Environmental Litigation

Overview

In our current economic state of government regulation, even the most careful businesses can be susceptible to state and federal government-initiated lawsuits and administrative actions, toxic tort lawsuits, including putative class actions, and lawsuits instituted by non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

Being properly prepared for these claims requires well-informed planning and collaboration with in-house and outside counsel, as well as key environmental compliance personnel, to:

  • identify potential sources of litigation
  • take proactive steps to reduce or eliminate those exposures
  • establish a team that can immediately and effectively respond to such claims when they arise

Blank Rome’s environmental litigators, working in tandem with our highly regarded compliance and regulatory attorneys, provide clients with the complete environmental defense package. They are proactively involved with the client’s day-to-day business activities and related potential environmental exposures, while being at the ready to respond to any third party action. We take the time to learn our client’s business, their current and future needs, and their overall goals. At every step we look to work diligently with our clients to be as creative and cost-efficient as possible in our approach, while looking to ensure an outcome that is first and foremost aligned with the client’s business objectives. 

If conflicts arise, there is virtually no federal environmental claim that we have not litigated, and the same can be said with respect to state counterpart statutes across the nation. We have contested cases under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (“CERCLA”), the Clean Air Act (“CAA”), the Clean Water Act (“CWA”), the Toxic Substances Control Act (“TSCA”), and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (“RCRA”). Moreover, we have defended against claims before state and federal agencies, including but by no means limited to:

  • U.S. Department of Justice ("DOJ")
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA") Regions I, II, III, IV, and V
  • Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection ("PADEP")
  • Pennsylvania Environmental Hearing Board ("EHB")
  • New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection ("NJDEP")
  • New York State Department of Environmental Conservation ("NYDEC")

How We Can Help 

  • environmental cost recovery actions under CERCLA, RCRA and related state statutes
  • groundwater contamination lawsuits, including those brought by individuals and on behalf of government entities
  • toxic tort personal injury and property damage claims, including those styled as putative class actions
  • NGO-initiated lawsuits
  • citizen suits under the CWA, CAA and RCRA
  • natural resource damage actions under CERCLA and similar state statutes
  • regulatory challenges under the CWA, CAA, Endangered Species Act, National Environmental Policy Act, CEQA and other federal, state, and local environmental and land use laws
  • internal investigations in response to threatened criminal or civil actions

What Sets Us Apart

  • The team includes former trial attorneys from the DOJ, including the Environmental Crimes Section, former officials of the EPA, and former Assistant United States Attorneys.
  • One member served six terms as co-chair of the American Bar Association’s (“ABA”) Environmental and Energy Litigation Committee and is currently serving his 8th term as a member of what was previously the ABA’s Standing Committee of Environmental Law.
  • Members of the group write, lecture, and teach on environmental law topics, and have earned public recognition for their work.  
  • 2017 Chambers USA ranked Blank Rome for Environment in Pennsylvania
  • 2019 U.S. News & World Report—Best Lawyers (Woodward/White, Inc.) national ranks: Litigation – Environmental: Tier 2
  • 2019 U.S. News & World Report—Best Lawyers (Woodward/White, Inc.) regional ranks:
    • Litigation – Environmental: Tier 1, Philadelphia and Tier 2, New Jersey
    • Environmental Law: Tier 2, Philadelphia

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