Environmental Litigation
Environmental Litigation
Kelley Drye provides comprehensive solutions to private and public entities facing complex environmental litigation involving unique, multifaceted legal and technical challenges.  Through decades of experience helping clients address the intricacies associated with environmental litigation and administrative matters, our team of attorneys, who are dedicated to environmental litigation, have earned sophisticated legal and technical knowledge to handle the difficulties and challenges presented by environmental litigation.

Our team helps clients address environmental litigation and related matters across the country—ranging from single landowner cost-recovery and property damage claims to some of the largest federal Superfund sites.  We represent plaintiffs and defendants in a wide variety of disputes involving the environment, including insurance disputes, cost-recovery actions, contribution actions, Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), Clean Water Act (CWA) and Oil Pollution Act (OPA) litigation, similar state law actions, nuisance and property damage litigation, natural resource damages litigation and many other matters relating to contamination and impaired real property.  Our representations include matters in state and federal courts, before state and federal regulatory agencies, as well as in various alternative dispute resolution forums.

Our practice and educational backgrounds in government, earth sciences, economics, ecology and social sciences allow our attorneys to work at a high level of cooperation with environmental, technical and economic expert witnesses.  Our attorneys’ knowledge and understanding of the scientific issues frequently presented in environmental matters allow us to collaboratively oversee and manage the technical consultants and expert witnesses required for environmental litigation in a well-organized and cost-effective manner.

Superfund Sites and Multiparty Cost Recovery

Kelley Drye’s dedicated environmental practitioners have unparalleled experience in federal and state Superfund, natural resource damages, environmental remediation and property damage matters.  Clients include site owners, operators, arrangers, and transporters at multiple Superfund and Brownfields sites.  We consistently and comprehensively manage the investigation of contamination, the identification of responsible parties, the allocation of liability, the coordination of remedial investigations and cleanups with regulators and other parties, and our clients’ participation in complex mediations and settlement structures, as well as cost recovery and contribution litigation.  Our attorneys regularly negotiate consent decrees and administrative orders, and possess significant experience dealing with innocent landowner issues, de minimis and de micromis settlements, natural resource damages and environmental justice issues.

Private Property Contamination Litigation

We have defended a number of major industrial companies in claims alleging that contaminants from manufacturing or bulk storage facilities caused property damage or personal injuries to neighboring properties.  In successfully handling cases through trial, we have developed expertise in the sub-surface and airborne migration of petroleum and chemical products.  In addition, private landowners turn to us as counsel in environmental litigation and related matters across the country.  Private property contamination takes many forms, including soil, groundwater, surface water and air issues.  Often, the landowner is unaware of historical contamination of the property, or of contamination that has migrated from adjacent or nearby properties.  Our attorneys are able to obtain substantial recoveries for clients that partially or completely offset environmental remediation costs associated with these sites.

Cost Recovery Litigation

Clients often are involved in situations where they are alleged to be responsible for environmental damage caused by other parties.  Such liability may arise due to joint and several liability imposed by either state or federal environmental statutes.  We have extensive experience defending clients accused of contributing to contaminated sites as a result of historical manufacturing or storage facilities.  In other situations, potential liability is alleged merely because the client is the landowner of property contaminated by others, such as historical tenants.  Our attorneys develop strategies to either defend clients from claims brought by government entities or private parties or to successfully obtain substantial recoveries for clients that partially or completely offset environmental remediation costs associated with these sites.  Often, the contamination is not identified until decades after the contaminating activity has ceased.  Identification of responsible parties can be difficult and may require extensive tracing of corporate history and liability to the responsible party through a web of historical land ownership, corporate succession, divestments, mergers and assignments in order to identify the proper liable entities.  Likewise, our attorneys work seamlessly with our Insurance Recovery practice to assist in the identification and collection of other sources of contribution, such as historical insurance policies and indemnification agreements.

  • Serving as Special Counsel to the Attorney General of 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.  The Passaic River recovery is the largest settlement of its kind in the history of New Jersey.

  • Serving as Special Counsel to the state of New Mexico and New Mexico Environment Department in seeking remediation, costs and 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.

  • Recovering $100 million in environmental remediation and costs, property damages and economic protections for the Port of Houston Authority, a Texas navigation district and assigned natural resource trustee, arising from the intentional discharge of DDT and other pesticides into the Houston Ship Channel.

  • Serving as co-national counsel for a major U.S. railroad in its environmental cost-recovery docket and in various natural resource damages matters across the country, including the Portland Harbor Superfund Site in Portland, Oregon and the Upper Clark Fork River Basin Superfund Site in Butte/Anaconda, Montana.

