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Environmental - Representative Experience

  • Issues
  • Venue
  • Client Type
  • Lawyers
  • Full Description
  • Result
  • Dry Cleaner, TCE, Groundwater Contamination
  • California Superior Court, County of San Mateo
  • Defendant Cleaning Equipment Manufacturer
  • Kathleen Strickland
  • A private water provider filed suit against numerous companies involved in the dry cleaning industry, such as equipment manufacturers, chemical manufacturers and retail dry cleaning companies, alleging its groundwater supply in Southern California was contaminated with TCE from the defendants' business operations. The plaintiff sought millions of dollars in remediation costs, as well as punitive damages.

  • By examining our client's records and public records, we were able to determine that our client did not supply dry cleaning equipment to any company doing business over the aquifer from which the plaintiff obtained its water. We were thereby able to obtain a dismissal of our client prior to responding to the complaint.

  • Environmental Insurance Coverage; Judgment Debtor Collection Action; Insurance Code Section 11580.
  • Orange County Superior Court
  • Defendant Insurance Carrier
  • Stephen J. Erigero
  • Our client, an insurance company, insured a metal plating facility for several years. The insured was sued by its neighbors for contribution as a prp for groundwater contamination at a Superfund site. The insurer settled with the insured and obtained a policy release. The third party neighboring property owner proceeded to trial against the insured and obtained a large judgment. The insurer failed to satisfy the judgment, having disbursed the settlement proceeds from our client's settlement. The third party judgment creditor brought suit under Ins. Code section 11580 against the insurer.

  • Negotiated a stay and tolling agreement pending the insured's litigation with a non-settling co carrier. The third party judgment creditor may bring suit in the future if the judgment remains unsatisfied.

  • Environmental; Toxic Tort; Landfill; Remediation; Groundwater; Contamination
  • Macomb County, Michigan Circuit Court
  • Defendants Environment Contractor & Municipal Authority
  • Kathleen Strickland
  • The developers of properties neighboring a landfill brought an action against our client, the environmental contractor for the landfill, and five cities alleging that contamination from the landfills has migrated onto their properties and prevented development. The plaintiffs seek millions of dollars in claims from cost recovery for lost profits and contribution pursuant to the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act (Michigan's version of CERCLA), as well as tort claims, negligence, trespass and nuisance.

  • Obtained summary judgment on all of the plaintiff's claims, resulting in dismissal of the action

  • CERCLA; RCRA
  • USDC: Central District of California
  • Defendant Dry Cleaning Company
  • Defended the past owners of a dry cleaning business at a shopping center purchased by a "vulture investor" in a CERCLA action.

  • Following an extensive mediation, we negotiated a very favorable settlement that imposed the vast majority of the clean-up on the investor, who had bought the property at a significant discount from market value.

  • False Advertising; 17500
  • Los Angeles County Superior Court
  • Defendant Pest Control Companies
  • Defended nine pest control companies in actions in Northern and Southern California. Our client was accused of fraudulent advertising related to environmentally sensitive pest control services.

  • Successfully negotiated a de minimus settlement for our clients.

  • Water Pollution
  • Regional Water Quality Control Board Administrative Action
  • Defendant Industrial Company
  • Represented a major industrial company in a Regional Water Quality Board administrative enforcement action pertaining to the multi-million dollar clean-up of an abandoned sulfur mine located near San Francisco Bay. The mine was located on property previously owned by a corporate subsidiary of our client.

  • Following contested administrative hearings, we succeeded in having the designation of "discharger" (responsible party) reversed on an appeal to the State Water Resources Control Board.

  • CERCLA
  • USDC: Eastern District of California
  • Defendant Connecticut Court Receiver
  • Represented the Connecticut court receiver that was charged with administering the assets of a decedent's trusts in a CERCLA and injunctive relief action. The decedent was the owner of a business enterprise that allegedly discharged solvents having a major impact on drinking water supplies in Chico, California. The State sought $20 + million in "response costs" related to the two sites allegedly contaminated.

  • By summary judgment motion, the receiver was held not responsible for one of the two sites at issue. A settlement was reached on the second site pursuant to which the receivership was not required to pay any moneys.

  • CERCLA
  • USDC: Northern District of California
  • Defendant Owner
  • Represented the owner, who was fraudulently induced to acquire real estate for development, in an environmental matter involving litigation against both the seller and those persons who caused the contamination. We also represented the owner in an administrative enforcement action brought by the Regional Water Quality Control Board.

