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Walsworth’s Environmental team focuses on the prosecution and defense of environmental damage, cost recovery, citizen suit, and regulatory enforcement actions.

We have experience representing a host of different parties in environmental matters, including

  • Owners
  • Operators
  • Arrangers
  • Generators
  • Property-owners
  • Lessees
  • Permittees
  • Contributors
  • Lenders and Borrowers
  • Tenants

Matters involving environmental pollution or contamination typically arise from alleged contamination of soil, water and/or air over the course of decades of use. We have substantial experience investigating facts and locating witnesses and documents to aid in the defense of these claims and the prosecution of any cost recovery or contribution actions. These matters often involve coordination or direct interaction, either as cooperators or adversaries, with or against public agencies.

Our lawyers have substantial experience working with a broad spectrum of public agencies, including:

  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • U.S. Department of Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service
  • U.S. Department of Defense, Army Corp. of Engineers
  • U.S. Department of Defense, Navy
  • U.S. Department of Defense, Coast Guard
  • California Water Resources Control Board
  • California and District Air Resources Boards
  • California Department of Toxic Substances Control

Our Lawyers have decades of collective experience working with every major environmental statute, including:

  • Federal Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA)
  • Federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA)
  • Federal Clean Air Act (CAA)
  • Federal Clean Water Act (CWA)
  • Porter-Cologne Water Quality Act (California Clean Water Act)
  • Hazardous Substances Account Act (HSAA)
  • Hazardous Waste Control Act
  • Defending and Prosecuting Environmental Matters

We also have defended numerous citizen suits and Attorney General enforcement actions brought under California’s Proposition 65. Our lawyers have handled a number of cases involving common law tort claims that accompany federal and state claims, such as nuisance, trespass and negligence. Our lawyers understand that the cost of remediating environmental contamination can have a significant financial impact on landowners and tenants over a lengthy time period. Therefore, we focus on both the legal and business issues in the representation of our clients.

Effectively Communicating the Science

The defense and prosecution of environmental matters involves complex issues of science. Our lawyers have substantial experience with the foremost experts in all areas implicated by environmental practice, including geologists, hydrogeologists, engineers, air quality scientists, water quality scientists, and industrial hygienists.

Formerly known as the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, Proposition 65 was passed by voters in response to a simple campaign message promising to protect California residents, through mandatory warnings, from exposure to chemicals that cause cancer or reproductive harm. Today, Proposition 65 is a “right to know” statute used by the state, private individuals, and groups to enforce the statute in the public interest when companies fail to comply with the act’s warning requirements.

We counsel and defend California businesses and companies doing business in California on compliance and related enforcement actions brought under California’s Proposition 65.

Representative Successes

  • Macpherson v. Pace Secured a defense verdict after an 8 week jury trial in favor of a small Bakersfield oil producer who was sued by one of the largest California onshore oil producers, and others, for subsurface trespass and nuisance. Plaintiffs sought $35+ million in damages relating to an alleged decrease in oil production. The jury deliberated for less than 5 hours before returning a verdict in favor of our client.
  • Carter v. GP Resources – Secured a defense verdict for a petroleum supplier after a 10-day jury trial in an action arising out of the plaintiff’s alleged exposure to the client’s product. Plaintiff claimed permanent injuries that prevented work.
  • City of Pomona v. John Michael Faull, et al. Successfully secured a defense verdict in an environmental contamination case involving numerous chemicals where we were asked to represent the defendant less than two months before trial. The City of Pomona alleged that the defendant’s operation of a bulk storage and distribution facility containing hazardous chemicals for 50 years resulted in the contamination of soil and groundwater on its site and adjacent areas. Soil borings and groundwater logs detected significant concentrations of hazardous chemicals in each and every sample. With only three defendants remaining at the conclusion of trial, our client was the plaintiff’s target defendant. However, after a hard-fought bench trial, the judge ruled that plaintiff did not prove a single cause of action against our client.
  • San Francisco Herring Association vs. Pacific Gas and Electric Company – Successfully represented PG&E in RCRA and CWA litigation arising from legacy soil contamination from a series of Manufactured Gas Plants in the Northern District of California.
  • Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles v. PCC Technical Industries, et al. Represented owners and operators of a steel mill sued by the Housing Authority of L.A. in a federal CERCLA action relating to soil contamination at a redevelopment site. The case settled favorably shortly before trial.
  • Orange County Water District (OCWD) v. Various Defendants – Represented two manufacturing defendants in a multi-party state lawsuit brought by OCWD alleging groundwater contamination in South Basin. One defendant secured a very favorable settlement prior to trial and the other was extracted from the case via summary judgment (since reversed by the California Court of Appeal).
  • Successfully represented a major California Public Utility company in numerous litigation and regulatory matters involving soil, groundwater, and sediment contamination.
  • Successfully represented oil companies in groundwater litigation involving benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene (BTEX), and methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE).
  • Successfully represented environmental engineering firms in a series of landfill design and construction matters.