Creative Common Law Strategies for Protecting the Environment

Creative Common Law Strategies for Protecting the Environment
Edited by Clifford Rechtschaffen and Denise Antolini
Release Date

Environmental common law litigation has reemerged in recent years as a powerful second pathway alongside statutory avenues for practitioners, communities, and governments to seek redress to environmental wrongs. Creative Common Law Strategies for Protecting the Environment vividly illustrates that "environmental common law" has never been more alive, and perhaps more needed for meeting complex environmental challenges, than it is today.

This book provides an overview of the major common law remedies, and describes the limits of using statutory remedies under environmental citizen suit provisions. The authors describe their experiences in bringing cutting-edge public nuisance actions against car manufacturers and large power producers because of their greenhouse gas emissions; successful products liability actions against the manufacturers of PERC and MTBE for groundwater contamination; path-breaking litigation filed by public entities against the lead paint industry; lawsuits under the public trust doctrine and other common law doctrines to protect water, fish, and wildlife . . . and much more.

About the Author

Clifford Rechtschaffen is a professor and director of the environmental law program at Golden Gate University School of Law in San Francisco, California. He is the author of numerous articles and books about environmental law, including Reinventing Environmental Enforcement and the State/Federal Relationship (with David L. Markell); Environmental Justice: Law, Policy, and Regulation (with Eileen Gauna); and Environmental Enforcement: Cases and Materials (with Joel A. Mintz and Robert Kuehn, forthcoming). He is the chair of the environmental law section of the American Association of Law Schools, and a member scholar with the Center for Progressive Reform. In 2005, he received a Fulbright fellowship to teach comparative environmental law at the University of Ljubljana (Slovenia). Prior to joining the faculty of Golden Gate University, he practiced environmental law with the environment section of the California Attorney General’s Office for seven years. He is a graduate of Princeton University (summa cum laude) and Yale Law School, where he was an editor of the Yale Law Journal.

Denise Antolini is an associate professor at the William S. Richardson School of Law, University of Hawai`i at M noa, Honolulu, Hawai`i, where she directs the school’s environmental law program. After a federal clerkship in Washington, D.C., she practiced for eight years with the Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund (now Earthjustice) in Seattle and Honolulu. She joined the law school faculty in 1996, teaching torts, environmental law courses, and legal writing. In 2003-2004, Antolini served as the Fulbright Distinguished Chair of Environmental Studies in Turin, Italy. In 2006, she received the University of Hawai`i’s highest teaching award, the Board of Regents Excellence in Teaching Medal. Under her leadership, the environmental law program received the American Bar Association’s 2006 award for Distinguished Achievement in Environmental Law and Policy. She is a graduate of Princeton University (magna cum laude); Boalt Hall School of Law, University of California at Berkeley, where she served as editor-in-chief of Ecology Law Quarterly; and she has a master’s degree in public policy, also from Berkeley.

Book Reviews

"This book dramatically captures the ways that common law theories are being used by environmental plaintiffs around the country, as well as the obstacles that remain. All environmental litigators—whether they represent plaintiffs, defendants, or some of each—will find the book an invaluable guide to a territory whose boundaries are still being explored."
- Michael B. Gerrard, Arnold & Porter, Former Chair, Section of Environment, Energy & Resources, American Bar Association

"This is the companion book to everything you already know about environmental law. The other half of the field, here described, includes the many actions for injunctive and damage relief based on common law, tort, trespass, public trust and other claims that are as old as they remain innovative and ready for use. These are the remedies that government and industry fear, because they cannot be co-opted by unwilling agencies, hostile legislatures, paltry sanctions and the erosion of statutory schemes. These are important principles, and good reads."
- Oliver A. Houck, Professor of Law, Tulane University