Environmental

  • September 25, 2020

    Buyers Defend Standing In German Car Cos. Antitrust MDL

    Car dealerships and consumers told a California federal judge Thursday that they've clearly alleged that they've been saddled with higher costs resulting from a decadelong conspiracy involving German auto giants that sought to control diesel emissions systems specifications and the price of steel.

  • September 25, 2020

    Trump Admin. Advances Plan To Allow More Alaskan Logging

    The Trump administration is moving forward with a proposal to allow logging in currently restricted areas of the Tongass National Forest in Alaska, pushing to end "roadless rule" protections across more than 9 million acres.

  • September 25, 2020

    DC Circ. Questions Timing Of Some EPA Biofuel Disputes

    As the D.C. Circuit on Friday parsed through jurisdictional and timeliness issues in petitions seeking to vacate the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's 2019 Renewable Fuel Standard rule on different fronts, one judge seemed to be of the view that some challengers waited too long to seek judicial review.

  • September 25, 2020

    EPA Bungled Contract Oversight, Agency Watchdog Says

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's watchdog slammed the agency in a report released Friday for its work on an environmental consulting contract, accusing it of deleting records, paying without proper reviews and failing to question labor practices that might have saved taxpayers roughly $565,000.

  • September 25, 2020

    EPA Accused Of Hiding Report On Formaldehyde Health Risk

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is suppressing scientific research into the human health risks of formaldehyde, a green group told a D.C. federal court Friday.

  • September 25, 2020

    Texas City To Pay $1.1M To End Suit Over Sewage Discharges

    The city of Corpus Christi, Texas, will pay about $1.1 million in penalties to settle allegations from Texas and the federal government that it discharged untreated sewage and other pollutants into state and federal waters in violation of the Clean Water Act.

  • September 25, 2020

    Land Buyer Says $11M Superfund Tab Hinges On Claim Timing

    A railroad land purchaser told the Seventh Circuit on Friday that a district court wrongfully saddled it with the entire $10.5 million bill to clean up a Superfund site in Wisconsin, saying the seller should be on the hook because a claim for payment was made within the purchasing agreement's indemnity period.

  • September 25, 2020

    Utility Dodges Calif. County's Suit Over Sewage Contract

    A California county can't pursue Clean Water Act claims against a Lake Tahoe waste management utility, a federal judge has ruled, saying the suit over alleged breach of contract for effluent storage is likely better suited for state court.

  • September 25, 2020

    DC Circ. Revives House Bid To Block $8B Border Wall Funding

    The D.C. Circuit revived the U.S. House of Representatives' lawsuit challenging the Trump administration's diversion of $8.1 billion for the border wall, saying Friday that a sole chamber of Congress can sue to preserve its spending authority.

  • September 24, 2020

    Texas Panel Revives Allegation Atty Botched Deepwater Claim

    A Texas appellate panel ruled Thursday that malpractice claims against a Beaumont, Texas, attorney and his firm were thrown out prematurely because the two had not proved a client fired them before their alleged botching of the man's Deepwater Horizon economic loss claim.

  • September 24, 2020

    Groups Call For Pebble Mine Permit Axe After CEO Resigns

    Advocacy groups say a controversial Alaska gold and copper mine should not receive a key federal water permit after newly released tapes that allegedly show developers misled the public and regulators about future plans for the project.

  • September 24, 2020

    EPA Downplays Pesticide Risks As Greens Ready For Battle

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency this week released a watered-down risk assessment for the pesticide chlorpyrifos, undermining the potential for a broad federal clampdown on the use of a chemical that environmental and community groups — and the previous administration — have argued poses unacceptable health risks to humans, especially pregnant women and fetuses.

  • September 24, 2020

    Calif. Biomass Energy Needs Gas Regs, Advocates Say

    A coalition of environmental groups on Thursday asked the California Public Utilities Commission to change a pair of renewable energy programs that benefit bioenergy generators to ensure they don't make climate change worse.

  • September 24, 2020

    Judge Finds Misconduct, But Won't End Arkema Criminal Trial

    The judge presiding over the felony criminal case against Arkema and two executives over chemical releases during Hurricane Harvey determined Thursday that while the prosecutors had committed misconduct, it wasn't intentional, and declined to grant a mistrial with prejudice.

