Friday, April 5, 2013

The Chevron-Ecuador Litigation and Forum Non Conveniens

I have posted a new paper on SSRN entitled The Chevron-Ecuador Dispute, Forum Non Conveniens, and the Problem of Ex Ante Inadequacy. Here is the abstract:

This essay, written for the 2013 Stanford Journal of Complex Litigation symposium on lessons from the Chevron-Ecuador environmental litigation, urges that we not take the wrong lesson concerning the doctrine of forum non conveniens. The paper highlights the irony of the forum battles in the litigation. The plaintiffs sued in the United States, the defendants won dismissal on grounds of forum non conveniens (arguing that the dispute should be adjudicated by the courts of Ecuador), the plaintiffs obtained a massive judgment in Ecuador, and the defendants challenged the judgment on grounds of fraud and corruption in the Ecuadorian proceedings. Despite the temptation to see the Chevron-Ecuador litigation as a cautionary tale about forum non conveniens, this essay argues that the “adequate alternative forum” standard for forum non conveniens should remain exceedingly low. Ex ante, deference to foreign legal systems should prevail, even as we permit ex post challenges to recognition of judgments on grounds of fraud and corruption.

The essay was prepared for the Stanford Lessons from Chevron symposium, which took place in February. On this blog, the long-running environmental dispute has come up a number of times, including a recent reference to Michael Goldhaber's work and earlier reports here, here and here

HME

April 5, 2013 in Conferences, Environmental Torts, Foreign, Mass Tort Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, April 1, 2013

GW Class Action Symposium

For those who were unable to attend the excellent conference on class actions that was held last month at George Washington Law School, video recordings of the panels can now be found on the conference website.

HME

April 1, 2013 in Class Actions, Conferences, Mass Tort Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, March 22, 2013

Goldhaber on the Chevron-Ecuador Litigation

At Corporate Counsel, there's an interesting piece by journalist Michael Goldhaber entitled Kindergarten Lessons from Chevron in Ecuador. Goldhaber, who has been following this massive and messy litigation for years, offers what he sees as some of the true and false lessons from the ongoing litigation concerning Texaco-Chevron's involvement in oil drilling in Ecuador.

In a nutshell, the litigation involves claims that a Texaco subsidiary caused environmental damage to the Oriente region of Ecuador. Plaintiffs originally sued in the Southern District of New York, but their suit was dismissed on grounds of forum non conveniens. Plaintiffs then filed a lawsuit in Ecuador and won an $18 billion judgment. Chevron contends that the Ecuadorian judgment was obtained by fraud and corruption, and has resisted enforcement of the judgment. Chevron sued plaintiffs' attorney Stephen Donziger and others, asserting RICO and fraud claims. An international arbitration tribunal weighed in pursuant to the Ecuador-US bilateral investment treaty. Plaintiffs are seeking to enforce the judgment in Canada, Argentina, Brazil and elsewhere. This mess of a litigation has been going on for nearly 20 years.

Goldhaber, in prior work, has articulated a strong view that the Ecuadorian judgment was the product of fraud and corruption. In the new article, Goldhaber takes as his starting point the Stanford Journal of Complex Litigation symposium that took place in February. He goes through the basic lessons offered by the participants -- plaintiffs' lawyer Graham Erion, defense lawyer Theodore Boutros, and a host of scholars including myself.

The strongest lesson (and here I am in complete agreement with Goldhaber): "Be careful what you wish for." The irony of this litigation is overwhelming. Texaco fought to have the case dismissed on grounds of forum non conveniens, arguing that Ecuador was a more appropriate forum. The plaintiffs argued that the Ecuadorian courts could not handle the case and that it should remain in the U.S. Ever since the massive judgment, however, the positions have been flipped -- with the plaintiffs insisting that the judgment deserves respect and the defendant contending that the Ecuadorian courts were corrupt. Goldhaber has referred to this as "forum shopper's remorse."

But I do not agree with Goldhaber's next step. Noting that "the abuse of transnational litigation would never have happened had the U.S. held on to the case," he suggests that the doctrine of forum non conveniens be altered to take into account the stakes and political significance of a case:

The great blunder in this dispute was to ship it to Ecuador in the name of forum non conveniens. The U.S. courts could have saved everyone a lot of grief had they recognized that a case is more prone to abuse when the issues are (a) high-stakes or (b) politicized. I learned from Russia's Yukos affair that, even if a weak judicial system has made significant progress, it does not deserve trust in a hot-button case of great magnitude. It was reckless to expect Ecuador (even if it had just adopted a new set of corruption reforms) to handle a huge case pitting gringo oil companies against indigenous rights. My modest suggestion is to incorporate these factors into the FNC analysis.

