Description: Citizen suit alleging failures to prepare a bulk storage and fuel terminal in New Haven, Connecticut for the effects of climate change.
Conservation Law Foundation v. Shell Oil Co.
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 09/16/2022 Ruling Download Motion to dismiss granted in part and denied in part. Connecticut Federal Court Largely Denied Motion to Dismiss Climate Adaptation Case Against Shell Oil Defendants. The federal district court for the District of Connecticut allowed Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) to proceed with claims under the Clean Water Act and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act in its citizen suit alleging that Shell Oil Company and other defendants failed to prepare a bulk storage and fuel terminal in New Haven for the impacts of climate change. The court rejected the defendants’ argument that CLF did not have standing, finding that the complaint sufficiently alleged “near-term harms from foreseeable weather events” that were “not purely theoretical” and that were “fairly traceable” to defendants. The court found that the allegations established that CLF had standing to seek penalties for ongoing violations that could continue if undeterred. The court further found that the complaint alleged facts sufficient to assert Clean Water Act adaptation claims and also declined to dismiss CLF’s RCRA imminent and substantial endangerment claim. The court dismissed, however, two RCRA regulatory violation claims and also dismissed all claims against a former owner and operator except for the RCRA endangerment claim. The court declined to dismiss the non-owner/operator defendants, finding that “at this early stage” the complaint stated a plausible claim for direct liability. 08/24/2022 Motion Download Defendants filed memorandum of law in support of motion to compel Conservation Law Foundation's responses to defendants' first set of interrogatories and requests for production. 08/15/2022 Not Available Status conference held. The court denied Conservation Law Foundation's motion to compel because the parties expected that ongoing discovery, both in this case and in their District of Rhode Island case, would likely change the character and scope of the motion and might even obviate the need for it entirely. 08/15/2022 Order Conservation Law Foundation's motion to compel denied without prejudice. 08/12/2022 Status Report Download Joint status report filed. 08/01/2022 Order Conservation Law Foundation's motion to quash third party subpoenas denied. The court denied Conservation Law Foundation's (CLF's) motion to quash third party subpoenas. The court said CLF did not have standing to assert a burdensomeness objection and, moreover, had not supported such an objection. The court said it would not overrule the subpoena recipients' privilege objections at this time 07/27/2022 Motion Download Motion to compel filed by plaintiff. 07/27/2022 Motion Download Conservation Law Foundation filed motion to compel and accompanying memorandum of law. 07/22/2022 Motion Download Motion to quash third-party subpoenas filed by plaintiff. 07/22/2022 Motion Download Conservation Law Foundation filed motion to quash third party subpoenas. 05/29/2022 Order Case referred to a magistrate judge to determine whether settlement discussions would be productive and to conduct such discussions if the magistrate judge believes they would be productive; next status report due August 26, 2022. 05/27/2022 Status Report Download Joint status report filed. 04/01/2022 Reply Download Reply memorandum filed in support of motion to dismiss. 03/18/2022 Opposition Download Opposition to motion to dismiss filed. 03/01/2022 Order Download Scheduling plan and case management order issued. 02/27/2022 Order Motion to transfer denied. 02/25/2022 Motion to Dismiss Download Memorandum of law filed in support of defendants' motion to dismiss amended complaint. 02/16/2022 Reply Download Reply filed in support of defendants' motion to transfer. 02/15/2022 Order Download Motion to dismiss complaint denied as moot in light of filing of amended complaint. 02/11/2022 Complaint Download Amended complaint filed. 02/04/2022 Opposition Download Opposition filed by Conservation Law Foundation to defendants' motion to transfer. 01/25/2022 Motion Download Motion to transfer in accordance with Local Rule 40(b)(2) due to a related case (Conservation Law Foundation v. Gulf Oil LP (No. 3:21-cv-00932)). 01/21/2022 Motion to Dismiss Download Memorandum of law filed in support of defendants' motion to dismiss complaint. 01/21/2022 Not Available Download Joint Rule 26(f) report of parties' planning meeting filed. 07/07/2021 Complaint Download Complaint filed. Two New Citizen Suits Asserted Failure to Prepare Fuel Terminals for Climate Change. On July 7, 2021, Conservation Law Foundation filed two citizen suits asserting that the defendants’ bulk storage and fuel terminals in New Haven, Connecticut violated the Clean Water Act and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. The complaints alleged that the defendants had not designed, maintained, modified, or operated their terminals to account for “the numerous effects of climate change,” including sea-level rise and more frequent and more severe storms. Conservation Law Foundation sought declaratory and injunctive relief, civil penalties, environmental restoration and compensatory mitigation, and costs of litigation, including attorney and expert witness fees.