The 2018 Election and Its Impact

In this Thanksgiving week, I depart from my usual format, and look forward to the 2018 election.  While I expect Republicans to take a drubbing in total votes cast, the peculiar circumstances of this election indicate that Republicans will probably maintain control of the House, although with a smaller majority, and actually gain seats in […]

Read more "The 2018 Election and Its Impact"

Election Anniversary: Regulatory Rollback, Stories Over Statistics, and Pressure for Local Enforcement

Approximately one year ago, Donald Trump won the presidential election.  How does the Trump/Pruitt EPA record match up with the predictions that I made? It appears that several trends that I predicted are indeed occurring.  Perhaps most importantly, while the EPA is rolling back some significant regulations, and is emphasizing stories over enforcement statistics, the […]

Read more "Election Anniversary: Regulatory Rollback, Stories Over Statistics, and Pressure for Local Enforcement"

Focus on Flares: ExxonMobil Agrees to Multi-Million Dollar Settlement

ExxonMobil, a company not afraid to fight the federal government (See last week’s Alert), has agreed to a multi-million dollar settlement with the United States Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”), the United States Department of Justice (“DOJ”) and the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (“LDEQ”) over allegations of improper operation and inadequate monitoring of flares. Federal […]

Read more "Focus on Flares: ExxonMobil Agrees to Multi-Million Dollar Settlement"

ExxonMobil’s Good Faith Consideration of Required Factors Defeats PHMSA Order

When agency regulations require that a company employ a process for detecting and responding to threats of leaks, the company satisfies those regulations by employing that process in good faith, even if doing so failed to prevent a serious accident.  An agency’s after the fact criticisms of how the company employed the process will not […]

Read more "ExxonMobil’s Good Faith Consideration of Required Factors Defeats PHMSA Order"

Duty to Avoid Injuring Others Remains, Even When Regulations Place the Duty Solely on Another

Even though state and federal regulations place the duty to secure loads “solely” on the transporter, a company that loaded the truck could still be responsible for a third party’s injuries.  That responsibility remained even though the transporter admitted that regulations placed this responsibility on it, and admitted that the company that loaded the material […]

Read more "Duty to Avoid Injuring Others Remains, Even When Regulations Place the Duty Solely on Another"

You Can Agree to Make a Contract Electronically Without Explicitly Saying So

In Texas, when the law requires a contract to be in writing, electronic communications can satisfy that requirement, but only if each party agrees to conduct the transaction electronically.  Even when neither party explicitly says that it has agreed to conduct transactions by electronic means, the context and surrounding circumstances can show that that the […]

Read more "You Can Agree to Make a Contract Electronically Without Explicitly Saying So"