Strategic, practical and business-friendly solutions to challenges stemming from contamination, regulation and other environmental disputes – that’s what clients can count on when engaging M&R’s Environmental Practice Group. Our stellar environmental practitioners leverage their expertise, as well as that of the firm’s class action and complex litigation, corporate, health care, insurance and real estate lawyers, to deliver a range of services across several industries.
Whether advising on environmental compliance matters, cleanup obligations, Superfund (CERCLA) litigation, toxic tort disputes, federal and state enforcement proceedings, land use issues, brownfields, California’s Proposition 65 or the environmental risks associated with mergers, acquisitions or real estate transactions and financings, our representation seeks to minimize the impact that environmental issues have upon our clients’ business operations and objectives, all the while maximizing opportunity.
Without question, as the drumbeat of environmental awareness and sustainability has become increasingly pervasive, so too has the prevalence of environmental litigation and environmental sensitivity in transactions. On both fronts, our Environmental Practice Group has our clients’ interests covered.
Areas Of Expertise
- Breach of Representations & Warranties
We routinely litigate cases alleging breach of the environmental representations and warranties contained in deal and loan documentation.
- CERCLA/ Cost Recovery and Contribution
The firm represents landowners and operators in multi-party Superfund cases. Likewise, we handle CERCLA cost recovery and contribution matters on behalf of private and public entities.
- Clean-Up & Development
Our environmental attorneys provide remediation counseling (including mitigation techniques and guidance on best available cleanup technology), assist in obtaining regulatory closures of environmentally impacted sites, and advise on brownfield redevelopment.
- Contract Negotiation & Drafting
We negotiate, draft and review purchase and sale, access and remediation, indemnity and escrow agreements (as well as loan representations, warranties, and covenants), making sure all environmental considerations are contemplated.
- Environmental Compliance
M&R develops comprehensive environmental policies that ensure full compliance with complex environmental laws and mandates.
- Environmental Due Diligence
We are internationally recognized for environmental due diligence on behalf of builders, developers, investors, buyers, sellers, lenders, landlords, tenants, hotels, casinos and REITs. Such due diligence is a critical component of any real estate transaction, merger, acquisition, or divesture involving environmental risks.
- Environmental Insurance Litigation
The firm handles environmental insurance coverage analysis and procurement of related mitigation products on behalf of owners, developers, lenders and borrowers. In addition, we represent insurers and insureds in coverage disputes related to Comprehensive General Liability (CGL) and other insurance policies.
- Environmental Subrogation
M&R works on behalf of carriers in multi-party environmental subrogation cost recovery actions in state and federal courts.
- Proposition 65
We provide advice and counsel to manufacturers regarding the regulatory and economic implications of Proposition 65, and defend them when sued for alleged violations of the statute.
- Toxic Torts
The firm defends toxic tort cases, including complex class actions. Indeed, M&R has been involved in some of the largest and most noteworthy toxic tort matters litigated over the past ten years.
- UST Cleanup
Our environmental attorneys represent parties in cases involving the Underground Storage Tank (UST) Cleanup Fund, and have successfully defended clients before the California State Water Resources & Control Board. We also handle Qui Tam (whistleblower) actions, and help clients navigate related parallel civil actions and criminal investigations.
CERCLA Summary Judgment: Successfully argued that our client sued in federal court for allegedly causing water pollution could neither be considered a proper “arranger” under CERCLA, nor liable for damages under the law of nuisance.
Environmental Defense: Negotiated a first of its kind $400 million joint water supply/contaminant cleanup project on behalf of a manufacturer alleged to have contributed to the contamination of a large Superfund site. Parties to the yearlong negotiation included the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Attorney General’s Office, several water supply companies and various alleged contaminators, and the resulting cleanup project now serves as a model for EPA-driven Superfund settlements.
Environmental Response: Litigated an environmental response case arising out of mandated cleanup costs for toxic chemicals allegedly disbursed by a dry cleaning business. Avoided liability for cleanup payments on behalf of our client by convincing the plaintiff that other parties were responsible for polluted waters.
Insurance Coverage: Represented product manufacturers in lawsuits with their liability insurance companies arising out of environmental and toxic tort claims. Obtained a favorable resolution on behalf of our client by overcoming insurers’ assertions that underlying layers of coverage were not exhausted and occurrences did not take place in particular policy years.
Municipality Toxic Tort/Legislative Investigation: Obtained dismissal of a toxic tort case filed against a municipality after successfully launching a legislative investigation into environmental conditions at a prominent local high school, which investigation (and case) arose out of allegations that the operation of an oil well immediately adjacent to the high school posed serious health risks to teachers, students and neighboring property owners.
Proposition 65 Cases: Successfully defended several product manufacturers in California Proposition 65 cases, including a bicycle manufacturer facing claims that cables on its bikes were subject to Proposition 65 disclosures.
Toxic Tort Defense: Jointly represented a multinational corporation in the defense of a toxic tort case filed by more than 1,500 residents claiming injuries due to the ingestion of contaminated drinking water. Obtained a favorable settlement on behalf of our client after protracted litigation and numerous appeals, including one before the California Supreme Court.
Whistleblower Litigation: Successfully defended an environmental consultant in an employment retaliation and discrimination lawsuit and a Qui Tam whistleblower case involving a related criminal investigation.
- Submitting Claims to UST Fund? Don't Become Next Target of Office of Enforcement's New Fraud, Waste & Abuse UnitEnvironmental Leader, July 23, 2013
- CIOMA News Brief, July 2013
- Updated EPA Classification of Contaminant May Have Big ImpactDaily Journal, March 26, 2012
- Law360, April 25, 2011
- Daily Journal, April 20, 2011
- BrownfieldRenewal.com, July 2010
- CERCLA and PRP Contribution Claims: Make Cost Recovery Work For YouBrownfield Renewal, Volume 14, Issue 3, Summer 2010
- Endangered Species Act v. California Water Rights-The Smelt Demand a DrinkUnpublished Law Review Comment
- Real Estate Board of New YorkNew York, NY, October 31, 2017
- International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) Law ConferenceSan Antonio, TX, October 27, 2017
- Pacific Oil ConferenceLos Angeles, CA, September 7, 2016
- Professional Environmental Management Association (PEMA)Long Beach, CA, February 18, 2014
- California Unified Program (Cal CUPA) Annual Training ConferenceHyatt Regency San Francisco Airport, San Francisco, CA, February 3, 2014
- M&R Hot Topics SeriesSan Francisco, CA, October 3, 2013
- M&R Hot Topics SeriesSacramento, CA, September 17, 2013
- National Institute for Storage Tank Management (NISTM) Annual ConferenceClarion Hotel, Anaheim, CA, June 27, 2013
- Philadelphia, PA, April 4, 2011
- Significant Developments Affecting the Chemical IndustryPhiladelphia, PA, December 2009
- Basic Practice Series: Client Intake & EvaluationAmerican Bar Association (ABA) Section of Environment, Energy & ResourcesWashington, DC, Fall 2009
- San Diego, CA, October 23, 2019