AmLaw Litigation Daily Names Beveridge & Diamond Principals Bina Reddy, Eric Klein, and Roy Prather Litigators of the Week
AmLaw Litigation Daily selected Principals Bina Reddy (Austin), Eric Klein (Boston), Roy Prather (Baltimore) as "Litigators of the Week" for January 29, 2021. AmLaw Litigation Daily describes the success of this B&D team–which also included John Guttmann (Principal, Washington, DC), Ben Wilson (Chairman, Washington, DC), and Collin Gannon (Associate, Baltimore)–in defending client the City of Newark in a high-profile Safe Drinking Water Act citizen suit led by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) in federal court in the District of New Jersey. The plaintiffs sought to leverage national concern regarding lead in drinking water in Flint, MI to force Newark to undertake massive and unnecessary measures modeled on Flint. After the B&D team defeated two preliminary injunction efforts by the NRDC – a major player in the environmental bar – the plaintiffs settled for Newark’s agreement to continue lead remediation efforts that were already underway or completed, and NRDC received no attorney fees for over two years of work, a highly unusual result.
B&D attorneys' initial defense of Newark began with the complaint and massive preliminary injunction request by the NRDC and its local partner, the Newark Education Workers Caucus, a group of Newark public school teachers. NEW Caucus, et al. v. City of Newark, et al., No. 18-cv-11025 (D.N.J.) (Salas, J.). NRDC demanded that the federal court enter an order – as in Flint – requiring door-to-door bottled water delivery in Newark, at a cost of somewhere between $30 million (NRDC’s estimate) and $80 million (Newark’s estimate). The Newark lawsuit and injunction demand was a near carbon copy of NRDC’s approach in Flint.
Newark has implemented a first-of-its-kind program to replace all of the ~ 18,000 lead service lines in the city free of charge to residents and the program is expected to conclude early this spring. The lawsuit against the NJDEP and the City of Newark has been dismissed and as part of the settlement, the advocacy groups cannot bring further actions related to the past city water situation.