Sean is regularly engaged to provide legal advice on a variety of environmental management and engineering projects, and commercial transactions. Sean acts for a wide variety of clients including: landowners, large industry players, municipalities, government departments and administrative tribunals.
In his commercial litigation practice, Sean handles a variety of matters including contaminated site litigation, shareholder disputes, construction matters such as builders' liens, property damage claims, and others.
Energy, Environmental & Regulatory
Sean counsels and represents large industrial players, municipalities, small independent operators and individual landowners on various environmental and regulatory issues. Some representative examples include:
•Acted for an individual and corporate vendor of real estate and successfully defended a claim for alleged losses flowing from the sale of a parcel of contaminated land. Issues related to disclosure of environmental conditions of the land pre-sale and the purchaser's lack of due diligence.
•Advised a large industrial services company when conducting due diligence in relation to the purchase of several properties with potential environmental liabilities. This matter required analysis of various technical environmental reports, assessment of the risk associated with the proposed transaction and developing strategies to manage the risk to our client.
•Represents and advises an individual, and their related corporations, when dealing with environmental regulators enforcing administrative orders against them. This matter involves strategic planning when engaging the regulators in discussions and making submissions to the Environmental Appeals Board. The terms of the order have been amended significantly to allow for business operations to continue while the order is being fulfilled.
•Acted as defence counsel for a large energy company prosecuted for alleged environmental offences. Due to the complexity of the engineering issues involved, expert consultants were identified and retained to refute the prosecution's theory of the case and defend the charges laid.
•Counseled a coal mining company dealing with regulators and other stakeholders in order to obtain the required permits and operating approvals. This matter involved identification of a wide range of legislative and regulatory requirements and working with the client to ensure that the same were satisfied. This matter also involved navigating the new alternative dispute resolution process administered by the Alberta Energy Regulator to resolve concerns raised by several stakeholders.
•Provides ongoing advice to a government department on the development and maintenance of its environmental management system. This advice includes an annual review of the department's environmental management system, undertaken in conjunction with a comprehensive review of all potentially applicable federal and provincial environmental legislation.
•Acted as counsel to an administrative tribunal during appeal proceedings between government regulators and an energy company relating to denial of a proposed resource development project. This matter was classified by the tribunal as a complex appeal due to nature of the issues and novel procedural considerations that arose. A number of precedent-setting decisions, mostly relating to procedural issues, were made by the tribunal in the course of hearing this matter.
•Acted for a large energy company defending multiple lawsuits from neighbouring landowners alleging damages from historic operations of a nearby retail gas station. We successfully bought a summary dismissal application and had all claims against the client dismissed at an early stage in the litigation.
•Represents individuals claiming damages owed for breach of contract following the complex sale of a corporation to another party. Issues in this matter primarily relate to several employees of the buyer interfering with the sellers' ability to realize earn-out portions of the sale agreement.
•Acted for a large energy company in a complex commercial arbitration. This matter required assessing a broad array of issues and defending wide range of allegations. Due to the highly technical nature of the issues raised, extensive efforts were undertaken to review enormous volumes of documents and develop analyses in conjunction with world-leading engineering experts.
• Contaminated Sites: The Real Law , McLennan Ross Webinar, 2016
• Environmental Case Law Update , Canadian Bar Association, Environmental, Energy & Resources Law-North Subsection, 2016
• Basics of Environmental Law , Environmental Services Association of Alberta, Environment Business Conference, 2015
• Creative Sentencing for Environmental Offences , University of Alberta, Alberta Land Institute: Land Use, 2014
• Environmental Consultants' Liability Risks , McLennan Ross Webinar, 2013
• Basics of Environmental Law , Environmental Services Association of Alberta, Environment Business Conference, 2012
• Construction Consultants' Liability , McLennan Ross Construction Law Symposium
• Environmental Law - The Civil Side , McLennan Ross, 2012
• Environmental Inspections, Investigations and Enforcement , McLennan Ross, 2012
• Basics of Environmental Law , Environmental Services Association of Alberta, Environment Business Conference, 2011
•“Environmental Claims Fail Despite Expert Evidence ”, McLennan Ross Legal Counsel Newsletter
• Phase What? Understanding Environmental Reports In Real Estate Transactions , McLennan Ross Legal Counsel Newsletter
• Environmental Privacy , McLennan Ross E-Mail Alert
• Enforcing the Species at Risk Act: Environmental Groups Gaining Ground , McLennan Ross Legal Counsel Newsletter
• Court sets Aside Policy Barring Objectors from Role in Oilsands Approval Process , Canadian Bar Association, Eco-Bulletin - National Environmental, Energy and Resources Law Section Newsletter
• Judicial Scrutiny of Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development Policy on Objections to Oilsands Projects , Mondaq
• Significant Federal And Provincial Government Actions To Protect Vulnerable Species , Mondaq
•“A User's Guide to Injunctions and Related Remedies in Alberta”, Legal Education Association of Alberta Workshop for Common Chambers Applications
•“Provinces as Creditors for Remediation Costs”, Lexology
•“Nunavut Planning and Project Assessment Act (Bill C-47)”, Lexology
•“Major Federal Changes: Bill C-38”, Lexology
•“Budget to Speed up Approval of Resource Development Projects”, Lexology
•“Alberta's “Energy Superboard”, Lexology
•“New Federal Carbon Emission Standards for Coal-fired Power Plants”, Lexology
•“Integrated Oil Sands Environmental Monitoring Plan”, Lexology
Professional Associations, Affiliations and Community Activities
•Member, Canadian Bar Association
•Board of Directors, Environmental Law Center