Practice/Industry Group Overview
Members of our group include seasoned litigators skilled in both affirmative and defensive strategy. We have represented and continue to appear on behalf of governmental and private business clients in numerous market segments, such as industrial equipment, petrochemical, chemical, pharmaceutical, steel and paper manufacturers, and real estate developers, among others, in environmental remediation cost recovery, Natural Resource Damages and regulatory compliance claims and litigation in federal and state courts and administrative proceedings throughout the United States. The firm’s practice is nationwide; we have engaged in environmental matters in all ten of the EPA’s regions.
Our group has served as trial and appellate counsel in cases such as United States v. American Cyanamid Company, United States v. Kayser-Roth Corporation, and O’Neil v. Piccillo (all widely cited in connection with liability issues under Federal Superfund provisions); as trial and appellate counsel in Reardon v. United States (first successful challenge to the constitutionality of a provision of Superfund statute); as trial counsel in complex groundwater contamination litigation against a public transportation authority (Wagner v. Mass. Turnpike Authority); as lead regional counsel and on national trial teams in connection with the defense of numerous mass toxic tort and product liability cases involving, among other things, alleged exposures in the workplace, and damages involving property diminution and environmental contamination.
In addition to our litigation practice, our attorneys have a wide range of experience in regulatory (including air, water, safe drinking water, wetland and environmental quality reviews), transactional and Brownfield Development matters. We also have successfully negotiated novel settlements and used innovative technologies to address environmental problems.
Representative Environmental Litigation Matters
- We regularly represent national and international Fortune 500 companies, privately held concerns and academic and research institutions in federal, state and private cost recovery, Natural Resource Damages and regulatory claims and litigation throughout the United States.
- We represent a global chemical manufacturer of carbon compounds and treated wood products, serving as national counsel for litigation involving environmental site, toxic tort and occupational exposure matters. Recently, we defended the company in a number of high-profile, highly publicized state and federal court cases relating to the operation of wood treatment plants and alleged property damage and resulting personal injury claims connected to these sites across the country. Our attorneys have achieved successful results in all phases of litigation for the company in numerous jurisdictions including Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana, West Virginia, Illinois and Pennsylvania.
- We represent a Fortune 200 company who was a successor owner/operator of a petroleum distribution and storage terminal and obtained an eight-figure settlement from a major refiner and petrochemical company who previously conducted refining and distribution operations at the site. The settlement provided funding for the environmental remediation costs and Brownfields redevelopment of this 80-acre coastal tract in New Jersey.
- We have represented national oil companies in MTBE groundwater contamination cases.
- We successfully defended a supplier of industrial solvents in a series of eight class action, personal injury and property damage lawsuits where plaintiffs alleged contamination of private drinking water supplies in Illinois; successful results in these cases were achieved either through a jury trial, settlement or a summary judgment motion.
- We are Northeast regional counsel and a member of a national defense counsel team for several chemical and industrial manufacturing companies in products liability including toxic tort matters, workplace exposure and property stigma cases.
- We have served as lead trial counsel to members of the CCA (chromated-copper-arsenate) pressure-treated wood industry, in defending a series of matters filed across the country. The plaintiffs in these cases mounted an industry-wide attack on CCA treated wood products and producers, asserting claims of false marketing, consumer fraud, nuisance, breach of contract and breach of warranty. Our lawyers have taken the lead in formulating and coordinating a methodical and unified strategy that has resulted in the defeat of class certification and dismissal of suits by summary judgments in a number of jurisdictions. In recent years, several cases have gone to trial and every jury verdict has been for the defense – for our clients.
- We have represented a major university in enforcement actions brought by the United States Justice Department regarding alleged hazardous waste, air and water violations.
- We are advising a long-time chemical company client in product liability matters related to the cleanup of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
- We represent a steel company in the defense of a private cost recovery action where we are among the first to litigate the meaning of the Supreme Court's 2005 decision in Aviall v. Cooper Industries, which limited the right of private parties to seek recovery under CERCLA.
- We represent seven specialty chemical and two petroleum companies in approximately 70 individual cases filed by former employees of aluminum production facilities located in Indiana, Maryland, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas and Washington. The plaintiffs claim they developed various forms of cancer from alleged exposure to coal tar pitch and/or petroleum pitch volatiles released during the aluminum smelting process. Several cases in a variety of states, including California, have been dismissed voluntarily or pursuant to motion.
- Our attorneys represented a developer client in the renovation and conversion of an industrial manufacturing complex into residential housing units and successfully litigated and obtained a $3.3 million trial judgment for environmental remediation costs incurred as a result of environmental contamination at the site resulting from prior industrial operations. The judgment was affirmed on all appeals.
- We represent a chemical client in claims related to the Portland Harbor Superfund site, a multi-year investigation and cleanup effort in the industrial area in the heart of the Portland Harbor and Willamette River.
- We represented the City of Yorkville, the county seat of Kendall County, Illinois, defending against an appeal of its decision to reject the application for the siting of a municipal solid waste landfill.