  • 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 San Diego Bay arising from bay-wide PCB contamination.

  • Serving as counsel to the Attorney General of the District of Columbia related to the federal investigation, remediation and restoration of the Anacostia River.

  • Represented a major oil company in a putative federal court class action and 18 state court cases brought by over 600 residents of Greenpoint, Brooklyn, alleging in excess of $1 billion in property damages and personal injuries due to a large oil spill.

  • Successfully represented The Hartz Mountain Corporation in an arbitration over the obligation to pay for the remediation of an insecticide formulation factory in Mississippi.

  • Represented a major oil company in a lawsuit over responsibility to remediate millions of gallons of petroleum products near the Newtown Creek in Brooklyn, New York.  The case settled before trial with the opposing party agreeing to prevent contamination attributable to historical operations from migrating onto our client’s property.

  • Obtained a defense verdict in a trial brought against a major oil company for claimed responsibility to remediate property in Long Island, New York, where our client had historical operations.

  • Represented a major oil company in claims concerning responsibility for petroleum contamination at the site of a former bulk storage facility in Providence, Rhode Island.

  • Defended a major manufacturing company in a jury trial where the plaintiff sought to recover alleged CERCLA response costs and for property damage allegedly caused by chlorinated solvents that had migrated from the client’s property.

  • Represented the Long Island Railroad in a bench trial for property damage arising out of a diesel oil spill.

  • Successfully represented a major petroleum company in seven putative class actions and multiple individual cases in Puerto Rico federal court, arising from a large explosion at a petroleum bulk storage facility, by demonstrating that the petroleum product stored at the facility did not cause the explosion and was not responsible for area environmental contamination.






  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
 
 

Overview

Kelley Drye provides comprehensive solutions to private and public entities facing complex environmental litigation involving unique, multifaceted legal and technical challenges.  Through decades of experience helping clients address the intricacies associated with environmental litigation and administrative matters, our team of attorneys, who are dedicated to environmental litigation, have earned sophisticated legal and technical knowledge to handle the difficulties and challenges presented by environmental litigation.

Our team helps clients address environmental litigation and related matters across the country—ranging from single landowner cost-recovery and property damage claims to some of the largest federal Superfund sites.  We represent plaintiffs and defendants in a wide variety of disputes involving the environment, including insurance disputes, cost-recovery actions, contribution actions, Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), Clean Water Act (CWA) and Oil Pollution Act (OPA) litigation, similar state law actions, nuisance and property damage litigation, natural resource damages litigation and many other matters relating to contamination and impaired real property.  Our representations include matters in state and federal courts, before state and federal regulatory agencies, as well as in various alternative dispute resolution forums.

Our practice and educational backgrounds in government, earth sciences, economics, ecology and social sciences allow our attorneys to work at a high level of cooperation with environmental, technical and economic expert witnesses.  Our attorneys’ knowledge and understanding of the scientific issues frequently presented in environmental matters allow us to collaboratively oversee and manage the technical consultants and expert witnesses required for environmental litigation in a well-organized and cost-effective manner.

Superfund Sites and Multiparty Cost Recovery

Kelley Drye’s dedicated environmental practitioners have unparalleled experience in federal and state Superfund, natural resource damages, environmental remediation and property damage matters.  Clients include site owners, operators, arrangers, and transporters at multiple Superfund and Brownfields sites.  We consistently and comprehensively manage the investigation of contamination, the identification of responsible parties, the allocation of liability, the coordination of remedial investigations and cleanups with regulators and other parties, and our clients’ participation in complex mediations and settlement structures, as well as cost recovery and contribution litigation.  Our attorneys regularly negotiate consent decrees and administrative orders, and possess significant experience dealing with innocent landowner issues, de minimis and de micromis settlements, natural resource damages and environmental justice issues.

Private Property Contamination Litigation

We have defended a number of major industrial companies in claims alleging that contaminants from manufacturing or bulk storage facilities caused property damage or personal injuries to neighboring properties.  In successfully handling cases through trial, we have developed expertise in the sub-surface and airborne migration of petroleum and chemical products.  In addition, private landowners turn to us as counsel in environmental litigation and related matters across the country.  Private property contamination takes many forms, including soil, groundwater, surface water and air issues.  Often, the landowner is unaware of historical contamination of the property, or of contamination that has migrated from adjacent or nearby properties.  Our attorneys are able to obtain substantial recoveries for clients that partially or completely offset environmental remediation costs associated with these sites.

