A collaboration of expert legal practitioners and academicians to serve as a resource to legal professionals and the public on the subject of public nuisance law.
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You can now access key decisions and appellate briefs in our Decision and Brief Bank. We have recently posted the opinion in the Santa Clara contingency fee matter that was recently decided by the California Supreme Court. We have also added key decisions in public nuisance cases such as Kivalina, Tennessee Valley Authority, and AEP.

You can also find fresh commentary on the Santa Clara contingency fee decision on the NuisanceLaw Blawg.

Uncommon Law: Ruminations on Public Nuisance

The ancient common tort of public nuisance is one of the most highly visible issues in modern tort jurisprudence. Its growth is particularly notable in climate change and environmental litigation, where it seems to be the “tort of choice” for plaintiffs seeking breathtakingly broad relief from global warming and trans-border pollution.  Read More »

Author: Richard O. Faulk

Gardere LogoRichard O. Faulk

Richard O. Faulk is the Chair of the Litigation Department of Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP, which maintains offices in Dallas, Houston, and Austin, Texas, as well as in Mexico City. He also leads the firm’s Climate Change Task Force and the firm’s Environmental Practice Group.
Mr. Faulk concentrates his personal practice in complex environmental litigation, including class actions and "mass tort" cases with international impacts. He is a board-certified specialist in federal and state appellate practice, and has argued cases before numerous federal and state trial and appellate courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court. He is experienced and widely published on the complex problems raised by CERCLA litigation and the rights and remedies of persons dealing with contaminated properties. Read More »


Public Nuisance and the “Political Question” Doctrine – Two Sides of the Same Coin?

The ancient common tort of public nuisance is all the rage these days. Its resurgence is particularly notable in climate change and environmental litigation, where it seems to be the “tort of choice” for plaintiffs seeking breathtakingly broad relief from global warming and trans-border pollution. Traditionally limited to local concerns, the tort now aspires to planetary dimensions. Its expanding scope has now attracted the attention of the United States Supreme Court in American Electric Power v. Connecticut, which will be argued this Spring.  Read More »

The Civil Justice Association of California's (CJAC) Comments on the California Supreme Court's Decision in "Santa Clara"

The President of the Civil Justice Association of California, John Sullivan'a remarks on last Monday's Supreme Court of California decision on the Santa Clara Contingency Fee issue:

By disregarding the firm advice of California's district attorneys and not learning from ongoing lessons in other states, the California Supreme Court may have set our state’s civil justice system on path to a new brand of wasteful, confusing, and perhaps extortionate litigation.  Read More »

Supreme Court of California Rules on Santa Clara Contingency Fee Issue - Backpedals on Clancy

On Monday the Supreme Court of California spoke for the first time in 25 years on the rule prohibiting contingency fee counsel from prosecuting public law enforcement claims. In People ex rel. Clancy v. Superior Court, 39 Cal.3d 740 (1985), the court prohibited this practice unequivocally because of the risk that the impartiality and neutrality of the public prosecutor would be compromised by contingency fee counsel’s financial interest in generating the largest possible dollar recovery in the litigation.  Read More »

California Supreme Court in Reverse: The Contingency Fee Decision

On Monday the California Supreme Court reversed course on itself by deciding a governmental entity can retain contingency fee counsel to pursue civil claims provided the language of the contingency fee agreement contains certain provisions that purport to guarantee the government is in control of the litigation. In County of Santa Clara v.  Read More »

Kivalina Appeal Draws Fire From Industry Amicus Briefs

The appeal of the dismissal of the Kivalina climate change case has drawn fire from several amicus curiae, but some of the most notable criticism comes from Richard Faulk and John Gray in their amicus brief for The American Chemistry Council, the American Coatings Association, and several other industry organizations.  In their brief, Faulk and Gray illustrate how the “standardless” liability for public nuisance sought by the plaintiffs creates a non-justiciable “political question” – and justifies the district court’s dismissal of the plaintiffs’ claim.  Read More »

Nuisance News

California Supreme Court decides Santa Clara v. Superior Court Contingency Fee Issue

SAN FRANCISCO (Legal Newsline, By John H. O'Brien) - The California Supreme Court has decided its stance on contingency fee agreements between public entities and private attorneys should be loosened...
6 years 4 weeks ago

California Supreme Court Schedules Hearing on Contingency Fee Issue in Santa Clara

The following cases are placed upon the calendar of the Supreme Court for hearing at its courtroom in the Earl Warren Building, 350 McAllister Street, Fourth Floor, San Francisco, California, on May...
6 years 18 weeks ago

California Supreme Court Grants Review of Priceline on Own Motion

As previously reported, on March 4, David Axelrad of Horvitz Levy LLP filed with the California Supreme Court a Request for Depublication of the Priceline decision. Quite unexpectedly, the Court...
6 years 25 weeks ago

California’s Continued Flirtation With Contingency Fee Counsel: Request for Depublication of Priceline Decision Filed

David Axelrad of Horvitz & Levy LLP today filed with the California Supreme Court a Request to Depublish the Priceline decision.
6 years 25 weeks ago

5th Circuit Court of Appeals Orders Re-Hearing in Comer

Today, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ordered a re-hearing of the Comer decision.  You can read more about this case and access the Order here
6 years 25 weeks ago

The Crucible of Common Sense: Real and Illusory Expectations In Copenhagen

Richard Faulk. "The Crucible of Common Sense: Real and Illusory Expectations in Copenhagen" Andrews Litigation Reporter 30.10 (2009). He hoped that in a time of war and common danger he might take...
6 years 25 weeks ago

Texas Petitions EPA to Reconsider Greenhouse Gas Endangerment Finding

6 years 27 weeks ago

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Challenges EPA Over Greenhouse Gases

On February 12, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce announced it was filing a petition to have EPA reconsider its determination to trigger the Clean Air Act as the means for regulating greenhouse gas...
6 years 27 weeks ago

Clearing the Air in Copenhagen

Richard Faulk. "Clearing the Air in Copenhagen" Andrews Litigation Reporter 30.10 (2009).
6 years 27 weeks ago

The Queer Case of the Quarrelsome Convocation: Allies, Adversaries, Indifference And Exaggeration In Copenhagen

Richard Faulk. "The Queer Case of the Quarelsome Convocation: Allies, Adversaries, Indifference and Exaggeration in Copenhagen" Andrews Litigation Reporter 30.11 (2009). They have been at a...
6 years 28 weeks ago