Environmental

Litigation − Allocation, Enforcement and Administrative

We have applied our broad-based litigation experience to a wide range of litigation matters, including environmental cost recovery actions under federal and state law, regulatory enforcement proceedings, and toxic tort property damage and personal injury actions. We have successfully and efficiently represented clients in a wide variety of regulatory enforcement matters in addition to the defense of private citizen complaints. Our representation includes advice and pursuit of insurance coverage regarding these actions. Although we are experienced trial lawyers who are prepared to zealously represent our clients in all facets of contested proceedings, we have developed strong relationships with permit writers, regulators, and enforcement personnel, which have enabled our clients to achieve positive results through well-negotiated settlements.

Experience

Our litigation experience includes environmental cost recovery actions under federal and state law, regulatory enforcement proceedings, as well as toxic tort property damage and personal injury actions. We have successfully and efficiently represented clients in a wide variety of environmental litigation matters, including the defense of private citizen complaints and the pursuit of insurance coverage for the underlying environmental claims.

While we are experienced trial lawyers who zealously represent our clients in all facets of contested proceedings, we also have developed strong relationships with regulators and enforcement personnel so that our clients can achieve positive results through well-negotiated settlements.

  • Represented a manufacturing client in an enforcement action brought by U.S. EPA Region 5, alleging violations of regulations governing emissions from mold compounding equipment. The case was nationally significant because it addressed the first economically and technologically feasible VOC and styrene capture and control system for compounding equipment in the Reinforced Plastics Industry.
  • Defending against an enforcement action brought by U.S. EPA Region 5, alleging violations of the federal hazardous air pollutant Cluster Rules regulating the emission of methanol from pulp and paper mills. The case raised issues of first impression regarding the application of the Cluster Rule requirements to sulfite mills, including the use of the WATER 9 computer model to estimate fugitive emissions.
  • Representing a manufacturing client in a State of Wisconsin enforcement action, brought on behalf of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, asserting 17 different claims arising from alleged air permit violations. Many claims focused on the alleged failure to comply with a permit requirement that VOCs be controlled by 85 percent. Ultimately, the State was convinced that doing so was technically infeasible, resulting in issuance of a revised permit that removed this requirement.
  • Represented a food packaging facility in an enforcement action brought by the State of Arizona on behalf of the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ). The State pursued civil penalties for alleged violations of various air and water quality statutes and regulations spanning more than two decades. The alleged violations were inconsistent with past ADEQ inspections that had led the facility to believe it had been operating in compliance. At the time the enforcement action was commenced, the facility had just emerged from bankruptcy and the State's excessive civil penalty demand threatened the facility's economic viability. Following a bench trial, the court agreed the proposed penalty was excessive, ruling that if certain planned capital improvements of the facility's wastewater system were completed within two years, the civil penalty would be abated in its entirety.
  • Defending a chemical distributor in a CERCLA cost recovery action brought by an irrigation district against several dozen entities, claiming that its groundwater supply wells have been impacted by hazardous substance releases. The irrigation district contends that the defendants should fund a groundwater remedy that would allow the irrigation district to begin selling its groundwater as drinking water. The defense of that cost recovery action continues.
  • Representing a hazardous and universal waste recycling facility in defending an enforcement action brought by the State of Arizona on behalf of the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality. The Complaint asserts 24 different claims, alleging violations of Arizona's hazardous waste laws and seeking civil penalties. The defense of that action continues.
  • On behalf of a party that had implemented a remedy at a federal superfund site, asserting a negligence claim against the environmental consulting firm that designed and operated the groundwater treatment system. The consultant's negligent operation of that system had allowed untreated contaminated groundwater to bypass the treatment system and be re-injected into clean areas of the aquifer, thereby causing the contaminant plume to spread. The spreading contamination resulted in claims by a municipality to address impacts to its drinking water wells. Favorable settlements were reached in both instances.