On January 27, 2023, the Louisiana Supreme Court issued a ruling involving claims for negligent infliction of emotional distress (“NIED”) absent physical damage. In Spencer v. Valero Refining Meraux, LLC, 2022-00469 (La. 1/27/23), — So. 3d –, the Court reversed several lower court decisions that awarded the plaintiffs damages for NIED absent physical
Toxic Tort & Environmental Litigation
2023 Begins With Increased (or Unlimited) Liability for Vessel Owners
A Regulatory Increase to the Limits of Liability for Oil Pollution and an Amendment Exempting Small Passenger Vessels from the Limitation of Liability Act Present New Challenges for Vessel Owners
U.S. maritime law experienced two significant changes on December 23, 2022—one pertaining to liability for oil pollution, the other concerning small passenger vessels.
United States Supreme Court Issues First Decision in Climate Litigation
Updated from May 18, 2021 post.
On May 17, 2021, the United States Supreme Court issued a decision in the climate change litigation affecting the fossil fuel industry. In a 7-1 decision (Justice Alito recused), the Court held that an appellate court must consider all grounds for removal when an appeal is taken pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1447(d), a provision that specifically authorizes interlocutory appeal of an order remanding a case removed pursuant to the federal officer removal statute.
Continue Reading United States Supreme Court Issues First Decision in Climate Litigation
Louisiana Appellate Court Affirms Summary Judgment in Asbestos Case
On February 3, 2021, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal affirmed a trial court’s ruling that granted a summary judgment motion finding plaintiffs failed to submit specific evidence of asbestos exposure necessary to create a genuine issue of material fact. Steib v. Lamorak Ins. Co., et al., 20-0424 (La. App. 4 Cir. 2/3/21).
It’s Heating Up: United States Supreme Court Hears Arguments on Proper Jurisdiction for Climate-Change Lawsuit
Yesterday, the United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the climate change lawsuit filed by the City of Baltimore in 2018 against energy companies. This case is one of a number of cases brought by states, cities, and other municipalities against energy companies alleging that the companies contributed to climate change. By granting certiorari and hearing oral arguments, the Supreme Court has agreed to review the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision remanding the suit to state court after rejecting the energy companies’ contention that they were acting as federal officers pursuant to historical contracts with the federal government. …
Continue Reading It’s Heating Up: United States Supreme Court Hears Arguments on Proper Jurisdiction for Climate-Change Lawsuit
U.S. Supreme Court To Review Scope of Appellate Review for Federal Officer Removal in Climate Change Litigation
Today, the United States Supreme Court granted a Petition for Certiorari filed by energy companies in Baltimore’s climate change lawsuit. By granting the petition, the Supreme Court has agreed to review the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision remanding the suit to state court after rejecting the energy companies’ contention that they were acting as federal officers pursuant to historical contracts with the federal government.
Continue Reading U.S. Supreme Court To Review Scope of Appellate Review for Federal Officer Removal in Climate Change Litigation
Climate Change Jurisdiction: U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit Kicks Climate Change Case Back to State Court
Amidst historically low oil prices and economic shutdowns, fossil fuel companies continue to defend against lawsuits brought by state and local governments claiming climate-change related damages. In two companion cases, a panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit decided whether a federal district court could properly exercise jurisdiction over climate change suits brought against energy companies by cities and counties in California. In County of San Mateo et al. v. Chevron Corporation et al., Docket No. 18-15499, the Ninth Circuit held that 28 U.S.C. § 1447(d) limited appellate review of an order to remand to the extent the order addressed whether removal was proper under the federal officer removal statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1442(a)(1). The Ninth Circuit further held that the district court did not err in finding that it lacked subject matter jurisdiction under the federal-officer removal statute. In City of Oakland et al. v. BP PLC et al., Docket No. 18-16663, the Ninth Circuit vacated the district court’s order denying remand and sent the case back to the federal district court with instructions to consider whether alternative grounds for subject-matter jurisdiction exist.
Continue Reading Climate Change Jurisdiction: U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit Kicks Climate Change Case Back to State Court
ARCO v. Christian: Supreme Court Allows State Law Claims for Restoration Damages in Excess of EPA Superfund Cleanup, but EPA Must Approve Any Additional Remedial Action
This week, in a split 7-2 opinion authored by Chief Justice Roberts, the Supreme Court held that Montana state law claims brought by private landowners against Atlantic Richfield Company (“ARCO”) for alleged impacts from the Anaconda Smelter Superfund site are not preempted by CERCLA and are not precluded by ARCO’s settlement of EPA’s CERCLA claims; however, any restoration damages awarded to the landowners must be spent on actual restoration of the property, as required by Montana state law, and restoration must be conducted in a manner either approved by the EPA or consistent with the EPA’s already-approved remedial action plan.…
Continue Reading ARCO v. Christian: Supreme Court Allows State Law Claims for Restoration Damages in Excess of EPA Superfund Cleanup, but EPA Must Approve Any Additional Remedial Action
En Banc Fifth Circuit Issues Long-Awaited Ruling on Federal Officer Removal
The Fifth Circuit recently issued an en banc opinion in Latiolais v. Huntington Ingalls, Inc., a case previously featured on the Blog, overruling “extraordinarily confused” precedent and establishing a new removal test under the Federal Officer Removal Statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1442(a)(1). This new test is likely to have significant impact on future removals to federal court.…
Continue Reading En Banc Fifth Circuit Issues Long-Awaited Ruling on Federal Officer Removal
U.S. Climate Change Litigation: 2020 Update
Since the initiation of climate change litigation several years ago, various state governments and interest groups have filed lawsuits against fossil fuel companies and governing authorities. The current landscape consists of (1) two lawsuits brought by state governments against an oil and gas company alleging investor fraud; (2) numerous cities, counties, and other local governments seeking compensation from fossil fuel companies for climate change related damages; and (3) nine lawsuits brought by a non-profit law firm, through children, against governments for failing to protect them from fossil fuel emissions. Below we take a closer look at each category of lawsuits and provide an update on where they stand today.
Continue Reading U.S. Climate Change Litigation: 2020 Update