We take a dual approach to handling enforcement actions and citizen suits: proactive prevention counseling and quick litigation defense.
Companies and municipalities face environmental enforcement from not only governments but also citizen groups and non-governmental organizations (NGOs)—including on novel tort theories relating to climate change and emerging contaminants. B&D lawyers bring an array of tools to environmental enforcement actions and citizen suits, including experience working with scientific experts, the ability to navigate the administrative enforcement process and manage litigation challenges, and familiarity with regulators and lawmakers.
Our longstanding relationships within federal, state, and local agencies in key jurisdictions give us valuable insights into how regulators think and what they might do. For example, if a company finds an environmental, health, and safety (EHS) issue before receiving notice of an administrative action, we can help decision makers understand the nuances of what is and is not reportable and assist them in making that subtle—but tough—call to preclude agency intervention while the company works to fix the problem.
Among environmental regulatory agencies, we also enjoy a strong reputation for our understanding of how scientific issues relate to legal and policy issues. Regulators trust us to complete the necessary work to bring a company back into compliance—a significant advantage in negotiation and resolution of an enforcement action.
We offer one of the most experienced enforcement and citizen suits defense teams, which includes one of the nation’s top environmental lawyers—the former Assistant Attorney General for the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the U.S. Department of Justice—several former Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and equivalent state agency lawyers or consultants, and the former general counsel for two of the largest water utilities in the U.S., among others.
Because stakes are high in citizen suits—an unfavorable ruling could cost defendants millions or billions of dollars in injunctive relief or plaintiffs legal fees—we know that companies need nimble, creative, and aggressive representation. We defend clients against statutory allegations in air, water, waste, and natural resources, and more, and non-statutory allegations brought under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). We know the tactics and theories of NGOs and the plaintiffs’ bar, and how to defeat them—either through early settlement or dismissal, or forceful litigation advocacy all the way through appeal.
We represent companies and municipal entities accused by a federal, state, or local government agency of violating environmental law.
In citizen suits, we have represented clients as both defendant and plaintiff, primarily for companies in the chemical, oil and gas, and agriculture sectors.
We provide protection and defense in all phases of regulatory risk and the enforcement spectrum.
Our 100 lawyers—including over 50 litigators—focus on environmental regulatory compliance and litigation. We know effective enforcement strategies as well as common mistakes that companies can make. As a result, we deploy comprehensive, cost-effective plans to help clients reduce EHS enforcement risks, respond to enforcement actions and citizen suits when they occur, and fulfill compliance obligations.
Our citizen suits team combines decades of experience with environmental enforcement cases; how environmental laws are developed, interpreted, and applied; and a wide range of compliance issues that enable us to view citizen suits in the context of a larger universe of environmental disputes. We excel in cases that pose novel theories of liability, nuisance, or tort.