Jeffrey J. Parker is a partner in Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP's Los Angeles office, where he specializes in business, products liability, and complex environmental litigation through trial and appeal, as well as environmental law. Although based in Los Angeles, he routinely handles matters throughout the entire state and works out of the firm's many offices.
Areas of Practice
Mr. Parker has extensive experience in complex environmental and tort litigation and environmental counseling. His environmental and tort litigation experience includes dozens of products liability actions in California State and Federal District Courts and multi-district litigation proceedings in the Southern District of New York that arise out of MTBE contamination of drinking water aquifers, as well as actions brought under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act ( CERCLA ), the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act ( RCRA ), California Proposition 65, the Clean Air Act, and various state and federal criminal laws, environmental laws, or tort doctrines.
He has helped clients develop Proposition 65 warnings programs and has guided clients through evaluating and responding to numerous pre-lawsuit notices of intent to sue under various state and federal statutes. He has also advised clients with respect to the California Air Resources Board and South Coast Air Quality Control Board variance proceedings, Regional Water Quality Control Board permit proceedings, and resulting writs of mandate. Also, he has advised clients for 20 years on voluntary and agency mandated investigation and remediation of contaminated land, response to agency orders, handling of hazardous substances, and evaluation of potential human exposure to chemicals.
In addition, he has vast experience in business litigation and trials, including actions involving ownership of intellectual property, rights of first refusal, shareholder disputes, challenges to mergers, corporate dissolution, breach of contract, injunctions, and allegations of fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, and violation of the Unfair Competition Law (UCL) and the Consumer Legal Remedies Act (CLRA). He has experience in all aspect of litigation, including discovery, motions, settlement negotiations, mediation, arbitration, trial, appeal, and writ practice.
His clients range from family-owned businesses to multi-national corporations in many diverse industries such as energy, petroleum, chemicals, aerospace and defense, pharmaceuticals, manufacturing, real estate, construction, financial services, high-tech, computer manufacturing, consumer goods, sporting goods, and transportation.
Recent Trial and Litigation Experience
In 2014, he obtained a major summary judgment victory disposing of most of the claims asserted by the Orange County Water District in a Federal multi-district litigation matter in the Southern District of New York. A portion of the case remains in the Southern District of New York while focus sites have been remanded to the Central District of California for trial.
In 2013, he obtained summary judgment on 4 of 5 claims in City of Merced Redevelopment Agency v. Exxon Mobil Corporation, et al., a Federal multi-district litigation matter in the Southern District of New York. In 2015, after transfer to the Eastern District of California for trial, he prevailed on a second motion for summary judgment dismissing the plaintiff's remaining claim for cost recovery under the Polanco Act.
In 2013, he obtained summary judgment on all claims in Orange County Water District v. SABIC Innovative Plastics, et al. The case involved a claim for tens of millions of dollars in purported future damages associated with alleged groundwater contamination in Orange County asserted against approximately 40 property owners and manufacturers.
In 2013, he obtained a TRO and preliminary injunction against the California Department of Toxic Substances Control, enjoining an order shutting down Exide Technologies' lead recycling facility in Vernon, California. He was also co-lead trial counsel in a related administrative trial against the Department of Toxic Substances Control.
In 2011-2012, he was lead trial counsel for Exxon Mobil Corporation in City of Merced v. Chevron U.S.A. Inc., et al., a 41/2 month products liability jury trial in Merced Superior Court. He obtained dismissal or directed verdict of punitive damages and millions of dollars in claimed compensatory damages, followed by a favorable jury verdict.
In 2010, he tried the case of Sullins v. Exxon Mobil Corporation in the Northern District of California, obtaining a jury verdict for the defense in July 2010 and a bench trial judgment for the defense on the remaining claims in January 2011.
In 2010, he obtained summary judgment in D&H v. Exxon Mobil Corporation, which was affirmed in full on appeal in 2011.
His significant appellate victories include the landmark environmental decision Consumer Advocacy Group v. Exxon Mobil Corporation, 104 Cal. App. 4th 438 (2002), where the California Court of Appeal held that passive migration or continued presence of chemicals in soil or water did not constitute a discharge or release under Proposition 65. Other significant appeals include: Consumer Defense Group v. Shell Oil Company, et al., Cal. Ct. of Appeal, 4th App. Dist. Case No. G034935 (2006 (unpub.)) (same issue as Consumer Advocacy Group v. Exxon Mobil Corporation ); Kashani v. Tsann Kuen China Enterprise Co., Ltd., 118 Cal.App.4th 531 (2004) (defined summary judgment burdens of proof on affirmative defenses of illegality and violation of public policy in matter involving contract for export of computer technology from Taiwan and China to Iran by US citizens); and Mylan Laboratories Inc. v. Soon-Shiong, 76 Cal. App. 4th 71 (1999) (established that a non-party can simply file a motion to assert a privilege in a pending action without intervening to become a party). He also obtained California Supreme Court review in D.J. Nelson v. Exxon Mobil Corporation, Cook Endeavors v. Superior Court, 179 Cal. App. 4th 633 (2009); reviewed granted (2010) (addressing the effect on punitive damages of a transfer of the claims on which such damages are sought; case settled before oral argument).
Representative Environmental Regulatory and Proposition 65 Experience
For over 20 years Mr. Parker has advised clients with respect to conducting environmental and health safety investigations and remediation, as well as associated community and governmental relations issues. Examples include:
•preparing responses to California Water Code 13267 and 13304 orders issued by the Regional Water Quality Control Board; and
•working with client personnel and outside consultants on complex and comprehensive investigation and remediation projects and related regulatory submissions, as well as interacting and negotiating with community groups, neighbors, Regional Water Quality Control Boards, the DTSC, local oversight program agencies, and State and County prosecutors.
Mr. Parker's Proposition 65 experience includes development of Proposition 65 warnings programs, advice on product reformulation, response to pre-lawsuit notices, and defense of lawsuits filed by the California Attorney General, County District Attorneys, and private enforcers related to alleged groundwater contamination and alleged exposure to chemicals in consumer products and occupational settings. Examples of matters alleging groundwater contamination involve industrial properties, refineries, bulk storage facilities, and service stations. His consumer product cases have involved alleged exposure to numerous listed chemicals, including diesel emissions from school buses; phthalates in cosmetic bags/cases; eyewear and accessories; titanium dioxide in makeup; henolphthalein and radionuclides in consumer water-testing products; benzene from using propane cooking appliances; toluene from manufacture of window coverings; numerous chemicals in hot mix asphalt, floor coverings, and new homes; and lead in cookware, computer power and other cords, electronics, and artificial turf.
•Best Lawyer in America, Best Lawyers, 2013-2015
•Leading Lawyer, Chambers USA, 2012-2016
•Profiled by Los Angeles Business Journal as one of L.A.'s Leading Environmental Lawyers.