Toxic Tort and Cost Recovery
- Defending the Irvine Ranch Water District against allegations of contributing to contamination of public groundwater supplies in the South Basin of the Orange County watershed. For nearly a decade, litigation has been ongoing involving government agencies and potentially responsible parties (PRPs) concerning groundwater contamination in the South Basin. Two of those PRPs filed suit against the district for contribution and indemnity based on allegations that the district had negligently operated one of its water supply wells in the South Basin. Discovery is ongoing in the case and a trial date has been set for September 2020.
- Representing a major mineral producer in connection with PFAS contamination in water supply wells on its property. The client is exploring potential litigation against the responsible parties.
- Representing a manufacturer of firefighting foam in litigation brought by a municipality in New York State over contamination by per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, alleging claims under the RCRA, product liability, and other causes of action.
- Representing a real estate developer in a putative class action and individual lawsuits seeking personal injury and property damage from the alleged failure to disclose the presence of radioactive substances at a former naval shipyard that is the subject of San Francisco’s largest development project in a century.
- Member of the trial team in an ecological toxic tort lawsuit against Lockheed Martin involving more than 800 plaintiffs who claimed personal injuries and property damage from alleged exposure to emerging chemicals in drinking water. The first group of 50 plaintiffs was litigated to a dismissal of all claims, following the exclusion of the plaintiffs’ medical experts. The remaining cases were later settled on terms favorable to the client. In re Redlands Tort Litigation.
- Represented Lockheed Martin in federal and state litigation involving alleged community exposure to contaminants released into the air and groundwater during 50 years of aircraft manufacture at the Burbank Skunk Works and related facilities. The cases settled for nominal amounts (less than plaintiff counsel’s hard costs). In re Burbank Environmental Litigation.
- Represented Chevron in litigation arising out of an environmental case brought in Ecuador in 2003, and in Chevron’s RICO and fraud suit against the U.S. lawyer and associates who masterminded an extortion scheme against Chevron that included fraudulently procuring a $9.2 billion Ecuadorian judgment. Obtained a trial verdict in favor of Chevron, in which the district court held that the scheme against the company constituted racketeering in violation of RICO and federal laws prohibiting attempted extortion, wire fraud, money laundering, witness tampering, obstruction of justice, and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Chevron v. Donziger, et al.
- Defended Goodrich Corporation in federal and state cost recovery actions involving TCE and perchlorate contamination in the Rialto-Colton Groundwater Basin. The case was ultimately settled on terms favorable to the client. City of Rialto, et al. v. United States Department of Defense, et al.
- Represented Goodrich Corporation before the Ninth Circuit in a published decision finding that potentially responsible parties may seek cost recovery under Section 107(a) of CERCLA. City of Rialto, et al. v. United States Department of Defense, et al.; consolidated with Kotrous v. Bayer CropScience Inc., et al.
- Lead trial counsel for Goodrich and United Technologies Corporation in a cost recovery action brought by the City of Riverside for alleged contamination of its water supply system. City of Riverside v. American Promotional Events Inc.
- Representing Aera Energy LLC in a lawsuit brought by environmental organizations, including the Sierra Club and Center for Biological Diversity, in a case challenging the failure of the California Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) to prepare environmental impact reports (EIRs) for new oil well permits in the South Belridge Oil Field. The court entered an order granting Aera’s demurrer, without leave to amend, based on the defense of res judicata. AIR v. California Department of Conservation.
- Represented three petroleum industry groups as lead trial counsel in a lawsuit initiated by nongovernment environmental organizations against DOGGR challenging DOGGR’s regulation of hydraulic fracturing. The Alameda County Superior Court dismissed the case without leave to amend based on recent legislation regulating hydraulic fracturing in California. This lawsuit sought an injunction to halt all hydraulic fracturing in California, which would have had serious financial consequences for the oil and gas industry. Center for Biological Diversity v. California Department of Conservation.
- Lead trial counsel for real party in interest Plains Exploration & Production Company (PXP) in a California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) matter related to Los Angeles County’s adoption of a community standards district, essentially a zoning overlay for the Inglewood Oil Field. The case was settled on terms very favorable to PXP. Community Health Councils, et al. v. County of Los Angeles.