James P. Ray

Partner

  • Overview

    Biography

    Jim Ray has over 20 years of experience as an environmental and product liability litigator and counselor, and he has served as court-appointed common counsel or liaison counsel in multiple environmental matters. These experiences, combined with a strong technical and business background, enable him to work effectively with engineers, scientists, other experts, and legal counsel to help clients minimize risk and solve compliance, enforcement, site remediation, and cost allocation challenges.

    Common Counsel

    Mr. Ray has been selected as coordinating or liaison counsel for joint defense groups and has been court-appointed common counsel for groups of defendants in a number of environmental disputes. He has represented groups in active environmental litigation and guided other groups through administrative proceedings and cost allocation efforts. At most sites, his efforts resulted in the groups quickly resolving their cost allocation disputes, thereby avoiding litigation and allowing him to lead the groups' efforts to promptly and cost-effectively (in some cases under budget) address the underlying environmental problems. These engagements typically involve sites with complicated scientific issues, a multitude of consultants and experts, numerous parties with different interests and levels of involvement, and document management challenges.

    Environmental Litigation

    Mr. Ray represents clients in environmental litigation at sites throughout the United States. These disputes arise under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act; the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act; the Clean Water Act, and most other federal and state environmental statutes. His legal experience and technical background enable him to promptly evaluate cases and recommend an appropriate strategy to his clients, whether that involves preparing a case and taking it to trial or positioning the client to pursue a favorable settlement. He has obtained a number of favorable verdicts in cases brought under federal, state and common law causes of action.

    Environmental Counseling and Dispute Resolution

    Mr. Ray regularly serves on the Steering Committees at Superfund sites, represents clients in alternative dispute resolution efforts, counsels clients in connection with their compliance efforts under a multitude of environmental programs, and advises clients and insurers on site cleanup efforts and the costs and obligations related to such efforts. He works closely with his clients, experts and other lawyers to creatively solve his clients’ risk management challenges.

    Product Liability and Asbestos Defense

    Mr. Ray defends asbestos, lead-based paint, mold, and product liability cases. His asbestos experience has involved hundreds of cases on behalf of numerous clients, with many resulting in dismissals for lack of product identification. He also counsels clients involved in product recalls with the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and has advised those clients on their reporting obligations and voluntary corrective action programs.

    Mr. Ray has been listed in The Best Lawyers in America® in the area of Environmental Law from 2008 to 2015 and Litigation - Environmental for 2013 and 2014 (Copyright 2014 by Woodward/White, Inc., Aiken, SC).

    Before joining the firm, Mr. Ray worked as an engineer for the Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (DEEP). His DEEP experience included enforcement and permitting under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act and analysis of environmental considerations in litigation, real estate transactions, and bankruptcy.

  • Experience
    • Experience

      Experience

        Liaison Counsel

      • Selected (and approved by the court) as common counsel for a group of third-party generator defendants at a waste oil refinery site at which plaintiffs sought injunctive relief through an RCRA citizens suit, response costs under state and federal law, and diminution of property value under common law theories.

      • Counseled a large, privately held manufacturing client, and served as liaison counsel for other liable parties, in a project involving a contaminated municipal water supply well, regional and on-site ground water investigation and remediation efforts, on-site soils investigation and remediation, a mediated allocation process, contribution litigation, a natural resource damages settlement, and defense of toxic tort claims.

      • Served as liaison counsel to a group of 25 responsible parties in connection with a former barrel reclamation site, negotiating an Administrative Order on Consent with EPA for a PCB removal action, working with contractors to implement the removal action, and simultaneously addressing state requirements for site-wide investigation and remediation.

      • Co-common counsel at Midwestern Superfund site responsible for organizing the parties, negotiating cash-out agreements, and ensuring timely and cost-effective performance of a removal action at an abandoned waste oil facility.

      • Environmental Litigation

      • Lead counsel for a drum recycling company in a CERCLA action at a dioxin-contaminated sediment site where past and projected costs exceeded $150 million. After over eight years of litigation with the major liable party, EPA, and several government military defendants involving more than 30 expert witnesses, we secured an ability to pay settlement shortly before trial.

      • Defended a Fortune 500 company in a $250 million, 400-member class action in Colorado state court involving claims of indoor air, groundwater, and soil contamination. Matter settled for less than 10 percent of original claim.

