Representative Matters

Prior results do not guarantee future outcomes.

Our Superfund, site remediation, and natural resource damages experience includes:

  • Serving as common counsel to a group of over 100 PRPs in the Berry's Creek Study Area (Ventron/Velsicol Operable Unit 2), NJ, with respect to sediment contamination in a roughly 12-square-mile area of wetlands and tributaries inside the Hackensack River watershed, including the provision of guidance and support on group objectives and strategies, preparation of the necessary organizational documents, assistance with the raising of funds for group activities, managing the agendas and meetings of multiple group committees and work groups, preparation and negotiation of consultant contracts and property access agreements, supervision of PRP investigation activities, the negotiation of EPA administrative orders on consent for scoping activities and an RI/FS, and review of draft RI/FS deliverables.
  • Helping a major oil and gas company in Big John’s Salvage-Hoult Road, WV, settle federal and state government response action and response cost claims and potential contribution claims of other PRPs, including an unusual degree of protection against future claims at a site where a final ROD had not yet been issued, made more complex by the presence of a former facility of the client immediately adjacent to the site and the need to define site boundaries separate from property boundaries.
  • Representing for a number of years a chemical industry client in Calcasieu Estuary, LA, with respect to a sediment cleanup and natural resource damages matter in Louisiana involving mercury, other heavy metals, and PCBs, including helping the client organize a PRP group, implement a corrective action study overseen by the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ) that resulted in the agency selecting the alternative recommended by the companies, negotiate a cooperative agreement with LDEQ for implementation of the selected remedy, and reach a final settlement with other PRPs on remediation costs.
  • Helping the PRP group at Cardington Road Landfill (aka Sanitary Landfill Co.) in Ohio negotiate an AOC for performance of the RI/FS, an AOC for performance of the remedial design, and a consent decree for performance of the remedial action for this site, ensuring that the group had the maximum available influence over the site remedy, as well as assisting with the preparation of the RI/FS reports, comments, and other documents that resulted in an acceptable remedy for the site.
  • Defending a major chemical company in a CERCLA action currently on appeal in the Second Circuit brought by an owner of a chemical manufacturing facility seeking to recover costs incurred to clean up PCBs allegedly present at a West Virginia site involving novel issues regarding CERCLA statutes of limitations and encompasses issues related to the National Contingency Plan and the equitable allocation of cleanup costs among potentially responsible parties.
  • Representing the City of Riviera Beach, FL, in a dispute with an international electronics manufacturer arising from contamination of the City’s water supply due to releases of solvents from an electronics plant that the manufacturer owned, mediating with the defendant and advocated for the City in public meetings, in Congress, and in the Executive Branch.
  • Helping the largest paper company on the Lower Fox River and Bay of Green Bay, WI, resolve its potential liabilities to the state and federal trustees and to EPA and eventually expanding the settlement to include the potential federal and tribal NRD claims for an estimated total cost to our client of $12.5 million (including assessment costs and some EPA costs), using the Remedial Design process to secure an EPA amendment of its original remedial action decision, thereby reducing the estimated cost of the agency’s remedy by hundreds of millions of dollars.
  • Successfully prosecuting a state Department of Transportation for its failure to contribute to a major sediment contamination remediation site in the Pacific Northwest, recovering for our client—a joint defense group of utilities—more than $8 million, including attorneys’ fees.
  • Helping the PRP group of Malone Service Company in Texas complete a RI/FS and avoid the application of land disposal restrictions to the remedy and helping the group raise over $13 million through cash-out settlements with other PRPs, settle potential NRD claims relating to an affected wetland and certain uplands, and negotiate an RD/RA consent decree with EPA for implementation of the selected $56 million remedy, which largely adopted the approach supported by the group’s RI/FS and incorporated an efficient design/build approach.
  • Assisting the PRP group of Marion Bragg Landfill in Indiana in negotiating a remedial action consent decree in which EPA agreed to provide up to $1.5 million in mixed funding and agreed to seek all pre-consent decree costs from non-settlors, enabling the group to move ahead expeditiously with the required remedial activities, and was so financially advantageous to the group that, based on our analysis of probable litigation costs and risks, we recommended, and the group agreed, to forego pursuing non-settlors.
