Public Sector and Government Entities
Public Sector and Government Entities
For decades, the attorneys of Kelley Drye have represented the public sector. Today, state and local governmental entities and agencies―including quasi-governmental entities such as port authorities and airport systems―are facing an increasing number of complex environmental issues impacting public health, economic and commercial interests, scarcity of resources, and environmental quality.

At Kelley Drye, we understand the political and practical challenges unique to public sector clients, and we work closely with our public clients to develop innovative solutions that address multifaceted concerns regarding regulatory compliance, operational issues, and crisis management assistance.

Environmental and Natural Resource Damages Matters

Kelley Drye lawyers are involved in many of the most complex Environmental Litigation and Natural Resource Damages matters in the country, often navigating a unique blend of state and federal environmental laws and regulations.

Kelley Drye is currently representing the State of New Mexico regarding the contamination of the Animas and San Juan Rivers resulting from the Gold King Mine disaster.  Our lawyers previously served as Special Counsel to the Attorney General of New Jersey in litigation associated with the contamination of – and natural resource damages to – the Passaic River, one of the most significant and high-profile water pollution cases in the country.  Kelley Drye’s lawyers also represented the State of Louisiana, the Jindal Administration, and the Louisiana Oil Spill Coordinator's Office (LOSCO) in assessing and responding to the unprecedented natural resource damages caused by the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Representing governmental agencies, particularly in high stakes environmental matters, has provided our attorneys with a rare understanding of the diverse concerns and perspectives that influence complex environmental and natural resource damages litigation, and the rare perspective of trustee agencies.

Regulatory and Operational Issues

As part of our Public Sector and Government practice, Kelley Drye provides needed service and advice on the laws and regulations that apply to state, municipal and county operations, including permitting, contaminated site remediation, waste water and storm water management, environmental liability, and release reporting.  We assist public sector clients in resolving regulatory and operational issues.  Our regulatory representation spans a wide spectrum including advising clients on applicable law, guidance during spills or releases, and negotiations to resolve administrative and enforcement actions.  Our attorneys have sustained experience in regulatory compliance, reporting and cleanup of contaminated sites, agency inspections and investigations, and similar issues.  Our firm also evaluates permitting requirements and secures permits for air emissions, waste water discharges, and waste generation, storage and disposal.
 

Kelley Drye has perhaps the most sophisticated, experienced and successful public sector environmental practice in the country.  For decades, our lawyers have successfully represented public entities—including states, local governments, and port authorities—in groundbreaking environmental and natural resource damages cases of all kinds.

A representative sample of our environmental cases for public entities includes:
 
  • Serving as lead counsel for the State of New Jersey in the Passaic River litigation, recovering over $355 million in damages, including $67.5 million in restoration projects, and up to $400 million more in remediation costs for the state.  The Passaic River recovery is the largest settlement of its kind in the history of New Jersey.

  • Representing the State of Louisiana and the Louisiana Oil Spill Coordinator’s Office in the BP/Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, including leading Jindal Administration efforts to identify and quantify billions of dollars in economic and natural resource damages to the State of Louisiana, all of which were ultimately recovered as part of a $20 billion global settlement, the largest environmental and natural resource damages recovery in history.

  • Representing the Port of Houston Authority in asserting environmental cost recovery and natural resource damages claims against the former owners and operators of a pesticides plant that dumped DDT and various other pesticides and chemicals into the Houston Ship Channel for decades.  Following three years of incredibly complex litigation, the defendants settled with the Port by paying for all of its costs and damages and dredging and disposing of all of the DDT-impacted sediments at issue, in all valued at over $100 million.

  • Serving as Special Counsel to the State of New Mexico and New Mexico Environment Department in seeking remediation, costs, and economic damages arising from the Gold King Mine blowout and decades of mining waste contamination of the Animas and San Juan Rivers, including an original action in the United States Supreme Court.  This case is set for trial in February 2022.

  • Representing the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico in seeking remediation costs and natural resource damages arising from island-wide groundwater contamination in both multi-district litigation and trial sites in the District of Puerto Rico, recovering tens of millions of dollars to date.

  • Representing the Port of Texas City in Oil Pollution Act and common law claims against various oil companies and refineries that had operated pipelines to the Port’s docks for almost a century.  As a result of negligent (or no) pipeline maintenance, the lines had leaked a wide variety of petroleum products under the surface of the Port’s property, ultimately leaching vast quantities into Galveston Bay.  Following an aggressive litigation schedule, we were able to recover tens of millions of dollars for the Port, recovering all of the Port’s costs and damages and all funds necessary for a complete remedy, including a new retaining wall and dock facility, to serve as a physical barrier to further hydrocarbon migration and protect the Bay.

