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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Texas Supreme Court Rules Additional-Insured Coverage Is Limited by Underlying Indemnification Agreement in In re Deepwater Horizon

In a much anticipated 8-1 decision, the Texas Supreme Court ruled Friday that BP is not entitled to additional-insured coverage in In re Deepwater Horizon, No. 13-0670 (Feb. 13, 2015). Read More ›

Washington Federal Court Finds Nuisance Claims Displaced by CERCLA

Expanding the reach of the federal displacement doctrine and the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in AEP v. Connecticut, a federal district court for the first time held that the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (“CERCLA”) displaces the federal common law of nuisance in claims alleging damages caused by releases of hazardous substances. See Anderson v. Teck Metals, Ltd., No. CV-13-420 (E.D. Wash. Jan. 5, 2015). This ruling follows on a 2011 U.S. Supreme Court holding that regulation of greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act displaces federal nuisance claims arising from the effects of climate change. See AEP v. Connecticut, 131 S. Ct. 2527 (2011). Read More ›

North Carolina’s Amended Repose Law Fails to Save Barred Toxic Tort Claim

Notwithstanding the intent of the North Carolina legislature, a federal court ruled that the state’s recently amended law exempting groundwater contamination suits from a 10-year statute of repose did not save a latent toxic tort action. See Stahle v. CTS Corporation, No. 1:14-cv-00048-MOC-DLH (W.D.N.C. Dec. 4, 2004). Read More ›

High Court Finds Plausible Showing of Amount in Controversy Sufficient to Remove Action

In a decision that may make it somewhat easier for defendants to remove putative class actions from state to federal court, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that defendants in such cases do not need to offer evidence in their notices of removal proving that the amount in controversy exceeds the jurisdictional threshold. See Dart Cherokee Basin Operating Co. v. Owens, No. 13-719 (Dec. 15, 2014). Read More ›

Arkansas Federal Court Denies Class Certification in Property Damage Suit

Exemplifying the reluctance of many courts to allow toxic tort cases to proceed as class actions, a federal judge in Arkansas denied certification of a putative class of neighboring landowners who claimed the Defendant’s failure to adequately remediate contamination damaged their property values. See Day v. Whirlpool Corp., Case No. 2:13-CV-02164 (W.D. Ark. Dec. 3, 2014). Read More ›

Louisiana Federal Court Excludes “Every Exposure” Testimony

Adding to the growing body of case law that rejects the so-called “every exposure” theory, a federal court in Louisiana has excluded specific causation opinions of a plaintiffs’ expert who relied on the theory, finding that such a “one-size fits all” approach is not reliable expert testimony. See Comardelle v. Pennsylvania Gen. Ins. Co., No. 13-6555 (E.D. La. January 5, 2015). Read More ›

Missouri Federal Court Cuts Claims in Pipeline Property Damage Action

Underscoring the need for plaintiffs to show concrete proof of harm in suits alleging property damage, a federal district court dismissed a suit alleging that an oil pipeline contaminated farmland in Missouri. See Henke v. ARCO Midcon, L.L.C., No. 4:10cv00086 (E.D. Mo. Jan. 5, 2015). Read More ›

Eleventh Circuit Reinstates Groundwater Contamination Case Dismissed on Lone Pine Order

In a case that may provide some plaintiffs with protection from early Lone Pine orders, the Eleventh Circuit reversed a trial court’s dismissal of a groundwater contamination case for failure to sufficiently state claims after the trial court’s Lone Pine order. See Adinolfe v. United Technologies Corp., No. 12-16396 (11th Cir. Oct. 6, 2014). Read More ›

California State Senators Announce Suite of Aggressive Climate Legislation

On Tuesday, February 10, several members of the California Senate proposed a package of four bills that would expand the state’s climate change and renewable energy programs, and extend those programs through 2050.  If passed, these bills would set an aggressive, overarching target for reduction of greenhouse gas pollution by 2050, and implement several new programs: Read More ›

The Sixth Circuit Extends the Clean Water Act’s Permit Shield Defense to General Permit Holders

The Sixth Circuit recently ruled that facilities holding a Clean Water Act (“CWA”) Section 402 general permit – one of two types of National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (“NPDES”) permits – may avail themselves of the CWA’s permit shield provision, 33 U.S.C. § 1342(k), which “insulates permit holders from liability for certain discharges of pollutants that the permit does not explicitly mention.”  See Sierra Club v. ICG Hazard, LLC, App. No. 13-5086, Slip Op. at 6 (6th Cir. Jan. 27, 2015).  This is the first circuit court decision to address “the applicability and scope of the permit shield when the discharger’s operations are governed by a general permit.”  By extending the permit shield defense to general permit holders, the Sixth Circuit has closed the back door to plaintiffs wishing to litigate the propriety of government-authorized discharge limitations applicable to large classes of industrial and municipal operators nationwide. Read More ›