News & Insights

Practice Area: Environmental

U.S. District Judge Rejects Elk River Chemical Spill Settlement

A West Virginia federal judge rejected a proposed $151 million deal reached by American Water Works and Eastman Chemical that would have settled class claims arising from a 2014 coal-processing chemical spill, but indicated the agreement is salvageable.  Good et al. v. American Water Works Co. Inc. et al., Case No. 2:14-cv-01374, (S.D. W. Va., July…
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General Liability Insurer Has Duty To Defend Odor Claim

A New York Appellate Court has ruled a hazardous materials exclusion did not relieve an insurer of its obligation to defend a recycling plant operator from claims the Plant is spreading a foul odor.  Hillcrest Coatings, Inc. v. Colony Ins. Co., 2017 NY App. Div. LEXIS 4519 (NY 4th Dept. June 9, 2017).  The five-judge…
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Court Dismisses Cerlca Claims Against Church And Disposal Company

The United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York has held that Defendants responsible for dumping hazardous waste in a town park are not liable under CERCLA because they did not know of the hazardous nature of the material dumped.  Town of Islip v. Datre, 47 E.L.R. 20049 (E.D.N.Y. 2017).  In 2013,…
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Fourth Circuit Affirms Ruling That Cercla’s Discovery Rule Only Applies Where There Is A Viable Cercla Claim

The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit has ruled CERCLA’s discovery rule applies to toll West Virginia’s statutes of limitations only where the plaintiff has a viable CERCLA claim.  Blankenship v. Consolidation Coal Company, et al., No. 15-2480 & 2482 (4th Cir., March 7, 2017).  Section 9658 of CERCLA establishes a “federally…
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Dupont And Chemours Settle Mdl Related To Pfoas

Chemours and DuPont, its former owner, have agreed to pay $671 million to resolve multidistrict litigation in Ohio federal court alleging DuPont improperly released cancer causing chemicals into the Ohio River. There were over 3,400 lawsuits in the multidistrict litigation pending against DuPont over the contamination.  The case dates back to a 2001 class action,…
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Ohio Jury Awards 12.5 Million Verdict Against Dupont Over Pfas

An Ohio federal court jury recently awarded $10.5 million in punitive damages to a man who said DuPont’s chemical caused his cancer.  Plaintiff alleged his drinking water was contaminated by C8, a chemical used to make Teflon, from smokestack emissions at DuPont’s Washington Works plant.  The particles allegedly settled on the Little Hocking Water Association…
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Eighth Circuit Refuses To Certify Class In Case Alleging Neighborhood Claims For Damages Arising From Toxic Tort Vapor Intrusion

In Ebert v. General Mills, 823 F.3d 472 (8th Cir. 2016), the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit held the United States District Court of Minnesota’s entry of an Order certifying a proposed class of plaintiffs in an environmental pollution case was an abuse of discretion because “the class lacks the requisite commonality and cohesiveness…
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District Court Finds No Duty To Defend Environmental Claims

 Between 1978 and 2002, PCS and its predecessor sent equipment to facilities in North Carolina for repairs.  During the repairs, PCBs were released.  In 2003, the EPA launched an investigation of the site.  The EPA settled with potentially responsible parties following its investigation.   In April, 2008, PCS put American Home on notice that it had…
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Plowing Deemed Polluting Under Clean Water Act

The United States District Court for the Eastern District of California held the owner of a farm violated the Clean Water Act when he allowed wetlands on his property to be tilled.  Duarte Nursery, Inc. v. United States Army Corps of Engineers, No. 2:13-cv-02095-KJM-AC (June 10, 2016).  John Duarte, president of Duarte Nursery, purchased approximately 2,000…
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United States Supreme Court Opens Door For Landowners To Challenge Decisions By Federal Regulators That Use Of Property Is Restricted By The Clean Water Act

In a unanimous decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on May 31, 2016, that property owners could file suit against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers over the agency’s determination that their land contains “waters of the United States” covered by the Clean Water Act.   Army Corps of Engineers v. Hawkes Co., 578 U.S. – (2016)….
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