The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has overruled a trial court and allowed construction of the Bayou Bridge Pipeline to continue. In allowing construction to continue, the appellate court stated that it is likely that the district judge’s decision to stop construction was an “abuse of discretion.” The case involves claims […]Read more "Appeals Court Allows Bayou Bridge Pipeline Construction to Continue"
In State of Texas v. Morello, the Texas Supreme Court reversed a mid-level appellate court and reinstated a trial court’s judgment making Bernard Morello personally liable for approximately $400,000 in civil penalties for environmental violations. The Company’s History of Permit Violations Morello had been the sole member and manager of While Lion Holdings, a limited liability company. […]Read more "Texas Supreme Court Holds Manager Personally Liable for Environmental Penalties"
On February 8, 2018, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its enforcement statistics for its 2017 fiscal year, which ended September 30, 2017. For this fiscal year, the number of federal criminal environmental cases filed by the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) was less than half of the number that DOJ filed […]Read more "Trends in Federal Enforcement: Fewer Cases but More Prison Time"
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"