Cost Recovery Litigation

Clients often are involved in situations where they are alleged to be responsible for environmental damage caused by other parties.  Such liability may arise due to joint and several liability imposed by either state or federal environmental statutes.  We have extensive experience defending clients accused of contributing to contaminated sites as a result of historical manufacturing or storage facilities.  In other situations, potential liability is alleged merely because the client is the landowner of property contaminated by others, such as historical tenants.  Our attorneys develop strategies to either defend clients from claims brought by government entities or private parties or to successfully obtain substantial recoveries for clients that partially or completely offset environmental remediation costs associated with these sites.  Often, the contamination is not identified until decades after the contaminating activity has ceased.  Identification of responsible parties can be difficult and may require extensive tracing of corporate history and liability to the responsible party through a web of historical land ownership, corporate succession, divestments, mergers and assignments in order to identify the proper liable entities.  Likewise, our attorneys work seamlessly with our Insurance Recovery practice to assist in the identification and collection of other sources of contribution, such as historical insurance policies and indemnification agreements.

Experience

  • Serving as Special Counsel to the Attorney General of 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.  The Passaic River recovery is the largest settlement of its kind in the history of New Jersey.

  • Serving as Special Counsel to the state of New Mexico and New Mexico Environment Department in seeking remediation, costs and 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.

  • Recovering $100 million in environmental remediation and costs, property damages and economic protections for the Port of Houston Authority, a Texas navigation district and assigned natural resource trustee, arising from the intentional discharge of DDT and other pesticides into the Houston Ship Channel.

  • Serving as co-national counsel for a major U.S. railroad in its environmental cost-recovery docket and in various natural resource damages matters across the country, including the Portland Harbor Superfund Site in Portland, Oregon and the Upper Clark Fork River Basin Superfund Site in Butte/Anaconda, Montana.

  • 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 San Diego Bay arising from bay-wide PCB contamination.

  • Serving as counsel to the Attorney General of the District of Columbia related to the federal investigation, remediation and restoration of the Anacostia River.

  • Represented a major oil company in a putative federal court class action and 18 state court cases brought by over 600 residents of Greenpoint, Brooklyn, alleging in excess of $1 billion in property damages and personal injuries due to a large oil spill.

  • Successfully represented The Hartz Mountain Corporation in an arbitration over the obligation to pay for the remediation of an insecticide formulation factory in Mississippi.

  • Represented a major oil company in a lawsuit over responsibility to remediate millions of gallons of petroleum products near the Newtown Creek in Brooklyn, New York.  The case settled before trial with the opposing party agreeing to prevent contamination attributable to historical operations from migrating onto our client’s property.

  • Obtained a defense verdict in a trial brought against a major oil company for claimed responsibility to remediate property in Long Island, New York, where our client had historical operations.

  • Represented a major oil company in claims concerning responsibility for petroleum contamination at the site of a former bulk storage facility in Providence, Rhode Island.

  • Defended a major manufacturing company in a jury trial where the plaintiff sought to recover alleged CERCLA response costs and for property damage allegedly caused by chlorinated solvents that had migrated from the client’s property.

  • Represented the Long Island Railroad in a bench trial for property damage arising out of a diesel oil spill.

  • Successfully represented a major petroleum company in seven putative class actions and multiple individual cases in Puerto Rico federal court, arising from a large explosion at a petroleum bulk storage facility, by demonstrating that the petroleum product stored at the facility did not cause the explosion and was not responsible for area environmental contamination.






