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. 

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Showing 63 posts in Beveridge & Diamond News.

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 ›

Latinvex Profiles Beveridge & Diamond’s Latin American Environmental Practice

Latinvex recently interviewed Latin American practice chair Maddie Kadas for a special feature story on environmental and product regulatory developments in Latin America.  Earlier this year, Latinvex named Ms. Kadas for the third time as one of Latin America’s top 100 female lawyers, and also ranked Beveridge & Diamond as one of the top 50 international law firms in Latin America.  Read More ›

Beveridge & Diamond Secures Unanimous Ruling in Pennsylvania Supreme Court Shielding Biosolids Land Application from Tort Claims

Litigators in the Firm’s Washington, DC office secured a unanimous ruling from the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania in favor of Beveridge & Diamond client Synagro and persuaded the Court to hold that land application of biosolids is an agricultural activity shielded from untimely litigation by Pennsylvania’s Right to Farm Act (RTFA).

The Court’s opinion reversed the Pennsylvania intermediate appellate court and resolved critical questions regarding the division of labor between judge and jury, the scope of the RTFA, and the use of biosolids as fertilizer on farms.  In Gilbert v. Synagro Central, ___ A.3d ___, 2015 WL 9282354 (Dec. 21, 2015), the Court unanimously held that (1) application of the RTFA’s statute of repose presents a legal question that only a judge may resolve and (2) biosolids application is a “normal agricultural operation” protected by the RTFA.

The suit arose from farming operations in York County, Pennsylvania.  Neighboring landowners complained of odors from farmers’ use of biosolids—nutrient-rich material produced from sewage sludge—and filed a lawsuit asserting claims of nuisance, negligence and trespass.  The trial court granted the defendants’ motion for summary judgment on the ground that the plaintiff landowners filed their claims outside the RTFA’s one-year statute of repose.  On appeal, the Superior Court of Pennsylvania reversed, holding that whether biosolids application qualified as a “normal agricultural operation” protected by the RTFA required a jury to evaluate the manner in which biosolids had been applied.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s majority and concurring opinions reject the lower court’s rationale in full.  In language with implications for future tort cases, the justices emphasized that the RTFA, like any statute of repose, is jurisdictional and thus, its “applicability is a question for the trial court, not the jury.”  The Court further explained that whether a particular activity, such as biosolids application, falls within the definition of a term used in a statute of repose is to be treated as a question of law that only a judge can resolve.  The opinion makes clear that the RTFA can only function properly if its bar against litigation is not contingent on a jury’s determinations.

The Gilbert decision confirmed that biosolids application is a normal agricultural operation entitled to protection by the RTFA and likely will influence courts across the country in their review of legal issues regarding biosolids recycling to farmland.  Citing numerous statistics and the briefs of a broad coalition of amici, the Court acknowledged the widespread use of biosolids in agriculture in Pennsylvania and America across the country.  This opinion represents a clear statement by a state’s highest court that biosolids use is an accepted and common practice in modern farming that is entitled to protection from untimely and burdensome litigation.

The decision has received extensive media coverage, including articles in Law360, Bloomberg BNA Daily Environment ReportE&E Greenwire, and Waste360 (subscriptions required).  For more information, contact Beveridge & Diamond principal Jimmy Slaughter, who led the defense and argued the case before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court (jslaughter@bdlaw.com, 202.789.6040).

Beveridge & Diamond has represented municipalities and their contractors on biosolids, wastewater and drinking water issues since the Firm’s founding forty years ago.  The Firm’s work includes defense of civil suits and enforcement actions and prosecution of constitutional claims against local ordinances that interfere with biosolids recycling.  Beveridge & Diamond also defends toxic tort lawsuits for public and private sector clients in state and federal courts across the country.

Beveridge & Diamond's Massachusetts Office Named a Top Environmental, Land Use and Litigation Practice by U.S. News/Best Lawyers

U.S. News Media Group and Best Lawyers have once again awarded Beveridge & Diamond’s environmental and litigation practices a Tier 1 nationwide ranking in the 2016 Best Law Firms list. In addition, Beveridge & Diamond's Massachusetts office is recognized as a Tier 1 practice in three areas:  Environmental Law, Environmental Litigation, and Land Use & Zoning Law.    Read More ›

California Department of Transportation Assistant Chief Counsel David McCray Joins Beveridge & Diamond

David McCray, who has served since 2007 as the senior environmental lawyer for of the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), joined Beveridge & Diamond, P.C. (B&D) as Of Counsel in the Firm’s San Francisco office on November 17, 2014.  Mr. McCray joins the Firm’s active national project development practice, where he will assist clients with environmental reviews, permitting and approvals from a wide range of federal and state natural resources agencies, and litigation defense of project decisions and policies. Read More ›

Promotions and New Arrivals

Beveridge & Diamond is pleased to announce that Megan Brillault and Edward Grauman were elected Principals, John Paul was elected Of Counsel, Alexia Beer joined as Of Counsel, and Kristin Gladd, Alexander Horning, Jessalee Landfried, Andrew Mayer, Gayatri Patel, Virginie Roveillo and Daniel Schulson joined as Associates.  Read More ›

Evynn Overton Named a 2013 "Leading Woman" by The Daily Record

Beveridge & Diamond, P.C. is pleased to announce that Evynn Overton (Principal, Baltimore office) has been named a recipient of the 2013 Daily Record Leading Women AwardRead More ›

Beveridge & Diamond Again Named a Top National Environmental and Litigation Firm by U.S. News/Best Lawyers

U.S. News Media Group and Best Lawyers have once again awarded Beveridge & Diamond’s environmental and litigation practices a Tier 1 nationwide ranking in the 2013 Best Law Firms list. With 98 lawyers in offices in six states and the District of Columbia, the firm helps clients from a range of industries solve complex environmental and natural resource challenges across the U.S. and internationally.   Read More ›

Greenwire Reports on Beveridge & Diamond Win in California Supreme Court on Solid Waste Preemption Case

Litigators from the Firm’s Washington and California offices defeated the Sierra Club’s effort to secure California Supreme Court review of a Court of Appeal decision striking down a voter initiative that limited solid waste imports into Solano County, California. Sierra Club. v. County of Solano, 2013 WL 3963602 (Ca. Ct. App. July 31, 2013), review denied, Ca. Sup. Ct. No. S212943 (Oct. 23, 2013). The unanimous Court of Appeal decision held that California law preempted the waste import restrictions. The Court also rejected arguments that intervening legislation should not be given effect while the case was on appeal, and denied arguments for preserving the attorney fee award to the environmental petitioners that sought to enforce the voter initiative against Beveridge & Diamond’s client, the Potrero Hills Landfill. Beveridge & Diamond Principal Jimmy Slaughter is quoted in the Greenwire article, which is available here.  

Former Department of the Interior Attorney John Cossa Joins Beveridge & Diamond’s Natural Resources and Project Development Group

Washington, DC - We are pleased to announce the expansion of our Natural Resources and Project Development practice with the arrival of John G. Cossa, who has joined the Firm as an Associate in our Washington, D.C. office. Mr. Cossa most recently served as an Attorney-Advisor at the U.S. Department of the Interior’s (DOI) Office of the Solicitor, after joining the Department as a Presidential Management Fellow. While at the Solicitor’s Office, Mr. Cossa was lead counsel for the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s (BOEM) offshore renewable energy program, and also provided legal advice to the Department’s offshore and onshore oil and gas programs. Prior to joining the Solicitor’s Office, Mr. Cossa served as advisor to the Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management on Bureau of Land Management energy and land use issues. Read More ›