August 2014

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Plaintiffs Bob and Lisa Parr obtained a $2.9 million verdict in April 2014 against Aruba Petroleum, Inc. for health problems allegedly related to oil and gas drilling operations and air emissions near their home. The large verdict brought a new focus on a very old cause of action–Private Nuisance. Texans have been suing oil & gas companies for personal injuries and other damages related to private nuisance claims for over 50 years, but pattern jury instructions on private nuisance were not added to the Texas Pattern Jury Charges, as Chapter 12, until 2012. A new focus exists on this old cause of action due to the high dollar amounts at risk and the potential disruption to the booming fracking operations around the State of Texas and elsewhere. (more…)

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit recently issued an opinion dismissing for lack of jurisdiction a petition for review brought by various environmental groups of the U.S. Coast Guard’s issuance a letter of recommendation to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) regarding the suitability of the Columbia River for vessel traffic associated with a proposed LNG facility and pipeline. Columbia Riverkeeper v. U.S. Coast Guard, 12-73385, 2014 WL 3824247 (9th Cir. Aug. 5, 2014). (more…)