Goldberg Segalla’s environmental lawyers’ number one priority is to provide sound, strategic solutions to the problems and challenges our clients face. Our practice encompasses the full spectrum of federal, state, and local environmental laws and regulations and their impact on real estate, business and lending transactions, and business operations. With extensive experience helping clients navigate the complexities of environmental laws and regulations at every level, Goldberg Segalla’s attorneys balance your business’s environmental responsibilities with the expectations you set and the goals you aim to achieve.
We offer services ranging from regulatory compliance counseling to crisis response and the management of environmental liabilities in corporate, real estate, and financial transactions. Our clients—landowners, oil and gas companies, chemical and product manufacturers, construction contractors and subcontractors, real estate developers, lenders, insurers, and public and private entities — rely on us for our thorough understanding of the laws and regulations on the federal, state, and local level. Our environmental attorneys provide you with practical business-oriented advice on the basis of existing and anticipated legal requirements, and regulatory practice. We also keep our clients up to date through the firm’s Environmental Law Monitor blog, a trusted resource for breaking news and analysis of current issues in environmental law.
Click below to review a selection of our representative matters, and read on to learn more about some of our areas of focus.
- Defended municipality in citizen suit involving violations of the Clean Water Act and alleged nitrogen exceedances at city’s wastewater treatment plant.
- Defending manufacturer and property owner at one of the largest Superfund sites (Passaic River) in the U.S. with respect to sediment contamination at multiple sites.
- Defended Fortune 500 company — whose subsidiary designed and manufactured USTs, piping, and leak detection system under a large commercial shopping center — in a petroleum discharge matter involving damage to the environment, real property, and the surrounding community.
- Defended Fortune 100 Company in CERCLA/Superfund action involving environmental contamination from tannery in upstate New York.
- Acted as counsel to environmental testing professionals at Nassau Coliseum in matters involving alleged airborne chemical exposure.
- Represent multinational chemical company in train derailment investigation in Wisconsin where local water supply was threatened.
- Represent the interests of a well-drilling company in Oklahoma involving a pipeline leak and resultant contamination to environment and waterways.
- Defended national storage facility owner in NJ Spill Act cost recovery action involving historic contamination and eminent domain and condemnation issues.
- Represent national recycling company in CERCLA cost recovery action involving CRT waste disposal at e-waste recycling facility in Ohio.
- Defended licensed applicators in spray drift matter in Missouri involving alleged property damage from herbicide/pesticide overspray.
- Represented interests of school system involving historic environmental contamination and alleged exposure at site in upstate New York.
- Dismissal of action on behalf of gasoline station/property owner involving allegations of groundwater contamination to New York municipality’s drinking water supply; upheld by the Supreme Court of New York, Appellate Division.
- Served as counsel for multi-national corporation in RCRA suit filed by Illinois municipality involving former wood treatment facility where site is being redeveloped.
- Successfully defended strip mall owner against suit filed by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency stemming from the release of PCE and other VOCs from former dry cleaner facility allegedly impacting drinking water supply.
- Defended class action against herbicide manufacturer in Illinois alleging water contamination due to herbicide runoff as well as groundwater/aquifer contamination due to prolonged persistence of chemical in soil.
- Defended supplier of cleaning chemicals following improper mixture and spill of chemicals at food processing plant in North Carolina.
- Defended claims involving soil and groundwater contamination and oversaw remediation of land used for historical oil and gas operations in Louisiana.
- Defended natural gas company against claims stemming from well drilling, impacting residents in Pennsylvania.
- Represented environmental consulting firm in Pennsylvania involving migration of contaminants from adjacent property from above-ground storage tanks.
- Defended well owner/operator in Pennsylvania relative to hydraulic fracturing operations that included contamination of underground water supply and property damage claims.
- Defended environmental consulting firm regarding issuance of Phase I and Phase II reports concerning construction of residential development at former creosote factory in Pennsylvania.
Our Environmental practice encompasses the full spectrum of federal, state, and local environmental laws and regulations and their impact on real estate, business and lending transactions, and business operations.
