tort liability

Injecting Earthquakes

The scientific evidence shows a clear link between injection wells and earthquakes. The legal consequences are less clear.

A recent study of injection wells and earthquakes got a lot of press, but the reports missed an important nuance.  The study, published in the June 19 edition of Science, found a definite connection between well injection and earthquakes.  But there was an interesting wrinkle: “The scientists found that disposal wells were 1.5 times more likely to …


Court to Feds: “Pay Up for Katrina Damage”

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has upheld a district court ruling that the federal government is liable for damage from the Katrina storm surge that went up the MRGO canal into the city.  As I read the opinion, it is limited in three ways.  First, it is crucial that MRGO — …


The Year of Living Preemptively

Preemption is the question of whether a state’s legal rule is invalid because it conflicts with a federal statute. Environmentalists have been particularly concerned about this issue in recent years because state laws are often “greener” these days than federal ones. The Supreme Court has an unusual number of preemption cases on its docket this …