In order to protect professionals from frivolous lawsuits, a Texas statute provides that lawsuits arising out of the provision of professional services (such as engineering or architecture) must include a certificate of merit. That certificate must include a sworn statement by a qualified expert as to the negligence or other error committed; failure to file […]Read more "Texas Statute Could Not Help Engineering Company, Because No Licensed Engineer Provided Services"
A recent development in a much watched environmental case pending before the Texas Supreme Court reminded me that the involvement of a non-party can add value in an appeal. A non-party that submits briefs, or in special cases participates in oral argument, is known as a friend of the court or amicus curie. State of […]Read more "Appellate Success, with a Little Help from Friends"
Regulatory agencies may view companies that do not comply with such “voluntary” standards as out of compliance in enforcement actions, and juries may view them as negligent in tort actions.Read more "Major Energy Companies Agree to Methane Emissions Principles"
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"
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"
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"
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"