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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Introducing Our California Environmental Tracker

The San Francisco Office of Beveridge & Diamond, P.C. is pleased to announce a new series of articles dedicated to developments in California environmental law. California has long been a driver of environmental policy, often setting demanding regulatory standards and leveraging its mammoth market share to compel national compliance. Read More ›

California Court Blocks Local Measure Banning Ground Application of Biosolids

In a victory for municipalities that recycle biosolids to farmland, Los Angeles’ sanitation district prevailed in its suit against a Kern County initiative banning land application of biosolids. See County Sanitation Dist. No. 2 of Los Angeles County, et al. v. Kern County, 2016 WL 7175653 (Tulare Co. Super. Ct. Nov. 28, 2016).  Defendant Kern County approved Measure E on June 6, 2006, prohibiting the land application of biosolids (treated municipal wastewater sludge) in unincorporated Kern County.  After a two-week bench trial, the Superior Court for Tulare County invalidated Kern County's ban on the grounds that the county had exceeded its police power and the ban was preempted by state law. Read More ›

Applying Product Liability Theory, Washington State Sues for PCB Damages

In an effort to use product liability theories to hold manufacturers culpable for environmental releases, the Attorney General of Washington State sued PCB manufacturer Monsanto in state court in December.  See Complaint, Washington v. Monsanto, No. 16-2-29591-6 (King Co. Super. Ct. Dec. 16, 2016).  The suit is the first to apply product liability theories honed in more than a decade of MTBE litigation to allegations of statewide PCB contamination in waterways. Read More ›

Statute of Repose Bars Maryland Claims Arising From Exposure to Contaminated Fill

Exemplifying the power of the statute of repose as a defense to claims based on decades-old conduct under Maryland law, the Fourth Circuit held that claims stemming from hazardous improvements to real property were barred by the state’s 20-year statute of repose.  See Leichling v. Honeywell Int’l, Inc., 842 F.3d 848 (4th Cir. 2016). Read More ›

No Exception for Latent Disease in N.C. Statute of Repose

Highlighting an area of unsettled law in North Carolina toxic tort litigation, a federal district court in the Eleventh Circuit held that the pre-2014 North Carolina statute of repose contained no exception for latent disease, barring disease-based toxic tort suits ten years after they accrue. Specifically, the U.S. District Court in Georgia held that North Carolina's ten-year statute of repose barred the claims of U.S. Marine Corps service members and their families in a multidistrict litigation (MDL) based on personal injury allegedly resulting from exposure to contaminated drinking water. See In re: Camp Lejeune North Carolina Water Contamination Litigation, No. 1:11-MD-2218, 2016 WL 7049038 (N.D. Ga. Dec. 5, 2016). Read More ›

D.C. Remediation Contract Can Trigger Duties to Third Party at Construction Site

In a case highlighting common-law tort duties that can arise from contractual relationships, an environmental contractor at a construction site may be liable to a subcontractor's employee who claims he was injured when exposed to petroleum contamination, according to a federal court in Washington, D.C. See Parker v. John Moriarity & Assoc., No. 15-cv-01506 (D.D.C. Dec. 14, 2016). Read More ›

Georgia Supreme Court Limits Duty to Warn Third Parties

Affirming limits on the duty to warn third parties of toxic exposure risks, the Supreme Court of Georgia held that a manufacturer of asbestos-laden pipes had no duty to warn the daughter of a worker who serviced the pipes about the dangers of asbestos dust inhalation. See Certainteed Corp. v. Fletcher, 794 S.E.2d 641 (Ga. 2016).  The Plaintiff laundered her father's work clothing, which was covered in asbestos dust, for years. After developing mesothelioma, the Plaintiff sued the pipe manufacturer, alleging negligent design and negligent failure to warn. The trial court granted summary judgment to the manufacturer, but the Court of Appeals of Georgia reversed, holding in part that the question of the duty to warn was one for the jury. Read More ›

Connecticut Common-Law Rule Limiting Punitives Does Not Apply to Statutory Damages

Drawing a distinction between punitive damages based on statutory and common law claims, the Connecticut Supreme Court held that a common-law rule limiting punitive damages does not apply to an award of statutory damages under Connecticut’s Product Liability Act. See Biflock v. Philip Morris, Inc., 324 Conn. 402 (2016). Read More ›

TSCA Reform Implementation Update

Eight months have now passed since President Obama signed into law the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act (LCSA), Pub. Law 114-182, on June 22, 2016.[1]  This historic legislation overhauled the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) for the first time in 40 years.[2]  Attention has now switched to EPA implementation of the new TSCA.  This alert summarizes EPA’s implementation activities and challenges since June 2016 and highlights upcoming milestones. Read More ›

States Consider 51 Bills to Restrict Chemicals in 2017

So far in the 2017 legislative cycle, 16 state legislatures are considering 51 bills seeking to restrict or otherwise regulate chemicals, just 8 months after sweeping changes to the federal Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) were signed into law on June 22, 2016. Many of these new state bills follow recurring themes from 2016, while others signal new trends.  The attached  chart provides details regarding active state bills in the 2017 legislative cycle. Read More ›