The adequate alternative forum prong of the forum non conveniens analysis is a low threshold, and deliberately so. A lawsuit alleging environmental harm to Ecuadorian land and medical harm to Ecuadorian citizens, and involving control over Ecuadorian natural resources, belongs in Ecuador. That is the very point of forum non conveniens. A U.S. court should be loath to say that it will hear the case in the U.S. because it thinks the Ecuadorian courts just cannot handle it. A judgment obtained by fraud should not be enforceable elsewhere, but this is better addressed ex post, which is exactly what the current litigation -- albeit in a rather ugly fashion -- is doing. But to have said, ex ante, that the case should be heard in the United States despite all of the public and private interest factors that pointed to Ecuador, would have been a mistake.

HME 

March 22, 2013 in Conferences, Environmental Torts, Foreign, Mass Tort Scholarship, Procedure | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Widener Law Symposium: Perspectives on Mass Tort Litigation

Widener University School of Law and the Widener Law Journal are presenting a day-long symposium, Perspectives on Mass Tort Litigation, on Tuesday, April 16, 2013 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.  The Honorable Eduardo Robreno of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania will present a luncheon address, Federal Asbestos Litigation: Black Hole or New Paradigm?  Other participants include Hon. Thurbert Baker (McKenna Long); Mark Behrens (Shook Hardy); John Beisner (Skadden); S. Todd Brown (SUNY Buffalo); Scott Cooper (Schmidt Kramer); Amaris Elliot-Engel (Legal Intelligencer); Michael Green (Wake Forest); Deborah Hensler (Stanford); Mary Kate Kearney (Widener); Randy Lee (Widener); Bruce Mattock (Goldberg Persky); Tobias Millrood (Pogust Braslow); Linda Mullenix (Texas); Christopher Robinette (Widener); Susan Raeker-Jordan (Widener); Sheila Scheuerman (Charleston); Victor Schwartz (Shook Hardy); William Shelley (Gordon & Rees); Aaron Twerski (Brooklyn); Nicholas Vari (K&L Gates); and Nancy Winkler (Eisenberg Rothweiler).  I will also participate via Skype videoconference.  Here's the brochure:  Download Widener 2013 MTL Symposiu Brochure

BGS

March 20, 2013 in Aggregate Litigation Procedures, Asbestos, Conferences, Ethics, Mass Tort Scholarship, Procedure | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, January 21, 2013

Lessons from Chevron: Stanford Journal of Complex Litigation Symposium

The Stanford Journal of Complex Litigation is hosting a symposium on the Chevron Litigation on February 8, 2013.   Our own Howard Erichson will be speaking on the ethics of transnational litigation. 

Here is a description:

The ongoing litigation between Chevron and the people of Lago Agrio, Ecuador regarding alleged environmental harms dating from Texaco’s oil exploration and extraction in Ecuador now spans three continents and nearly twenty years; and concerns the largest judgment ever awarded in an environmental lawsuit, eighteen billion dollars.  The litigation has been called both “a shakedown,” and “a landmark victory,” yet it continues to be litigated around the world and divide both the bar and the academy.  What are the consequences of this case?  With complex litigation becoming increasingly transnational, what general lessons can be drawn from this case?  These questions are at the heart of SJCL’s inaugural symposium. 

 

January 21, 2013 in Conferences, Environmental Torts | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Lawyering for Groups symposium

On Friday, Nov. 30, Fordham Law School will host a symposium entitled Lawyering for Groups: Civil Rights, Mass Torts, and Everything in Between. Organized by Benjamin Zipursky and myself, the conference participants include Elise Boddie, Elizabeth Burch, Kristen Carpenter, Brian Fitzpatrick, Bruce Green, Samuel Issacharoff, Alexandra Lahav, Troy McKenzie, Nancy Moore, Russell Pearce, Theodore Rave and Eli Wald. It is co-sponsored by the Stein Center for Law and Ethics and by the Fordham Law Review, which will publish the papers.

