On February 12, 2018, the United States Department of Justice (“DOJ”) announced a proposed settlement of a Clean Air Act enforcement case against Shell Chemical, regarding Shell’s Norco, Louisiana facility. While the proposed settlement is of a significantly lower amount than DOJ’s recent flare settlement with ExxonMobil (discussed in my November 6, 2017 Alert), the […]Read more "Flare Issues Lead to another Eight Figure Clean Air Act Settlement"
A recent Texas Supreme Court decision is a reminder of the importance of detail in expert reports and testimony. Lawyers and experts may need to go far beyond what they think is reasonable in providing details, especially when the expert opinion is necessary to support a claim for relief. Needle Inserted into the Optic Nerve […]Read more "Experts Must Provide Details"
I am pleased to announce that as of February 1, 2018, I am a shareholder at Crain Caton & James, P.C. I am especially excited to join with Robert E. “Robin” Morse, Kelly D. Brown, and Cory R. Thornton; together, we bring over 100 years of environmental law experience. More about them, below. My new […]Read more "Jim Smith Joins Crain Caton & James"
The United States Supreme Court issued a ruling on a procedural issue relating to the regulatory definition of “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS). Specifically, the Supreme Court ruled that challenges to the latest WOTUS definition must be made in district (trial level) courts, not in the courts of appeals. In the Alert that I […]Read more "Supreme Court Refuses to Fix the Clean Water Act Mess that Congress Created"
A recent decision by a federal district court in Houston, Texas demonstrates how easy it is for plaintiffs to establish standing in citizen’s suits. All of the major federal environmental laws allow for citizen’s suits. These are suits to enforce environmental permits or regulations brought by private citizens. Things could change if President Trump is […]Read more "Standing in Citizen’s Suits: Easy Now, but Will It Get Harder?"
The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit issued an opinion that simplifies the test to determine when maritime law applies to service contracts relating to the production of oil and gas in navigable waters. Under the new two pronged test, a services contract is subject to maritime law when: 1) the contract […]Read more "5th Circuit Simplifies Test to Determine if a Service Contract for an Offshore Gas Well Is Subject to Maritime Law"
Craig Ball is a very close friend. Also, in the area of electronically stored information (“ESI”) and litigation, he is as good an expert as you can find, in the world. His critique of the President’s lawyers reminds us that blindly copying forms will not serve our clients. Preservation Letter to Controversial Author Craig’s “Ball […]Read more "Preservation Letters Require More than Just Copying a Form"