Update: Justice May Yet be Served in 30-Year-Old EPA Wetlands Case Against Small Erie, PA Farmer

Guest Commentary

By Lawrence A. Kogan*

An April 20, 2017 WLF Legal Pulse post on the need for a new strategy for federal wetlands regulation presented a long-running enforcement action against a small Erie, Pennsylvania farmer as indicative of the harm wrought by the government’s deeply flawed current approach to “waters of the United States” (WOTUS). Two recent developments—an order by a federal magistrate judge in the US District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania and the filing of three Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) claims by the targeted farmer, Robert Brace—might significantly change the course of this 30-year law-enforcement misadventure.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) first initiated a lawsuit under § 404 of Clean Water Act (CWA) against Brace in 1990 (United States v. Brace). The suit claimed Brace unlawfully failed to obtain a US Army Corps of Engineers (Army Corps) dredge-and-fill permit for drainage-tilling activities undertaken on government-designated wetlands.  The suit came after Brace, a well-known property rights advocate, had endured three years of being served with EPA, Corps, and US Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) administrative-violation notices. Continue reading “Update: Justice May Yet be Served in 30-Year-Old EPA Wetlands Case Against Small Erie, PA Farmer”

Because of “Winn-Dixie”?: Uncertainty over ADA’s Applicability to Websites Deepens

Featured Expert Contributor – Civil Justice/Class Actions

Cruz-Alvarez_FBy Frank Cruz-Alvarez, Shook, Hardy & Bacon L.L.P., with Rachel Canfield,  Shook, Hardy & Bacon L.L.P.

Ever since the codification of the American’s with Disabilities Act (ADA) in 1990, brick and mortar businesses have been obligated to ensure their physical spaces are accessible to all individuals.  The advent of the internet—and with it, creation of an entirely new, intangible, space—has ushered in a whole new host of legal challenges.  The combination of uncharted legal waters and ongoing regulatory moratoriums has produced extensive litigation over recent years.  In this new frontier, businesses and consumers alike have begun to question whether the ADA also applies to a business’s intangible, technological spaces.

There is very little structure, and even less clarity, in this emerging area of the law.  Federal courts remain split over whether the ADA applies only to physical spaces and to date, no federal agency or organization has been tasked with overseeing or implementing website accessibility guidelines.  Instead, the Web Accessibility Initiative publishes a set of guidelines—the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0)—on web-content accessibility.  Continue reading “Because of “Winn-Dixie”?: Uncertainty over ADA’s Applicability to Websites Deepens”