Our attorneys are skilled at helping to bring redevelopment projects to fruition. We assist our clients in every stage of brownfield redevelopments—from acquisition and financing to remediation and development. We participate in the planning, negotiating, permitting, funding, remediating, constructing, insuring, and redeveloping of environmentally impaired properties. Our attorneys also understand the various programs that require developers and others to obtain land use permitting approvals, and have significant experience in addressing the many issues that may arise during the permitting process. We regularly assist our clients in obtaining various state, federal, and local permits and approvals for coastal, waterfront, and wetlands development, and flood hazards. Our attorneys also are experienced in obtaining and advising our clients about compliance with complex operational permits, including those for solid waste, hazardous waste and landfills, ground water, surface water and storm water discharges, sewage connections and treatment, air emissions, and recycling.
Our advice on regulatory compliance and risk management has allowed our clients to avoid fines, violations, and penalties, as well as costly litigation and administrative hearings. We have developed comprehensive audit programs and environmental management systems for entire industry sectors and have achieved significant savings for our clients – more than $50 million in fines avoided – while also providing valuable guidance to ensure continued compliance. We have extensive experience with EPA’s Self-Audit Policy, having continually guided participants through the agency’s intensive audit and disclosure process and helping them minimize risks to human health and the environment. We help our clients develop strategies for addressing compliance issues to ensure environmental safety and adequately respond to government inspections and enforcement actions.
Our environmental attorneys represent clients in all types of transactions, including the buying, selling, refinancing, and redevelopment of real property, as well as corporate asset and stock transactions. Our team can identify and assess the risks and liabilities in transactions and how to structure deals to achieve our clients’ objectives. We routinely provide advice to our clients in the areas of conducting and assessing environmental due diligence, drafting purchase and sale documents, and strategizing to reduce environmental exposure. We also advise lenders and borrowers on environmental matters arising from default and foreclosure, including lender liability protection under federal and state law and the application of permits and approvals from governmental authorities to address construction and development issues.
Crisis management starts well before a crisis. Prevention and preparedness are the keys to mitigating the risk and effects of any environmental crisis.
Crisis Response Preparation
Goldberg Segalla’s environmental lawyers apply years of experience in compliance counseling and risk mitigation to help our clients anticipate, avoid, and prepare for environmental crises. We assist with:
- Assessing crisis risks in corporate planning sessions
- Developing and advising on contingency plans and response measures
- Acting as outside counsel during mock company simulations and drills
- Helping companies develop training materials, emergency action plans, and media strategies
Even the best-prepared companies will experience crises. From the outset of an environmental crisis, the Goldberg Segalla team is well-versed in responding to and managing environmental, toxic tort, and similar catastrophic events. We focus on:
- Securing safety and security as soon as possible
- Directly engaging regulators, officials, and stakeholders in effective and appropriate ways
- Maintaining integrity of evidence and facts
- Tracking and mitigating response costs, fines, and damages
- Dialoguing in a civil and respectful manner with stakeholders and community members to resolve the crisis
The reality of climate change is becoming ever more apparent as extreme weather events become more common and science is increasingly able to link these events to greenhouse gas emissions. As weather events become more extreme, so do the impacts on industries from insurance to construction and from agriculture to energy. Legal and regulatory impacts will be far-ranging. With a team including prominent authors and speakers on this topic, Goldberg Segalla intends to be a leader in helping our clients prepare for and respond to any climate change-related issues. Whether that assistance involves insurance coverage, environmental litigation, or regulatory preparedness, we have the experience to stay out in front of this rapidly changing field.
We assist clients in analyzing their potential cleanup liability and examine how that liability might be spread among multiple sources, including insurance carriers, prior owners and/or operators, and other stakeholders who may have a relationship to the environmental conditions at issue. We also assist clients in evaluating the availability of remedial funding through loan and grant programs, including those that may be subsidized by government entities. We are experienced in negotiating allocation and cleanup cost-sharing between the various stakeholders. Other times, the only recourse may lie in pursuing environmental litigation under state or federal law.
Our environmental attorneys handle all phases of civil litigation, enforcement and penalty actions, and administrative proceedings on environmental issues. With experience in matters involving wetlands, wastewater, solid waste, natural resource damages, renewable energy, pipelines, insurance coverage, and more, we have handled and litigated claims brought under statutes including:
- The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA)
- The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA)
- The Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA)
- The Clean Water Act (CWA)
- The Clean Air Act (CAA)
- Various state statutes across our national footprint
Often our attorneys engage in alternative dispute resolution in an attempt to resolve environmental disputes in lieu of litigation. When litigation is unavoidable, we approach discovery, motion practice, and ultimately trial with an effective plan that serves to reduce both the concerns of our clients and the cost of litigation.
