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Analysis

"Practical and Strategic Considerations for Taking an NRD Case to Trial" (Law Seminars International, Natural Resource Damages Conference, February 2014). Bill Jackson presented on the practical and strategic considerations for taking a natural resource damages or similar environmental contamination case to a bench or jury trial. From broad case strategy to factual and expert themes, evidentiary presentations, and jury research findings, this presentation provided an animated discussion with co-panelist Jim Bruen on the risks and rewards of taking such complex matters to trial. For more information please click on the following link:  Download PDF

"Divisibility Issues in Sediment Cases" (ABA Section of Litigation, Environmental, Mass Torts and Products Liability Litigation Committees' Joint CLE Seminar, January 2014). Bill Jackson joined this panel, entitled "Shifting Sands: A Sediment Case Study on CERCLA Divisibility." In a spirited debate, Bill provided a State regulator's perspective on the issue of "divisibility of harm" in complex river, bay, and sediment cases. For more information and the panel's paper on Apportionment of CERCLA Liability Post-BNSF please click on the following link:  Download PDF

"Hydraulic Fracturing Litigation: Case Law Update on Recent Rulings in Pending Tort Litigation" (American Bar Association Section of Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources, Mid-Year Conference, October 2013). Bill Jackson presented on the boom in oil and gas activity resulting from new methods of hydraulic fracturing, the growing number of lawsuits alleging contamination and other damages from fracking activities, and the lack of evidence demonstrating causation in many of those cases. In their paper, Lori Warner and Bill Jackson analyze recent court rulings in pending civil litigation involving hydraulic fracturing and identify common issues being litigated across the country, such as groundwater contamination, earthquakes and tremors, abnormally dangerous activities, and Lone Pine Orders. For more information please click on the following link:  Download PDF

"Port and Maritime Environmental Compliance Planning Starts at the Top" (AAPA Seaports Magazine, February 2014). In an article for the ports industry, Micheal Dobbs and Bill Jackson of Jackson Gilmour & Dobbs, PC discuss why it is essential for ports and other maritime operators to develop a comprehensive written environmental compliance plan. Given their operations on and adjacent to the "waters of the United States" and the often hazardous nature of the commodities handled at their facilities, ports and other maritime operators require careful planning to manage compliance and risk issues. For more information please click on the following link:  Download PDF

"Transboundary Hydrocarbon Agreement Update" (U.S. Mexico Chamber of Commerce Alliance Magazine, Fourth Quarter 2014). In 2013, the U.S. and Mexico took a historic step toward their first energy partnership in over fifty years by ratifying the Transboundary Hydrocarbon Agreement ("Agreement"). The Agreement lifts the moratorium on oil and gas leasing in the Western Gap, provides legal certainty for development along the entire transboundary, and opens access to over a million new acres on the Outer Continental Shelf. In this article, Victor Cardenas provides a legislative update and insight into the political backdrop surrounding the Agreement at that time. For more information please click on the following link: Download PDF

"Understanding Natural Resource Damages" (Proceedings of the 59th Annual Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Institute ("Institute"), July 2013). In this paper, Kenneth Corley and Ann Al-Bahish of Jackson Gilmour & Dobbs, PC provide a comprehensive overview of natural resources damages ("NRD") issues, including the federal regulatory framework, the natural resource trusteeship relationships, methods for quantifying NRD, as well as practical and legal considerations effecting the current NRD landscape. For more information please click on the following link:  Download PDF

"Wholly Before 1980: What Does It Mean for the Recovery of Natural Resource Damages" (Law Seminars International, Sixth Annual Advanced Conference on Litigating Natural Resource Damages, July 2012). Bill Jackson presented on the "wholly before 1980" CERCLA provision, as discussed in the presentation materials he prepared with Will Petit addressing the retroactive application of CERCLA. For more information please click on the following link: Download PDF

"Hydraulic Fracturing: Understanding Regulatory Schemes & Natural Resource Damages" (HB Litigation, Gas Drilling Operations Conference, December 13, 2011). Will Petit presented an overview of potential environmental impacts of fracking activities, potential private and public damages and claims, and the intersection with natural resource damages law, as discussed in materials he prepared with Bill Jackson. For more information please click on the following link:  Download PDF

"18 Months After the Deepwater Horizon: The Status of the Gulf of Mexico" (Gulf Ports Association, Fall Meeting, 2011). In this presentation, Bill Jackson identifies a variety of impacts arising from the Deepwater Horizon BP Oil Spill 18 months after the beginning of the Spill, the nature and extent of the remediation and restoration issues, and the status of the claims and litigation arising from the worst spill in American history. For more information please click on the following link:  Download PDF

