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Maui and Another Groundwater Seep Case

The Maui case is still alive on remand, and scheduled for a bench trial this fall. The county continues to fight the case aggressively despite the ruling by the Supreme Court.


The Courtland Co. case below in interesting in two respects. First it deals with contamination site leachate and all of the attendant problems of addressing such a messy site with a long regulatory history. Second, the judge in the case graduated from college in 1947. That's not a typo. It's a long, complex, and well-written opinion. A tip of the hat to the judge who is also a WWII veteran.

Hawai’I Wildlife Fund v. County of Maui, 2021 WL 1299192 (D. HI. 2021) (denying Rule 702 motion to hold a pre-trial hearing on the admissibility of the dye study showing connectivity between the injection wells and the ocean, held that plaintiffs have not relied on the study for their pending summary judgment motion and defendant’s arguments went more to the weight of the evidence, and not its admissibility)


The Courtland Co., Inc. v. Union Carbide Corp., 2021 WL 1255416 (S.D.W.V. 2021) (in denying motion for preliminary injunction in case involving discharges of leachate from seeps and stormwater ditches at an historic contamination site, held that plaintiffs had standing for some of the alleged discharges where they showed harm, traceability and redressability; plaintiff’s 60-day notice properly alerted defendants to the seep discharges, but not the stormwater discharges; prior administrative orders by the state did not bar plaintiff’s suit because they did not involve a court action and were not brought under laws comparable to the CWA; rejected defendant’s ripeness argument based on active state involvement in the site)


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