Sheryl Barr

February 25, 2020

Lawsuit filed by victims of 2019 Grand Forks balcony collapse

Source: https://www.grandforksherald.com/, February 21, 2020
By: Hannah Shirley

When a balcony at a Grand Forks apartment building collapsed in June, it sent five people plummeting four stories to the sidewalk below. Now, four of those people have filed a personal injury lawsuit against the building’s owners as well as multiple contractor and architectural companies.

Steven Thompson, Amanda Seim, Elijah Hylden and Paul Anderson each filed separate lawsuits with the Grand Forks County District Court on Wednesday, Feb. 19. Each suit requests payment of $50,000 to cover economic and non-economic damages incurred in the balcony collapse. Read more.

February 24, 2020

Contaminated Groundwater Shuts Down McClymonds High in Oakland

Source: https://www.nbcbayarea.com/, February 20, 2020
By: Michael Bott and Sean Myers

McClymonds High School will be closed for the rest of the week after the chemical compound trichloroethylene (TCE) was found in groundwater beneath the school, the Oakland Unified School District said Thursday.

According to the district, the compound was not found in the school’s drinking water, but officials temporarily closed the school over concerns the chemical may be impacting air quality. Read more.

February 24, 2020

Manhattan developers could be forced to demo 20 floors from top of luxury condo

Source: https://www.constructiondive.com/, February 24, 2020
By: Kim Slowey

Dive Brief:

  • A New York State Supreme Court judge has revoked the building permit for a 668-foot-tall residential tower in Manhattan, a decision that could force the developers to remove 20 floors from the top of the nearly complete structure, Bisnow reported. Attorneys for developers of the 200 Amsterdam property, SJP Properties and Mitsui Fudosan America, said they would appeal the verdict.
  • The complaint, brought by the Committee for Environmentally Sound Development (CFESD) and the Municipal Art Society of New York, alleged that the New York City Department of Buildings was incorrect in its decision to issue a permit for the building because the property sits on a “gerrymandered zoning lot” and was “cobbled together” out of six existing lots in order to meet zoning requirements. The lawsuit said both the DOB and the New York City Board of Standards and Appeals (BSA), which upheld the DOB’s decision to issue the permit, were wrong in their interpretation of zoning laws and contradicted a previous New York State Supreme Court order.
  • Scott Mollen, the attorney representing SJP and Mitsui, said there are at least 20 other buildings in Manhattan that were constructed under a building permit similar to that of 200 Amsterdam. If the developers lose the appeal, he said, it could have similar repercussions for other developers and even force tenants in other buildings to vacate their units.​ Read more.
February 21, 2020

3M to pay $55M in Michigan PFAS settlement

Source: https://www.mlive.com/, February 20, 2020
By: Garret Ellison

Chemical manufacturer 3M will pay $55 million to help footwear giant Wolverine World Wide cover the cost of extending municipal water to neighborhoods with drinking water contaminated by PFAS chemicals from industrial waste dumping.

The payment was announced late afternoon Thursday, Feb. 20. It comes a day after a federal judge approved a settlement between the state of Michigan, two townships and Wolverine, in which the company agreed to pay $69.5 million toward new municipal water mains. Read more.

February 21, 2020

Judge OKs PFAS contamination settlement with Wolverine shoemaker

Source: Detroit Free Press (MI), February 20, 2020
Posted on: https://www.advisen.com/

A federal judge on Wednesday approved a settlement in the spread of potentially health-harming PFAS compounds surrounding a former Rockford, Michigan, shoe factory.

Shoemaker Wolverine Worldwide didn’t admit liability, but agreed to pay $69.5 million in a consent decree with the state of Michigan and Plainfield and Algoma townships. The proposed settlement, reported as under discussion in December, was approved by U.S. District Court Judge Janet Neff in the Western District of Michigan. Read more.

February 20, 2020

Judge OKs PFAS contamination settlement with Wolverine shoemaker

Source: https://www.freep.com/, February 19, 2020
By: Darcie Moran

A federal judge on Wednesday approved a settlement in the spread of potentially health-harming PFAS compounds surrounding a former Rockford, Michigan, shoe factory.

Shoemaker Wolverine Worldwide didn’t admit liability, but agreed to pay $69.5 million in a consent decree with the state of Michigan and Plainfield and Algoma townships. The proposed settlement, reported as under discussion in December, was approved by U.S. District Court Judge Janet Neff in the Western District of Michigan. Read more.

February 19, 2020

EPA orders cleanup of zinc smelter site in DePue, Illinois

Source: https://www.washingtontimes.com/, February 18, 2020

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has issued an administrative order to those responsible to clean up contaminated soil at a site near the northern Illinois town of DePue, where a zinc smelter and fertilizer plant was once located, it was announced Tuesday.

The EPA issued the order to TCI Pacific Communications and CBS/Westinghouse, according to the city of DePue. The order requires what the EPA calls “potentially responsible parties” to clean up contaminated soil in a portion of the New Jersey Zinc/Mobil Chemical Corp. site. The 950-acre site is contaminated with elevated levels of zinc, lead, arsenic, cadmium, chromium, copper, and manganese. Read more.

February 19, 2020

Rico mine owner sues to cover cleanup costs

Source: https://the-journal.com/, February 18, 2020
By: Jim Mimiaga

For nearly 10 years, Atlantic Richfield Co. has been cleaning up the Rico-Argentine Mine site along the Dolores River as part of a 2011 Environmental Protection Agency removal order.

Now, Arco seeks more than $63.7 million in cleanup costs from the mine’s previous owners, which it claims is part of NL Industries Inc. Read more.

February 19, 2020

Fuel Spill Clean-Up Continues, Salem Says Drinking Water Safe

Source: https://www.klcc.org/, February 19, 2020
By: Chris M. Lehman

The City of Salem says its drinking water continues to be safe after a truck crash on Sunday resulted in fuel spilling into the North Santiam River.

The river supplies Salem and several smaller towns with drinking water. Harry Esteve of the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality said initial testing shows very little of the spilled gasoline has made its way downstream. Read more.

February 19, 2020

Insurers Exclude PFAS Due To Regulatory Uncertainty, Chilling Transactions

Source: Defense Environment Alert, February 18, 2020
Posted on: https://www.advisen.com/

Responding to regulatory uncertainty, insurers have begun excluding coverage for both actual and potential contamination stemming from per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), a move that is killing transactions and can affect a wide array of industry sectors, according to an attorney who spoke at a recent environmental legal forum.

Alexandra Farmer, a partner with the law firm Kirkland and Ellis, told the American Law Institute-Continuing Legal Education environmental law conference in Washington, D.C., Feb. 7 that significant regulatory uncertainty as well as litigation risks and the difficulty in remediating sites are prompting uncertainty in transactions related to properties linked to PFAS. Read more.