  • Helping a major automobile manufacturer in Massena Foundry/St. Lawrence River, NY, address various EPA and NYDEC demands regarding a foundry located adjacent to the St. Lawrence River and the lands of the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe, including with respect to a substantial area of PCB-contaminated river sediments.
  • Defending our client, a major global manufacturer, and one of several defendants, resulting in the ruling that our client had no responsibility under the Massachusetts equivalent of the federal Superfund law for the $12 million cleanup of PCBs that had been discharged into the Mother Brook waterway in Massachusetts.
  • Helping a leading manufacturer of wooden doors identify, fund, and develop the first restoration bank for NRD offsets, where our client’s NRD liabilities were almost entirely offset by the returns received from sale of the restoration credits.
  • Serving as litigation counsel for the plaintiff PRP group at Pfohl Brothers Landfill in New York and engaging in an intensive effort over several years to investigate and depose additional PRPs (including municipalities), bringing 14 additional major PRPs into the client group, carefully evaluating the group’s claims against the remaining potential defendants and focusing the contribution claims on a few remaining major PRPs.
  • Serving as the co-chair of the alternative dispute resolution (ADR) process for the Portland Harbor Superfund Site – the largest Superfund site west of the Mississippi – while representing two key clients, helping to manage the design and implementation of an allocation process with the goal of achieving a negotiated performance offer and settlement with EPA.
  • Defending Puget Sound Energy (PSE), one of the Northwest’s leading utilities, on multiple manufactured gas plant remediation/cleanup sites, including in very challenging Superfund aquatic cleanup sites, working with PSE and consultants to develop and secure EPA approval for an innovative sediment capping technology that reduced the cleanup cost for the site by over 50% and helping PSE achieve remediation and consent decree compliance ahead of time and under budget.
  • Assisting a major automobile manufacturer in Michigan settle state and federal response action and NRD claims arising from the presence of PCBs in Saginaw River and Saginaw Bay sediments and biota, where the state had initiated an NRD lawsuit due to statute of limitations concerns and the federal trustees and EPA were brought into the settlement for a global resolution of response action and NRD claims relating to the river and bay.
  • Preparing comments to the National Remedy Review Board regarding EPA’s initially conceived sediment remedy, resulting in a change to the remedy and on the Proposed Remedial Action Plan that led to another change in the remedy, which reduced estimated costs by about $20 million, then negotiating an administrative consent order between our client and EPA for a removal action on the plant site and a partial remedial action consent decree with EPA for work in the Upper River and floodplains as well as a precedent-setting “work substitution” amendment to the decree to support a liability transfer.
  • Bringing suit against over 90 non-settling PRPs, including several municipalities on behalf of a PRP group of Skinner Landfill in Ohio and in close cooperation with EPA and obtaining a court order requiring all of the parties to participate in a mandatory ADR process, which resulted in one defendant assuming a greater share of responsibility than that assumed by our entire client group, and in other settlements with all but a handful of the remaining parties.
  • Representing certain trusts in federal court and before the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court (cert. denied) in a suit seeking environmental response costs from the trusts for two Superfund sites in Washington with respect to which plaintiffs had paid a $50 million settlement, with the court finding that the complaints were barred by the three-year statute of limitations and the trust fund theory does not apply to CERCLA claims.
  • Representing a large chemical company with respect to multiple issues arising from contaminated sediments and floodplains along more than 30 miles of the Tittabawassee River in Michigan and helping the company develop an overall strategy to address response action and NRD issues, negotiate an administrative order on consent with EPA for investigation and design activities, and negotiate a detailed cooperative natural resource damages assessment agreement with federal and state natural resource trustee agencies.
  • Helping a marine engine manufacturer in Waukegan Harbor, IL, negotiate a remedial action consent decree with EPA regarding onsite soil cleanup work and dredging of a portion of Waukegan Harbor, which included converting a boat slip into an onsite confined disposal facility for sediments highly contaminated with PCBs, an essential element of the settlement that required a novel solution under both the Toxic Substances Control Act and Superfund.