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Today, our colleagues Ken Taber, Rebecca Carr Rizzo, Andrew Lauria and Kristen Ferguson published their Client Alert titled New York Employment Law Outlook 2019. Their Client Alert discusses employment laws that were introduced in 2018 in New York.

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On January 14, the Colorado Supreme Court issued a unanimous opinion that the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (Commission) properly declined to undertake a rulemaking proceeding that was designed to preclude the Commission from issuing new permits unless the “best available science,” as confirmed by the findings of an independent third-party organization, determines that the drilling will occur in a manner that does not cumulatively impair the state’s atmosphere, water, wildlife, land resources and does not contribute to climate change. The case is Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, et al., v. Martinez, et al.

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Today, the U.S. Supreme Court confirmed that it will review the U.S. Court of Appeals Ninth Circuit’s February 2018 ruling in Newton v. Parker Drilling Management Services, Ltd. which held that California’s wage and hour laws can apply to  claims made by workers employees on Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) platforms where federal law is preeminent—except where there is a gap in legal protection that can be filled by the laws of the  adjacent state.  This ruling, the Petition for Writ of Certiorari agues, was in conflict with the rulings of other federal circuit courts, especially the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Otherwise, these OCS claims are subject to the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act.

Additional Source: Ninth Circuit Remands OCSLA Wage and Hour Complaint to Central District

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In case you missed it, on January 7, Pillsbury attorneys David Dixon, Dick Oliver, and Toghrul Shukurlu published their Client Alert titled Small Business Holiday Gift: Change to Small Business Act May Affect Size Status for Many Service Providers. Takeaways from their Client Alert include:

  • The Small Business Runway Extension Act of 2018 will allow some service contractors who would have otherwise outgrown their applicable size standard to remain eligible for small business set-aside contracts.
  • This Act may also negatively affect certain large businesses with declining revenues by extending the period before they can become eligible for small business set-aside contracts.
  • Small and large business concerns that have recently outgrown their size standards should be aware of this change in the method of calculating their average annual revenues when conducting business planning.

The Small Business Administration (SBA) has stated that the increased time period for calculating average annual revenues will not take effect until the SBA issues a final regulation implementing this change.

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Here’s the visionary “Green New Deal” of the Green Party, apparently drafted sometime in 2016 and which has attracted some support. The centerpiece of this program is the transition to a 100% clean, renewable energy base. These ideas are generating some comment.

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In what the Court of Appeals describes as “the infamous government-created environmental disaster known at the Flint Water Crisis,” a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit has ruled that some of the government personnel responsible for this disaster may be liable, under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, for monetary damages based on the Substantive Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution. The case is Guertin, et al., v. State of Michigan, et al., decided on January 4, 2019.

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With the close of 2018, the Competitive Enterprise Institute released a report asking “how is President Donald Trump’s regulatory reform project going”? Their answer: “Better than Obama, Bush II, and Clinton in terms of fewer regulations, but not as good as Trump’s own first year.”

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On December 3, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court invited the Solicitor’s views on the contested issues whether discharges to groundwater are subject to an he National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit, and whether there is an “ongoing violation” of the Clean Water Act for Citizen Suit jurisdiction when the source of the pipeline spill has been fixed, yet not all pollutants have been cleaned up.

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On December 26, a divided panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit accepted an interlocutory appeal of the presiding District Court’s pre-trial rulings in the novel climate change case that is being tried in Oregon. The case is Juliana, et al. v. United States of America.

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An unusual Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA, known also as Superfund) remedial action has resulted in a broad ruling that Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) remedial actions and their implementation by EPA contractors may be entitled to broad protection from liability insofar as the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) is involved. The case is Gadsden Industrial Park LLC v. United States of America, CMC Inc., and Harsco Corporation, an unpublished opinion released by the court on November 30, 2018.

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