Leading environmental law practitioners recognized by The Best Lawyers in America® 2013.
Solid & Hazardous Waste
Issues related to solid and hazardous waste management can be as relatively simple as obtaining a facility operating permit or as complex as a multiparty liability dispute over a contaminated site. We can handle both types of situation – and everything in between. We are experienced in representing clients in issues related to hazardous waste and regulated under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) as well as other US EPA regulations. Clients rely on us for:
- Counseling regarding treatment, handling, transportation and disposal of solid and industrial waste.
- Negotiating and litigating solid waste facility operating permits.
- Advising on the siting and permitting of numerous public and private solid waste landfills.
Representative examples include:
- In an environmental/property rights case for DuPont, similar to one in which plaintiffs had already obtained royalty payments of approximately US$500,000 a year for decades from another entity, our client was being sued by the same plaintiffs for US$176 million. They claimed that a plume of toxic waste had contaminated 200 surface acres and 400 acres of mineral interests. Our role included working with DuPont’s in-house counsel and staff, local counsel and numerous independent experts. After a multi-week, highly technical trial debating the ramifications of deep-well injections of billions of gallons of hazardous waste, our lawyers received a unanimous defense verdict from a Texas jury.
- The National Law Journal recognized the Squire Sanders victory for DuPont as one of its “Top Defense Wins.” Because of this case and other successful resolutions, DuPont awarded our firm its prestigious “Meeting the Challenge” award and recognized our “cost-effectiveness in the delivery of legal services.”
- Successfully defended one of our steel clients in a high profile hazardous waste enforcement case brought by US EPA under RCRA. The court soundly rejected the United States’ inflated penalty demand based upon the testimony and evidence we introduced at trial, including evidence that our client had historically made efforts to reduce pollution, that there was no resultant harm to human health or the environment, and that the government had exhibited unjustifiable delay in investigating and bringing its claims. Further, the court accepted our economic arguments regarding the appropriate method for calculating “economic benefit” and our client’s inability to pay the government’s proposed penalty due to the flood of imported steel, increased mini-mill capacity and increased pressure during downturns in the business cycle. Finally, based upon our evidence of no environmental harm, the court rejected the government’s request for injunctive relief in its entirety. The court also accepted our arguments on “economic benefit,” and imposed a civil penalty of only 2.9 percent of the amount sought by the government.
- Litigating, counseling and negotiating consent orders for more than 100 multiparty and single-company hazardous waste sites under CERCLA.
- Litigating a CERCLA allocation case in the Western District of Pennsylvania and achieving a final allocation for our client significantly below the client’s share (90 percent) of total hazardous waste volume at the site. Our arguments included the use of language in the asset purchase agreement between the parties, which although not sufficient to create a formal shifting of liability through indemnity, was held by the court to evidence the parties’ intent to have the purchaser of the property assume responsibility for ongoing environmental conditions.
- Defending a geothermal energy producer in Imperial County, California in connection with civil and potential criminal claims that the company illegally disposed of hazardous waste in a local municipal landfill.