• Contacts

    PETER DUCHESNEAU

    Partner

    Energy, Environmental & Natural Resources
    email

    Environmental & Toxic Torts

    Cleaning-up the legal mess as swiftly as the environment
    Some chemicals, by nature, are hazardous, toxic and corrosive. Until such chemicals are no longer necessary to play a role in our modern-day society, even companies with the highest safety standards are susceptible to liability due to accidents and ever evolving standards.  Even long forgotten operations from decades in the past can come back seemingly out of nowhere to present substantial liability to a company. No matter the size of an incident, or how quick the response to limit environmental damage and personal injury, a brand can be irreparably damaged by misperception alone, a product can be banned from market, and a company can face financial ruin seemingly overnight. 

    Companies  have never been more vulnerable to environmental and toxic tort litigation. Thanks to the Internet, even the most localized clean-up can become global news within minutes. The ability of potential victims to network has given rise to even more class actions. Companies are facing unprecedented levels of government regulation and public scrutiny as they bring projects and products to market. 

    For drinking water contamination and toxic emissions, Manatt’s Environmental & Toxic Torts practice group will protect your interests, assets and reputation throughout the investigation and, when applicable, the resulting litigation. 

    For accidents you’re responsible for, we help limit your liability to the strictest definition of the law; and fast-track an innovative solution in the best interests of your company, stakeholders and community. If other parties are to blame, we staunchly protect you from unjust litigation, witch hunts and media circuses. 

    We have environmental and toxic tort litigation down to a science
    Manatt attorneys have a substantive knowledge of both the laws that govern environmental and toxic tort cases as well as the science behind them. At every level of local, state and federal court, including multidistrict litigation and class actions, we have resolved cases surrounding such matters as climate change, groundwater cleanup, CERCLA, RCRA, Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, products liability, Proposition 65, CEQA, natural resources, and chemical exposure, to name a few.   

    Many of our attorneys have technical backgrounds that, combined with deep legal experience in this arena, give them the unique ability to stay ahead of emerging trends, spot potential liabilities long in advance, fully understand complex scientific issues, and to confidently go up against the best of  experts.  All told, this deep experience allows us to provide comprehensive and cost-efficient counsel to our clients. 

    Besides civil litigation, Manatt attorneys are also highly experienced with administrative and criminal practice having lawyers who have served in government.  Manatt helps companies work in harmony with government regulators to remain in compliance to head-off issues beforehand.  Likewise, Manatt is well adept at representing clients in all manners before the government on environmental issues. When necessary, we are not afraid to challenge unfair environmental regulations and challenge the authority of agencies that over step their jurisdiction or seek to wrongly tar a client with liability. 

    Notable successes

    • Defending large petroleum companies in a natural resources damage case regarding contamination of groundwater in the state of New Mexico, which.  settled for only a fraction of the initial billion dollar demand
    • Trying one of the first MTBE gasoline-additive products liability case to go to trial, until the case settled favorably for the client 
    • Defeating Clean Water Act criminal charges brought by the U.S. Attorney against a petroleum company 
    • Representing the largest supplier of water to Southern California in several major water contamination cases 
    • Establishing an insurer's obligation defend claims against such clients as a petroleum company in a major environmental groundwater contamination case 
    • Orchestrating the overturning of  a government agency's improper decision to take up regulatory jurisdiction against a major aerospace client involving tens of millions of dollars 
    • Litigating through to favorable resolution all facets of Proposition 65 from alleged product exposures, to environmental exposures, to discharges to drinking water   
    • Representing clients against unfair regulation involving agencies such as the California Air Resources Board
    • Defending a chemical company regarding allegations of a billion-dollar river cleanup
    • Resolving alleged violations before the South Coast Air Quality Management District

    Attorneys & Professionals

    Email
    Name
    Office
    Phone
    Bassak, Andrew A. San Francisco 415.291.7449
    Bloomgarden, Craig S. Los Angeles 310.312.4240
    Dombroski, Matthew A. New York 212.790.4556
    Duchesneau, Peter Los Angeles 310.312.4209
    Elson, David Los Angeles 310.312.4151
    McGrath, David Los Angeles 310.312.4147
    Osaki, Keli N. Orange County 714.371.2539
    Raptis, Stephen T. Washington, D.C. 202.585.6550
    Shatz, Benjamin G. Los Angeles 310.312.4383
    Soneff, George M. Los Angeles 310.312.4186
    Wolff, Ted New York 212.790.4575

    Environmental and Toxic Torts

    Selected Clients

    • 3M
    • City of Los Angeles
    • Dansk Investments (USA Petroleum)
    • GATX
    • Goodrich
    • Metropolitan Water District of Southern California
    • San Gabriel Valley Water Quality Authority
    • Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics
    • Sun Chemical
  • Awards & Rankings

    logo/img/@altRanked Nationally for Litigation - Environmental for 2015

    logo/img/@altRanked Nationally for Environmental Law 2013-2015