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Environmental Litigation

Environmental litigation can pose a daunting challenge to businesses because of its potential complexity, expense, and long duration. Given the substantial costs and risks, many environmental disputes are resolved outside the courtroom through administrative proceedings, cooperation between affected companies and state or federal regulators, and agreements among parties potentially responsible for environmental contamination. Our lawyers have the experience and sophistication necessary to guide clients through all facets of complex environmental controversies, including negotiation with state and federal regulators, administrative agency proceedings, litigation in state and federal courts, appellate litigation, arbitration, mediation, and insurance coverage actions for environmental claims. Our clients include representatives of numerous industries, including oil and gas, chemical and fertilizer, transportation, education, health care, alternative energy, agriculture, timber, pharmaceutical, construction, real estate, food processing, manufacturing, and waste management. We represent private companies, governmental entities and municipalities, and academic and trade organizations. We've successfully assisted clients in a wide range of environmental litigation matters, including:

  • Cost allocation, cost recovery/contribution, and natural resource litigation under CERCLA and similar state statutes.
  • Litigation of contractual indemnification provisions.
  • Defense of civil and criminal enforcement actions under federal and state environmental statutes.
  • Recovery of insurance proceeds for environmental claims.
  • Defense of citizen suits by private groups attempting to enforce federal and state environmental statutes.
  • Negotiation and preparation of consent decrees under federal and state statutes.
  • Challenging consent decrees under federal and state statutes.
  • Toxic tort, trespass and nuisance, and property damage and personal injury litigation arising from environmental releases and conditions.
  • Permit approval and challenge proceedings under various statutes, including RCRA, FIFRA, the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, the Endangered Species Act, and other federal and state statutes.

We assist our clients in resolving environmental disputes without litigation. When litigation is necessary, however, our knowledge of environmental statutes and regulations and remedial technologies, our relationships with technical consultants and regulators, and our extensive experience in the courtroom, the boardroom, and administrative tribunals helps us obtain the best possible results for our clients.

Representative Experience

  • Represented daycare in litigation for tort claims based on lead paint exposure; tort claims were dismissed based on lack of evidence of exposure.
  • Represented school districts in addressing potential claims for exposure to lead paint, lead in drinking water, radon, leaking PCB-containing fluorescent light ballasts, asbestos and mold; successfully directed public relationships communications and town hall meetings that led to the resolution of issues and prevented claims from rising to litigation.
  • Defended property developer in toxic tort litigation involving exposure to asbestos contamination by residents of new development. 
  • Represented client on environmental coverage claims for lead exposure claims arising from smelters. 
  • Acted as lead counsel to a multinational manufacturer of metal-handling equipment company in a remediation of soil and groundwater contaminated with hydrocarbons and volatile organic compounds; provide strategic advice to mitigate environmental and tort liability arising from potential vapor intrusion into residential homes, including alleged health impacts and diminution of property value.
Advised multinational pulp and paper, manufacturing, food processing, and investment companies on complex Clean Air Act issues, including global climate change, new source review requirements, new source performance standards, routine maintenance exemptions under the prevention of significant deterioration regulations, the national emissions standards for hazardous air pollutants, determination of appropriate control technology, and odor-control regulation.
Defended numerous clients, including food processors, dry cleaners, a confined animal feeding operation, and sewer, recycling, manufacturing, chemical, energy, and property management companies, in Clean Water Act actions brought by the Environmental Protection Agency, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, and citizen groups.
Has assisted construction services professionals, builders, and developers in defending contract and negligence claims regarding defective construction and construction-related services, as well as enforcing and defending against lien claims.
Managed defense of entity and owner against state environmental and county land use enforcement proceedings and assisted in acquiring, planning, and transferring operations to industrial park property.