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New Property Owners Must Pay Environmental Cleanup

Property owners must pay for environmental cleanup costs that occurred before they acquired it, a federal appeals court said.

In Pennsylvania Department of Equal Protection v. Trainer Custom Chemical, the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals dropped an $818,000 cleanup bombshell on a chemical company after it purchased a property for $20,000. Pennsylvania's environmental protection department sued to recover the cleanup costs.

A trial judge said Trainer Custom Chemical was responsible for costs incurred after the purchase, but not before. The appeals court read the law differently.

3rd Circuit Denies 'Outrageously Excessive' Attorney's Fees

Attorneys always complain when a judge cuts their fees in a case.

And while they complain about it, they also try to figure out why. They'll conjure up everything from cost-cutting to paranoid delusions: "The judge was mad because I make more money than she does."

In Clemens v. New York Central Mutual Fire Insurance Company, the judge cut $900,000 in attorney's fees to zero. Go figure.

Pennsylvania Gambling Contributions Law Struck Down

Gambling has come a long way in Pennsylvania, once known more for Amish settlements than for casinos.

Today, Pennsylvania takes in more tax dollars from casinos than any other state in the country. It's a multi-billion dollar business.

Lawmakers got a little nervous about potential corruption and banned political donations from the gambling industry. A judge said they can't do that -- at least not that much.

3rd Circuit Cites #MeToo 'Firestorm' in Reviving Sex Harassment Claim

Thomas Yadlosky was a hugger, to say the least.

According to allegations in Minarsky v. Susquehanna County, he was also a sexual harasser at work. He allegedly sent Sheri Marinsky sexually explicit email, tried to kiss her on the lips, and embraced her from behind.

She wanted none of it, but didn't complain to her employer. The U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals, ruling in her favor, said it's about #MeToo time.

Senator Blasts Third Circuit Nominee on Social Media

If tweetstorms are real, then judicial nominee David Porter must feel like a lightning rod in the twitterverse right now.

Sen. Bob Casey fired off a series of Twitter attacks at Porter, who is a nominee for the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals. Porter is a Pennsylvania attorney like Casey, but they are clearly on opposing political sides.

Porter barely made it out of a Senate judiciary committee, and now Casey aims to take him down before the confirmation hearing. With a 280-character limit, however, it might be too little too late.

Mother Gets More Attorney's Fees in School Disabilty Case

Due to an educational disability, Rena Castrovillo asked the Colonial School District to place her daughter in private school.

District officials were unwilling, at first, so the mother filed for an administrative hearing. Before the hearing, however, they offered to make the placement.

The problem was, they weren't going to pay her attorney's fees. In Rena C. v. Colonial School District, the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals said that was a mistake.

Court Ponders Navy Water Pollution

For decades, an aircraft carrier would dump about 410,000 gallons of human waste into the ocean every day.

Multiply that by 10 aircraft carriers, and you have a whole lot of ship waste. But that's not the real problem in Giovanni v. United States Department of Navy.

The plaintiffs just want the government to pay for medical monitoring of drinking water that the Navy contaminated over the years. The U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals is chewing on it.

Court Hears 'Empire' TV Copyright Case

Maybe Martin Luther King, Jr. could help her win the case, attorney Mary Bogan thought.

The nation had recently celebrated the life of the great civil rights leader, and his words were still in the air. "The time is always right to do the right thing," Bogan quoted to the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals.

Nice speech, but not really relevant? According to reports, Bogan's argument over the "Empire" show might have been a little awkward.

Uber Beats Taxis in Philly

Not so many years ago, a taxi driver had to pay $545,000 for a medallion to operate in Philadelphia.

After Uber took over the City of Brotherly Love, however, that medallion was worth about $80,000. What was worse, the driver borrowed against it to buy a cab.

That is a substantial loss, but not damages. In Philadelphia Taxi Association v. Uber Technologies, the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals said it's just competition and it's not unfair.

Nuns Try to Intervene in Contraception Case

As they entered the federal appeals court, the judges and the nuns had more in common than black robes.

The judges of the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals were there to consider whether non-parties have a right to intervene in Pennsylvania v. Trump. The Little Sisters of the Poor Saints Peter and Paul Home were there for that same reason.

Ultimately, the appeals court will rule on President Trump's order that allows conscience-based objections to the contraception mandates of Obamacare. But first they have to decide whether the nuns can join in the conversation.