  • Serving as Special Counsel to the Attorney General of Guam in bringing an action against the United States to require that the U.S. pay its fair share of remediation costs arising from decades of military operations on Guam.  On May 24, 2021, Justice Clarence Thomas delivered a unanimous decision for the Supreme Court of the United States in the case of Territory of Guam v The United States, brought on behalf of Guam by Kelley Drye & Warren LLP.  The Court found in favor of Guam, reversing a D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals decision and remanding the case to the district court.

  • Serving as Special Counsel to the Attorney General of New Jersey representing the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection in a series of lawsuits related to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and other contamination at and from four separate industrial facilities owned and operated by DuPont and Chemours across New Jersey.

  • Representing the State of Ohio and Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost in litigation against DuPont and Chemours for decades-long discharges of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) from its Washington Works Plant in Parkersburg, West Virginia into Ohio, and seeking to recover all past and future costs to investigate, remediate, and restore lands and waters of Ohio contaminated by PFOA, as well as damages and equitable relief.

  • Representing the State of North Carolina in bringing claims against DuPont and Chemours for PFAS contamination from their Fayetteville, North Carolina plant across a broad swath of the Cape Fear River and coastal North Carolina.

  • Representing multiple states and sovereigns—currently including the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), Government of Guam, the State of New Hampshire, the State of New Jersey, and the State of North Carolina—in asserting claims against the product and component manufacturers of aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF) that contained PFAS.  PFAS has contaminated vast quantities of drinking water and natural resources as a result of the use of AFFF.

  • Representing dozens of water districts and local governments, including huge water providers and systems such as Orange County and Miami-Dade, in asserting claims against the product and component manufacturers of AFFF and PFAS.

  • Serving on the Plaintiffs Executive Committee and Chair of the State Claims Committee in In Re: Aqueous Film-Forming Foams (AFFF) Products Liability Litigation, MDL No. 2:18-mn2873-RMG, pending in the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina.

  • Representing the San Diego Unified Port District in litigation filed in the Southern District of California that seeks costs, injunctive relief and damages for navigational impacts and injuries to the natural resources of the San Diego Bay arising from bay-wide PCB contamination.

  • Representing the State of Montana in asserting natural resource damages and remediation claims against W.R. Grace & Co. for asbestos contamination from the Libby Mine in Libby, Montana as the final claim in the W.R. Grace & Co. bankruptcy proceedings.

We have been fortunate to help our public sector clients navigate difficult and incredibly complex environmental contamination cases of all kinds.  Through the years, we have recovered literally billions of dollars for our public sector clients, and we are proud of the positive impact that our work has had on communities across the country.
 
 
 

Overview

For decades, the attorneys of Kelley Drye have represented the public sector. Today, state and local governmental entities and agencies―including quasi-governmental entities such as port authorities and airport systems―are facing an increasing number of complex environmental issues impacting public health, economic and commercial interests, scarcity of resources, and environmental quality.

At Kelley Drye, we understand the political and practical challenges unique to public sector clients, and we work closely with our public clients to develop innovative solutions that address multifaceted concerns regarding regulatory compliance, operational issues, and crisis management assistance.

Environmental and Natural Resource Damages Matters

Kelley Drye lawyers are involved in many of the most complex Environmental Litigation and Natural Resource Damages matters in the country, often navigating a unique blend of state and federal environmental laws and regulations.

Kelley Drye is currently representing the State of New Mexico regarding the contamination of the Animas and San Juan Rivers resulting from the Gold King Mine disaster.  Our lawyers previously served as Special Counsel to the Attorney General of New Jersey in litigation associated with the contamination of – and natural resource damages to – the Passaic River, one of the most significant and high-profile water pollution cases in the country.  Kelley Drye’s lawyers also represented the State of Louisiana, the Jindal Administration, and the Louisiana Oil Spill Coordinator's Office (LOSCO) in assessing and responding to the unprecedented natural resource damages caused by the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Representing governmental agencies, particularly in high stakes environmental matters, has provided our attorneys with a rare understanding of the diverse concerns and perspectives that influence complex environmental and natural resource damages litigation, and the rare perspective of trustee agencies.

