Insights from Disaster Law . . . part 1

Last week, I hosted the 12th Annual Northeast Florida Environmental Summit at Florida Coastal School of Law.  Presenters offered various perspectives on the theme “Environmental Disasters:  Linking Law, Science, & Policy.”  Several of the presentations may be of interest to readers of this blog, and I’ll highlight them in a series of posts complete with links to the video recordings. 

Jim Chen has already beaten me to the punch with a post on Jurisdynamics featuring his excellent keynote address opening the Summit, “Disaster and Its Dimensions: Legal responses to distortions of time and space.”  Regardless, there is more to say . . .

Professor James  May delivered a very engaging presentation on constitutional issues in recent climate change litigation, such as Comer v. Murphy Oil USA.  The talk, titled  Courting Disaster: Constitutional Climate Litigation, takes on the question of the courts’ role in addressing climate-related disasters.  In a presentation that is both interesting to experts and accessible to non-lawyers, Jimmy challenges recent invocations of political question doctrine and prudential standing to avoid tort cases seeking redress for injuries related to climate change.  He argues that the Supreme Court should accept certiorari in these cases because, among other reasons, courts are our mechanism for resolving civil disputes and the disputes underlying these cases arise from perhaps the most important issue of our day.

Also included in the video is a presentaiton by Carl R. Nelson, an attorney with Fowler White Boggs P.A.  This presentation, titled Oil Pollution Act Litigation:  Recovery of Purely Economic Losses, provides an insightful discussion of liability issues connected with oil spills, based on Nelson’s experience heading the legal team that litigated the 1993 Tampa Bay oil spill.

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