PFAS Alert: New York State Court Certifies PFOA Class Action

On July 3, 2018, a state court in New York certified a class action lawsuit that involves residents of Petersburgh, New York who claim exposure to varying levels of the chemical, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). PFOA is in the class of chemicals known as per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances and was used to make heat, water, and stain resistant household and commercial products. Think Teflon, Scotchgard, GORE-TEX, fast food wrappers, etc. This is the first class action matter that’s been certified in the State of New York that involves
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Department of Interior in Need of a Paddle? Lawsuit filed over approval of mines in Boundary Waters Canoe Area

A coalition of nine Minnesota businesses and an environmental group filed suit in federal court in Washington, D.C. against the U.S. Department of the Interior challenging its decision to reinstate federal mineral rights leases for the proposed Twin Metals copper-nickel mine in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area near Ely, Minnesota. The lawsuit alleges the Department of the Interior exceeded its authority and poses an immediate threat to businesses, the environment and the region’s outdoor recreation economy. The plaintiffs include four
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New Jersey Settles MTBE Pollution Case for Almost $200 Million

A pollution lawsuit initially filed against three major oil companies is settling for almost $200 million, with additional parties still negotiating. In 2007, the state of New Jersey sued a number of oil companies in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York over their usage of MTBE (methyl tertiary butyl ether). MTBE was a synthetic chemical added to gasoline to help fuel burn more completely and reduce tailpipe emissions from vehicles. MTBE was approved for use in
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States Sue EPA Over Delay in Setting Methane Emissions Standards

On April 5, 2018, 14 U.S. states filed a lawsuit against U.S. Environmental Protection Agency alleging that the agency is “unreasonably delaying” the issuance of federal methane emissions standards. The complaint names the EPA and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt as the defendants. New York State is taking the lead in this challenge; other states joining the lawsuit include California, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Washington, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Illinois, Iowa, and New Mexico. The District of Columbia and
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California Second Generation Climate Change Suits — Back to the Future with Federal Common Law?

An interesting battle currently is playing out in the California courts involving what can be considered a “second generation” of climate change suits that seek to hold producers of greenhouse gases responsible for the costs that government entities are forced to expend in adapting to climate change. In July 2017, three California government entities — Marin and San Mateo Counties, along with the City of Imperial Beach — filed suit in California Superior Court against some of the world’s largest
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Tijuana Blues: Mexican Wastewater Contaminates SoCal Coast, According to New Lawsuit

SoCal surfer dudes were in for a surprise when a serious funk rolled in with the tides in Imperial Beach and Chula Vista, California. A new lawsuit has been filed against the International Boundary & Water Commission – United States Section (IBWC or the Commission) and Veolia Water North America West for repeatedly failing to address “devastating pollution discharges” from the Tijuana River, which had been used as a dump for decades. In the last three years alone, severely polluted
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Strictly Business: Court Opens Door to PFOA Lawsuit for Purely Economic Damages

On February 20, 2018, a federal court in New York expanded the universe of plaintiffs who can sue for PFOA contamination in that state. The court ruled that plaintiffs could seek purely economic damages in negligence claims based on PFOA contamination, so long as the plaintiff’s business is located within the “zone of contamination.” As readers of this blog may be aware, PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid) is a man-made chemical used, among other things, to make fabrics water- and stain-resistant. Originally
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PFAS Update: DuPont and Chemours Hit With Another Suit in Ohio

Last week, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine filed suit against E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. (DuPont) and its spinoff The Chemours Company (Chemours) for the release of Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA), also known as C8, into the Ohio River.  The current suit alleges that between 1951 and 2013 DuPont released toxic chemicals from its Washington Works plant, a 1,200-acre facility along the Ohio River, which forms the border between Ohio and West Virginia.  The lawsuit alleges that DuPont’s internal
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New York City Sues Big Oil Over Effects of Climate Change

Earlier this month, the New York City government (the City) filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York against five of the world’s largest publically traded oil companies. The complaint alleges that the defendants significantly contributed to climate-change through the sale of oil and gas products over the years, resulting in property damage and subsequently forcing the City to incur other costs associated with weather-related prevention efforts, now and in the future. Specifically,
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Paddling Upstream — Lawsuit Looking to Recognize the Rights of the Colorado River Dismissed

A novel approach to finding a plaintiff meets a quick end. In September 2017, an environmental group filed a lawsuit in Colorado federal court. That lawsuit sought to force the State of Colorado to “protect and defend” the Colorado River ecosystem. While that action itself is not original in any sense, the named plaintiff was. The suit claimed it was filed on behalf of “The Colorado River Ecosystem.” Undeterred by the fact that the Colorado River is not a person,
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