Environmental Litigation and Dispute Resolution


Members of Robinson+Cole’s Environmental Litigation and Dispute Resolution Team routinely represent clients involved in private litigation and government enforcement matters in New England and across the country. Our litigation experience includes actions under the full range of federal and state environmental laws, common law claims involving contaminated properties, and toxic tort matters involving exposure to substances such as hazardous chemicals, mold, lead-based paint, and asbestos. Many of our team members have degrees in scientific and engineering disciplines and/or prior employment with relevant government agencies or consulting firms. Our technical backgrounds, prior work experience, litigation skills, and deep knowledge of environmental law enable us to quickly identify issues and options and secure cost-effective and successful results for our clients.

Our Services

 Our environmental litigation and enforcement capabilities include the following:

  • managing all aspects of environmental and toxic tort litigation, including trials and appeals
  • defending civil and criminal enforcement actions in administrative tribunals and in state and federal courts
  • responding rapidly to workplace exposures, spills and releases, search warrants, and other emergencies
  • advising on the scientific and technical aspects of environmental cases
  • providing a well-developed network of outside consultants and experts skilled in a host of complex environmental issues
  • conducting efficient and effective internal investigations
  • offering an in-house service for cost-effective information management and e-discovery

For more information on Robinson+Cole’s Environmental, Energy + Telecommunications Group, click here

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

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

      • Represented transportation company in defense of an environmental class action trial in Massachusetts state court, one of the very few class action trials resulting from an environmental incident and, to our knowledge, the first environmental class action ever tried in Massachusetts. The case involved claims for property damage resulting from an oil spill in Buzzards Bay in 2003. The class was made up of approximately 1,000 residents from the Town of Mattapoisett who alleged their shoreline property was oiled as a result of the spill. The March 2010 trial, which lasted two weeks, addressed the claims of eight individual class members. The jury ultimately awarded a very favorable result for the client. The results of these initial cases were meant to provide the parties with a basis to resolve the remaining claims.

      • Represented nuclear fuel manufacturer in Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) cost recovery claim against the United States. The facility was contaminated with highly enriched uranium as a result of contract work performed for the U.S. Navy in connection with the development of the nuclear submarine program. Our client recovered a substantial portion of its multi-million dollar site remediation costs from the Government. The cleanup was conducted under the auspices of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

      • 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.

      • Represented former nuclear fuel manufacturer based in Illinois in multiparty CERCLA cost recovery action brought by current facility owner against former operators and arrangers, including the United States. Current owner conducted multimillion-dollar site remediation and site closure to address a legacy of radiological contamination.

      • Evaluated potential litigation against upgradient manufacturing facility in connection with complex sediment site in Bridgeport, Connecticut.

      • 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 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.

      • 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.

      • 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.

      • 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.

      • Environmental Counseling and Dispute Resolution

      • 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.

      • Other Experiences

      • Defended multimedia enforcement action brought by the Office of the Attorney General on behalf of the Connecticut DEP. Alleged violations involve process discharge water, noncontact cooling water, waste, air, and stormwater issues.

      • Represented manufacturing client in defense of enforcement action by state agency for alleged hazardous waste, property transfer, and water pollution control act violations. Negotiated a comprehensive settlement and assisted in preparation of site characterization work plans and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) closure plan.

      • Represented ship operator in defense of Clean Water Act violation.

      • Representation of a diversified aerospace company in response to OSHA citations. One citation was dismissed completely. The other was settled by withdrawal of "willful" citation. Penalty reduced to $16,500. Appeal handled out of New York Regional Solicitor's Office.

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Our Team