As I read the authors' drafts in preparation for the symposium, I am struck by how difficult the fundamental questions remain. What does it mean, really, for a lawyer to represent a group of similarly situated claimants? Is it a bundle of individual lawyer-client relationships, or is it better understood in practice as a relationship between a lawyer and a group, with the primary duty owed to the group as a whole?  Does class certification fundamentally change the nature of the representation, or in some cases is the class action better understood as an acknowledgement of the reality of mass representation and the imposition of a set of procedural protections? 

I am struck, as well, by how these questions transcend any particular area of practice. The symposium grew out of Ben Zipursky's and my shared interest in the ethics of group lawyering. He and I have lectured to mass tort lawyers on ethics in mass tort litigation, as well as to civil rights lawyers on the ethics of civil rights litigation. Each area brings its own challenges, but the core questions about collective representation apply to both. Convinced that these issues deserve attention, we pulled together a group of proceduralists and ethicists with widely varying views on aggregate litigation and different areas of expertise. I'm looking forward to learning a lot. The agenda is here.

HME

November 28, 2012 in Conferences, Ethics, Mass Tort Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Call for Papers: "The Public Life of the Private Law: The Logic and Experience of Mass Litigation" A Conference in Honor of Richard A. Nagareda

Here's the announcement from Vanderbilt Law School:

Vanderbilt Law School announces a conference in honor of the late Richard Nagareda, the David Daniels Allen Distinguished Chair in Law and founding Director of the Cecil D. Branstetter Litigation and Dispute Resolution Program.  “The Public Life of Private Law: The Logic and Experience  of Mass  Litigation”  Conference will be held  on  September 27  and  28,  2013,  at  Vanderbilt  and  is  jointly  sponsored  by  the  Branstetter  Program, the Journal of Tort Law, and the University of Texas Center on Lawyers, Civil Justice, and the Media.   Conference organizers are Tracey George (Vanderbilt), John Goldberg (Harvard), Sam Issacharoff (NYU), and Charlie Silver (Texas). We invite junior scholars to submit paper proposals for the conference by February 15. 

In  the  spirit  of  Oliver Wendell Holmes, Richard  Nagareda  devoted  himself  to studying the life of the law‐‐the law as it actually plays out in lawyer‐client relationships, the  maneuvering  of  adversary  litigation,  the  efforts  by  judges  to  manage  an  unruly litigation  process,  and  the  construction  of  elaborate  settlement  agreements  that  now dominate the modern landscape of civil litigation.  Yet despite his relentless focus on the “realities” of civil litigation, Richard never fell prey to skepticism about law.  Indeed, he insisted that lawyerly efforts to fashion new claims and new forms of dispute resolution are and  should  be  shaped  by  substantive  law, the  rules  of  professional  responsibility,  and ultimately principles of administrative law.   The hallmark of his work is its commitment to taking seriously both the logic and the experience of mass tort law and complex litigation.  

This conference pays homage to Richard’s scholarship by inviting a new generation of  scholars  to  address  topics  and  concerns  related  to  his  work.      Each  panel  will  be organized around a junior scholar’s paper with senior scholars commenting on papers. Senior scholars will include Lynn Baker, Bob Bone, Beth Burch, Brian Fitzpatrick, Tracey George, Myriam Gilles, John Goldberg, Sam Issacharoff, Bill Rubenstein, Suzanna Sherry, Charlie Silver, and Patrick Woolley.     All papers and comments will be published in the Journal of Tort Law.  

If  you  are  a  junior  scholar  interested  in  participating,  please  submit  a  five‐page paper proposal to Branstetter.Program@vanderbilt.edu no later than February 15.   If your proposal is accepted, we will inform you by March 15.   All travel expenses will be covered for invited  junior  scholars.   If  you  have  any questions,  please  email  Branstetter Director Tracey George (tracey.george@vanderbilt.edu). 

ECB

November 27, 2012 in Conferences | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, November 12, 2012

Vanderbilt's New Voices in Civil Justice Workshop

Vanderbilt is conducting its annual New Voices in Civil Justice Workshop on May 6-7 and has issued a call for papers.  Papers should be submitted by January 1, 2013.  Both Alexi and I participated last year and I can attest that it's a great program and a wonderful way for junior scholars to receive feedback from senior folks in the field in a relaxed environment.  (Plus, Nashville is lovely in the spring if you need an additional reason to submit a paper!)  Here's the information from Vanderbilt and a link to the program website:

Vanderbilt Law School’s Cecil D. Branstetter Litigation & Dispute Resolution Program holds an annual New Voices in Civil Justice Workshop in the spring. Junior scholars’ works are selected based on an anonymous review of an outstanding group of papers submitted for consideration. A senior scholar briefly introduces and comments on each paper before opening the session up to discussion about the work. The senior scholars typically include Branstetter faculty and several distinguished visitors.

