Pawa Law Group, P.C.


Global Warming Cases

The Kivalina, Alaska Case. Native Village of Kivalina, et al. v. ExxonMobil Corp., No. cv-08-1138 (N. D. Cal.). We filed this case on behalf of an Inupiat Eskimo tribe against major oil and electric power corporations and the nation's largest coal company. The case seeks monetary damages so that the village may be relocated. The village must be relocated due to the ravages of global warming, which has melted the sea ice that formerly protected Kivalina from ocean storms. Kivalina is located on a narrow barrier island on the Chuchki Sea in the Arctic Circle. The cost of relocation is estimated by the federal government to be as much as $400 million or more.

The district court dismissed the case on the basis of standing and the political question doctrine.  Kivalina has appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. 

The Ninth Circuit has issued an opinion from a three-judge panel holding that Kivalina's federal claim is barred by the federal Clean Air Act. To read the opinion, click here. Kivalina has filed a petition asking the Ninth Circuit to rehear the appeal with a larger panel of judges.

The court of appeals briefs are available here:

The Pavley Cases. Green Mtn. Chrysler Plymouth Dodge Jeep v. Crombie, 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 67617 (D. Vt. 2007), appeals pending, Nos. 07-4360-CV, 07-4342-CV (2d Cir.).  These cases derive their nickname from Fran Pavley, the California legislator who sponsored the law that is now being challenged by the automobile industry.  Under the federal Clean Air Act, California may set more stringent limits on automobile pollution and other states may then adopt California's standard.
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Cape Wind. We represented Clean Power Now , a former citizens that supported the project to build a wind park in Nantucket Sound. Read more.

The AEP Cases. Connecticut, et al. v. American Electric Power Co., 131 S. Ct. 2527 (2011). We filed the first tort case against greenhouse gas polluters in 2004 in collaboration with the attorneys general of California, Connecticut, Iowa, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, Wisconsin, and the City of New York. We represented three land trusts that filed suit at the same time as the States and City. The defendants were electric power corporations that are the five largest emitters of greenhouse gases in the United States according to the allegations in our case. The cases, filed in federal court in New York City, sought injunctive relief, i.e., a court order requiring the power companies to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases over a period of years. After the district court initially dismissed the cases, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated them in a sweeping ruling in our favor in 2009. To read the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, click here. In 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the federal Clean Air Act precludes a case like this that seeks a court order to reduce air pollution; the Court reasoned that Congress had assigned the regulatory function to the EPA and thus a federal claim seeking to reduce pollution must be brought only under the Clean Air Act. At the time we filed Connecticut v. AEP, the EPA under the second Bush administration had contended that the Clean Air Act did not apply at all to greenhouse gases. But in Massachusetts v. EPA, 549 U.S. 497 (2007), the Supreme Court held in that greenhouse gases are air pollutants that may be regulated under the Clean Air Act. This change in the law after we filed Connecticut v. AEP altered the legal terrain and resulted in the preclusion of our federal tort claim years after it was filed. However, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals' decision holding that global warming tort plaintiffs have standing, may pursue a claim for global warming injuries under federal tort law, and that defendants' "political question" argument is inapplicable, remains good law. In addition, since there were state law tort claims pending that had never been ruled upon and the plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed their cases after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against the federal claim, the cases ended with no final judgment on any of the claims and thus could be reinstated at any time.
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MTBE Cases

MTBE. We represent the State of New Hampshire in a groundwater pollution case against a score of oil companies, including Exxon-Mobil Corp., Irving Oil Corp., Shell Oil Co., Amerada Hess Corp., and others. New Hampshire has experienced widespread contamination of its water supplies with Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether ("MTBE").
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Personal Injuries

We serve as local counsel in personal injury cases arising from the prescription drugs Seroquel and Zyprexa.

We represented a paper mill worker in Maine who suffered permanent mental and physical injuries from exposure to the hydrogen sulfide gas. Our client had been turned down by several law firms when he came to us. Although his claim against his employer was barred by his acceptance of worker's compensation, we filed a case against a contractor that was responsible for the leak of deadly gas. The case was one of the first ever to address hydrogen sulfide poisoning. It settled prior to trial.

Class Actions

A class action lawsuit has been filed against the Bridgeport Port Authority of Bridgeport, Connecticut.  The case alleges that fees charged  on passengers travelling by ferry between Bridgeport, Connecticut and Port Jefferson, New York between 1993 and 2009 were excessive and in violation of the U.S. Constitution’s Commerce Clause and other constitutional provisions.
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In the Firestone tire litigation regarding defective tires on Ford Explorers, Mr. Pawa represented a class of car owners nationwide seeking refunds and replacement tires.
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Following the year 2000 presidential election debacle, Mr. Pawa filed a class action case on behalf of Florida voters challenging the use of the Votomatic punch card voting system in all future elections in the state. The case contended that punch card voting machines are defective, fail to properly count votes, and therefore deny citizens' of their fundamental right to vote.
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Western Fuels SLAPP Defeated.  Mr. Pawa successfully defended Friends of the Earth, the Earth Island Institute, Rain Forest Action Network and other national environmental groups in Western Fuels Association v. Turning Point Project, No. 00-CV-074-D (D. Wyo. 2001).
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Waste Technologies, Inc., Inc. SLAPP Defeated.  Mr. Pawa represented renown environmental activist Terri Swearingen in a lawsuit filed by the Waste Technologies, Inc ("WTI") hazardous waste incineration company.
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