Justia Construction Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Environmental Law
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This case was a challenge to the State of Washington's Building Code brought by the Building Industry Association of Washington (BIAW) along with individual builders and contractors. The impetus for this challenge was the State's 2009 requirement that new building construction must meet heightened energy conservation goals. At issue was the Energy Policy and Conservation Act's (EPCA) preemption-exemption provision, which expressly preempts state standards requiring greater efficiency than federal standards but exempts from preemption state building codes promoting energy efficiency, so long as those codes meet statutory conditions. Plaintiffs argued that the Building Code did not satisfy EPCA's conditions for exemption. The district court held that Washington had satisfied EPCA's conditions and therefore was not preempted. The Ninth Circuit affirmed, holding that the Building Code satisfied the conditions Congress set forth in the EPCA for exemption from federal preemption. View "Bldg. Ind. Ass'n of Wash. v. Wash. State Bldg. Code" on Justia Law

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In 2008, the EPA issued a rule regulating renovation and remodeling activities that create health hazards arising from lead paint. The rule contained an "opt-out" provision, which exempted owner-occupied housing from the rule's requirements if the homeowner certified that no pregnant women or young children lived there. In 2010, EPA amended the rule to eliminate the opt-out provision. The National Association of Home Builders and other trade associations petitioned for review of the amended rule, arguing (1) the decision to abandon the opt-out provision was arbitrary and capricious, in violation of the APA; and (2) EPA failed to convene a panel of representatives of small businesses before issuing the new rule, in violation of the Regulatory Flexibility Act. The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals denied the petition for review, holding (1) EPA's decision was not arbitrary or capricious; and (2) the Court lacked jurisdiction to entertain the petitioners' second challenge. View "Nat'l Ass'n of Home Builders v. EPA " on Justia Law

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Petitioners, Douglas and Vanessa Wietzke, filed a four-count complaint against the Chesapeake Conference Association of Seventh-Day Adventists (the Church), alleging nuisance, trespass, and negligence in connection with the construction of a new parking lot by the Church. The Wietzkes claimed the lot was the cause of continued flooding of their home and requested damages and injunctive relief. The circuit court granted the Church's motion for judgment on the negligence claim then entered judgment in favor of the Church on the nuisance and trespass claims. The court of special appeals affirmed. The Court of Appeals granted certiorari to answer several questions, most of which related to the trial judge's denial of several of the Wietzkes' requested jury instructions. The Court affirmed in part and reversed in part, holding (1) the trial court did not err in denying Wietzke's proposed jury instructions, (2) the model jury instructions requiring a finding of unreasonable conduct in a private nuisance action were a correct exposition of the law, and (3) the trial court erred in granting the Church's motion for judgment on the Wietzkes' negligence claim as the evidence could have supported a negligence claim. View "Wietzke v. Chesapeake Conference Ass'n" on Justia Law