Spring 2019 Course Schedule

Advanced Environmental Law: Liability/Torts (LAW-844-001)
Barry Breen

Meets: 07:25 PM - 10:15 PM (M) - Yuma - Room YT16

Enrolled: 17 / Limit: 22

Administrator Access


There are no notices at this time.


This course focuses on advanced issues in liability under U.S. statutory environmental law, particularly advanced issues in Superfund, the imminent endangerment provisions in major environmental statutes, and the citizen suit provisions in major environmental statutes. The course also focuses on environmental torts, including causes of action, remedies, issues in causation, and potential defenses. In addition, the course surveys issues of environmental federalism, including commerce clause and choice of law issues arising in environmental cases. The method of assessment is an in-class final examination (75%) and class participation (25%), which includes attendance and participation in regular classes and also an in-class exercise involving draft environmental legislation. ULWR: If requested, the ULWR can be met in connection with this course by adding the necessary written work, when arranged with the instructor.

Textbooks and Other Materials

The textbook information on this page was provided by the instructor. Students should use this information when considering purchases from the AU Campus Store or other vendors. Students may check to determine if books are currently available for purchase online.

There are two course materials needed for this course: The Statute Book, and the Supplemental Materials. Each is explained below. (1) The Statute Book: Selected Environmental Law Statutes (West Publishing Co.) You can use either the current edition or any earlier edition as far back as 2002-2003. Do not use anything older than 2002-2003. It is fine to get this book new or used, and from any source. This statute book, from West Publishing, is the standard statute book that most environmental lawyers use. (You might already have it from my introductory environmental law course.) Still, if you already own a different statute book, check with me before you buy a replacement; I'll help you know if the statute book you already own might also be fine. (2) The Supplemental Materials photocopied for this course, to be posted on the course's MyWCL web site, and in printed form from the law school's photocopying service. Included as part of the Supplemental Materials are selected pages from the course Casebook, which is Madden & Boston, Law of Environmental and Toxic Torts: Cases, Materials, and Problems, third edition. Everything you need from the Casebook is included in the Supplemental Materials.

First Class Readings

Read the following for the first class: 1. Casebook pp. 621 through 635 (these casebook pages are reprinted in the supplemental materials at the pdf pages that are approximately pp 770 - 784). 2. CERCLA sec. 107(a) - (c), and 101(20)(A). 3. the follow items from the Supplemental Material (Supp. Mat.): a. Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway v. U.S. (we are reading just a portion of this decision at this point in the course: Majority opinion pp. 1-13, 20; and dissent pp. 1-4) (this case is in the supplemental materials beginning at page 1) b. US v. Fleet Factors (this case is in the supplemental materialas beginining at page 19) c. 40 CFR 300.1100 (scan this regulation quickly; you do not need to study it carefully as we will highlight key points in class) (supplemental materials beginning at page 25) d. Kelley v. US EPA (the dissent can be read quickly; you need only read the majority opinion carefully) (supplemental materials beginning at page 28) e. EPA / DOJ Policy on CERCLA Enforcement Against Lenders (supplemental materials beginning at page 33) f. CERCLA sec. 101(20)(E),(F), and (G), and sec. 107(n), all added to the statute in 1996.