Jenner & Block

Environmental Litigation

Jenner & Block’s Environmental Litigation Practice consists of highly accomplished trial lawyers who are equally adept in the courtroom and the board room. We handle cases in state and federal courts across the United States, but what makes Jenner & Block unique is that our lawyers are actually prepared to try these complex environmental cases and approach each matter with the mindset that the case will in fact go to trial.

Combining extensive trial experience with broad substantive experience, we provide sophisticated, cost-effective representation in the evolving intersection of federal, state, local, and international environmental laws. We routinely and successfully represent clients in civil, criminal, and administrative environmental proceedings, including government enforcement actions, CERCLA cost recovery lawsuits, RCRA citizen suit matters, insurance coverage cases, contract and indemnity claims, toxic tort suits, and challenges to federal and state rulemakings.

Our lawyers have been recognized among the best EHS lawyers in the country by Chambers and PartnersBest Lawyers in AmericaSuperLawyerLawDragon, and others.

CERCLA/RCRA/NRD Litigation

Jenner & Block’s environmental litigators handle government and private party as well as state CERCLA matters. Our lawyers vigorously pursue contribution claims from other responsible parties and work to ensure that remediation costs are appropriately shared by other responsible parties. We have extensive experience defending cost recovery claims to ensure that our clients are not required to pay costs incurred in contravention of the applicable statutes and/or costs that are not our client’s equitable responsibility. We also often serve as common counsel for multi-party PRP groups.

Our lawyers are experienced in representing clients in natural resource damage claims and in the negotiation, litigation or settlement of natural resource damage claims asserted by federal, state and tribal trustees. We are familiar with the relevant natural resource damage laws and regulations and have a strong network of highly regarded natural resource damage assessment and valuation consultants.

Our environmental litigators have extensive experience with all facets of RCRA litigation, including offensive and defensive claims. Our lawyers have successfully defended RCRA civil, criminal, and administrative enforcement actions brought by U.S. EPA and the states. We also represent clients who are the targets of RCRA citizen suits as well as clients that seek to affirmatively assert RCRA citizen suit claims.

Environmental Enforcement Defense/Investigations

Our lawyers have extensive experience defending federal and state enforcement actions under the myriad of environmental statutes, including the CAA, CWA, NEPA, OPA, RCRA, and TSCA. We regularly defend manufacturers in Proposition 65 enforcement actions in cases involving toluene, pharmaceuticals, silica, dioxin, lead, and other substances.

Our lawyers are also uniquely positioned to represent individual and corporate clients in significant environmental investigations and prosecutions. We have a deep bench of litigators with substantial experience at the U.S. Department of Justice and with the United States Attorneys’ Office who have handled environmental civil and criminal matters brought by the federal government on behalf of U.S. EPA and other agencies. We often rely upon these experienced lawyers within our white collar practice to assist in the defense of these types of matters.

We also have extensive experience with internal investigations relating to environmental, health and safety issues. Our lawyers are prepared to launch and direct internal investigations and evidence preservation initiatives on a global basis. We have assisted many clients in conducting such investigations and then evaluating the appropriate next steps if environmental compliance issues are identified.

Appellate Litigation

Jenner & Block’s appellate practice group is renowned throughout the country, and our appellate lawyers regularly handle matters before state and federal appellate courts. Jenner & Block also has a world class Supreme Court practice, and our appellate lawyers have been involved in a number of the more significant environmental cases that have been argued in that forum. We have also been involved in many of the landmark environmental cases that have been argued at the appellate court level, including a number of significant climate change nuisance matters.

Mass Tort Litigation

From personal injury and property loss to groundwater contamination and exposure to radiation and toxic chemicals, Jenner & Block has successfully represented a variety of clients in mass tort and class action litigation matters. Our environmental litigators have handled toxic tort cases across the country dealing with a vast array of chemicals, including asbestos, pesticides, benzene, chlorinated solvents, PFOAs, PCBs, PAHs, and dioxins. We have also served as national coordinating counsel and/or lead trial counsel in cases involving multiple jurisdictions and defendants.

OSHA/Workplace Fatality/Workplace Tort Defense/Whistleblowers

Our lawyers regularly defend clients in workplace-related matters. Whether arising from a scheduled inspection, an employee complaint or a serious incident, we have successfully represented clients in all aspects of the OSHA enforcement process, from inspections to informal conferences to contested hearings. Our in-depth knowledge of the regulations and agency interpretations allows us to help clients prepare for and respond to inspections and reach a favorable resolution through negotiation or litigation in accordance with our clients’ business objectives.

Our clients sometimes experience employee fatalities or other catastrophic incidents that require an immediate and comprehensive response. Our team is prepared with timely and practical advice and available to support or manage the ensuing investigations.  Because many serious work-related accidents and injuries involve a combination of administrative, civil, or criminal proceedings, we help clients develop strategies in defense of all such litigation, aggressively represent clients at trial and in settlement discussions, coordinate appropriate public relations and media positions, and pursue insurance coverage. Our lawyers’ experience with other federal and state agencies, including U.S. EPA, DOT, ATF, FDA and state worker’s compensation commissions, allows us to provide effective advice regarding multiple government agencies’ requirements and overlapping regulatory schemes.

In addition, as whistleblower and retaliation claims have expanded, our lawyers have defended clients faced with complaints under a wide range of statutes, including the Occupational Safety and Health Act, the Surface Transportation Assistance Act, the Clean Air Act, the Clean Air Act, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Recovery Act, and the Federal Railroad Safety Act.

Insurance, Indemnity Litigation

Our insurance lawyers represent policyholders when considering the purchase of various types of environmental insurance coverage policies and also in coverage disputes with their insurers that arise from the non-payment of claims.  Our lawyers are nationally recognized and have experience with virtually every kind of policy form and coverage claim, including extensive experience resolving coverage claims for asbestos, toxic torts, industrial solvents, lead paint and similar kinds of “long tail” liabilities that often occur in the environmental context. 

We are well known to insurers as unrelenting advocates with a formidable track record of trial, arbitral and mediated successes, often enabling us to make substantial early settlement recoveries for our clients without the need for extensive litigation.  Our insurance lawyers also work closely with risk managers and their brokers, whose responsibilities to procure and maintain suitable overall insurance programs are vital to the ongoing success of our clients.  We are often asked by risk managers to provide advice and consultation in the procurement process concerning pitfalls to be avoided in negotiating terms and conditions of various policies and programs.

Our lawyers also regularly represent clients in environmental disputes arising out of business transactions, including breach of contract and indemnity claims relating to various environmental issues.  Environmental disputes also often arise in the context of real estate transactions and our environmental litigators work closely with our world-class real estate group to successfully litigate those matters on behalf of our clients.

Click here for the Corporate Environmental Lawyer Blog