Another Former Potomac River Paper Mill Strikes Costly Settlement Deal to Avoid Lengthy Pollution Litigation

Verso Corporation and Verso Luke LLC, owners of the now closed Luke Paper Mill, became the latest potentially responsible parties (PRP) to resolve claims against them for discharging waste into the North Branch Potomac River. The mill manufactured paper products along the river, which straddles the Maryland-West Virginia border. 

On April 6, 2019, a fisherman reported to Maryland that “pure black waste” was entering the river near the mill. Subsequent investigations revealed black liquid seeping from several locations along approximately 500 feet of riverbank located on the mill’s property …

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Second Circuit Holds Climate Change Litigation Belongs in Federal Court

On April 1, 2021, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit—in a unanimous decision—affirmed the dismissal of the City of New York’s climate change lawsuit filed against a number of global oil manufacturers that sought climate change-related infrastructure damages. The issue resolved by the federal appellate court was whether municipalities could seek to hold multinational companies liable for damages caused by global greenhouse emissions under state common law. Given the nature of the harm and the existence of a complex web of federal …

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Ninth Circuit Upholds Dismissal of Kids Climate Suit—Headed to the Supreme Court?

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has declined to rehear the high-profile Juliana v. United States case, which has been followed by Environmental Law Monitor here, here, and here. Last January, the Ninth Circuit dismissed the case for lack of Article III standing, and last week, a little over a year after its decision ordering dismissal of the case, the court declined the plaintiffs’ motion for a rehearing.

The Juliana plaintiffs, a group of 21 then-minors, filed suit in …

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Illinois Supreme Court Rejects Class Action Against Chicago Over “Increased Danger” from Lead Water Lines

Illinois’ highest state court in Gordon Berry, et al, v. The City of Chicago has rejected a proposed class action that threatened to overwhelm Chicago with claims over elevated lead contamination risk from its old lead water lines. On September 24, 2020, the Illinois Supreme Court overturned the ruling of a state appeals court, ruling a Circuit Court of Cook County judge was correct in finding Chicago homeowners needed to do more than simply claim the lead in their water was dangerous in order to …

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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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