The Branstetter Program draws on a multimillion-dollar endowment to support research and curriculum in civil litigation and dispute resolution. The New Voices workshop brings together junior scholar authors, invited senior scholars, and Vanderbilt faculty in the areas of civil justice.

This year, four junior scholars will be selected via a blind review process to present at the New Voices Workshop. The 2013 New Voices in Civil Justice Scholarship Workshop will be held at Vanderbilt Law School on May 6-7, and the Branstetter Program invites submissions for the workshop.

The New Voices format maximizes collegial interaction and feedback. Paper authors thus do not deliver prepared “presentations” as such. Rather, all participants read the selected papers prior to the session, and at each workshop, a senior faculty member provides a brief overview and commentary on the paper. Open and interactive discussion immediately follows.

ECB

November 12, 2012 in Conferences, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, October 20, 2012

U.S. Chamber of Commerce 13th Annual Legal Reform Summit

The conference will take place on October 24, 2012 in Washington, D.C., and includes panels on third-party litigation financing and global litigation (including the Chevron Ecuadoran litigation and the adoption of class actions in other countries).

BGS

October 20, 2012 in Aggregate Litigation Procedures, Class Actions, Conferences, Environmental Torts, Foreign, Procedure | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, October 19, 2012

Conference on Cost-Driven Litigation Paradigms -- When is a Case Too Big to Litigate?

ABA Litigation Section Conference on Current Issues on Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Litigation

The conference will take place on November 16, 2012 in Boston, Massachusetts.  Here's the brochure.

BGS

October 19, 2012 in Conferences, Medical Devices - Misc., Pharmaceuticals - Misc. | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

7th Annual ABA Chemical Products and Toxic Torts Regional Seminar

The seminar will take place in downtown New York at St. John's University School of Risk Management, on October 29, 2012.  Here's the brochure.

BGS

October 10, 2012 in Asbestos, Conferences | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

2013 New Voices in Civil Justice Workshop

Below is an announcement for the Branstetter Civil Justice Workshop. This is a wonderful experience if you are lucky enough to be selected! ADL

 

2013 NEW VOICES IN  CIVIL JUSTICE SCHOLARSHIP WORKSHOP

CALL FOR  PAPERS

Vanderbilt Law School’s Branstetter Litigation & Dispute Resolution Program invites submissions for its annual New Voices in Civil Justice Scholarship Workshop, to be held May 6-7, 2013 at Vanderbilt Law
School.

 This year, four junior scholars will be selected via a blind review process to present at the New Voices Workshop. The format maximizes collegial interaction and feedback: in lieu of author “presentations,” all participants read the selected papers prior to the session, and at each workshop, a senior faculty member provides a brief overview and
commentary on the paper.  Open and interactive discussion immediately follows.  

Submitted papers should address an aspect of civil justice, broadly defined.  Subject areas may include, but are not limited to, civil procedure, complex litigation, evidence, federal courts, judicial decision-making, alternative dispute resolution, remedies, and conflict
of laws.  In keeping with the intellectual breadth of the Branstetter Program faculty, the Workshop welcomes all scholarly methodologies, from traditional doctrinal analysis to quantitative or experimental approaches.  

Submissions must be received at Branstetter.Program@vanderbilt.edu
no later than January 1, 2013.  Selected participants will have  reasonable  travel and accommodations covered.  Other  requirements and more details about the workshop can be found at www.law.vanderbilt.edu/newvoices.

August 14, 2012 in Conferences | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

AALS Workshop on Torts, Environment & Disaster

In June, the Association of American Law Schools will host a major conference in Berkeley, CA, on environmental disasters. The sessions include such cheery topics as "History of Disaster," "Psychology of Disaster," "Disaster Federalism," and "Disaster Justice." Along the way, there will be sessions on tort law, environmental law, and regulatory perspectives on environmental disasters. The disputes arising out of 9/11, Katrina, and the Gulf oil spill leave no doubt that environmental catastrophes present some of the most challenging problems of mass tort litigation in the 21st century.

