Lone Pine Orders save money (& sanity)
by Roy Shelley
One of the topics at our March 1st seminar in Charlotte will be “Techniques to Reduce Litigation Expenses and Achieve Faster Resolution in Complex Construction, Toxic Tort, and Environmental Claims.” We will discuss a number of strategies and techniques, but one powerful, often-overlooked tool is the use of a case management order which requires Plaintiffs provide prima facie proof of their claims before costly and time-consuming discovery. (According to most estimates, discovery usually consumes 60-80 % of the entire litigation budget for a matter.) These are often referred to as “Lone Pine” orders based on the most well-known example of their use. (Lore v. Lone Pine Corp., No. L-03306-85, 1986 N.J. Super. LEXIS 1626 (N.J. Sup. Ct. Nov. 18, 1986).)
A couple of recent cases are great examples of attorneys, clients, and carriers working together to develop and pursue a case management order following the Lone Pine rationale. In Strudley v. Antero Resources Corp., No. 2012 CA 1251 (Colo. Ct. App.) (petition for review pending), the Plaintiffs were unable to make a prima facie case supporting their groundwater contamination claims, resulting in a dismissal before extensive discovery. And the trial court in the MDL In re Fosamax Products Liability Litigation, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 166734 (S.D.N.Y. Nov. 20, 2012), recently entered a Lone Pine case management order requiring “targeted discovery” as to certain claims and discussing the merits of Lone Pine orders. Defense counsel and clients/carriers involved in complex cases should seriously consider the use of similar strategies.
EPA cites owners for damage to wetlands
by Steve Moon
More than 100 acres of South Carolina wetlands have been destroyed according to the EPA. These lands are in Horry County, home of Myrtle Beach. The various problems date back to 2005 and involve several separate locations and separate owners. Five different landowners are accused of filling or digging up wetlands to build roads, a lake, a sand mine, a horse farm and at least one additional project to the west of the Myrtle Beach area.
The agency is requiring the owners to restore the lands as wetlands. The cost estimates total $285,000. If the work is not done or not performed properly, there could be fines to the owners. The agency cited owners in several states across the southeast. “By taking these enforcement actions, we are sending a strong message about the importance of protecting wetlands and waterways,” EPA regional administrator Gwen Keyes Fleming said in a news release.
Historically, South Carolina has lost substantial wetlands to development. Wetlands development is now highly regulated and closely watched. Anyone owning property interests in any coastal area of South Carolina needs to become familiar with the various regulations or contact a knowledgeable attorney about these issues.
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