      • Defended the purchaser of a nuclear power plant in an action seeking to prevent the transfer of environmental permits. Plaintiffs application for a temporary restraining order was denied shortly before the deal closed, and the suit was ultimately dismissed.

      • Recovered response costs and EPA oversights costs on behalf of manufacturing client in trial of CERCLA action against an uncooperative liable party.

      • Represented owner of commercial property in successfully obtaining an injunction and damages resulting from soil and groundwater contamination coming from company on neighboring property.

      • Defended lessee of bulk fuel oil terminal in dispute over the condition of the tanks and ancillary equipment following termination of the lease.

      • Defended gasoline distributor in defense of wrongful death claims arising from building explosion allegedly caused by free-phase gasoline on groundwater table.

      • Defended insurance carrier in coverage dispute for denial of landfill operating permits.

      • Counseled former owner of midwestern manufacturing facility in defense of state enforcement actions for site investigation and remediation and in negotiations with current facility owner.

      • Defended manufacturing clients in multiparty disputes involving defense of RCRA citizen's suit and allocation of costs for multimillion-dollar cleanup at waste oil refinery.

      • Defended law firm in malpractice action alleging failure to advise client about environmental disclosure requirements of the property transfer law.

      • Defended a razor blade manufacturer against common law claims brought by the owner of the former National Oil Services site in West Haven, Connecticut.

      • Represented gasoline dealer and distributor in multidistrict litigation arising from alleged contamination of drinking water supplies with Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether (MTBE).

      • Secured favorable jury verdict in nuisance case against confined animal feeding operation.

      • Other Experiences

      • Represented client in multiparty allocation of landfill cleanup costs, successfully advocating for use of contribution proceeds to serve as means to correct interim allocation inequities.

      • Represented client in landfill allocation and EPA consent decree negotiations, including negotiation of carve-out of activities to be performed by uncooperative liable parties.

      • Counseled a large, privately held manufacturing client in a project involving a contaminated municipal water supply well, and regional and onsite groundwater investigation and remediation, and on-site RCRA Corrective Action.

      • Assisted insurance carrier in damages evaluation for a catastrophic fire loss at a regional composting facility, working with composting, waste management, and engineering experts to determine operational value and replacement cost.

      • Served as environmental counsel to insurance carrier in a multimillion-dollar property insurance claim for anthrax contamination at a tabloid newspaper publisher's headquarters.

      • Environmental Counseling and Dispute Resolution

      • Representation of a company where a failure of compressed gas tank at its Connecticut facility resulted in significant injuries to several employees, Robinson+Cole was on site within hours and dealt with local OSHA personnel; state police, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the FBI. No citation was issued.

      • Other Experiences

      • Conducted internal investigation of pharmaceutical client's compliance with the Clean Air Act's leak detection and repair requirements. 

      • Products Liability

      • Represented manufacturer of horizontal gas-fired furnaces in connection with CPSC reporting and implementation of a corrective action program to address an allegedly defective vent collar.

      • Counseled battery manufacturer on reporting obligations and implementation of a voluntary corrective action plan associated with allegedly defective battery charger.

      • Counseled distributor of toaster ovens with an allegedly defective power cord on reporting obligations and implementation of a voluntary corrective action program.

      • Counseled client with respect to obligations associated with use of asbestos gaskets in commercial kitchen products.
      • Advised foreign publicly traded company as to whether an issue with a product was a defect that created substantial risk of personal injury to the public requiring a recall under the Federal Boat Safety Act.

      • Assisted distributor of juice extractors in evaluating reporting and recall obligations in connection with reports of alleged product malfunctions.

      • Defended claims for damages for alleged exposure to asbestos-containing products on behalf of numerous clients, including:

        *worldwide designer, manufacturer and installer of fire protection systems 

        *world's largest manufacturer of industrial and waterworks valves and controls

        *international forest products company 

        *London stock exchange listed company engaged in supply of industrial fans and blowers

        *developer, manufacturer and seller of static sealing materials and products for general industrial applications

        *manufacturer and supplier of high productivity abrasives and chemical tools for the metal working industry 

        *manufacturer and distributor of conduit and tubing used in electrical applications 

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    • Professional Associations

      Professional Associations

      American Bar Foundation
      Fellow (2013)

      American Bar Association
      Environmental Litigation Committee, Co-chair (2011 - 2014)
      Environmental Litigation, Products Liability and Mass Tort Committees' CLE Summit Co-chair, 1/2011 and 1/2005

      Connecticut Bar Association
      Environmental Law Section (1992 - present)

      Connecticut Business & Industry Association
      Environmental Policies Council (1992 - present)

      Lawyers Collaborative for Diversity
      Executive Board Member
    • Honors + Awards

      Honors + Awards

      Listed in Connecticut Super Lawyers® in the area of Energy & Natural Resources in 2012 and in Environmental in 2013 and 2014 (Super Lawyers is a registered trademark of Key Professional Media, Inc.)

