Environmental Law Portal

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Beveridge & Diamond’s 100 lawyers in seven U.S. offices focus on environmental and natural resource law, litigation and dispute resolution. We help clients around the world resolve critical environmental and sustainability issues relating to their products, facilities, and operations. 

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California Appeals Court Upholds State’s Reliance On Conclusion By A Foreign Agency To Classify Glyphosate As “Cancer-Causing”

Two courts recently examined California’s regulation of glyphosate, a widely used pesticide ingredient, for its alleged health risks via the state’s Proposition 65 warning program. The decisions are noteworthy for the contrasting approaches that they take with respect to the amount of deference to give to international regulatory actions that are incorporated by reference into U.S. law. Read More ›

Vermont House of Representatives to Consider Pair of Sweeping Toxic Tort Liability Bills

On March 21, 2018, the Vermont Senate approved S.197, a bill that (1) establishes strict liability, jointly and severally, for any person who releases a toxic substance and (2) creates a private right of action for medical monitoring damages related to toxic substance exposure. The Vermont House Judiciary Committee split the bill in two after hearing extensive testimony. The strict liability provisions are now attached to an unrelated bill, S.123, while the medical monitoring provisions remain in S.197. Read More ›

Conflicting District Court Rulings Set up Climate Change Tort Issues for Resolution by the Ninth Circuit

After two judges from the Northern District of California reached different conclusions in similar cases, The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals will be next to determine whether climate-change-related tort actions may be properly heard in federal court.  As previewed by Beveridge & Diamond in a March 30, 2018 News Alert, the two judges reached contrary decisions concerning the scope of federal jurisdiction over climate-change-related tort actions, thus teeing up the complicated issues of Clean Air Act displacement and federal common law for the Ninth Circuit.  See California v. BP Plc, et al, No. 17-cv-6011 WHA, Memorandum Opinion and Order at *8 (N.D. Cal. 2018) (Alsup, J.); County of San Mateo v. Chevron et al., No. 17-cv-4929 VC, Memorandum Opinion and Order at  2-3 (N.D. Cal. 2018).  Read More ›

Montana Supreme Court Undercuts CERCLA, Permits Property Owners to Pursue Restoration Damages Claim

In an opinion tilting against the weight of precedent elsewhere, the Montana Supreme Court held that private landowners could pursue common-law claims to clean-up their properties beyond what EPA required in its selected CERCLA remedy for the Anaconda Smelter Superfund site.  Atl. Richfield Co. v. Mont. Second Judicial Dist., 390 Mont. 76 (Mont. Dec. 29, 2017).   ARCO has filed a Petition for a Writ of Certiorari asking the U.S. Supreme Court to overrule the Montana Supreme Court.  Petition for Writ of Certiorari, Atl. Richfield Co., No. 17-1498 (Apr. 27, 2018).  Read More ›

Clean Air Act Preemption Claims Not Preempted in Diesel Cheat Device Class-Action

A Michigan district court judge determined that the Clean Air Act did not preclude plaintiffs from bringing 53 state law fraudulent concealment and consumer protection claims against General Motors LLC and its suppliers for developing and installing devices on GM diesel trucks to cheat emissions tests. Fenner v. Gen. Motors, LLC, 2018 WL 949856 (E.D. MI. February 20, 2018). Read More ›

Mississippi Federal Court Rejects RCRA Preemption

Illustrating limits on Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (“RCRA”) preemption of state tort claims, a Mississippi federal court concluded that the state’s toxic tort claims were not preempted by federal law.  See Mississippi ex rel. Hood v. Meritor, Inc, No. 17-CV-74 SA/JMV, Memorandum Opinion and Order at 1, 9 (N.D. Miss. Mar. 13, 2018).  Read More ›

Faulty Expert Testimony Leads to Dismissal of Benzene Exposure Claims

Illustrating the importance of expert testimony in toxic torts, the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit recently dismissed a plaintiff’s appeal after finding that the plaintiff’s expert witness (1) provided a flawed methodology for determining benzene caused the plaintiff’s leukemia and (2) failed to rule out idiopathic origins. Hall v. Conoco Inc., 886 F.3d 1308 (10th Cir. 2018). Read More ›

Second Circuit Affirms Dismissal of Water Contamination Action as Untimely

In a decision addressing the unique accrual issues arising in a groundwater contamination action, the Second Circuit affirmed a decision dismissing the Bethpage Water District’s (the “District”) action as untimely.  Bethpage Water Dist. v. Northrop Grumman Corp., 884 F.3d 118 (2d Cir. 2018). Read More ›

No Actual ‘Case or Controversy’ in Chromium Drinking Water Contamination Case

Shutting down a creative attempt to recoup costs from the federal government for groundwater contamination, the U.S. Court of Federal Claims dismissed a one-billion-dollar inverse condemnation claim for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Sacramento Suburban Water Dist. v. U.S., No. 17-860 C (Fed. Cl. Jan. 31, 2018).  Senior Judge Hodges found that the California hexavalent chromium groundwater limits the Plaintiff referred to in its complaint were not yet in effect, and therefore the case failed to meet the “case or controversy” requirement of the U.S. Constitution.  Id. at 1.  Read More ›

Kentucky Federal Court Denies Class Cert to Environmental Exposure Plaintiffs

In an opinion highlighting some of the barriers to class certification in an environmental contamination case, a Kentucky federal court denied class status to plaintiffs alleging damages from exposure to hazardous substances from a glass manufacturing plant.  See Modern Holdings v. Corning Inc, 13-cv-405 (E.D. Ky. Mar. 29, 2018). Read More ›