Marc Goldstein Quoted in Law360 on Environmental Lawsuits

Principal Marc Goldstein (Boston) was quoted in a July 18 article in Law360 titled "DOJ's New Enviro Cases Down Nearly A Third, Report Says." The article focuses on the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ)'s steadily decreasing number of environmental lawsuits filed in federal district court since 2010.

A report issued by Lex Machina said the DOJ's Environment and Natural Resources Division filed 299 environmental lawsuits from 2016 through 2018, down from 438 in the time period from 2010 to 2012 and a decrease of about 32%. Over the same time, lawsuits filed by the most active environmental advocacy groups rose by 6%, and the number of new cases the top private law firms were retained to defend increased by about 55%.

However, Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Bossert Clark stated that "very little can be deduced just by looking at the raw number of complaints filed each year. A multidistrict case with a dozen or more defendants spread across multiple states, vast complexity and vast environmental harm is simply not the equivalent of a case involving a single factory located in one physical location."

Private law firms have still seen a large increase in defense work involving environmental cases from lawsuits filed under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act; the Clean Air Act; and the Clean Water Act. "The availability of environmental data is also driving citizen suits. That data is searchable and available on the internet to everybody, so anybody who would like to be a plaintiff, if they find some violations, can craft a complaint and get themselves in federal court," Marc said. He also noted that there is also more work at state and local levels that is based on the increasing use of nuisance and trespass laws.

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