Remote Juries Are Too Distracted

By Partner Mark D. Jackson | September 11, 2020 | Firm News

Some California courts are holding jury trials during the coronavirus pandemic. Logistics have been a difficult challenge. But the biggest problem – one far more consequential than any technique and more pervasive than what happens in legal proceedings – is many people’s inability to pay attention anymore.
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Dry Cleaner Releases and Forensic Considerations

By Bjorn Wespestad, Joseph B. Adams, Chase Gerbig and Adam H. Love | June 29, 2020 | Firm News

There is no simple equation for fairly dividing cleanup costs in dry cleaner cases. Understanding forensic data and the history of the site are critical components. Establishing a timeline to illustrate what and when specific solvents and equipment types were used are equally important considerations.
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Supreme Court Avoids Major Controversy in High-Stakes CERCLA Ruling

By Partner Earl Hagström and Associate Barry Bryan | April 27, 2020 | Firm News

In August, we reported on a high-stakes environmental contamination case in which landowners near a former copper smelter sought “restoration damages” from Atlantic Richfield Company (“ARCO”), the successor to the Anaconda Copper Mining Company. ARCO is already implementing an EPA-approved cleanup plan under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (“CERCLA”), but the plaintiffs’ state common law claims could have required ARCO to pay for further cleanup, which would restore their property to the condition it was in before any mining activities commenced.
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SCOTUS Hears Oral Arguments in Arco v. Christian

By Partner Earl Hagström and Associate Barry Bryan | December 5, 2019 | Firm News

Earlier this year we reported that the United States Supreme Court would hear the potentially game-changing environmental contamination case, Arco v. Christian. This case is significant because property owners and industrial concerns could be held liable for restoring contaminated sites even if EPA deemed a previous cleanup adequate. On Tuesday the Supreme Court held oral argument and indicated it would be reluctant to expand liability as far as the plaintiffs requested. The Court’s opinion is expected sometime between May and July of 2020.
Background…
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“How Legal Professionals Must Lead in the Age of Machines” by Mark Jackson Featured on LTN

By Mark D. Jackson | September 10, 2019 | Firm News

In Law Technology Today, BEHB partner D. Mark Jackson offers five ways professionals should work with technology to achieve the best outcomes for clients and the legal system. What’s the best division of labor between attorneys and machines? How do we develop our human skills and avoid losing them, especially as we spend more time engaged with machines? In the end, how do we ensure machines keep serving humanity, rather than the other way around? He explores such questions as: What’s the best division of labor between attorneys and machines? How do we ensure machines keep serving humanity rather than the other way around? How do we keep practicing our skills and avoid losing them, especially when we spend increasingly more time engaged with machines? How do we stay relevant?…
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Consent Decrees and Settlement Agreements May Be in Serious Jeopardy

By Partner Earl Hagström and Associate Barry Bryan | August 8, 2019 | Firm News

The United States Supreme Court has granted review in an environmental contamination case that is anticipated to have significant impacts on the regulation of toxic waste sites, environmental litigation, private property rights, the viability of settlement agreements and Consent Orders and insurance of contaminated sites. Risk managers, industrial operators, and their attorneys are advised to keep a close eye on this decision, and to the Court’s specific reasoning as counsel in developing future litigation strategies and strategies to address the re-opening of previously “done deals”…
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THE HEAT IS ON: Environmental Litigation in the Age of Climate Change

By Associate Barry Bryan | May 28, 2019 | Firm News

The warnings are dire. The world has warmed 1°C since the industrial revolution and is on track for a 1.5°C rise before the end of this century. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recently estimated that the world must reach “net zero CO2 emissions globally by 2050” to limit warming to 1.5°C and avoid worst case scenario outcomes…
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Why Lawyers Shouldn’t Put a Fork in Bitcoin

By Noel Edlin | September 1, 2017 | Firm News

When it comes to bitcoin and blockchain, what is the difference between a “fork in the road” and a “hard fork?” The former suggests a casual detour; the latter connotes a creation of two permanent paths that share a common history until the split…
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Virtual Reality Revolutionizing The Practice Of Law

By Noel Edlin | December 12, 2016 | Firm News

I am not a Trekkie. I do, however, have friends and family members who are, and they enjoy conversing endlessly about the many wild adventures they would have on the holodeck, the fictional virtual reality (VR) facility featured on Star Trek…
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Advances in Neuroscience and the Rules of Evidence

By Fred M. Blum | Fall 2016 | Firm News

Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., wrote that “the rules of evidence in the main are based on experience, logic, and common sense.” The rules of evidence are based on the foundation that witnesses should testify to things they have personally experienced…
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Pro Rata or Pro Tanto? Why Equity Dictates the Choice is not a Toss Up in Private Party CERCLA Settlements

By Fred M. Blum and Erin K.Poppler | June 2016 | Firm News

As if the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act1 was not complicated enough, ascertaining how settlements are credited and what, if any, setoffs are available is very difficult to predict. In most tort cases, courts use what has been called the pro tanto approach and give the remaining defendants a dollar-for-dollar credit for settlement dollars received by the plaintiff. However, the overwhelming trend in CERCLA cases is to forgo the arithmetically based pro tanto approach and to give the nonsettling defendants credit for the settling defendant’s…
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ABA Blog Post: How Bassi Edlin Huie & Blum Won with Predictive Analytics

By Noel Edlin | September 14, 2015 | Firm News

In mid-2013, our small team of trial specialists had just begun defending the City of Fort Bragg, California in a complex environmental case. Our opponent, deep-pocketed Georgia Pacific and their 700-lawyer firm, was formidable. To build our case and prove the City was not responsible for contamination at a 120-year-old lumber mill, we needed to review more than 11 million documents in a wide variety of file formats spanning 12 decades. Millions of dollars in clean-up costs the City and its taxpayers couldn’t afford were at stake. Adding to the challenge, our trial deadline left us very little time to get the job done…
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Scorched Earth: How Climate Change Pits Big Oil against Big Agriculture in California’s Central Valley

By Noel Edlin and Erin Poppler | June 2015 | Firm News

As the producer of a large percentage of America’s food, California’s Central Valley is often referred to as the breadbasket of our nation. Resting alongside the “breadbasket” is a veritable oil bucket. Although no popular moniker currently exists to identify it as such, the Central Valley is a major oil-producing region. Both industries are formidable in their own right and essential to the economic strength of the region; and both are heavily reliant upon the area’s natural resources. While…
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When Testimony and the Limits of Memory Collide

By Fred M. Blum | January 6, 2015 | Firm News

Many lawsuits involve events that occurred in the distant past and witnesses who remember details that directly implicate you clients…
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Lawyers Need Predictive Coding to Succeed

By Noel Edlin and Erin K. Poppler | Summer 2014 | Firm News

The question of how to deal with “big data”—data sets of one terabyte or more—is a pressing one for top minds across every industry and academic discipline. From anticipating major shifts in economic patterns to predicting the weather, experts are continually looking for better ways to leverage the glut of digital information we have at our disposal…
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