June 14, 2013

Highway Contract Makes Plea in Illegal Dumping Case

Read here about a state highway contractor in Virginia who has pleaded no contest to illegal dumping.


May 29, 2013

Road Work Stirs up a Dust Claim

Source: Great American Environmental Division, May 2013

A street and road contractor was engaged in a long-term re-construction project of a major highway. A nearby resident filed a lawsuit against all entities working on the project for damage to her home and bodily injuries allegedly from exposure to construction dust from the highway project.…

April 1, 2013

The United States allocated 40% of liability for contamination caused by a contractor’s manufacturing operations

Source:, March 20, 2013
By: Lynn T. Manolopoulos and Scott Broadwell, Davis Wright Tremaine LLP

A recent decision by a federal court in the Central District of California found the United States liable for 40% of the response costs related to contamination from the manufacture of ammunition and rocket motors for the United States under governmental contracts. The court issued its holding despite the fact that it found there had been “inadequate care” and admitted violations of state and federal environmental laws by the owner and operator, a private party with day-to-day operational control of the manufacturing facilities. The case provides important precedent for private parties involved in cleanup sites where the United States is a party but not itself an owner or direct operator, and may prove important where private parties have likewise contracted for goods, the manufacture of which results in contamination.

The decision was issued in the context of the allocation phase of a contribution claim brought under CERCLA in American International Specialty Lines Insurance Co. v. United States, Case No. CV09-01734 AHM(RZx), 2013 WL 135405 (Jan. 9, 2013). The court stated that the most applicable allocation factors were the degree of involvement of the various parties in the generation, transportation, treatment, storage and disposal of hazardous waste, the degree of care exercised by the parties with respect to the waste, and the degree of cooperation with federal, state, and local regulators. The court also considered the United States’ knowledge and acquiescence in the contaminating activities and the benefit the United States received from the activities, including the value to the United States in furthering national defense efforts.

The United States will often claim little or no liability for contamination resulting from contracted services. The court in American International Specialty Lines Insurance Co. recognized that the United States played a significant role and was liable despite its limited onsite activities as the customer.


February 8, 2013

UT to require emission controls for hamburger chains

Read here about new emissions controls in Utah that will affect hamburger broilers at fast food chains.…

October 19, 2012

Cannery Waste Lawsuit Remains Unsettled

Read here about lawsuit against a fruit cannery that remains unsettled.


September 28, 2012

SnoDrifters concerned about pollution at possible storage site

Source:, September 26, 2012
By: Derrick Knutson

The North Branch SnoDrifters club is planning to buy the old Branch City Hall property from North Branch, but that purchase is contingent upon an inspection for possible pollutants.

Scott Gillette, the president of the SnoDrifters, said he was informed the site was a former dump, an assertion confirmed by North Branch City Administrator Bridgitte Konrad and council member Ron Lindquist at the council’s Monday night meeting.

Lindquist said he thought the site might have been a dump for Branch Township before the Branch City hall was built on it in the early 1960s.

The SnoDrifters were planning to acquire the property, located off St. Croix Trail, right accross from Hemingway Avenue, from the city in a bartering manner, agreeing to build a 40-by-60-foot storage building on the city’s wastewater treatment plant site as payment for the old Branch City Hall site.

But Gillette said he was concerned about any potential liability that the club might incur if it were to acquire the site for storage of its gear without knowing what lies beneath the soil.

“Our concern isn’t so much about anything we would do with the property in terms of building something – my primary concern is with any potential liability due to what’s there that we don’t know,” he said.

City Attorney Thomas Miller suggested the council pay a company to complete a phase 1 inspection of the area, which would entail going back through records to determine what was dumped there.…

August 9, 2010

Olympia man settles dangerous-highway-design lawsuit for $2 million

A 24 year old Olympia man settled a dangerous-highway-design lawsuit against the Washington State Department of Transportation for $2 million. The man was critically injured when his motorcycle hit a car turning left onto the controversial intersection at Lynch Road and SR 101 near Shelton. After two months in the hospital and 15 surgeries, the man is still recovering from the April 2006 accident. This was the 29th collision at this intersection since a state DOT study recommended fixing the deadly highway.

Local safety officials and state studies have documented the dangers of the intersection for more than a decade. The state recommended closure of the southbound left turn from Lynch Road onto SR 101 following an April 2001 DOT study. The report favored construction of a new county road east of SR 101 to run parallel to the highway. Recommendations have been made and planning done but action has yet to be taken.