SEATTLE - A federal judge in Washington on Feb. 10 entered default judgment against a property buyer that has failed to continue environmental remediation of a 16-acre site it purchased from a plaintiff company in 2014 and awarded the plaintiff $22 million in compensatory damages (8th Avenue Terminals, Inc. v. DeNovo Seattle LLC, No. C16-1964, W.D. Wash., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 19363).



Groups: EPA Emergency Action Needed For Lead Contamination In East Chicago, Ind.
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A collection of community groups, the NAACP and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) on March 2 filed notice of petition with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency seeking emergency action to abate "the imminent and substantial endangerment" to East Chicago, Ind., posed by lead contamination of drinking water.



Judge: Seattle's Case Against Monsanto Valid; PCB Design Defect Claim Dismissed
SEATTLE - A federal judge in Washington on Feb. 22 dismissed one cause of action but ruled that the majority of claims brought by the city of Seattle against Monsanto Co. for allegedly contaminating its groundwater with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were valid (City of Seattle v. Monsanto Company, et al., No. 16-cv-00107, W.D. Wash.).



Judge: Monsanto's Claim For Recovery Of Costs Related To PCB Contamination Fails
SPOKANE, Wash. - A federal judge in Washington on Feb. 14 dismissed a counterclaim brought by Monsanto Co. and its affiliates against the city of Spokane, ruling that the company failed to state a claim for recovering costs from the city for remediating its groundwater, which is contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) (City of Spokane v. Monsanto Company, et al., No. 15-00201, E.D. Wash.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 20846).



Judge Consolidates State's, Government's Suits Seeking Clean Water Act Penalties
OMAHA, Neb. - A federal judge in Nebraska on Feb. 28 consolidated lawsuits filed by the federal government and state of Nebraska seeking to recover a $2.2 million judgment against a company accused of violations of the Clean Water Act (CWA) and state law, finding that the actions arise out of the same factual scenario (United States of America v. Stabl, Inc., et al., No. 16CV233, State of Nebraska v. Stabl, Inc., et al., No. 16CV351, D. Neb., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 28875).



Judge Adopts Recommendation To Approve Settlement In Clean Water Act Suit
NEW YORK - A federal judge in New York on March 3 adopted a magistrate judge's recommendation that a settlement between the federal government and the New York Racing Association to resolve a Clean Water Act (CWA) suit is fair and reasonable (United States of America v. The New York Racing Association, No. 16 CV 5442, E.D. N.Y., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 30368).



North Dakota Appeals Ruling Denying Right To Intervene In Fracking Disposal Case
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The state of North Dakota on Jan. 25 filed a notice of appeal in the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, arguing that a lower court's denial of its motion to intervene in a lawsuit brought by environmental advocacy groups against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency related to the disposal of waste from hydraulic fracturing should be reversed (Environmental Integrity Project, et al. v. Scott Pruitt, No. 17-5010, D.C. Cir.).



Judge Dismisses Breach Of Covenant Of Good Faith Claim As Redundant
NEW YORK - A federal judge in New York on Feb. 27 dismissed an alleged insured's breach of the covenant of good faith claim because it is redundant to a breach of contract claim (JD2 Environmental, Inc. v. Endurance American Insurance Company, No. 14-cv-8888, S.D. N.Y., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 26977).



Insurers' Suit Is Not A Parallel Suit; Federal Judge Denies Motion To Dismiss
ST. LOUIS - A Missouri federal judge on March 3 denied an insured's motions to stay and to dismiss an environmental contamination coverage suit filed by insurers after determining that the insurers' suit is different from a suit filed in Missouri state court by the insured (Clearwater Insurance Co., et al. v. The Doe Run Resources Corp., et al., No. 16-195, E.D. Mo., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 30230).



Washington Federal Judge Dismisses Third-Party Claims Against Insurer
SEATTLE - A Washington federal judge on March 1 granted a motion to dismiss third-party claims against a group of insurers after determining that the insured's settlement with the group of insurers was reasonable and would not cause another insurer involved in the environmental contamination coverage dispute to shoulder an unreasonable burden (King County v. Travelers Indemnity Co., et al., No. C14-1957, W.D. Wash., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 29153).



Washington Federal Judge Denies Motion For Summary Judgment On Bad Faith Claims
SEATTLE - A Washington federal judge on Feb. 13 denied an insurer's motion for summary judgment on an insured's claims for bad faith in an environmental coverage dispute because the judge previously found that the insurer breached its duty to defend and any estoppel argument is now irrelevant to the disposal of the insured's bad faith claims (King County v. Travelers Indemnity Co., et al., No. C14-1957, W.D. Wash.).