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Environment

Our environmental practice assists clients with a wide range of environmental, regulatory, and land use issues. We have successfully defended clients against criminal enforcement actions, helped them overcome significant hurdles to development, supported them in response to emergencies, and advised them on compliance with complex regulatory requirements. Our strategic approach to litigation and problem-solving has led clients, ranging from Fortune 500 companies to the Navajo Nation, to trust us with their most significant and challenging environmental issues.

Representative Matters

  • Representing Navajo Nation in CERCLA and tort action against the United States Environmental Protection Agency and other responsible parties with regard to exposure of the Navajo Nation's people, water, and lands to contaminants from the August 2015 Gold King Mine Spill. [See "Navajo Nation Sues EPA" in Law360, and "Navajo Nation Sues EPA over Toxic Mine Spill" on CNN.com.]
  • Secured a $5.15 billion settlement after trial for the Tronox Trust against Anadarko Petroleum Company and Kerr McGee Corporation for fraudulent transfer of massive environmental, tort, retiree and other liabilities. [See "Tronox Trust Wins Up To $14B In Kerr-McGee Spinoff Row" in Law360 and "Anadarko, Kerr-McGee liable for Tronox cleanup costs" in Reuters.] The $5.15 billion recovery was the largest environmental case award in U.S. history.
  • Prevailed after trial in constitutional challenge to the nation's most restrictive commercial land use ordinance. Known as Measure R, the ordinance would have required voter approval of all commercial development projects in Malibu larger than 20,000 square feet and imposed limits on the proportion of chain stores in any new development. [See "2 Names Familiar in Malibu Battle Over Anti-Development Measure" in the New York Times and "Judge overrules Malibu voters, clearing the way for Whole Foods Shopping Center" in the Los Angeles Times.]
  • Defeated CEQA challenges to proposed residential development by Las Vegas developer Marnell Corrao Associates and recovered 100 percent of attorneys' fees.
  • Secured termination of criminal investigation against high-level executive of manufacturing company alleged to have allowed improper disposal of waste by-products.
  • On behalf of the Navajo Nation, negotiated agreements for voluntary uranium waste remediation with EPA and numerous mining companies, and organized U.S. Congressional hearings that resulted in additional government initiatives and remediation of uranium contamination.
  • On the eve of trial in July 2015, and after four years of investigation and litigation, obtained dismissal of all felony federal charges, including conspiracy, false statements, and Clean Water Act charges against a subsidiary of Waste Management Inc., America's largest environmental services provider, and two of its managers.
  • Successfully represented one of the largest agricultural businesses in California on criminal environmental charges of using contaminated water for agricultural purposes.
  • Represented two cruise lines in investigations of dumping oily wastewater offshore.