  • September 24, 2020

    Trade Groups, 17 States Blast Hold On Key Nationwide Permit

    Energy companies, electrical workers and states have called a Montana federal judge's decision to vacate a nationwide water permit used for pipeline construction as drastically overbroad and a threat to America's electrical system.

  • September 24, 2020

    Feds Defeat Suit Over Pesticides At National Wildlife Refuges

    A D.C. federal judge on Thursday threw out a lawsuit brought by public interest groups against the Trump administration's policy governing the use of certain pesticides in national wildlife refuges, deciding the challengers don't have standing to sue.

  • September 24, 2020

    Calif. Bets On Biden With Move To End Gas Car Sales

    California Gov. Gavin Newsom's executive order phasing out new gas-powered car sales further inflames a fight with the Trump administration over vehicle emissions policy and is a big bet on a potential Joe Biden presidency endorsing the Golden State's bold move, experts say.

  • September 24, 2020

    3 Firms Power $2.4B SPAC Deal For ChargePoint

    Electric vehicle charging station maker ChargePoint agreed Thursday to a roughly $2.4 billion merger with Switchback Energy Acquisition Corp., a blank-check company formed by oil and gas industry veterans and private equity investors, in a deal assembled by Weil Gotshal & Manges, Gunderson Dettmer and Vinson & Elkins.

  • September 23, 2020

    Split SEC OKs Plan To Toughen Shareholder Proposal Rules

    A divided Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday agreed to impose stiffer requirements for shareholders seeking to submit ballot proposals, drawing rebukes from critics who argue the changes favor corporate executives at the expense of investors.

  • September 23, 2020

    Bankrupt Exide Floats $10M Environmental Cleanup Deal

    Bankrupt battery maker Exide Holdings Inc. filed a proposed settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in Delaware bankruptcy court Tuesday that would see credit bidders put $10 million into an environmental cleanup trust to fund remediation of the debtor's abandoned properties.

  • September 23, 2020

    Activists Threaten ESA Suit Over Gunnison Sage Grouse

    Environmental groups on Wednesday notified U.S government agencies of their intent to sue over alleged failures to protect the endangered Gunnison sage grouse in Colorado, a species they describe as being "on the brink of extinction."

  • September 23, 2020

    Bechtel, Others To Pay $58M To End Gov't Overcharge Claims

    Bechtel National Inc. and other government contractors will pay $57.75 million to resolve allegations that for a decade they overcharged taxpayers for labor costs associated with building a radioactive waste treatment plant in Washington state, the federal government said Tuesday.

  • September 23, 2020

    AIG Says It's Not On The Hook For Thermo Fisher Pollution

    AIG owes no coverage to Thermo Fisher for cleanup of contaminated groundwater at a New Jersey facility because the company failed to mention that it had been monitoring pollution at two wells near its site for nearly three decades, the insurer said in a complaint.

  • September 23, 2020

    Calif. Gov. Orders Halt Of Gas-Powered Car Sales By 2035

    California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday issued an executive order committing that the state would allow only zero-emission new car and truck sales by 2035 as part of a wider effort to wean the state off fossil fuel use.

  • September 23, 2020

    Utah Seeks 10th Circ. Rehearing Over Coal Plant Permit Row

    Utah urged the full Tenth Circuit to review what it called an exceptionally important question of whether the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was right not to oppose a state-issued permit for a coal power plant.

Expert Analysis

  • A Likely Tipping Point For Nonlawyer Ownership Of Law Firms

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    The Arizona Supreme Court's recent decision to eliminate prohibitions on nonlawyer ownership of law firms may show that the organized bar's long-standing rhetoric that such rules are essential to protecting the legal profession's core values is overblown, say Anthony Sebok at Cardozo School of Law and Bradley Wendel at Cornell Law School.

  • A Road Map For Drafting Persuasive Discovery Motions

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    Best practices that can help litigators write convincing discovery motions include thinking about the audience, addressing a few key questions, and leaving out boilerplate from supporting briefs, says Tom Connally at Hogan Lovells.