The speakers include many of the leading scholars in torts, environmental law, complex litigation, and related fields, including Tom Baker, David Dana, Daniel Farber, Sheila Foster, Myriam Gilles, Michael Green, Laura Hines, Keith Hylton, Gregory Keating, Douglas Kysar, Jonathan Masur, John Nagle, Adam Scales, Peter Schuck, Anthony Sebok, Catherine Sharkey, Jed Shugerman, Stephen Sugarman, and many others (and me!). I will speak on a panel about principles for compensation programs and mass settlements.

The conference will take place June 8-10 at the Claremont Hotel in Berkeley. The brochure is here. A TortsProf plug for the conference is here

HME

May 2, 2012 in 9/11, Conferences, Environmental Torts, Mass Tort Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

BP Today, Tomorrow and Into the Future

Gentle Readers,

You don't need the Mass Tort Litigation Blog to tell you that the imminent BP trial has been stayed pending settlement talks.  In the meantime, here are some thoughts from the ever relevant George Conk. Special shout out for his poetic references:  Diving Into the Wreck: BP and Kenneth Feinberg's Gulf

I was just at a wonderful conference at the Charleston School of Law on Mass Torts and the Federal Courts where Feinberg spoke.  One of the key questions at the conference is the extent to which claims facilities (BP, 9/11, etc.) are unique and unlikely to be repeated or the wave of the future.  The interesting thing about BP is that it shows the interaction between claims facilities and litigation - its not one or the other.  Speakers mentioned how companies trying to get ahead of a litigation may well look to the BP model.   Others questioned whether BP was really special because the company was prepared to admit liability (although not gross negligence). 

I was especially interested by the remarks of Sheila Birnbaum, currently running the 9/11 Fund for first responders and who mediated settlements for the 94 families who chose not to participate in the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund.  Even the families who wanted a public trial to find out what happened ultimately settled because of the uncertainty of trial.  This raises important questions about the purpose of litigation for individuals: is it ultimately to get compensation? How important is it to get to the "truth"?  How important is vindication?  Punishment?  When people settle (or waive their right to litigate prior to filing suit), what kind of consent do we want and does money ultimately satisfy?  Lynn Baker, who was at the conference, referred me to the following article that addresses some of these questions: Gillian Hadfield, Framing the Choice Between Cash and the Courthouse: Experiences with the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund.  This continues to be relevant, especially if Funds become a model rather than a one-off.

ADL

February 28, 2012 in 9/11, Aggregate Litigation Procedures, Conferences, Environmental Torts, Lawyers, Mass Disasters, Mass Tort Scholarship, Settlement | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, January 16, 2012

Southwestern Law School Symposium on Transnational Litigation and Civil Procedure

Below is the announcement from Southwestern Law School, and here is the brochure.

BGS

***

SW_Law_Our Courts and The World Symposium

Our Courts and the World: Transnational Litigation and Civil Procedure
Southwestern Law School
February, 3, 2012
 
On Friday, February 3, 2012, Southwestern Law School in Los Angeles, California and the Southwestern Journal of International Law are hosting a symposium entitled, Our Courts and the World: Transnational Litigation and Civil Procedure.   The symposium is co-sponsored by the American Society of International Law, the Junior International Law Scholars Association (JILSA), the Los Angeles County Bar Association -  International Law Section, and the State Bar of California - International Law Section.
 
This one-day symposium will bring together leading scholars from Canada and the United States to discuss the procedural issues that arise in transnational civil litigation cases. It will also assess how receptive courts are to transnational litigation and explore issues related to transnational class actions. The proceedings and papers from this symposium will be published in the Southwestern Journal of International Law.
 
What:
Southwestern Journal of International Law presents
When:
Friday, February 3, 2012, 9:00 a.m. – 5:15 p.m.
Where:
Southwestern Law School, Los Angeles, California
 
