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    Energy, Environmental and Natural Resources

    Environmental and 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 past can come back, seemingly out of nowhere, to present substantial liability to a company. No matter how significant the incident or how quick the response to limit environmental damage or injury to persons, a brand can be irreparably damaged by an unfounded allegation, a product can be banned from the marketplace or a company can face financially ruinous obligations—all seemingly overnight.

    Companies have never been more vulnerable to environmental and toxic tort litigation. Thanks to the Internet, even the most localized clean-up effort 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 and Toxic Torts group will protect your interests, assets and reputation, from investigation through litigation, should the latter be necessary.

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

    We Have Environmental and Toxic Tort Defense Down to a Science

    Manatt attorneys have a substantive knowledge of both the laws that govern environmental and toxic tort cases and the science applicable to their adjudication. 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 enable them to fully understand complex scientific issues and, when combined with their deep legal experience, to confidently go up against the best of experts, as well as stay ahead of emerging trends and spot red flags and potential liabilities. In other words: to provide counsel that is comprehensive and cost-efficient.

    Besides civil litigation, we have extensive administrative and criminal practice experience. Many members of our team have backgrounds in government and since joining Manatt have worked in harmony with government regulators to ensure our clients' compliance with applicable laws and regulations, and have represented clients in administrative reviews and enforcement proceedings. They are never afraid, however, to challenge an unfair regulation or to argue that an agency over-stepped its jurisdictional authority or misinterpreted the law.

    Notable Successes

    • Defending large petroleum companies in a natural resources damage case regarding contamination of groundwater in the state of New Mexico. The case settled for only a fraction of the initial billion-dollar demand.
    • Trying the first MTBE gasoline additive products liability case to go to trial. The case settled favorably for the client.
    • Defeating criminal charges brought against a petroleum company by the U.S. Attorney's Office under the Clean Water Act.
    • Representing the largest supplier of water to Southern California in several major contamination cases.
    • Establishing an insurer's obligation to defend claims brought against one of our petroleum company clients. This was a seminal environmental coverage case involving groundwater contamination.
    • 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 to favorable resolution disputed claims brought under Proposition 65 regarding product exposures, environmental exposures and discharges into drinking water systems
    • Representing clients against unfair regulations issued by agencies such as the California Air Resources Board.
    • Defending a chemical company against allegations that it was the source of river pollution that would require a billion-dollar cleanup.
    • Resolving alleged violations before the South Coast Air Quality Management District

    Environmental and Toxic Torts

    Selected Clients

    • California American Water Company
    • City of Los Angeles
    • Dansk Investments (USA Petroleum)
    • Golden State Water Service Co.
    • San Gabriel Valley Water Quality Authority
    • Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics
  • Awards & Rankings

    logo/img/@altRanked Nationally for Litigation – Environmental Law 2015-2016

    logo/img/@altRanked Nationally for Environmental Law 2013-2016