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Showing 16 posts by Shengzhi Wang.

Property Ownership and Water Supply Sources Matter in PFOA Contamination Lawsuits

Illustrating some limitations on common law claims for groundwater contamination, a federal court in New York partially granted and partially denied a motion to dismiss in a cluster of sixteen lawsuits alleging perfluoroocatanoic acid (PFOA) contamination in a village’s groundwater.  Benoit v. Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Corp., No. 16-cv-930, 2017 WL 3316132 (N.D.N.Y. Aug. 2, 2017).  The opinion showed how certain intricate issues such as property ownership and source of water supply can alter the outcome of a tort claim even at the pleading stage.  The order was certified for interlocutory appeal to the Second Circuit. Read More ›

PCB Nuisance Suits from Three California Cities Stayed Pending Administrative Decision

Showing how administrative claims can derail coexistent judicial actions, a federal court in California asked three California cities to first exhaust their administrative claims seeking state compensation for the cities’ treatment of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in stormwater discharge before they can sue Monsanto Co. in court for tort damages.  San Jose v. Monsanto Co., No. 5:15-cv-03178 (N.D. Cal. Aug. 4, 2017).  The court will freeze the cities’ tort actions against Monsanto until February 8, 2018, when the state agency will have a chance to hear the cities’ administrative claims. These claims seek state reimbursement for complying with PCB discharge standards that the state made more stringent in 2015 without providing funding assistance. Read More ›

Insured Survives Summary Judgment Motion on Three Pollution Exclusion Exceptions

Illustrating how an insured can counter the insurer’s pollution exclusion arguments in coverage disputes, a federal court in Illinois held that an insured chemical company succeeded in raising genuine issues of material fact on three alleged exceptions to a pollution exclusion provision in an insurance policy.  The court denied the insurer’s summary judgment motion in the insurance defense and indemnity case arising from numerous underlying environmental and personal injury claims against the insured party.  Velsicol Chemical, LLC. v. Westchester Fire Ins. Co., No. 15-CV-2534 (N.D. Ill. Sept. 7, 2017). Read More ›

Federal Court in California Greenlights Discovery After Sufficient Lone Pine Submissions

In a case demonstrating the limits of a Lone Pine strategy, a California federal court allowed a toxic tort class action to proceed after plaintiffs’ experts showed that “Plaintiffs’ case is not meritless or frivolous.” The court therefore declined to dismiss the case and instructed the parties to proceed into discovery.  See Trujillo v. Ametek, Inc., Case No. 3:15-cv-01394 (S.D. Cal. July 17, 2017).    Read More ›

Fifth Circuit: Louisiana’s Subsequent Purchaser Doctrine Bars Claims for Damage to Real Property

In a case that may have implications at contaminated former oil and gas production sites across Louisiana, the Fifth Circuit applied Louisiana’s “subsequent purchaser doctrine” and affirmed the dismissal of a landowner’s property damage claims stemming from a decades-old oil and gas operation.  See Guilbeau v. Hess Corp., No. 16-30971 (5th Cir. Apr. 18, 2017).  Although the Fifth Circuit acknowledged the Louisiana Supreme Court had not directly addressed the issue, the court held that a Louisiana property owner without assignment or subrogation of rights held by previous landowners cannot sue a third-party lessee of mineral rights for damages inflicted on the property before the current property owner purchased the property.  Read More ›

Washington Supreme Court Holds that Prior Negligence May Trigger Insurance Coverage Notwithstanding Pollution Exclusion

In a ruling highlighting the limits of ubiquitous pollution exclusion clauses in property insurance policies, the Washington Supreme Court held that an insurer had a duty to defend a claim where the insured’s prior negligence led to pollution, notwithstanding a pollution exclusion clause.  See Xia v. ProBuilders Specialty Ins. Co, 393 P.3d 748 (Wash. 2017).  Read More ›

EPA Releases Final Guidance on TSCA Section 8(a) Nanomaterial Reporting Rule

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the Working Guidance on EPA’s Section 8(a) Information Gathering Rule on Nanomaterials in Commerce (Guidance)[1] on August 14, 2017.  EPA developed the final Guidance based on a draft guidance published for comments in May 2017 (see B&D Alert from May 23, 2017).  Note that August 14, 2017 was also the effective date of the TSCA Section 8(a) Nanomaterial Reporting rule itself. Read More ›

EPA Unveils Scoping Analysis for Risk Evaluations under Amended TSCA, Requests Comments on the First Ten Chemicals

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued the three framework rules called for by the amended Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) to direct future review of chemical risks.  Without waiting for those rules, however, EPA had previously launched risk evaluations for the initial ten chemical substances.  On June 22, 2017, EPA posted the scope documents (follow the links under “First ten chemicals for Risk Evaluation”) for those substances.  They present a less complete scoping process than what the scope analysis will look like in the future.  For each of the ten chemicals, EPA has opened dockets for public comments.  The next step for these ten chemical substances is problem formulation . Read More ›

TSCA Nanomaterial Reporting Rule: EPA Delays Effective Date and Releases Draft Guidance for Public Comment

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) issued its Draft Guidance on EPA’s Section 8(a) Information Gathering Rule on Nanomaterials in Commerce ( “Draft Guidance”) on May 16, 2017. See 82 Fed. Reg. 22452 (May 16, 2017).  EPA has requested public comment on the Draft Guidance, with public comments due on or before June 15, 2017. Read More ›

Fifth Circuit Tosses Coastal Damage Tort Lawsuit Against Oil and Gas Companies

Illustrating the challenges in using Louisiana tort suits to address large-scale environmental issues, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit dismissed claims seeking relief for alleged coastal damage from oil and gas operations off the Gulf Coast. See Bd. Comm’r Se. La. Flood Prot. Auth.-E. v. Tenn. Gas Pipeline Co., No. 15-30162 (5th Cir. Mar. 3, 2017). Read More ›