A suit claiming that an ExxonMobil facility has not adequately planned for severe events such as storm surges, heavy rainfall and flooding can proceed regarding current and near future conditions. The suit cannot proceed as to longer term issues, such as sea levels predicted for 2050 or 2100, according to a federal judge in Massachusetts. […]Read more "Judge Narrows Climate Change Citizen’s Suit, But Allows Key Parts To Go Forward"
At least in the state of New York, the law where the courtroom sits determines the scope or existence of any privilege. Companies should not assume that courts in other locations will respect the privilege rules of their home state. They must also consider the privilege rules in locations where they may face litigation, rules […]Read more "Location of the Courtroom Determines Privilege Rules"
Baylor University was concerned that it was not in full compliance with federal law relating to complaints of sexual harassment and violence. Baylor also expected litigation. Baylor’s Board of Regents hired the Pepper Hamilton law firm to investigate Baylor’s procedures, policies and other “institutional response” aspects of Baylor’s compliance obligations. Baylor and Pepper Hamilton agreed […]Read more "Baylor Case: Public Statements Can Waive Privilege"
On August 4, 2017, at the 29th Annual Texas Environmental Super Conference, I heard presentations from Patrick Traylor, Deputy Assistant Administrator for the EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance and Jeffrey Wood, Acting Assistant Attorney General of the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”). These federal officials spoke […]Read more "DOJ/EPA Officials Deny Significant Changes to SEP Policy Due to Sessions Memo"
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (“DC Circuit”) ruled that EPA could not issue a stay of new source performance standards regulating fugitive emissions from oil and gas operations (“Methane Rule”). With this ruling, the Methane Rule remains in effect. Staying a Rule Is Rulemaking The Methane Rule became effective […]Read more "DC Circuit Says EPA Cannot Stay Methane Rule"
On June 14, 2017, the Michigan Attorney General (“AG”) filed manslaughter charges against five current or former government officials. The charges stem from the death of a Flint resident from Legionnaire’s Disease. Criminal charges against government officials generally make headlines, as do charges against businesses or their managers. Against one official, the charges assert that […]Read more "Manslaughter Charges in Flint, Michigan Water Controversy: What Ramifications for Businesses?"
On June 5, 2017, Attorney General Sessions issued a one page memorandum (“the Sessions Memo”), stating that the Department of Justice (“DOJ” ) will no longer agree to settlements that include “payments” by a defendant to a third party organization. The prohibition applies to civil suit settlements, plea agreements, and deferred prosecution agreements. The prohibition […]Read more "Does New DOJ Policy Threaten the Use of Supplemental Environmental Projects?"