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Further limiting available grounds for plaintiffs to seek redress for injuries allegedly due to climate change, on September 21st, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the dismissal of an action brought by the Native Village of Kivalina and the City of Kivalina (collectively “Kivalina”) against multiple oil, energy and utility companies (the “Energy Companies”).
In a new wave of climate change litigation that could pave the way for state-level regulation of greenhouse gas emissions, at least two courts have extended the “public trust” doctrine to include protection of the air and atmosphere.
Providing another blow to a favorite theory of plaintiffs in toxic tort cases – that exposure to any amount of a hazardous substance can cause an injury – the Maryland Court of Special Appeals vacated a $3 million judgment awarded to a plaintiff, concluding that plaintiff’s expert failed to quantify the probability of causation or provide a meaningful assessment of the risk imparted by the exposure at issue.
Rejecting expert opinion testimony not founded on facts, a New Jersey appellate court affirmed a lower court ruling granting defendants summary judgment on plaintiffs’ product liability and negligence claims.
On a case of first impression in Texas, a Texas appellate court held that an owner of land may assert a claim of trespass for the migration of subsurface wastewater injectate from an injection well on adjacent property.
Striking a blow to landowners who may wish to sue over pesticide drift onto their land, the Minnesota Supreme Court held that such an invasion does not constitute trespass.
Rejecting a special rule that would have imposed strict liability for any activity resulting in the contamination of “water resources,” the Kansas Supreme Court reversed a trial court’s ruling that Defendant was strictly liable because its activities, which allegedly resulted in groundwater contamination at a former refinery location, were abnormally dangerous as a matter of law.
Further limiting plaintiffs’ ability to assert potential claims related to hydraulic fracturing or “fracking,” a Colorado trial court granted a motion to dismiss plaintiffs’ claim that was, in essence, an “anticipatory nuisance” claim.
California’s preferential treatment towards its own residents was put to the test recently when thousands of Filipino citizens sought redress in California courts for 30-year-old products liability claims. Dismissing plaintiffs’ action, a state trial court held that their claims were not timely filed nor did they meet the requirements under the equitable tolling doctrine to extend the statute of limitations period.
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