Regulatory and Operational Issues

As part of our Public Sector and Government practice, Kelley Drye provides needed service and advice on the laws and regulations that apply to state, municipal and county operations, including permitting, contaminated site remediation, waste water and storm water management, environmental liability, and release reporting.  We assist public sector clients in resolving regulatory and operational issues.  Our regulatory representation spans a wide spectrum including advising clients on applicable law, guidance during spills or releases, and negotiations to resolve administrative and enforcement actions.  Our attorneys have sustained experience in regulatory compliance, reporting and cleanup of contaminated sites, agency inspections and investigations, and similar issues.  Our firm also evaluates permitting requirements and secures permits for air emissions, waste water discharges, and waste generation, storage and disposal.
 

Experience

Kelley Drye has perhaps the most sophisticated, experienced and successful public sector environmental practice in the country.  For decades, our lawyers have successfully represented public entities—including states, local governments, and port authorities—in groundbreaking environmental and natural resource damages cases of all kinds.

A representative sample of our environmental cases for public entities includes:
 
  • Serving as lead counsel for the State of New Jersey in the Passaic River litigation, recovering over $355 million in damages, including $67.5 million in restoration projects, and up to $400 million more in remediation costs for the state.  The Passaic River recovery is the largest settlement of its kind in the history of New Jersey.

  • Representing the State of Louisiana and the Louisiana Oil Spill Coordinator’s Office in the BP/Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, including leading Jindal Administration efforts to identify and quantify billions of dollars in economic and natural resource damages to the State of Louisiana, all of which were ultimately recovered as part of a $20 billion global settlement, the largest environmental and natural resource damages recovery in history.

  • Representing the Port of Houston Authority in asserting environmental cost recovery and natural resource damages claims against the former owners and operators of a pesticides plant that dumped DDT and various other pesticides and chemicals into the Houston Ship Channel for decades.  Following three years of incredibly complex litigation, the defendants settled with the Port by paying for all of its costs and damages and dredging and disposing of all of the DDT-impacted sediments at issue, in all valued at over $100 million.

  • Serving as Special Counsel to the State of New Mexico and New Mexico Environment Department in seeking remediation, costs, and economic damages arising from the Gold King Mine blowout and decades of mining waste contamination of the Animas and San Juan Rivers, including an original action in the United States Supreme Court.  This case is set for trial in February 2022.

  • Representing the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico in seeking remediation costs and natural resource damages arising from island-wide groundwater contamination in both multi-district litigation and trial sites in the District of Puerto Rico, recovering tens of millions of dollars to date.

  • Representing the Port of Texas City in Oil Pollution Act and common law claims against various oil companies and refineries that had operated pipelines to the Port’s docks for almost a century.  As a result of negligent (or no) pipeline maintenance, the lines had leaked a wide variety of petroleum products under the surface of the Port’s property, ultimately leaching vast quantities into Galveston Bay.  Following an aggressive litigation schedule, we were able to recover tens of millions of dollars for the Port, recovering all of the Port’s costs and damages and all funds necessary for a complete remedy, including a new retaining wall and dock facility, to serve as a physical barrier to further hydrocarbon migration and protect the Bay.

  • Serving as Special Counsel to the Attorney General of Guam in bringing an action against the United States to require that the U.S. pay its fair share of remediation costs arising from decades of military operations on Guam.  On May 24, 2021, Justice Clarence Thomas delivered a unanimous decision for the Supreme Court of the United States in the case of Territory of Guam v The United States, brought on behalf of Guam by Kelley Drye & Warren LLP.  The Court found in favor of Guam, reversing a D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals decision and remanding the case to the district court.

  • Serving as Special Counsel to the Attorney General of New Jersey representing the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection in a series of lawsuits related to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and other contamination at and from four separate industrial facilities owned and operated by DuPont and Chemours across New Jersey.

  • Representing the State of Ohio and Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost in litigation against DuPont and Chemours for decades-long discharges of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) from its Washington Works Plant in Parkersburg, West Virginia into Ohio, and seeking to recover all past and future costs to investigate, remediate, and restore lands and waters of Ohio contaminated by PFOA, as well as damages and equitable relief.

  • Representing the State of North Carolina in bringing claims against DuPont and Chemours for PFAS contamination from their Fayetteville, North Carolina plant across a broad swath of the Cape Fear River and coastal North Carolina.

  • Representing multiple states and sovereigns—currently including the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), Government of Guam, the State of New Hampshire, the State of New Jersey, and the State of North Carolina—in asserting claims against the product and component manufacturers of aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF) that contained PFAS.  PFAS has contaminated vast quantities of drinking water and natural resources as a result of the use of AFFF.

