City of Hoboken Dials Up the Heat Against the Fossil Fuel Industry, Seeks Damages Relating to Climate Change

On September 2, 2020, the City of Hoboken, which sits across from New York City along the Hudson River, commenced suit against a consortium of fossil fuel industry giants alleging the companies engaged in a multi-decade campaign to mislead the public and conceal the climate change risks posed by the production and use of fossil fuels. Hoboken is the 20th municipality, state, or private organization to sue the fossil fuel industry over climate change since 2017, and the fifth local jurisdiction to sue for alleged …

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Environmental Groups Raise Climate Change Concerns in New Suit Challenging Trump Administration’s Attempted NEPA Overhaul

Last week, a coalition of environmental groups filed suit in the Southern District of New York following the Trump Administration’s proposal to update the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)—the federal law that requires certain environmental reviews prior to the approval of major infrastructure projects. 

The lawsuit, Environmental Justice Health Alliance et al. v. Council on Environmental Quality et al., Civil Action No. 20-cv-6143, is the third challenge to the Administration’s NEPA overhaul following two other cases filed in Virginia and California federal courts in late July.

The suits were spurred by the promulgation of …

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Long Island Water Districts’ 1,4-Dioxane Lawsuits Survive Motion to Dismiss

In March 2019, we posted about the strategy behind the Long Island water districts’ 1,4-dioxane litigations against major manufacturers—and then in October 2019, we followed that post with another report on the increasing number of those suits , which became the subject of a 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss. These suits filed by public water suppliers seek to recover costs against major manufacturers and promoters of the chemical for the design, construction, installation, operation, and maintenance of water treatment facilities and equipment required to remove …

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Florida Appellate Court Finds That State Laws Preempt City-Enacted Anti-Styrofoam Ban

Florida’s Third District Court of Appeal recently struck down a 2016 Coral Gables’ law that prohibited the sale and use of food-related polystyrene containers (i.e., Styrofoam) by food service providers and stores. This decision reverses a trial court decision granting a motion for summary judgment in favor of the city and finding that the three state laws in question were unconstitutional.

In its decision, written by Judge Norma S. Lindsey, the Florida Third District Court of Appeal held that the ordinance was preempted by …

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Pennsylvania Appellate Court Grants Landowners New Path to Recover Natural Gas Royalties

In a case of first impression, a Pennsylvania Appellate Court has granted an interlocutory appeal permitting the state’s Attorney General to pursue restitution claims on behalf of landowners who claim that natural gas companies violated the terms of their subsurface mineral lease agreements by improperly withholding royalty payments.

In Anadarko Petroleum Corp., et. al. v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the Commonwealth Court recently ruled that the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office can bring royalty claims on behalf of landowners against natural gas companies under the state’s …

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BREAKING: Second Jury Finds That Glyphosate Causes Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

Approximately seven months after a California state jury found that DeWayne Johnson’s workplace exposure to glyphosate-containing Roundup and Ranger Pro caused him to develop Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, another jury in California, this time in federal court, has arrived at the same conclusion. On Wednesday, March 20, 2019, in a trial overseen by U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria, the jury found that Monsanto’s Roundup weedkiller was a substantial factor in causing the plaintiff Ed Hardeman’s Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, that it was more than 50 percent likely that the …

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States Team Up to Bring Air Quality Lawsuit Against the EPA

On Wednesday, January 30, 2019, the Attorney Generals of New York, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, and New Jersey, along with the City of New York, joined forces to bring a lawsuit against the United States Environmental Protection Agency and its acting Administrator, Andrew Wheeler. The coalition is led by Letitia James, the newly elected Attorney General of New York. The lawsuit aims to force the EPA to take steps to limit air pollution. James was quoted saying the New York Attorney General’s Office “will stand …

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Now In My Backyard: PA and NJ Federal Courts Grant Right of Eminent Domain for Construction of Natural Gas Pipeline

Recently, the United States District Courts for the Middle District of Pennsylvania and the District of New Jersey almost simultaneously granted a consortium of natural gas companies the right of eminent domain to take steps towards building a pipeline connecting natural gas sources in Pennsylvania to parts of New Jersey.

The opinions, which were released within three days of one another, involved challenges by local residents, environmental groups, and governmental agencies who argued that because certificates of approval had not yet been issued by the …

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Glyphosate Update: Judge Limits Previous Ruling, Allowing More Evidence at Trial Against Monsanto

The next batch of glyphosate-related trials are scheduled to take place over the next two months. As previously reported, Monsanto (which was acquired by Bayer last year) has been mired in toxic tort litigation over its glyphosate-based weed killer Roundup. The primary allegations center around whether certain exposure to glyphosate is causally related to the plaintiffs’ development of lymphoma. There are more than 9,300 lawsuits currently pending around the country.

Early in January, Monsanto scored a victory when U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria declined …

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NJ District Ct Sets High Bar To Impose CERCLA and RCRA Liability Against Government For Remedial Costs – Direct Control Needed

In PPG Industries, Inc. v. United States of America, et al., the District Court in New Jersey recently found in favor of the government in a CERCLA contribution action.

PPG Industries, Inc. (plaintiff) sued the United States, the Department of Defense, and the Department of Commerce (defendants) for (1) cost recovery and contribution under CERCLA and for remediation assistance under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).

The plaintiff owned property in Jersey City, New Jersey and operated a chromite ore processing plant from …

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