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
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 »
This “guidance” document impacts all businesses subject to SEC jurisdiction. It is sweeping, expansive and, unfortunately, fails to set realistic limits on the scope of its requirements. As a result, all regulated entities, and their officers and directors are placed in difficult circumstances. They now have a heavy burden of compliance and disclosure, and they face a risk of SEC enforcement, as well as civil and criminal liability if the disclosures prove inadequate or misleading. Read More »
In a seminal article published last year, Texas climate change lawyer Richard Faulk prophesied that the Securities and Exchange Commission would enable a wave of securities litigation based on climate change disclosure mandates. See http://works.bepress.com/richard_faulk/26/. Read More »
Scott Smith’s current article on NuisanceLaw.com highlights the problem with governments retaining private trial lawyers on a contingency fee basis to pursue lawsuits. Private lawyers motivated solely by profit are not able to make decisions about a case that threatens their return on investment. Read More »
The American Tort Reform Association (ATRA) has just published its annual list of “Judicial Hellholes” and, no surprise, California is on the “Watch” list. This is no surprise because the California judiciary has abdicated its gatekeeper responsibility.
There are likely any number of reasons for this “recognition” of the California judicial system, but let’s look at one major reason-- public nuisance litigation.
Public nuisance, as misapplied by the plaintiffs’ bar, would neuter the long-standing law of product liability. Plaintiffs, unable to identify which manufacturer’s product caused the alleged harm, try to cast a wide net of public nuisance to snare any company that manufactured, distributed, promoted or sold the product, regardless of how many decades ago and regardless of whether it was defective, claiming these entities substantially contributed to creating and maintaining a public nuisance. In at least one instance, a California Court of Appeals agreed with this mottled thinking and has allowed a public nuisance claim to proceed against companies some of which last manufactured lead pigment 50+ years ago. Surprisingly, the California Supreme Court declined to hear the appeal. Read More »