Skip to content

Contaminated Sites & Remediation

We represent current and former facility owners, operators, waste generators, transporters, and treatment, storage, or disposal facility operators in state and federal proceedings, administrative actions, cost recovery cases, and site remediations undertaken pursuant to CERCLA (the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act, also known as “Superfund”) and its numerous state law analogs. Our clients are frequently involved at major remediation sites, and our lawyers have obtained landmark precedents in several cases. In addition, we are available to apply our substantial experience in this realm during service as mediators at sites where the parties seek an equitable resolution of liability or allocation issues without the cost of formal litigation. When negotiation cannot satisfactorily resolve a matter, we offer substantial trial experience for litigating critical liability issues and damages.

Scope of Practice

  • Litigating liability and allocation issues
  • Negotiating consent decrees or administrative orders on consent
  • Pursuing or defending appeals of lower court rulings
  • Acting as lead or common counsel for groups of parties at multi-party sites
  • Acting on behalf of multiple clients with similar interests at multi-party sites
  • Advising clients on complying with, or challenging aspects of, unilateral administrative orders
  • Employing brownfields mechanisms to reduce environmental cleanup costs or liabilities
  • Assisting clients in addressing and resolving complex technical and factual issues that may occur in connection with determination of liability or the investigation and remediation of contaminated properties

Experience Highlights

  • Lead negotiator for a federal-state CERCLA consent decree in EPA Region 2 for remediation of dioxin and other chemicals; an Administrative Order on Consent for a remedial investigation and feasibility study of six miles of contaminated sediments in a northeastern river; an additional Administrative Order on Consent for RI/FS on a Bay; an Administrative Order on Consent for an early Removal Action; an Administrative Order on Consent for a CSO/SSO study; Cooperative Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Funding Agreements and response to a Unilateral Administrative Order

  • Defended a Fortune 50 client in a CERCLA private cost recovery action involving seven sites in seven states and two parties with a potential liability exceeding $200 million, by developing novel theories of economic benefit and culpability for the contamination; resolved on highly favorable terms involving a pay-out of eight cents on the dollar despite the client’s ownership of many of the sites for as long as 75 years

  • Obtained summary judgment in defendant’s favor in a CERCLA cost recovery action involving more than $150 million in alleged liability 

  • Played a leading role in a trial and appellate team that overturned a lower court decision holding a client liable for 20 percent of a $36 million site in a reported decision

  • Acted as trial and appellate counsel for a large chemical company in a federal Superfund cost recovery action in the Eastern District of Texas; the matter was settled on terms favorable for our client while the appeal was pending 

  • Negotiated a global settlement of CERCLA liability with the government and with PRPs as a consequence of claims that a client waste cleanup contractor mishandled the site’s clean up. Also coordinated the settlement with the settlement of the client contractor’s criminal liability, and proposed suspension and debarment

  • Defended a pipeline company in a multimedia enforcement action involving more than a thousand facilities.; established the frame work which led to a resolution of the action that provided for a phased cleanup schedule of the facilities and payment of a fine significantly less than EPA originally demanded

  • Represented a major U.S. crude oil gathering, transportation, and pipeline company in the defense of a property contamination lawsuit where the plaintiff’s alleged $40 million damage claims were settled for less than 1 percent of the amount initially claimed

  • Represented a spinoff company in a dispute involving responsibility for historic environmental liability at 20 plant sites, and resolved short of litigation through the use of creative insurance vehicles and cashing out liability

  • Represented clients in managing and resolving historic liabilities associated with a number of historic mining operations across the United States

  • Represented the first-ever prospective purchaser to purchase a National Priorities List site pursuant to an agreement to remediate it in accordance with Superfund protocols under EPA oversight; the cleanup order negotiated in this case resolved difficult liability issues associated with the future redevelopment of the site and has been touted by EPA as a model for future CERCLA cleanups undertaken by private-party investors