  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
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 larges...
Partner
Email (713) 355-5050(713) 355-5050
Bill Jackson is managing partner of the firm’s Houston and Austin offices and co-chair of the Environmental Law practice.  Bill has one of the most sophisticated and successful environm...
Partner
Email (713) 355-5024(713) 355-5024
Ann Al-Bahish litigates environmental, commercial and tort matters across the country and has tried cases in state and federal courts.  In addition to general litigation experience, Ann thoro...
Partner
Email (202) 342-8495(202) 342-8495
Litigator, trial and regulatory attorney, Mark Austrian, advises clients and litigates disputes on environmental, product liability, toxic tort, intellectual property, real estate and commercial m...
Partner
Email (973) 503-5920(973) 503-5920
Joseph Boyle focuses his practice on class actions and commercial litigation.  His experience includes various areas of consumer class action litigation and litigation involving telecommunica...
Partner
Email (212) 808-7534(212) 808-7534
Jon Cooperman is an experienced trial attorney. His practice focuses on all aspects of civil litigation, including commercial litigation and contract disputes; environmental law claims pertai...
Partner
Email (713) 355-5006(713) 355-5006
Kenneth Corley’s practice is focused on litigation and trial advocacy, with an emphasis on environmental and business disputes in state and federal trial courts. Kenny’s environme...
Partner
Email (202) 342-8525(202) 342-8525
Wayne advises heavily regulated companies and industries on environmental, health, safety and natural resources matters.  Wayne routinely works with clients on regulatory and compliance issue...
Partner
Email (713) 355-5055(713) 355-5055
Micheal Dobbs has nearly two decades of experience in commercial, environmental and tort litigation matters, with an emphasis on environmental litigation and regulatory matters.  He has serve...
Partner
Email (212) 808-7771(212) 808-7771
Bill Escobar is one of Kelley Drye’s leading trial lawyers.   Bill defends, prosecutes and resolves serious business disputes for both domestic and international business clients. &nbs...
Partner
Email (713) 355- 5028(713) 355- 5028
John Hagan, co-chair of the firms Insurance Recovery group, offers a broad-based commercial and business litigation practice that is focused on handling insurance coverage and recovery matter...
Partner
Email (212) 808-7817(212) 808-7817
Bill Heck is involved in complex corporate litigation, including mass disasters and toxic torts.  Bill represents major corporations involved in sophisticated commercial litigation, such as d...
Partner
Email (212) 808-7747(212) 808-7747
William Krohley is a partner in the firm’s New York office. He focuses his practice on major commercial disputes, large complex tort and products liability litigation, arbitrations, antitrus...
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 ...
Partner
Email (512) 391-1737(512) 391-1737
John Riley represents clients in permitting and enforcement matters in the air, water and waste media.  He advises entities in the power generation, hydraulic fracturing, chemical, manufactur...
Partner
Email (202) 342-8675(202) 342-8675
Mark Robeck co-chairs the firm’s Energy group.  Mark’s practice ranges from the resolution of all types of energy-related litigation claims, including arbitration and the use of o...
Partner
Email (512) 391-1727(512) 391-1727
Paul Sarahan represents clients in the energy, chemical, manufacturing, transportation, technology and retail industry sectors on environmental issues.  For more than two decades, Paul has be...
Director of Government Relations
Email (202) 342-8608(202) 342-8608
Dana Wood co-chairs the firm’s Government Relations and Public Policy group.  Dana has been a public policy advocate for more than three decades, representing client interests before Co...
Special Counsel
Email (973) 503-5936(973) 503-5936
Steven Humphreys concentrates his practice on all aspects of environmental law and related counseling of businesses.  He advises businesses in regulatory compliance and management of environme...
Special Counsel
Email (713) 355-5017(713) 355-5017
Melanie McDonald’s practice includes civil and complex business and commercial litigation, including insurance coverage disputes, multiparty environmental disputes, and the defense of person...
Senior Associate
Email (202) 342-8573(202) 342-8573
Travis Cushman’s practice focuses on energy law, environmental issues and complex commercial litigation.  Travis has represented corporate clients, public utilities and national trade or...
Associate
Email (713) 355-5002(713) 355-5002
Mark Donatiello is an associate in the firm’s Houston office. His practice concentrates on environmental and natural resources law.  He also works in regulatory law. Previously, Ma...
Associate
Email (202) 342-8534(202) 342-8534
Michele Hallowell is an associate in the firm’s Washington, D.C. office. Her practice focuses on commercial, regulatory, and litigation counseling in the fields of corporate, real estate, en...
Associate
Email (512) 391-1627(512) 391-1627
Allison Lowry is an associate in the firm’s Austin office.  Her practice concentrates on environmental and natural resources law, with an emphasis on environmental litigation and regula...
Associate
Email (713) 355-5021(713) 355-5021
Jordan Rodriguez is an associate in the firm’s Houston office and represents clients in the litigation and trial of environmental, commercial, and general civil matters. He concentrates on en...
Associate
Email (713) 355-5009(713) 355-5009
Lauren Valastro is an associate in the firm’s Houston office. She represents clients in general civil, complex commercial, and environmental litigation matters, at the trial and appellate le...

Publications

November 2016 | Books
Regulation of the Gas Industry
07/19/2009 | Books
Advising Businesses in a Troubled Economy
01/16/2009 | Books
Advising Businesses in a Troubled Economy
06/12/2008 | Books
Advising Small and Mid-Sized Corporations