Corporate executives at chemical and petroleum companies turn to Joe for advocacy and advice on issues of liability, especially in multiple-party environmental litigation and dispute resolution. Joe, a member of the Technology, Manufacturing & Transportation team, creatively pursues responsible parties under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) and twice won cases against the United States on the useful product defense. His firsthand experience in the industry began during school, when he loaded chemical trailers and performed maintenance duties for two manufacturers in St. Louis, Mo. He also worked in the law department of Monsanto for 12 years before developing an environmental department at a major St. Louis law firm.
His legal victories in the industry include:
•Clearing a global chemical company of responsibility for a pipeline rupture in Texas that released 300,000 gallons of methanol into the subsurface.
Securing coverage from both primary and excess insurance carriers for defense and indemnity of various companies in the oil, chemical and commercial industries.
Negotiating a liability and remediation trust fund transfer agreement for company's redevelopment of inactive battery manufacturing plant in New Jersey.
Described by his peers in Chambers USA as a 'real fighter, a bulldog litigator (and) the attorney of choice for some of the toughest cases nationally,' Joe has litigated in pipeline accidents, environmental criminal prosecutions, and disputes over high-rise office building fires and nature preserves. He achieved favorable results in one of the largest CERCLA cases in the country involving the spinoff of nearly 1,000 parcels of former railroad property.
Awards and Recognitions
The Best Lawyers In America, Environmental Law, 2003-2014
•Chambers USA, Environmental Law, 2007-2014
•Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent
•Missouri & Kansas Super Lawyers, Environmental, 2005-2010, 2013
•Who's Who in Environmental Law, 2007-2010
Represented a global chemical company in a liability case involving a pipeline rupture near Houston, Texas, that released 300,000 gallons of methanol into the subsurface. Groundwater contamination was extensive and threatened a tributary leading to a significant ecological area. The cost of recovery and remediation, including long-term pump and treatment, was estimated to be in the millions of dollars. Through the use of photogrammetry, leak detection, corrosion, metal failure and other techniques, convinced jury and the court that a contractor working on a 36-inch water line nearly 25 years ago was responsible for the release. Court found that chemical company had no responsibility for the leak or failure to detect it and, as a result, had no responsibility for continuing remedial or monitoring work.
•Counsel for client that owns refineries and petroleum pipelines that were blamed for gasoline leaks in the Hartford, Ill. Convinced client that despite a less-than-beneficial prior settlement on an earlier claim with a number of insurance carriers at another site, that it should pursue coverage against excess carrier Allianz Insurance PLC. After multiple days of oral argument, the trial court ruled that client was entitled to a defense.This is a case of first impression under Illinois law, and the decision places client in a position to recover millions of dollars in fees and expenses, including those spent on remediation.
•Negotiated a liability and remediation trust fund transfer agreement for redevelopment company that was acquiring a 340,000-square-foot inactive battery-manufacturing plant in New Brunswick, N.J. Client and joint venture partner gained full control over the property, along with sufficient funds to perform the remediation, and proceeded with cleanup and redevelopment of the site for potential tenants.
•Represented multiple clients who had produced explosive materials at a plant in the mountains in Mapleton, Utah. The city filed a $100 million groundwater contamination case asking that its water system be replaced and improved. Argued two summary judgment motions before two judges on different parts of the case and won both, ultimately leading to the case's dismissal.
•Negotiated the sale of multimedia intermodal facilities and joint venture development agreement in the middle of a proposed National Priorities List (NPL) site.
4.01.14 Should Fish Wear Helmets? The American Bar Association's Environmental Enforcement and Crimes Committee Newsletter Article
9.24.10 The Assault on 107 Recovery Claims, Environmental Law 360 Article
In The News
5.23.14 Chambers USA 2014 Gives Husch Blackwell High Rankings in Nine Areas of Law; 40 Attorneys Recognized
Energy & Natural Resources Healthcare, Life Sciences & Pharmaceuticals Real Estate, Development & Construction News Release
10.16.13 In Missouri, 76 Husch Blackwell Attorneys Named 2013 Super Lawyers & Rising Stars
8.16.13 Best Lawyers 2014 Names 109 from Husch Blackwell, 13 Lawyers of the Year
Healthcare, Life Sciences & Pharmaceuticals Real Estate, Development & Construction Financial Services Energy & Natural Resources News Release
6.03.13 Husch Blackwell Receives High Rankings, Praise from Clients in Chambers USA 2013
9.11.12 Former Patton Boggs, U.S. Department of Justice Environmental Litigator Joins Husch Blackwell
8.23.12 2013 Best Lawyers Includes 106 Husch Blackwell Attorneys in 56 Practice Areas and 7 States
6.12.12 Husch Blackwell Receives Top Rankings from Chambers and Partners
Real Estate, Development & Construction News Release
9.06.11 More Than 100 Husch Blackwell Attorneys Named to Best Lawyers 2012
6.13.11 Husch Blackwell Receives High Rankings, Praise from Clients in Chambers USA 2011
Real Estate, Development & Construction News Release
10.13.10 Missouri & Kansas Super Lawyers 2010 Names 64 Husch Blackwell Attorneys; An Additional 20 Listed as Rising Stars