Pennsylvania Rehabilitates the Abandoned & Blighted Property Conservatorship Act

Reed Smith LLP
Dana Janquitto

October 23, 2014

Property owners, lien-holders and community development organizations in Pennsylvania, take note. Governor Corbett recently signed House Bill No. 1363 amending the act of November 26, 2008 (P.L.1672, No.135), also known as the Abandoned and Blighted Property Conservatorship Act. Depending on your viewpoint, the amendment gives much needed teeth to a tool for combating blight, or expands the already broad power of neighboring residents and business owners to interfere with a legitimate property owner’s interest. The amendment sailed through the Pennsylvania Legislature without a single “nay”, showing the Commonwealth is unified on the topic of remediating blighted real estate holdings.

The Abandoned and Blighted Property Conservatorship Act allows the court to appoint a conservator to rehabilitate deteriorating residential, commercial and industrial buildings. The conservator is then responsible for bringing buildings into municipal code compliance when owner fails to do so, and steps into the owner’s shoes for the purposes of filing plans, seeking permits, and submitting applications.

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Mergers and Acquisitions: Identify, Analyze and Value Insurance Assets When Making Deals

Anderson Kill P.C.
Mark Garbowski

November 12, 2014

While international “tax inversion” deals found controversy and dominated the political headlines among merger and acquisition news stories this year, practicing attorneys are still focused on the nuts and bolts of making deals happen and protecting the interests of their clients on deals of all kinds. Insurance policies represent a significant asset class that is often overlooked by the people putting together such deals. Deal makers often spend a great deal of time negotiating the transfer of historic liabilities but little or no time on the insurance policies that will cover any pre-closing liabilities assumed. Whether the acquired company or division has liabilities resulting from securities transactions, financial activities, environmental damage, toxic torts, or professional activities, such as design work or healthcare, its insurance policies represent an important source of potential recovery for those losses. If you are advising a team that is acquiring another company and its liabilities, it will be vital to also acquire and properly value the insurance assets that might cover those liabilities.

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Litigation Challenge to EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Rule

Greenberg Traurig LLP
Jerry Stouck

November 10,  2014

The First Litigation Challenge to EPA’s Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Rule is likely to be decided fairly soon after the December 1, 2014 deadline for comments on the rule.  Two separate suits brought by Murray Coal Corp. ask the D.C. Circuit to bar EPA from proceeding with the rulemaking, on the ground that EPA has no legal authority to regulate GHG emissions from existing fossil-fuel fired electricity generating plants.  Murray claims that section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act “expressly prohibits” EPA from regulating such those GHG emissions.  Murray’s final brief is due November 17., and given the importance of the issue and the close of the comment period on December 1 – after which EPA will begin addressing the comments. Many  expect the D.C. Circuit to issue a ruling reasonably promptly.

To recap, on June 2 EPA proposed its Clean Power Plan to require states to meet emission budgets for GHG pollution from existing power plants.  On October 28, issued a notice of data availability and issued a supplemental proposal shifting in some respects how those budgets would be calculated and how compliance would be demonstrated.  Comments on the main rule proposal close on December 1 and on the supplemental proposal on December 19.  Thus, the rulemaking schedule and the court’s briefing schedule roughly coincide.  After December 19, EPA is likely to begin considering comments and is free to issue the final rule whenever it has completed that task.

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Supreme Court Asked to Allow Immediate Judicial Review of Clean Water Act Jurisdictional Determinations

Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP
James Rusk

November 6, 2014

A landfill developer has asked the Supreme Court to review a decision of the Fifth Circuit holding that a jurisdictional determination by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is not final agency action subject to judicial review.  The Supreme Court previously held, in its 2012 Sackett opinion, that an EPA compliance order issued under the Clean Water Act is final and immediately reviewable under the Administrative Procedure Act.  But, so far, the Courts of Appeals have declined to extend Sackett to allow immediate review of a jurisdictional determination, which represents the Corps’ findings about whether a property contains wetlands or other waters of the United States subject to the Corps’ regulatory jurisdiction under Clean Water Act section 404.

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