Environmental Law Portal

Welcome to the Beveridge & Diamond Environmental Law Portal.

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. 

Subscribe for updates via:

Meet the Contributors

Topics

Recent Posts

Click here to learn more about us

Showing 42 posts in Torts.

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 ›

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 ›

Court Rejects Post-Removal Complaint Amendment as Effort to Defeat Diversity

Illustrating a court’s ability to limit forum shopping in a class action, a federal judge in New York denied a motion to remand in a suit brought against Northrop Grumman Corporation over alleged hazardous waste pollution. See Romano v. Northrop Grumman Corp, No. 16-cv-5760 (E.D.N.Y. Dec. 15, 2017). Current and former Nassau County residents filed their putative class action in 2016 in Nassau County Supreme Court alleging injury from the release of hazardous substances. Northrop Grumman removed the suit to federal court asserting, among other things federal jurisdictional hooks, Class Action Fairness Act (“CAFA”) jurisdiction. Subsequent to removal, Plaintiffs amended the complaint to add the Town of Oyster Bay as a Defendant, which would have destroyed the diversity necessary for CAFA jurisdiction. Read More ›

Recent PFAS Case Law – RCRA, CERCLA and Toxic Tort Claims

A new class of emerging contaminants poses challenges at remediation sites and for the protection of drinking water, and is generating new toxic tort litigation. Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are emerging contaminants that are being identified at several sites in many areas of the country.  The U.S. EPA and many states are beginning to issue guidelines, advisories or in some cases, standards for PFAS in drinking water, soil, or groundwater.  At the same time, several cases are winding their way through the courts.  Below we discuss several recent cases involving PFAS contamination.  In each of these cases, some of the claims have survived a motion to dismiss, suggesting that it will be difficult to quickly dispose of such claims prior to discovery. Read More ›

DC High Court Adopts Daubert Approach to Expert Testimony

In a direct victory for mobile phone manufacturers and service providers, and with implications for any other case involving expert testimony in the District of Columbia, the District of Columbia’s highest court abandoned the nearly century-old Frye test for admitting expert testimony in favor of the Daubert approach as embodied in Rule 702 of the Federal Rules of Evidence.  See Motorola, Inc. v. Murray, No. 14-CV-1350 (D.C. Oct. 20, 2016).  The decision to adopt the federal standard—following 39 states that have done so—came in an interlocutory appeal in litigation in which Plaintiffs allege long-term exposure to mobile phone radiation causes brain tumors.  The newly adopted standard likely means an uphill battle for Plaintiffs and their causation experts in this litigation.  Read More ›