  • How Congress Can Depoliticize The Supreme Court

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    Congress has multiple means to take the politics out of federal judicial nominations and restore the independence of the U.S. Supreme Court — three of which can be implemented without a constitutional amendment, says Franklin Amanat at DiCello Levitt.

  • Lessons From An In-Court Jury Trial During The Pandemic

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    Following a recent in-person jury trial at the Indiana Supreme Court, Angela Hall and Jason Rauch at Faegre Drinker offer takeaways on remote trial preparation, socially distanced voir dire and evidence presentation during the COVID-19 era.

  • 5 Ways Retailers Can Mitigate Product Liability Litigation Risk

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    While courts sometimes hold retailers liable for injuries caused by products they sold but did not manufacture — as a California appeals court did recently in Bolger v. Amazon — retailers can implement a number of strategies to reduce product liability litigation risk, say Alexandra Cunningham and Elizabeth Reese at Hunton.

  • Environmental Considerations For Cos. Contemplating Ch. 11

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    Debtors reorganizing under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code, and their creditors, should be aware that environmental obligations may be exempt from the automatic stay on creditor claims triggered by a bankruptcy filing, and that some will not be dischargeable at all, say Dianne Phillips and Maria de la Motte at Holland & Knight. 

  • Opinion

    The Case For A Nonpolitical Federal Judiciary

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    For the last 20 years, at the insistence of both parties, U.S. Supreme Court nominations have been fierce ideological battles — which is bad for the country and bad for the public's perception of the legitimacy of the court, say Judge Eric Moyé, Judge Craig Smith and Winston & Strawn partner Tom Melsheimer.

  • Key Regulatory Concerns For Cos. Making COVID-19 Products

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    Recent enforcement actions by federal agencies against businesses making products intended to protect against COVID-19 highlight why companies must understand which regulators they are answerable to, and what standards they must follow when producing, advertising, labeling and selling their goods, say attorneys at Crowell & Moring.

  • The Keys To A Better Privilege Logging Paradigm

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    Current privilege logging practices to identify what information is being withheld from discovery often lead to costly disputes, so practitioners should adopt a system based on trust and good faith, similar to the presumptions embedded in the business judgment rule for corporate directors and officers, say Kevin Brady at Volkswagen and Charles Ragan and Ted Hiser at Redgrave.

  • Equator Principles Update: What Energy Cos. Should Know

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    An Oct. 1 update to the Equator Principles will bring significant changes to the environmental, social and governance framework, and energy projects receiving loans of as little as $50 million must now prepare for compliance, says Jillian Kirn at Greenberg Traurig.

  • White House Due Process Memo Could Reform Enforcement

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    A little-noticed memo recently issued by the Trump administration in response to the pandemic, directing federal agencies to provide greater due process to individuals and companies under regulatory investigation, represents a long-overdue sea change in the way justice is carried out in enforcement proceedings, say Joan Meyer and Norman Bloch at Thompson Hine.

  • Law Firm Hiring Considerations In A COVID-19 Economy

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    Financially robust law firms are entering the recruiting market aggressively knowing that dislocations like the COVID-19 crisis present rare competitive opportunities, and firms that remain on the sidelines when it comes to strategic hiring will be especially vulnerable to having their best talent poached, says Brian Burlant at Major Lindsey.

  • Streamlining Power Transmission Siting To Help Renewables

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    It can take years and cost millions of dollars to secure state regulatory approval for electric transmission system upgrades needed to facilitate clean energy development, so it is important for states to create abbreviated siting processes for projects with limited anticipated impacts, says Andy Flavin at Troutman Pepper.

  • Opinion

    Lawyers Must Act To Preserve Democracy This Election

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    COVID-19 concerns and glaring gaps in registration threaten to dampen voter turnout in the 2020 election, so attorneys should take on the problem by leveraging their knowledge and resources in seven ways, says Laura Brill at Kendall Brill.

  • Key Compliance Tips For 2020 TSCA Chemical Reporting

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    The Toxic Substances Control Act requires manufacturers and importers to report to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency every four years on their use and disposal of certain chemicals — and with the next reporting deadline on Nov. 30 and recent changes to TSCA regulations, companies must focus on their reporting strategies, say attorneys at Pillsbury.

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