  • In the latter administrative action, our client was deemed secondarily liable, thus imposing the clean-up obligation on the other parties. Following our filing of a motion for summary judgment in the litigation against the other parties, one of the two defendants conceded liability. The District Court then subsequently ruled in favor of our client regarding the liability of the second defendant, and further granted rescission of the sales transaction based upon fraud. The case was ultimately settled with a very substantial payment made to our client.

  • CERCLA; RCRA
  • USDC: Northern District of California & Contra Costa County Superior Court
  • Plaintiff Land Fill Operator
  • Represented a solid and hazardous waste landfill against thirty generators and transporters of solid and hazardous wastes in a complex federal CERCLA and RCRA action which was accompanied by a parallel state court action. The landfill was prevented by the actions of various local governmental entities and waste haulers from raising moneys through its rates to satisfy the Federal and state requirements for posting "financial assurances" related to its closure and post-closure costs. The action was filed after the EPA and state regulators threatened to file an administrative enforcement action against the landfill if it did not provide the required financial assurances. The case was politically charged and received a substantial amount of attention in the press.

  • The case settled, and a $30 million premium was paid for a complex combination of insurance policies which were literally negotiated from scratch and provided the requisite state and federal assurances and funded all closure and past-closure activities for the next 35 years.

  • Clean Air Act
  • USDC: Northern District of California
  • Defendant Circuit Board Manufacturer
  • Represented a local air pollution control district in litigation against the U.S. Army for creating severe air pollution in the Monterey Bay area during the course of alleged remedial activities to remove unexploded ordnance at Ford Ord.

  • The matter was ultimately settled with the Army agreeing to stringent burn-control procedures.

  • Proposition 65; Lead; Food
  • Alameda Superior Court
  • Defendant Food Manufacturer and Wholesaler
  • Represented a food manufacturer and wholesaler of a unique food product in a matter in which the plaintiff alleged that consumers were exposed to lead from ingestion of the food product.

  • Successfully demonstrated that the food product was not contaminated with lead from the production process, and the plaintiff agreed to dismiss the case.

  • CERCLA
  • Defendant Environmental Contractor
  • Kathleen Strickland
  • Defended an environmental contractor, municipal authority and five cities in an action by developers of properties neighboring a landfill who allege that contamination from the landfills has migrated onto their properties and prevented development. The plaintiffs seek millions of dollars in claims for cost recovery and contribution pursuant to the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act (Michigan's version of CERCLA), as well as tort claims for negligence, trespass and nuisance.

  • Obtained summary judgment on all of the plaintiffs’ claims – cost recovery, contribution, injunctive relief, breach of contract, negligence, nuisance, trespass and fraud – resulting in dismissal of the action.

  • Proposition 65, Silicates
  • Solano County Superior Court
  • Defendant
  • The allegations involved silicates; we represented the chief scientist and a corporate officer of a biotech start-up accused of abandoning hazardous wastes at its former research facility.

  • Following several demurrers to the criminal complaint, the prosecution dismissed all counts against our client.

  • CERCLA
  • USDC: Central District of California
  • Defendant Chemical Manufacturer
  • Defended a chemical manufacturer in a private CERCLA action. Our client was the generator of allegedly hazardous substances deposited at a licensed liquid waste disposal facility now owned by the plaintiff. The plaintiff sought to obtain moneys from generators to fund the closure of the facility. We were key in organizing a joint defense committee to oppose this questionable action. The plaintiff, which had signed a consent decree with state regulators several years previously to close the site, sought approximately $10 million in “response costs”.

  • Successfully entered into a very favorable de minimis settlement.

  • Personal Injury; Toxic Tort
  • Los Angeles County Superior Court
  • Defendant Municipality
  • Currently defending a municipality in a personal injury and property damage matter composed of six coordinated cases involving 1,138 plaintiffs. Our client is one of two defendants accused of being the cause of the alleged harm. The matter involves, among other accusations, contamination of drinking water resources in the Pomona region of Southern California.

  • The matter currently is in litigation. Following extensive motions, the Superior Court dismissed 26 of the plaintiff’s 28 courses of action against our client. Recently, the court ruled in favor of our client and dismissed the entire case. The plaintiffs have appealed.

  • Trade Secret
  • San Fracisco County Superior Court
  • Defendant
  • Michael J. Ioannou, Lita M. Verrier
  • Represented the defendant in a case involving trade secret claims regarding an environmental testing field.

  • A settlement favorable to our client was reached.