We also routinely represent clients in cases involving:
- Claims to recover costs incurred in remediating contaminated sites by and against the government and/or private parties
- Diminution in value and stigma damages resulting from environmental contamination
- Natural resource damage (NRD) claims asserted by federal and state trustees
- Contract claims regarding responsibility for contamination
- Environmental enforcement actions by the federal, state, and local government authorities
- Insurance coverage for cleanup costs and costs incurred in defending environmental actions
Our expertise in the federal RCRA and its state equivalents has enabled us to assist our clients in the area of waste management, ensuring compliance with the relevant regulations while balancing often competing commercial interests. We provide advice on the entire spectrum of RCRA compliance issues, including regulatory exemptions, required permits and approvals, and how a facility can most cost-effectively comply with regulations. Further, we have abundant experience in representing clients in administrative enforcement proceedings as well as in RCRA citizen suits, frequently obtaining early settlements or favorable dispositions.
Storage tank cases often involve unique factual, technical, and legal issues, including complex hydrogeological factors, and turn on both statutory presumptions and contract interpretation. We have handled numerous cases involving storage tanks, including cases involving abandoned tanks left behind decades earlier by prior owners, as well as tanks that have been improperly removed and/or improperly filled. We counsel our clients with respect to the related federal, state, and local ordinances, rules, and regulations.
Along similar lines, our environmental counseling services include working with dischargers and their consultants tasked with the cleanup of various types of environmental contamination in preparing and presenting investigation and remediation plans to federal and state agencies while seeking to limit our client’s financial exposure. We not only aggressively defend these matters but actively seek contribution for the cost of cleanup and remediation against a prior owner or other party who actually caused or contributed to a discharge.
Our environmental litigation team remain leaders of the national discussion involving key emerging environmental risks as they relate to unregulated contaminants, notably per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and 1,4-Dioxane. These two contaminants in particular have captured the nation’s attention, including the plaintiffs’ bar. Our litigation team constantly tracks the jurisdictional trends taking shape with federal and state guidance/regulations of these emerging contaminants. We understand the contaminants and the science, the potential exposure routes, and the plaintiffs’ bar’s innovative techniques, and have developed strong and strategic defenses. Our attorneys also offer advice to clients with respect to complex compliance issues as certain states have set maximum contaminant levels (MCLs) and we anticipate many other states will follow suit.
Goldberg Segalla’s Environmental team has helped clients meet the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and prepare for the novel regulatory, economic, and litigation-related needs and concerns that have emerged in its wake. Aside from providing day-to-day counsel for clients in industries like construction and real estate development, retail and hospitality, health care, manufacturing, and more, we have also kept our entire client community up to date with articles, timely alerts, blog posts, presentations, and webinars on critical emerging topics related to COVID-19 environmental compliance. Our experience includes:
- Navigating the challenges facing active remedial sites and essential personnel issues, and the various directives at play
- Addressing compliance issues and reporting requirements to federal and state agencies given the fluid environment
- Managing the health and safety of personnel at work sites in the COVID-19 climate
- Ensuring that buildings and spaces are safe for workers to reenter and occupy prior to restarting a company’s operations
As wildfires have continued to plague the West Coast over the last decade, our attorneys have been at the center of legal developments related to those catastrophes, defending clients and insurers in the litigation that has followed.
Included amongst our team is a former chair of the DRI Fire Science and Litigation seminar experienced in helping clients retain experts in fields such as causation and damage, chemical engineering, climate and arson who strategically support our wildfire defense work on their behalf.
Our attorneys possess extensive legal experience defending insurers, manufacturers, design professionals, contractors, governmental entities, and utilities in a wide variety of claims and related litigation arising out of fire challenges.
We have successfully defended insurers and reinsurers in a wide scope of litigation resulting from wildfires, including:
- High value first-party and third-party claims adjustments
- Coverage and reinsurance litigation
- Appraisals and arbitration
- Business interruption and time element losses
- Wineries claiming smoke taint to crops, complex inventory valuation challenges, and pollution
- Construction delays
Recent representative matters:
- Our team successfully defended a Fortune 500 company in a $5 million lawsuit brought by the State of California in an attempt to recover costs for fighting wildfires.
- Our team successfully provided coverage and litigation counsel to several insurers concerning the 2020 and 2021 California wildfires involving over $3 billion in claimed damages.
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September 29, 2022