  • Representing dozens of water districts and local governments, including huge water providers and systems such as Orange County and Miami-Dade, in asserting claims against the product and component manufacturers of AFFF and PFAS.

  • Serving on the Plaintiffs Executive Committee and Chair of the State Claims Committee in In Re: Aqueous Film-Forming Foams (AFFF) Products Liability Litigation, MDL No. 2:18-mn2873-RMG, pending in the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina.

  • Representing the San Diego Unified Port District in litigation filed in the Southern District of California that seeks costs, injunctive relief and damages for navigational impacts and injuries to the natural resources of the San Diego Bay arising from bay-wide PCB contamination.

  • Representing the State of Montana in asserting natural resource damages and remediation claims against W.R. Grace & Co. for asbestos contamination from the Libby Mine in Libby, Montana as the final claim in the W.R. Grace & Co. bankruptcy proceedings.

We have been fortunate to help our public sector clients navigate difficult and incredibly complex environmental contamination cases of all kinds.  Through the years, we have recovered literally billions of dollars for our public sector clients, and we are proud of the positive impact that our work has had on communities across the country.
 
Partner
Email (713) 355-5050(713) 355-5050
Bill Jackson is co-chair of the firm’s national Environmental Law practice group and a member of the firm’s Executive Committee.  Bill has one of the most sophisticated and success...
Partner
Email (713) 355-5006(713) 355-5006
Kenneth Corley is managing partner of the firm’s Houston office.  His practice is focused on litigation and trial advocacy, with an emphasis on environmental and business disputes in sta...
Partner
Email (713) 355-5005(713) 355-5005
John Gilmour co-chairs the Environmental Litigation section.  His practice encompasses significant commercial, tort and environmental matters from coast to coast, including some of the largest...
Partner
Email (713) 355-5023(713) 355-5023
Will Petit represents clients in the litigation and trial of environmental, commercial and general civil matters.  He also provides practical, cost-effective legal advice on general business a...
Partner
Email (202) 342-8422(202) 342-8422
Bezalel Stern provides innovative, cost-effective, efficient solutions to meet his clients' needs.  His litigation practice focuses on complex commercial litigation, class action defense, ...
Special Counsel
Email (202) 342-8823(202) 342-8823
Melissa Byroade represents sophisticated domestic and international clients in high-stakes disputes.  She focuses her practice on environmental litigation, international arbitration and commer...
Special Counsel
Email (713) 355-5035(713) 355-5035
Laura Carlock’s practice focuses on environmental litigation.  Laura’s experience also includes appellate and motions practice in complex commercial litigation. Prior to joini...
Special Counsel
Email (713) 355-5013(713) 355-5013
Lana Rowenko’s practice focuses on environmental litigation, as well as commercial litigation.  Lana’s environmental practice includes representing states and sovereigns in complex...
Special Counsel
Email (713) 355-5031(713) 355-5031
Nancy Yanochik has experience in environmental matters, tort and commercial litigation.  She has represented a broad range of clients including large petrochemical, pharmaceutical, and transpo...
Senior Associate
Email (713) 355-5007(713) 355-5007
Jennifer Barks focuses her practice on environmental, energy, and commercial litigation.  Jennifer performs varied civil pre-trial tasks, including document review and collection of evidence d...
Senior Associate
Email (212) 808-7636(212) 808-7636
David Reap is a senior litigation associate who focuses on commercial litigation, consumer class action defense, and law enforcement investigations involving consumer protection. David was pre...
Senior Associate
Email (713) 355-5009(713) 355-5009
Jordan Rodriguez is an environmental litigator with a wide range of experience, adept at handling the massive documentary burdens of big cases as well as the more arcane points of law and procedure...
Senior Associate
Email (713) 355-5002(713) 355-5002
Lauren Shah focuses her practice on environmental matters across the country.  She represents public and private sector clients in a wide range of disputes, including actions under the Compreh...
Associate
Email (713) 355-5032(713) 355-5032
Fabio Dworschak’s practice focuses on environmental and commercial disputes and appeals in state and federal courts. Fabio has represented public and private clients in a diverse array of dis...
Associate
Email (713) 355-5033(713) 355-5033
Chris Halbohn focuses on environmental and natural resource litigation, specifically the representation of states, port authorities, and energy-sector companies.  Chris also represents clients...
Associate
Email (713) 355-5036(713) 355-5036
Bret Sparks practices in the areas of government relations and public policy, litigation, environmental law, and animal and natural resources law.  His practice involves a multi-disciplinary a...