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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Sweeping Colorado Supreme Court Order Limits Lone Pine Approach

The Colorado Supreme Court issued a sweeping ruling that will limit, if not eliminate, Lone Pine-style case management orders in Colorado toxic tort cases.  See Antero Resources v. Strudley, 2015 BL 111122 (Colo. Apr. 20, 2015).  Read More ›

Pennsylvania Federal Court Rejects Early Lone Pine Motion in Oil and Gas Nuisance Suit

A federal district court in Pennsylvania cautioned against premature Lone Pine motions in a ruling that may be instructive for future lawsuits involving oil and gas exploration and production operations.  See Russell v. Chesapeake Appalachia, LLC, No. 4:14-cv-00148 (M.D. Pa. Mar. 2, 2015).  Plaintiffs, owners and residents of property situated near Defendant’s gas exploration and extraction operations, filed a complaint in state court alleging nuisance, negligence and negligence per se.  Defendants removed the case to federal court, and after filing their answer, renewed an earlier motion for a Lone Pine order. Read More ›

Pennsylvania Federal Court Strikes Class Allegations in Air Pollution Suit

Underscoring the requirement that class action plaintiffs clearly and objectively define the putative class without reference to the underlying merits of plaintiffs’ claims, a federal district court in Pennsylvania struck class allegations from a complaint in a suit against a power plant. See Bell v. Cheswick Generating Station,No. 12-929, (W.D. Pa. Jan. 28, 2015).  The case was back in district court after the Third Circuit reversed the trial court’s dismissal, ruling that the Clean Air Act did not preempt Plaintiffs’ claims.  See Bell v. Cheswick Generating Station, 734 F.3d 199 (3d Cir. 2013).  (Our previous coverage of this case is available here and here.) Read More ›

Missouri Appellate Court Rejects Evidentiary Hearing, Reinstates Asbestos Class Claims

Finding that only a narrow evidentiary review is appropriate when certifying a class under Missouri state law, a Missouri appeals court reversed a trial court’s decision to deny class certification in a suit alleging asbestos exposure.  See Elsea v. U.S. Engineering, Co., No. WD77687 (Mo. App. W.D. Mar. 17, 2015).  Plaintiff courthouse workers alleged improper removal of asbestos during renovations and sought medical monitoring damages based on negligence and strict liability claims. Read More ›

California Federal Court Dismisses Medical Monitoring Claims for Lack of Plausible Cancer Risk

In a significant victory for defendants facing toxic tort exposure claims, a California federal court dismissed a medical monitoring putative class action brought by drinkers of certain Pepsi products because Plaintiffs failed to plead facts to support their claims that the products cause cancer in humans.  See Riva v. Pepsico, Inc., No. C-14-2020 (N.D. Cal. Mar. 4, 2015).  Read More ›

Texas Supreme Court Holds Plaintiffs Must Prove Lack of Consent in Trespass Suits

Potentially making it more difficult for plaintiffs to prevail on trespass claims in Texas, the Supreme Court of Texas held for the first time that a plaintiff bears the burden of proving the lack of consent in a suit for trespass. See Envtl. Processing Sys., L.C. v. FPL Farming Ltd., No. 12-0905 (Tex. Feb. 6, 2015).  Plaintiffs filed suit against their neighbor, alleging that Defendant’s underground wastewater injection was causing wastewater to migrate into the subsurface of Plaintiffs’ property.  After a prior set of appeals and a trial, a jury returned a take-nothing verdict in favor of Defendants, and further appeals followed.  Read More ›

Louisiana Court Rules that Migration of Chemicals from Spill Not a “Continuing Tort”

In a case that may make it more difficult for plaintiffs to maintain years-old toxic tort cases in Louisiana, a state appellate court ruled that a 1983 chemical spill did not constitute a “continuing tort.”  See Ned v. Union Pac. Corp., Nos. 14-1310, 14-1311, (La. App. 3d Cir. Apr. 15, 2015).  In affirming the trial court’s decision granting summary judgment to Defendants, the court rejected Plaintiffs’ argument that the continued presence of perchloroethylene (PCE) released in a 1983 chemical spill was a “continuing tort” that tolled the state’s statute of limitations.   Id. at *11.  The court also rejected Plaintiffs’ argument that the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) preempted the state’s statute of limitations.  Read More ›

China Announces New Comprehensive Water Pollution Control Plan

The State Council of China has published an ambitious plan to reverse the deterioration of water quality and improve management of water resources throughout China.  The Action Plan for Water Pollution Prevention (the “Plan”) sets progressive goals over the next five, fifteen, and thirty-five years, and provides a wide-ranging policy agenda that includes stricter regulation of industry effluent discharges, combined with, among other things, market-based incentives, investment in new water treatment facilities, and promotion of more efficient and cleaner technologies.  While it remains to be seen how much of this aggressive agenda will be realized within the timeframes envisioned by the Chinese government, the Plan promises a radical transformation of water quality regulation in the country with potentially significant consequences for various segments of the industrial sector. Read More ›

Beveridge & Diamond Argues Before Pennsylvania Supreme Court for Right to Farm Act Protection

Jimmy Slaughter, a litigator in Beveridge & Diamond’s Washington office, argued before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court  for protection from tort lawsuits for farmers and their contractors  under the Pennsylvania Right to Farm Act’s statute of repose. Read More ›

China Proposes Framework for Public Participation in Environmental Policymaking, Enforcement

China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) has proposed “Measures for Public Participation in Environmental Protection (Trial)” (Measures), which lay out a variety of mechanisms for public participation in environmental lawmaking, policy, and enforcement. The proposed Measures characterize the (1) activities in which the MEP and other environmental protection departments (“departments”) would seek public participation, (2) mechanisms for public participation, and (3) manner in which the public may participate in environmental oversight and enforcement. The MEP solicited comments on the Measures through April 20, 2015. Read More ›