Michigan court allows claims against the state for violating Constitutional rights to bodily injury from the Flint water crisis to go forward

In one of the first court decisions on the Flint water crisis, Mays v. Snyder, the Michigan Court of Claims has ruled that a major class action based on the state’s alleged violation of individual rights to bodily integrity under substantive due process can proceed. The court’s opinion begins with a detailed factual background based on allegations which would give rise to valid claims against the state for causing the Flint water crisis and state... Read more →

Standing on the public trust doctrine

The standing doctrine is one of Justice Scalia’s legacies and has become a powerful tool for keeping environmental citizen suits out of court. A recent federal district court decision in Chicago recognizes the public trust doctrine as a basis for granting citizens standing to sue to protect certain natural resources. The following guest post by Austin Probst gives a brief update on this decision. Austin is a Wayne Law student (JD expected ‘17), member of... Read more →

On the Supreme Court’s docket – Mississippi v. Tennessee, the first interstate groundwater case

What’s the biggest news story about the Supreme Court and environmental law? Justice Scalia’s passing and the hot list of potential replacements? The Court’s unprecedented stay of President Obama’s Clean Power Plan? Or the grant of leave to hear Mississippi v. Tennessee, the first ever interstate groundwater case? If you picked the last one, you’re reading the right blog post. Admittedly it’s not the hot news item for environmental lawyers and Supreme Court spectators. But... Read more →

Indiana court recognizes public right to walk and sunbathe on Lake Michigan shore – guest post by Alexis Andiman

The following guest post on the public trust doctrine in Indiana is by Alexis Andiman, Graduate Fellow Attorney with the Conservation Law Center in Bloomington, Indiana. Before joining the Conservation Law Center, Alexis was a fellow with the Center for Biological Diversity in San Francisco, California. She received her J.D. with honors and a Certificate in Environmental and Natural Resources Law from Lewis & Clark Law School in 2013. Alexis can be contacted at aandiman@indiana.edu.... Read more →

Law and Governance of the Great Lakes

Along with my friend and colleague Ben Houston, I’ve published a new article entitled simply “Law and Governance of the Great Lakes.” The article appears in the DePaul Law Review’s special symposium issue on the Great Lakes, 63 DePaul Law Review 723 (2014). It aims to explain the law and governance of the Great Lakes within the United States (apologies to Canada, that’s a subject for another time). While discussing the key laws and policies,... Read more →

A critical look at Michigan’s coastal sand dune law

Coastal sand dunes are one of Michigan’s most treasured resources. In 1994, the state enacted legislation regulating land use on sand dunes. The legislature intended to balance competing public and private interests over the resource. The Sand Dune Protection and Management Act (SDPMA) was extensively amended in August 2012. As amended, local governments have a significantly diminished role in determining land use on sand dunes within their borders. Suzanne Sutherland is an attorney with Hilger... Read more →