Beveridge & Diamond
 

Environmental Technologies

Overview

Beveridge & Diamond, P.C. has long represented environmental technology and service companies in three general capacities.  First, we have assisted such companies in addressing the extensive regulation they face at all levels of government.  In addition, the Firm has enabled these companies to take competitive advantage of the regulations that are imposed upon their customers, while ensuring that our clients’ products and services are employed in an environmentally protective manner.  Finally, we have defended our clients and their products and services against allegations that use of these products and services have caused personal injury or property damage.

Full Description

Environmental regulation is a two-edged sword for companies that manufacture environmental control technologies or offer environmental services. While those manufacturing operations and services are typically the subject of pervasive government regulation that can inhibit the business objectives of such companies, that regulation can also be successfully employed to competitive advantage. Given our long and extensive experience with all manner of domestic and international environmental regulation, Beveridge & Diamond has repeatedly been called upon by environmental technology and service companies to protect and enhance their commercial objectives.

A principal aspect of this work has entailed ensuring that innovative and other technologies receive favorable treatment by regulatory agencies that allows our clients to gain customer, shareholder and public confidence in their products and to provide cost-effective and environmentally sound services to their clientele. For example, we worked successfully to achieve legislative and regulatory exemptions from regulation as hazardous waste for ash generated by municipal waste-to-energy plants. We also successfully defended a waste-to-energy plant in federal district and appeals court against a challenge by an environmental organization who argued that the ash was improperly managed. Similarly, we achieved a first-of-its-kind, multiple site federal hazardous waste delisting for a residue generated by a client’s waste treatment technology and defeated a competitor’s judicial challenge to that delisting.

We have also assisted clients in expanding markets for their products and services, and ensuring that those products and services are utilized in an environmentally responsible fashion. For instance, when a major consumer product company wanted to evaluate and compare the likely waste management infrastructure systems available for, and regulatory controls applicable to, environmental services it wished to provide customers in several foreign markets, it asked the Firm to prepare that analysis. Likewise, a major wastewater treatment system manufacturer seeking to secure regulatory acceptance and successful marketing of its wastewater and stormwater systems in both U.S. and several foreign markets called upon the Firm to provide strategic advice in achieving those objectives.

The Firm has also worked with a number of clients to ensure the timely and cost-effective siting and operation of their environmental technologies and services. For example, on behalf of one of the leading providers of hazardous and solid waste management services in the United States, we have handled appeals to adverse zoning decisions, provided ongoing advice with respect to a host of federal, state and local environmental regulatory requirements, assisted in lobbying for favorable legislative and regulatory standards, addressed transboundary waste shipment issues, and represented the company in compliance investigations and enforcement actions by federal, state and local governmental agencies at various sites throughout the country.

Clients in this sector have also called upon the Firm to represent them against allegations that their products and services have created personal injury or damage to private property. For instance, a leading wastewater treatment company asked the Firm to defend it in a high profile wrongful death action involving waste residuals recycled for beneficial use by the company. In that case, the Firm obtained a case management order compelling plaintiffs to produce expert causation evidence supporting their allegations early in the case, and after the Firm filed a Daubert motion it was able to secure a highly favorable settlement in which the plaintiffs attested that their evidence could not show the Firm’s client had caused any harm.

Finally, we have represented a major owner/operator of waste-to-energy plants for over 15 years. We have advised the company in dozens of federal and state rulemakings on air, water, waste and other environmental issues; litigated these rules on behalf of the company in federal and state courts; helped secure and defend air, water and solid waste permits across the country; and defended the company against lawsuits brought by state and federal regulators and citizen groups. We have also conducted environmental due diligence work for the company in the purchase and sale of assets.

Representative Matters
Representative Matters
  • When a client's state environmental permit to operate was blocked by a local ordinance, the Firm promptly secured a preliminary injunction against the local ordinance on preemption grounds, and then defended the injunction on appeal.  The Firm coupled its preemption claims with damage claims under federal civil rights law (section 1983) and secured a settlement in which the locality rescinded its ordinance and made a large payment for the Firm's fees. O'Brien v. Appomattox County, 213 F.Supp.2d 627 (W.D. Va. 2002), aff'd, 2003 WL 21711347 (4th Cir. 2003); see also Synagro v. Rush Township, 299 F.Supp.2d 410 (M.D. Pa. 2003) (ruling on summary judgment that most of local ordinance was preempted; Township later paid to settle the of case).