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Federal Jurisdiction Lacking for Case Alleging Exposure to Hazards from Pipeline Spill

A Utah federal court rejected an oil and gas company’s bid to keep a lawsuit alleging that a crude oil pipeline spill caused a plaintiff’s acute myeloid leukemia in federal court last week. The company argued that the federal court had federal question jurisdiction over the suit, which alleged negligence, strict liability for abnormally dangerous or ultra-hazardous...

Eleventh Circuit Clarifies Automatic Entitlement Provision of Black Lung Benefits Act

Yesterday, the Eleventh Circuit resolved an ambiguity regarding when miners’ survivors can recover benefits under the Black Lung Benefits Act.  Pursuant to the Act, survivors can recover in two ways.  First, they can prove that the miner died from a lung disease caused by pneumoconiosis.  Alternatively, they can proceed under the “automatic entitlement” provision (30...

Practical Implications for Energy Companies of Trump Administration’s Use of Congressional Review Act

Upon taking office with the promise to reduce regulations, the new administration and the U.S. Congress used the Congressional Review Act to repeal 14 “midnight” regulations passed by the previous administration.  Of the 14 repealed regulations, there are three that are of note for companies involved in mining operations domestically, in oil and gas exploration abroad, or who are...

Eleventh Circuit Upholds Verdict in “Take-Home” Asbestos Case

Last week, the Eleventh Circuit considered a “take-home” asbestos case.  Following a worker’s death from asbestos-induced lung cancer, the worker’s spouse was diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma.  Prior to her death, she filed suit against her husband’s employer alleging that washing her husband’s clothes for 20-plus years had exposed her...

Nuisance and Negligence Claims Against Michigan Oil Refinery Are Time-Barred

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan dismissed a putative class action claiming harm from emissions of oil refinery contaminants.  The Plaintiffs claimed the Detroit refinery was liable under private nuisance, negligence, and strict liability theories.  Plaintiffs, who lived near the refinery, alleged that the refinery released dangerous toxins into their...

Key Considerations for Post-Incident Media Response

In today’s world, news of a corporate disaster or fatal injury travels fast.  In less than a minute from the time an incident occurs, media phone calls begin.  There are countless recent examples of how companies have botched initial post-incident communications in such a way that their actions have led to devastating consequences, from inviting political attacks or litigation to...

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