U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

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Sixth Circuit holds state law public nuisance claims are not preempted by Clean Air Act

November 02, 2015

Click here to view the opinion.

U.S. Chamber asks Sixth Circuit to decide whether Clean Air Act preempts common law tort

March 20, 2015

In a coalition amicus brief, the U.S. Chamber asked the Sixth Circuit to hold that the Clean Air Act preempts state common law nuisance claims. The brief argues that the decision of the district court in this case fundamentally undermines the Clean Air Act’s regulatory process, which–unlike a public nuisance suit–provides all stakeholders a voice and allows businesses to plan investments and anticipate costs. The district court's holding allows courts to create and enforce as a matter of state common law restrictions on emissions of air pollutants that differ from those adopted pursuant to the Act by expert agencies. The brief also argues that permitting state-law public nuisance suits will encourage litigants to use a nearly limitless range of liability theories available under state common law to try to impose their own preferred emissions restrictions on businesses.

The U.S. Chamber filed this brief jointly with the American Chemistry Council, American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers, and National Association of Manufacturers.

Roger R. Martella, Jr., Samuel B. Boxerman, and Quin M. Sorenson of Sidley Austin LLP served as co-counsel for the amici with the U.S. Chamber in this case.

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