OKLAHOMA CITY - Halliburton Energy Services Inc. (HESI), which was sued by Oklahoma residents who contend that they were injured from exposure to radioactive waste from a chemical plant it operates, on April 6 filed a brief in Oklahoma federal court contending that the plaintiffs' motion for reconsideration of an order denying class certification is "unavailing" (Mitchell L. McCormick v. Halliburton Energy Services Inc., No. 11-01272, W.D. Okla.).
MONTPELIER, Vt. - A majority of the Vermont Supreme Court on April 3 determined that an insurer's pollution exclusion is not ambiguous and applies to a spray foam insulation product that was discharged and allegedly caused an underlying claimant to experience respiratory problems (Cincinnati Specialty Underwriters Insurance Co. v. Energy Wise Homes Inc., et al., No. 14-165, Vt. Sup.; 2015 Vt. LEXIS 33).
ALBANY, N.Y. - The New York Court of Appeals on March 31 ruled that oil and gas leases between residents and a hydraulic fracturing company were not extended because the force majeure clauses in those leases did not modify the primary term of the habendum clause, which the company had argued was triggered by the state's moratorium on fracking (Walter R. Beardslee, et al. v. Inflection Energy LLC, No. 44, N.Y. App.; 2015 N.Y. LEXIS 657).
PITTSBURGH - The Pennsylvania municipality sued by a hydraulic fracturing company challenging its ordinance prohibiting underground injection control (UIC) wells on March 25 filed a brief in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania contending that the District Court should stay all proceedings until the fracking company obtains the proper permit for the creation and operation of its proposed UIC well (Pennsylvania General Energy Company LLC v. Grant Township, No. 14-209, W.D. Pa.).
WHEELING, W.Va. - A federal judge in West Virginia on March 27 ruled that Murray Energy Corp. and a number of other underground coal companies have standing to sue the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and its administrator for their failure to evaluate how enforcement of the Clean Air Act is affecting jobs in the industry (Murray Energy Corp., et al. v. Gina McCarthy, Administrator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, No. 14-CV-39, N.D. W.Va.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 39130).
COLUMBUS, Ohio - A federal magistrate judge in Ohio on March 24 ordered that discovery be completed no later than April 13 in a trade name dispute between an energy company and a hydraulic fracturing company that are competing in the same energy market. The energy company contends that the fracking company should be permanently enjoined from using the name and should be compelled to produce the leases it has with landowners (American Energy Corporation v. American Energy Partners, No. 13-00886, S.D. Ohio).
WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. - A federal magistrate judge in Pennsylvania on March 25 dismissed a lawsuit brought by a resident who alleged that a hydraulic fracturing company was liable for breach of contract, strict liability and damages in torts, concluding that the case suffered from a "complete failure of competent proof" (Edward E. Kamuck v. Shell Energy Holdings, et al., No. 11-1425, M.D. Pa.).
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Duke Energy Corp., which was fined $25,116,883.61 by the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) for groundwater contamination resulting from its operation of a coal-generating plant, on March 24 issued a press release saying that it would appeal the penalty.
NEWARK, N.J. - A New Jersey federal judge on March 23 found that "all risks" property insurance policies' flood sublimits do not apply to a publicly traded diversified energy company insured's losses caused by storm surge resulting from Superstorm Sandy (Public Service Enterprise Group, et al. v. ACE American Ins. Co., et al., No. ESX-L4951-13, N.J. Super., Law Div., Essex Co.; 2015 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 620).
CHICAGO - An Illinois federal judge on March 13 certified a class of door-to-door salespersons who allege that they were improperly classified as independent contractors (Levonna Wilkins, et al. v. Just Energy Group, Inc., et al., No. 13-5806, N.D. Ill.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 31902).
PITTSBURGH - A hydraulic fracturing company that sued a local municipality to challenge its ordinance prohibiting underground injection control (UIC) wells on March 13 filed a brief in Pennsylvania federal court opposing the appointment of a special master to rule on the pleadings in the case on grounds that the case is ready for a decision now (Pennsylvania General Energy Company LLC v. Grant Township, No. 14-209, W.D. Pa.).
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Lead plaintiffs and defendants in a securities class action lawsuit have agreed to a settlement of $146.25 million on claims that the defendants misrepresented the post-merger role of a CEO in violation of federal securities laws, according to a stipulation of settlement filed March 10 in North Carolina federal court (Maurine Nieman, et al. v. Duke Energy Corp., et al., No. 12-0456, W.D. N.C.).
RALEIGH, N.C. - The State of North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) on March 10 fined Duke Energy Corp. $25,116,883.61 for groundwater contamination from coal ash as a result of its operation of a coal-generating plant.
EDINBURGH, Scotland - A United Kingdom energy firm on March 10 announced that it has filed a notice for international treaty arbitration in relation to a $1.6 billion Indian tax assessment.
SEATTLE - A whistle-blower who brought suit under the Energy Reorganization Act (ERA) regarding cleanup efforts of a nuclear waste site in Washington state may not sue the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) or URS Corp. because he failed to meet the administrative exhaustion requirement but may sue URS Energy & Construction Inc. (URS E&C) and is entitled to a jury trial, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled March 4 in an amended opinion that also denied a petition for rehearing and rejected a petition for rehearing en banc (Walter L. Tamosaitis, Ph.D. v. URS Inc., et al., No. 12-35924, 9th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 3595).
OKLAHOMA CITY - The federal judge presiding over a lawsuit brought by Oklahoma residents who contend that they were injured from exposure to radioactive waste from a chemical plant operated by Halliburton Energy Services Inc. (HESI) on March 3 denied the residents class certification (Mitchell L. McCormick v. Halliburton Energy Services Inc., No. 11-01272, W.D. Okla.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) on March 2 issued an order granting a request to discontinue arbitration proceedings between several energy firms and the Argentine Republic (LG&E Energy Corp., et al. v. The Argentine Republic, No. No. ARB/02/1, ICSID).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - The Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) on Feb. 19 filed a lawsuit in California federal court against the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) and other federal land management organizations contending that they have violated federal law by approving permits for hydraulic fracturing operations off the California coast (Center for Biological Diversity v. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, et al., No. 15-1189, C.D. Calif.).
BISMARCK, N.D. - The Energy and Natural Resources Committee in the North Dakota Senate was slated to conduct hearings on Feb. 19 regarding a proposed bill that would amend the state's code concerning flaring of hydraulic fracturing wells.
COLUMBUS, Ohio - A divided Ohio Supreme Court on Feb. 17 ruled 4-3 that local ordinances regulating the practice of hydraulic fracturing for the extraction of oil and gas violate the Ohio Constitution (State ex rel. Morrison v. Beck Energy Corp., No. 2015-Ohio-485, Ohio Sup.)