We blogged about the Flint water crisis when class action lawsuits were filed earlier this year.
Product liability is not necessarily an area of law many people immediately associate with the need for conducting historical research. After all, litigation over an injury involving burns from a hot cup of coffee or an exploding soda bottle doesn’t have much to do with dusty old historical documents. Or does it? What about an injury sustained while operating a piece of machinery that came with an inadequate instruction manual? Or an injury from a household product that had a misleading label? And what about the potential successor liability risks involved when acquiring a company that might have manufactured a defective product?
We’ve been closely tracking litigation related to the EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan (CPP), which seeks to reduce carbon pollution from power plants and includes state-by-state mandates. Recently, the Supreme Court stayed the implementation of the plan until the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit completes its review.
Last week, citizens of Flint, Michigan filed two class-action lawsuits against Gov. Rick Snyder, Michigan Department of Health & Human Services, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, and other government officials. These follow a declared state of emergency in Flint, a pending investigation from the U.S. attorney’s office for the Eastern District of Michigan, a declared federal emergency by President Obama, and an emergency order issued from the EPA to the state of Michigan.
Much of the work we do in support of environmental law and toxic tort cases involves compiling comprehensive site histories. We work with our clients to come up with cost-efficient research strategies to compile these site histories, which help answer their most pressing environmental or historical questions. We’ve broadly discussed this type of work before in relation to chemical releases into local waterways. Today, we’d like to take the opportunity to discuss a specific case in which we reconstructed the history of an entire city block.
We recently attended the American Bar Association (ABA) Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources (SEER) 2014 Fall Conference in Miami, where the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed Clean Power Plan and the future of compliance was comprehensively discussed, analyzed, and debated from the beginning of the conference to the very end. The topic is of interest to us given our expertise in conducting historical environmental research into former industrial sites and manufactured gas plants, as well as our desire to improve and expand our research services in support of clients affected by emerging environmental litigation.
As members of the Defense Research Institute (DRI), we recently had the pleasure of attending the Toxic Tort and Environmental Law Seminar where the issue of federal reform of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) was a hot topic. This was of particular interest to us given our expertise in conducting research for asbestos litigation and historical environmental problems at industrial sites, manufactured gas plants, and military facilities throughout the U.S.
Recently, chemical releases and spills into local waterways by a chemical manufacturer and other industry in West Virginia have captured the national spotlight. For those familiar with environmental history, however, these tragic occurrences have been far more commonplace, albeit less publicized, than many may realize.