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 »
Here’s hoping that the government lawyers responsible for pursuing the pending public nuisance litigation in Santa Clara v. ARCO et al take a close look at the recent cost award against the state of Rhode Island described in this article. Read More »
At the close of 2008, the Cleveland Housing Renewal Project Inc., a private, non-profit housing advocacy group, tried a new legal tack to deal with the havoc the subprime housing fiasco is causing Cleveland, Ohio. It asked Cleveland’s housing court to declare that business practices used by some banks when selling foreclosed properties are creating a public nuisance in violation of the law. The suit asks the court to abate the nuisance by ordering the banks to either fix up the foreclosed houses before selling them or to demolish them entirely. Read More »
Last August, my partner John Gray raised the question whether one state’s elected officials can force companies and governmental entities located in another state to comply with its enacted laws and regulations. He suggested that, if you thought they could not do so, you should follow North Carolina’s public nuisance case against the Tennessee Valley Authority (“TVA”) over cross-border pollution. Read More »
We are seeing the first volley over the issue of insurance coverage for policyholders faced with climate change lawsuits predicated on public and private nuisance theories. The AES Company is one of many energy companies sued by the Native Village of Kivalina in federal court in California. The Village consists of approximately 400 people. The suit seeks relief for damages allegedly cause by the defendants’ greenhouse gas emissions. According to the Village, greenhouse gas emissions have caused temperatures to rise, which in turn caused the ice barrier protecting the Village to melt, thus jeopardizing the ability of the Village to withstand winter storms. Read More »
In a November 22, 2008 post on ClassActionBlawg.com, Paul Karlsgodt juxtaposed the Rhode Island Supreme Court's July 1, 2008 decision in State of Rhode Island v. Lead Industries Association, 951 A.2d 428 (R.I. 2008), and the Supreme Court of Canada's November 20, 2008 decision in St. Lawrence Cement, Inc. v. Barrette, 2008 SCC 64. They should not, however, be confused as comparable "public nuisance class actions."