"The Authority of Co-Trustees Under CERCLA's Natural Resource Damages Regime (Another Look at Coeur D'Alene and Tyson Foods)" (ALI-ABA Environmental Litigation Seminar, Boulder, CO, July 2010). In this paper, Bill Jackson and Will Petit of Jackson Gilmour & Dobbs, PC analyze three significant but inconsistent court decisions analyzing the nature of the trustees' joint trusteeship: Coeur d'Alene Tribe v. ASARCO Inc., 280 F. Supp.2d 1094 (D. Id. 2003); United States v. ASARCO Inc., 471 F. Supp.2d 1063 (D. Id. 2005), and Oklahoma v. Tyson Foods, 258 F.R.D. 472 (N.D. Okla. 2009). These decisions still impact the ability of one co-trustee over natural resources to resolve the NRD liabilities of a party desiring to settle in the absence of unanimity of action among all co-trustees. For more information please click on the following link:  Download PDF

Fox River Case Summary
On December 16, 2009, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin denied the contribution claims of two responsible parties and required them to pay the entire cost of the PCB cleanup of the Lower Fox River, estimated to exceed one billion dollars. See Appleton Papers Inc. v. George A. Whiting Paper Co., No. 08-C-16 (E.D. Wisc. Dec. 16, 2009) (decision and order dismissing Plaintiffs' claims for contribution), at 3-4, 47. Rather than apportioning the cleanup costs among other contribution defendants under § 113 of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act, the Court found that such an allocation was not supported by the equities of the case. In an effort to provide its clients and other industry leaders with timely and objective analysis, Jackson Gilmour & Dobbs, P.C. has prepared the following case brief.

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2008-2009 Supreme Court Decisions Impacting Environmental Laws
During its 2008-2009 term, the United States Supreme Court took up four cases impacting environmental matters in varying degrees. In the most significant case - Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway Co. v. United States - the Court narrowed the scope of "arranger" liability and clarified the scope of "joint and several" liability under CERCLA. In another case, Winter v. Natural Resources Defense Council, the Court addressed the propriety of injunctive relief restricting the Navy's use of sonar because of its impact on marine life off the coast of California. The Court consolidated and decided three cases, referred to as Riverkeeper, dealing with the EPA's discretion to use a cost-benefit analysis when determining "the best technology available for minimizing adverse environmental impact" under the Clean Water Act. Finally, in Coeur Alaska, Inc. v. Southeast Alaska Conservation Council, the Court determined that the Army Corps of Engineers, not the EPA, has authority under the Clean Water Act, to issue § 404 permits for the discharge of fill material, which discharge is not subject to EPA "new source performance standards." Jackson Gilmour & Dobbs, PC summarized these opinions and their potential impact.

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Port Environmental Issues- Natural Resources Damages
The environmental issues facing ports today are increasingly complex and often driven by economic and political considerations. These cases frequently arise under CERCLA, RCRA, OPA as well as Clean Water Act and state law equivalents. Our experience representing public and private port authorities across a broad spectrum of inter-related commercial, industrial and environmental matters provides JGD with unique insight into the day-to-day challenges ports face. Our presentation to the American Association of Port Authorities is a comprehensive look at environmental and natural resources damages (NRD) issues common to ports across the country.

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Advising Small Businesses
As domestic economic initiatives and environmental policies converge, it is more important than ever for small and mid-size businesses to have a better understanding of the potential impacts new and existing environmental policies and regulations may have on their respective businesses and industries. Corporate executives, plant managers, compliance officers, and risk managers are increasingly tasked with trying to assess and address historical environmental liabilities. Jackson Gilmour & Dobbs, PC routinely advises private and public entities of all sizes ranging from closely held corporations to state government agencies on a variety of complex environmental, commercial, regulatory and NRD matters. This presentation is a comprehensive look at the environmental issues facing businesses in a troubled economy.

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Announcements
  • Lori Warner has been named among "The Best Lawyers in America" in the Environmental practice area for 2015.
  • Bill Jackson has been honored as a leading Environmental Litigator by Chambers and Partners' 2014 Chambers USA Guide.
  • Jackson Gilmour & Dobbs, PC has been selected as a 2014 "Best Law Firm" by U.S. News and Best Lawyers.
  • Bill Jackson has been named to "Texas Super Lawyers" again for 2014.
  • Will Petit has been recognized with the "Rising Star Award" by Texas Tech University School of Law for his exemplary contributions, service and leadership to the profession and law school.
  • Bill Jackson received the 2014 Dean's Award for outstanding service to the University of Houston Law School.
  • Will Petit and Kenny Corley were again named "Texas Rising Stars" by Super Lawyers.
  • Lori Warner and Bill Jackson were named "Top Rated Lawyers in Energy, Environmental and Natural Resources" in the American Lawyer and the National Law Journal.
  • Bill Jackson and Lori Warner were honored in the Texas Lawyer as "Top Rated Lawyers in Texas" and A/V preeminent by Martindale-Hubbell.
  • John Gilmour and Bill Jackson recently presented on litigating natural resource damages matters on behalf of State trustees at the Conference of Western Attorneys General Annual Meeting in July 2014.
  • Bill Jackson recently presented on Settlement Strategies and Enforcement in environmental and natural resource damages matters at Law Seminars International NRD Seminar July 2014.