      Listed in The Best Lawyers in America® in the area of Environmental Law from 2008 to 2015 and in Litigation - Environmental for 2013 and 2014 (Copyright 2014 by Woodward/White, Inc., Aiken, SC)

      Ranked in Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business in the state of Connecticut in the area of Environment for 2011 - 2014

      Listed in Who's Who Legal: The International Who's Who of Environment Lawyers 2011, 2013, 2014 (Copyright by Law Business Research Ltd)

    • Community Involvement

      Community Involvement

      National Conference for Community and Justice, Connecticut and Western Massachusetts
      Board Member
  • NEWS + PRESS
    • Publications

      Publications

      "Emhart v. United States: Another Failed Attempt to Prove Divisibility under CERCLA," published in Environmental Litigation, co-authored with Megan E. Baroni (Fall 2015)
      • » more info

      "U.S. Supreme Court Addresses Arranger Liability and Apportionment under CERCLA," published in Connecticut Law Tribune (2009)

      "Property Damage Claims for Environmental Contamination: The Problems Inherent in Attempting to Bring Them as Class Actions," published in The Urban Lawyer, co-authored with Deborah A. Vennos, Vol. 38, Number 1 (Winter 2006)

    • Presentations

      Presentations

      "Take the Leap to an Alternate Legal Career," moderator, at an American Bar Association CLE seminar, co-sponsored by the Litigation Section's Environmental, Mass Torts, and Products Liability Committees in Park City, Utah (1/2016)

      "Valuing Contaminated Properties for Litigation," presented at the International Right of Way Association's 60th Annual International Education Conference in Hartford, Connecticut (6/23/2014)

      "The New Normal – Litigation Management and Budgeting," Moderator of panel for the American Bar Association's CLE seminar cosponsored by the Litigation Section's Environmental, Mass Torts, and Products Liability Committees, Snowmass, Colorado; event Cochair (1/2011)

      "Breakout Session 4: Ethics," American Bar Association's Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources, Key Environment Issues in U.S. EPA Region 1, Moderator (5/2007)

      "Working with Environmental Experts: Preserving Attorney-Client Privilege and Work Product Protections," at Environmental, Products Liability, and Mass Tort Litigation Committees Joint CLE Seminar, ABA Section of Litigation, co-presented with Kirstin M. Etela (January 2005)

      "Defending a Toxic Mold Claim," at Water Intrusion and Mold Claims in Connecticut Seminar (6/18/2003)

      "Toxic Mold: A Legal Perspective," at Connecticut Society of Women Environmental Professionals Mold Seminar (10/3/2002)

      "Toxic Mold: A Legal Perspective," at Stamford/Norwalk Regional Bar Association Breakfast Seminar (10/2/2002)

      "Connecting the Dots to a Successful Brownfields Project: A Case Study," at International Economic Development Council Brownfields Workshop (8/7/02)
      • » more info

      "Environmental Risk Management in a Post 9/11 World," at Connecticut Business and Industry Association Environmental Health and Safety Expo (5/01/02)

      "Class Actions and CAFOs: A Match Made in (Hog) Heaven," at American Bar Association Environmental Litigation Committee Mid-Year Meeting (2/2002)
      • » more info
      • View article

      "Recent Developments in CERCLA Litigation," at American Bar Association's (ABA) Environmental Litigation Committee Mid-Year Meeting (2/1999)
      • » more info

      "Lead-Based Paint Litigation," at Fourth Gallivan Conference on Real Property Law at the University of Connecticut School of Law (4/1995)

      "Solid and Hazardous Waste Developments in Connecticut," at Connecticut Business & Industry Association's (CBIA) Environmental Summer School (6/1993)

      "Negotiating Workable Settlement Agreements," at CBIA's Environmental Summer School (6/1992)

    • News

      R+C in the News

      • November 23, 2015

        Jim Ray and Megan Baroni Co-author Article for Environmental Litigation

        • » more info