Panelists include (in alphabetical order):
·          Samuel P. Baumgartner, Professor of Law, University of Akron School of Law
·           Vaughan Black, Professor of Law, Dalhousie University Schulich School of Law
·           Gary B. Born, Partner, WilmerHale, Lecturer on Law, Harvard Law School
·           Stephen B. Burbank, David Berger Professor for the Administration of Justice, University of Pennsylvania Law School
·           Montré D. Carodine, Associate Professor of Law, University of Alabama School of Law
·           Donald Earl Childress III, Associate Professor of Law, Pepperdine University School of Law
·           Paul R. Dubinsky, Associate Professor of Law, Wayne State University Law School
·           Allan Ides, Christopher N. May Professor of Law, Loyola Law School, Los Angeles
·           Thomas Orin Main, Professor of Law, University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law
·           Erin O’Hara O’Connor, Professor of Law and Director of Graduate Studies, Law & Economics PhD Program, Vanderbilt Law School
·           Cassandra Burke Robertson, Associate Professor, Case Western Reserve University School of Law
·           Linda J. Silberman, Martin Lipton Professor of Law, New York University School of Law
·           Linda Sandstrom Simard, Professor of Law, Suffolk University Law School
·           Adam N. Steinman, Professor of Law and Michael J. Zimmer Fellow, Seton Hall University School of Law
·           Janet Walker, Professor of Law, Osgoode Hall Law School      
·           Rhonda Wasserman, Professor of Law, University of Pittsburgh School of Law
                                                                                               
Moderators include:
·           William E. Thomson, Partners, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP
·           James H. Broderick, Jr., Partner, Squire, Sanders & Dempsey LLP
·           Marcus S. Quintanilla, Counsel, O’Melveny & Myers LLP
·           Ray D. Weston Jr., Vice President and General Counsel, Taco Bell Corp.
 
Symposium Co-Chairs:
  • Austen Parrish, Professor of Law and Vice Dean, Southwestern Law School
  • Christopher A. Whytock, Acting Professor of Law and Political Science, University of California, Irvine

 

January 16, 2012 in Aggregate Litigation Procedures, Class Actions, Conferences, Mass Tort Scholarship, Procedure | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Fifth Annual Conference on the Globalization of Class Actions and Mass Litigation at The Hague

The Fifth Annual Conference on the Globalization of Class Actions and Mass Litigation is being hosted by Tilburg University and will be held on December 8-9, 2011 in The Hague, Netherlands.  The conference is being organized by Professors Deborah Hensler (Stanford Law School), Christopher Hodges (Oxford Centre for Socio-Legal Studies and Erasmus University), and Ianika Tzankova (Tilburg University).  Master claim administrator Kenneth Feinberg is delivering the keynote speech.

BGS  

November 27, 2011 in Aggregate Litigation Procedures, Class Actions, Conferences, Ethics, Informal Aggregation, Lawyers, Mass Tort Scholarship, Procedure | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, November 7, 2011

Southwestern Symposium on CERCLA and the Future of Liability-Based Environmental Regulation

CERCLA symposium
On this Friday, November 11, 2011, Southwestern Law School in Los Angeles will host a symposium on CERCLA and the Future of Liability-Based Environmental Regulation.  Here's a description of the symposium:

Enacted in 1980, CERCLA takes a unique approach to federal environmental regulation. Unlike other major federal environmental statutes, CERCLA addresses soil and groundwater contamination through a tort-like liability scheme imposing joint and several, retroactive liability on broad classes of covered persons to clean up contaminated property. With billions of dollars in aggregate cleanup costs at stake, CERCLA has generated substantial and unrelenting litigation over the past three decades that will likely continue for years to come. 

CERCLA presents challenging issues about the relationship between federal and state pollution laws on topics ranging from regulatory oversight to toxic torts. Some accuse CERCLA's broad liability scheme and remediation process requirements (the "national contingency plan") of fostering sprawl by discouraging in-fill property development. Others object to federal and state "brownfield" laws promoting more streamlined in-fill remediation on environmental justice grounds. The U.S. Supreme Court's recent decisions in Aviall, Atlantic Research and Burlington Northern raised new questions about the scope of CERCLA liability, the extent of public and private cost recovery rights, and incentives for polluters to settle CERCLA liabilities with regulatory authorities. 

These timely issues address important concerns affecting industries, communities and regulators across the country; they also present bigger picture questions. Has CERCLA worked? Can it be improved? Should CERCLA's tort-like liability-based approach to environmental regulation be employed to address other environmental problems? This symposium will explore the impact of CERCLA on the current state of contaminated property law over the past 30 years and the future of liability-based environmental regulation. 

