Oct 7, 2020

U.S. Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Procedural Challenge to Climate Change Cases

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court added to its docket a climate change case filed by the City of Baltimore against major oil and gas companies seeking to recover the cost of local climate impacts including flooding and heat waves. Baltimore’s claims, filed in state court under state common law, mirror allegations against the oil and gas industry in lawsuits from state and local governments in California, Colorado, Rhode Island and elsewhere.  Defendants in the case are seeking to remove the cases from state court to federal court where they believe the court will be less willing to entertain expansive… Read more


Jun 18, 2020

What Happens to a Trademark License If a Licensor Files for Bankruptcy?

Bankruptcy- Trademark License

Retail stores and outlets feature trademark branded merchandise produced under license agreements.  Millions of dollars in manufacturing costs, marketing expenses and distribution chain development are incurred in getting the branded goods from initial concept to the shelf for retail sale.  The current and anticipated wave of fashion industry bankruptcies raises questions about the risk of loss by the licensee on that investment if the brand-owner/licensor files for bankruptcy. What happens when a trademark licensor files for bankruptcy? Does the licensor’s various license agreements continue as if nothing happened? Are the license agreements automatically terminated as part of the bankruptcy process?… Read more


Apr 24, 2020

U.S. Supreme Court Issues Decision Regarding How the Federal Clean Water Act Applies to Groundwater Discharges

Groundwater Testing

On April 23, 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision in County of Maui v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund, a closely watched case regarding whether the federal Clean Water Act (CWA) applies to discharges of pollutants to groundwater which reach surface waters. In County of Maui, the plaintiff environmental organizations brought a citizen suit alleging that the defendant-county was in violation of the CWA in regard to the county’s decades-old practice of injecting partially treated wastewater into groundwater wells.  The wells consistently leaked and tracer dye testing confirmed that over 60% percent of the wastewater injected into the wells wound… Read more


Jun 12, 2019

U.S. Supreme Court to Address Important CERCLA Issue

On June 10, 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court announced that it would review a Montana Supreme Court decision that has important implications for cleanup of sites under the federal Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation & Liability Act (CERCLA).  In Atlantic Richfield Co. v. Gregory A. Christian, et al., Atlantic Richfield Co. (Arco) is seeking reversal of a Montana Supreme Court decision that allows private residents to sue Arco for cleanup costs and “restoration damages” of EPA-approved remediation that Arco is performing on the residents’ properties under CERCLA. The cleanup relates to the Anaconda Smelter Superfund site.  Arco has spent decades and… Read more


Mar 20, 2019

Groundwater Pollution Liability Under Clean Water Act to be Reviewed by U.S. Supreme Court

Groundwater Pollution

On February 19, the U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari to review a unanimous decision by a panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that underground wastewater injection into a groundwater channel that flows to the Pacific Ocean requires a permit under the Clean Water Act.  The Ninth Circuit decision, Hawai’i Wildlife Fund, et al v. County of Maui, 886 F.3d 737 (9th Cir. 2018), is one of two Circuit Court cases finding liability under the Clean Water Act for unpermitted discharges of pollutants to groundwater for which certiorari petitions are pending in the Supreme Court.  The Order issued on… Read more


Oct 10, 2018

HP Petitions Supreme Court on Patent Eligibility: An Issue of Law or Fact?

Supreme Court: Patent Eligibility

HP, Inc. has filed with the Supreme Court its long-awaited petition in the highly publicized HP v. Berkheimer patent case, seeking certiorari review on the issue of whether patent eligibility analysis under Alice/Mayo is an issue of law to be decided by the Court, or an issue of fact, as was held by the Federal Circuit in the case below. If the Federal Circuit’s opinion stands, then the question of patent eligibility will likely become more difficult (than under previous case law) to adjudicate on a motion to dismiss or even on a motion for summary judgment. In the underlying… Read more


Jun 20, 2017

Supreme Court Hands Chevron Victory In Ecuador Pollution Case

Oil Spill

The U.S. Supreme Court has denied a certiorari petition seeking review of a decision that an $8.65 billion Ecuadorian judgment against Chevron Corporation was unenforceable in the United States. In 2014, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York blocked enforcement in the United States of an Ecuadorian judgment against Chevron. The District Court held, and the Second Circuit Court of Appeals later affirmed, that the Ecuadorian judgment was the product of fraud and racketeering. American lawyer Steven Donziger and Ecuadorians had sought to impose liability on Chevron Corporation for contamination in Ecuador linked to Texaco Petroleum,… Read more