Sean W. Bezark focuses his practice primarily consists of environmental matters for public corporations, privately held companies, banks, lenders, REITs and private equity investment funds. He advises clients on environmental aspects of corporate and real estate transactions, bankruptcy cases, environmental investigations and remediation projects, brownfields development, and risk and cost allocations. He also counsels clients on legal and technical aspects of complex contamination remediation projects and in obtaining reimbursement from insurance companies, indemnitors, real estate and corporate predecessors and third parties. Sean's experience also includes negotiating settlement of all types of environmental claims and civil and criminal complaints brought by federal, state and municipal governmental agencies, and various private party environmental claims and demands.
Areas of Concentration
· Environmental remediation projects
· Cost and risk allocation
· Redevelopment of brownfields
· Real estate and corporate transactions and development
· Negotiations with local, state and federal environmental regulators
Professional & Community Involvement
· Member, American Bar Association
· Member, Chicago Bar Association
· Member, Environmental Law Institute
· Member, International Bar Association
Awards & Recognition
· Listed, The Best Lawyers in America, Environmental Law, 2013-2014
· Member, Winning Team, U.S. News - Best Lawyers "Law Firm of the Year" in Bankruptcy & Creditor Debtor Rights / Insolvency & Reorganization Law and Litigation - Bankruptcy, 2013
· Team Member, The Legal 500 United States, "Top Tier" Firm in Real Estate, 2013
· Member, Winning Team, Chambers USA Award for Excellence, Real Estate, 2010 and 2013
· Listed, Leading Lawyers Network, 2007-2013
· Team Member, a Law360 "Real Estate Practice Group of the Year," 2011 and 2012
· Listed, Super Lawyers magazine, Illinois Super Lawyers, 2006-2007
· Rated, AV Preeminent® 5.0 out of 5
· Sean represented an international petroleum company in acquiring the assets of a downstream petroleum company which involved extensive environmental due diligence and the negotiation of four prospective purchaser agreements with the USEPA and the U.S. Department of Justice under the Clean Water Act, the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act, and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.
· A client purchased a steel manufacturing facility which was used during World War II to roll uranium ingots as part of the Manhattan Project. Sean negotiated with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Department of Justice and state and local agencies regarding the investigation and remediation of the radiation contamination and other impacts at the site.
· An airline was developing a state of the art pilot training facility at a major airport. The 26-acre parcel it is developing was previously used by the U.S. Air Force for jet engine testing and manufacturing. Three million gallons of jet fuel were stored on site. The site was a FUDS site and Sean assisted with the complex remediation of it. The USEPA, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the local environmental regulatory agency and municipality oversaw the work.
· A client's predecessor's operations were alleged to have caused a two-mile plume of solvent contamination in groundwater which impacted more than one thousand private residential drinking water wells. Sean advised the client regarding the remediation of the soil and groundwater and the personal injury and property damage claims, and negotiated with the USEPA and the state and local governments to resolve the numerous issues associated with the plume. Sean also assisted the client with a strategic restructuring and with creating a trust fund to compensate potential future claimants.
· Sean performed all of the environmental aspects of a $4 billion merger of two publicly traded REITs. In connection with the deal, he also negotiated a novel environmental insurance policy which requires the insurer to issue new policies to purchases of any of the assets.
· A client filed for bankruptcy and Sean negotiated a first-of-its-kind global settlement of liability at more than 30 Superfund sites with the U. S. Department of Justice. Sean also counseled the client in connection with numerous environmental remediation projects prior to, during and after the bankruptcy case.
· A client owned 30 acres in downtown Chicago (adjacent to Navy Pier) which is being developed into 6000 residential units, a school, park and offices. The property was contaminated with thorium arising from historic manufacturing operations. Sean assisted with the investigation and remediation of the radioactive materials at the property which is located in a densely populated residential area.
· DBSI, Inc Creditors' Committee (a $2.5 billion real estate bankruptcy case involving approximately 150 debtors and 8,500 investors).
· LandSource Communities (a $2.3 billion bankruptcy case involving more than 15,000 acres of real estate immediately north of Los Angeles).
· Canal Corporation (f/k/a Chesapeake Corporation) Creditors' Committee (an international manufacturer of value-added specialty paperbound and plastic packaging with 44 locations in Europe, North America, Africa and Asia).
· Aventine Renewable Energy, Inc. Creditors' Committee (690 million gallon per year ethanol producer).
· Sean has advised clients in connection with bankruptcy, corporate and real estate transactions in numerous industries, including: aviation, retail (including gasoline service station portfolios), real estate investment, ethanol and renewable energy, upstream, mid-stream and downstream petroleum, semi-pneumatic rubber tires, steel rolling and manufacturing, alumina and aluminum processing, reprographic services, roofing products, plastic and glass container manufacturing, high tolerance impression forging, distribution services, hardwood flooring manufacturing, aircraft maintenance, electro-mechanical assembly manufacturing, cabinet and vanity manufacturing, polystyrene and aluminum packaging manufacturing, metal shelving manufacturing, playground equipment manufacturing, wire and cable manufacturing, manufacturing of highly engineered valves and cylinders, material handling equipment manufacturing, plastic tableware manufacturing, mechanical power transmission component manufacturing, tractor motor attachments manufacturing, billiard cue manufacturing, kitchen textile products manufacturing, metal detector manufacturing, night vision products manufacturing, marine accessory manufacturing, lighting products manufacturing, light duty and heavy duty truck and automotive accessory manufacturing, molded pulp tray manufacturing, foie gras manufacturing, post-secondary schools, behavioral health care, chimney sweep products, equestrian products, logistics, transportation, warehousing and distribution services, barrel reconditioning, consumer chemical manufacturing, boat manufacturing, hotel acquisition and divestitures, funeral home operations, hospital and medical center operations, natural gas distribution, telecommunications equipment manufacturing, environmental laboratory testing, mattress manufacturing, aluminum ladder manufacturing, aluminum extrusion, motorcoach manufacturing, and tire manufacturing.
Publications & Presentations
Articles, Lectures & Publications
· Guest Lecturer, Loyola University of Chicago School of Law, 2010, 2011 and 2012
· Assisted in the preparation of the environmental sections of the Attorney's Guide to Negotiations, 2d edition, Clark, Boardman & Callaghan, 1995