UPDATE -- Here's a desciption of the symposium panels:

Panel #1: CERCLA and Federalism.  This panel will discuss the relationship between state and federal contaminated property and land use law, including issues relating to the evolution of state Superfund statutes and tort law, preemption, and concurrent federal, state and local regulatory authority. Speakers:   Prof. Robin Kundis Craig (Florida State); Prof. Alexandra Klass (Minnesota); Prof. William Rodgers (Washington); Moderator:  Prof. Ann Carlson (UCLA)

Panel #2: CERCLA, Brownfields and Distributive Equity.  This panel will focus on the economic, public health and social welfare impacts of CERCLA liability and remediation process requirements on land use and redevelopment, including the economic benefits and environmental justice implications of state and federal brownfield programs.  Speakers:  Prof. Joel Eisen (Richmond); Prof. Eileen Gauna (New Mexico); Jay Pendergrass, Esq. (Environmental Law Institute); Nicholas Targ, Esq. (Holland & Knight);Moderator:  Romel Pascual (Deputy Mayor for Environment, City of Los Angeles)

Panel #3: CERCLA – Public Enforcement.  This panel will focus on the effectiveness and normative value of     CERCLA’s liability-based regulatory scheme, including an evaluation of the public health and welfare efficacy of the CERCLA cleanup process under the national contingency plan, and the effect of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Atlantic Research and Burlington Northern decisions on public enforcement and regulatory agency settlement options.  Speakers Prof. Martha Judy (Vermont); Prof. Joel Mintz (Nova Southeastern); Prof. Robert Percival (Maryland); Moderator: Professor Daniel Selmi (Loyola)

Panel #4: CERCLA – Private Enforcement.  This panel will explore the impact of the AviallAtlantic Research and Burlington  Northern decisions on CERCLA private cost recovery litigation, as well as waste disposal and litigation behavioral incentives on the regulated community created by CERCLA and the dispute resolution challenges presented by CERCLA’s liability scheme.  Speakers:  Prof. Steven Ferrey (Suffolk); Prof. Craig Johnston (Lewis & Clark); Prof. Alfred Light (St. Thomas); ModeratorProf. Ronald Aronovsky (Southwestern)

 

BGS

November 7, 2011 in Conferences, Environmental Torts, Mass Tort Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Conference Preview: Mass Torts and the Federal Courts

Sheila Scheuerman (Charleston School of Law and Torts Prof Blog) is putting together what sounds like an exciting conference on mass torts:

The Federal Courts Law Review at the Charleston School of Law is sponsoring a symposium on "Mass Torts in the Federal Courts" on February 24, 2012, in Charleston.  Ken Feinberg will be giving the keynote address.  Panels will address the lessons of Wal-Mart v. Dukes for mass torts, the current issues surrounding preemption in mass tort cases, and a look at the ethical issues in mass tort litigation.  Registration is not yet open, but if you would like additional information about either conference, contact Associate Professor Sheila B. Scheuerman at sscheuerman (at) charlestonlaw.edu.

ADL

September 1, 2011 in Conferences | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Sixth Biennial Conference on the Law of Obligations at University of Western Ontario

Announcement from Professor Jason Neyers (Univ. of Western Ontario):

***

Sixth Biennial Conference on the Law of Obligations: Challenging Orthodoxy

Hosted by The Faculty of Law at the University of Western Ontario

London, Ontario, Canada

July 17-20, 2012

The Faculty of Law at the University of Western Ontario is pleased to be hosting the Sixth Biennial Conference on the Law of Obligations. The conference will bring together leading scholars in tort, contract, equity and unjust enrichment from throughout the common law world.

The theme of the conference is "Challenging Orthodoxy." We have prepared an academic program of over 60 speakers in which professors, graduate students and eminent practitioners will challenge established common law rules and suggest new approaches to both old and emerging problems. The plenary speakers are Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin and Justice Thomas Cromwell (Supreme Court of Canada), Melvin Eisenberg (Berkeley), John Goldberg (Harvard), Andrew Robertson (Melbourne), Ernest Weinrib (Toronto), Richard Wright (Chicago-Kent), and Ben Zipursky (Fordham).

The Obligations Conference originated at the University of Melbourne in 2002, and has since become one of the leading private law conferences in the common law world. The biennial conferences have been held at the University of Melbourne, the University of Queensland, the National University of Singapore and the University of Oxford. 

For more information on the Conference and to register please visit: http://www.law.uwo.ca/Conferences/Obligations6/index.html.

***

BGS

August 31, 2011 in Conferences, Mass Tort Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)