Why Cooley

Cooley’s environmental practice consistently obtains successful results in high-stakes environmental litigation, including actions brought by governmental agencies, cost recovery actions, class actions, and private-party environmental litigation. Comprised solely of trial lawyers, our environmental litigators prepare each case from the outset with an understanding of our trial strategy, an approach that maximizes the chances of an early resolution and also ensures that cases are positioned to win at the most critical stages.

Our environmental lawyers also partner with our transactional and real estate lawyers on a regular basis to perform the necessary environmental due diligence associated with corporate transactions. Specifically, we counsel clients on the potential environmental liabilities a transaction may create and work closely with them to develop and implement cost-effective solutions. Our lawyers also have significant experience working with companies to obtain key permits, put into practice mandatory remediation and redevelopment programs, structure and deploy compliance programs, negotiate terms and provisions with insurance carriers, and provide general advice on preventative measures to avoid environmental liability or litigation.

Areas of Practice

  • Contesting and responding to agency orders
  • Soil and groundwater contamination claims, including related air emission issues and insurance actions
  • CERCLA (Superfund), RCRA, CLRRA, Proposition 65, Section 17200, Clean Water Act and UST and other statutory matters
  • Claims involving contamination and alleged exposure to hazardous materials, including nitrates, petroleum, hydrocarbon, chlorinated solvents, pesticides, heavy materials, mold, bacteria, radioactive materials, asbestos and lead paint
  • Claims arising under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)
  • Brownfield (contaminated property) development
  • Interfacing with environmental consultants and regulatory agencies
  • Insurance claim reimbursement

Representative Matters

  • Successfully defended petroleum pipeline company in litigation and administrative actions involving soil and groundwater contamination at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego. Following a number of pre-trial wins, the suit settled for a fraction of the initial demand
  • Multiple victories for a major real estate investment firm in the development of the Navy Broadway Complex site, successfully defeating multiple entitlement and environmental challenges to this project, and securing a favorable declaratory relief judgment in litigation against the California Coastal Commission
  • Obtained the complete dismissal of numerous cases filed by California municipalities involving alleged contamination of groundwater
  • Secured a complete defense verdict at trial for an agricultural company
  • Successfully represented an electronics company in multiple environmental matters, including litigation arising from CERCLA claims
  • Obtained a favorable insurance claim coverage jury verdict related to the release of various organic solvents at the former facility of a major provider of defense and commercial electronics and aviation
  • Advised private equity firm on environmental issues during its acquisition of an institutional furniture and office products holding company, including five furniture-manufacturing businesses whose facilities presented a wide variety of environmental issues
  • Interfaced and negotiated with agencies regarding soil and groundwater contamination caused by multiple nearby property owners on behalf of a membership-only warehouse club
  • Advised a private pharmaceutical company on environmental issues during its acquisition of a life sciences company that owned numerous properties throughout the country and overseas, most of which housed manufacturing operations that utilized various chemicals
  • Successfully represented one of the oldest and largest US environmental organizations in a CEQA challenge pertaining to expansion of the Mammoth Lakes Airport