Spencer Fane LLP Logo

Environmental Litigation

In complex matters related to environmental laws and regulations, experienced litigators at Spencer Fane work with manufacturers, energy producers, utilities, mining companies, land owners, developers, municipalities, and others to efficiently resolve legal issues. We work to understand our clients’ goals for each proceeding and to implement the selected strategy.

Spencer Fane keeps clients out of court when practical and prudent but asserts their positions with knowledge, strength, and persistence when litigation is appropriate. Several of our environmental litigators combine their administrative, trial, and appellate court experience with the know-how that comes from holding prior senior-level government positions at the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Justice, and state and local enforcement agencies to achieve results.

Attorneys on the Spencer Fane Environmental Litigation team have decades of experience representing clients throughout the United States in all types of traditional and cutting-edge environmental litigation. Drawing on this background, our attorneys understand the bigger picture of how environmental challenges can affect clients’ broader business interests. We recognize that environmental cases require incisive and innovative analysis of ambiguous laws, contradictory regulations, and conflicting legal precedents.

Environmental issues such as climate change, environmental justice, forever chemicals, and emerging contaminants present sensitive political and public relations challenges that require knowledgeable and careful handling of legal, scientific, and political issues when resolving disputes. Our experience allows us to assist clients in identifying and achieving resolution on favorable terms to reduce exposure, distinguishing those claims meriting quick resolution from those that do not, and cost effectively managing those disputes that will be litigated.

Spencer Fane attorneys are among the chief advocates in the legal industry for the innovative use of alternative dispute resolution techniques to resolve multiparty issues at Superfund sites to save clients from expensive and often unnecessary litigation costs. We have been retained as neutral allocation consultants to help apportion costs and resolve claims at numerous sites.

Members of our Environmental Litigation team often serve as joint defense counsel, common counsel, liaison counsel, or mediators in multi-party litigation involving federal, state, and local governmental agencies and hundreds of potentially responsible parties at complex environmental cleanup sites. We also have served as expert witnesses in complex cases where our expertise could assist the parties and the courts.

The Spencer Fane Environmental Litigation attorneys are active participants in the American Bar Association, including the Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources (SEER), the Litigation Section, the Toxic Tort and Insurance Section, and more. Litigators in the group also belong to a wide cross section of state and local bar and trade associations including the Colorado Mining Association; the Colorado Oil and Gas Association; the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation; and many more.

Representative Experience

  • Superfund: Have represented several oil and gas and mining companies at sites in Colorado related to compliance with Superfund-based removal and remedial actions initiated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
  • Toxic tort defense: Worked as lead trial counsel in several multi-week toxic tort jury trials in federal court defending an industrial complex owner/operator related to citizens and companies claiming that the operations of the company caused personal injuries and property devaluation.
  • Breach of contract defense: Represented seller of residential land in jury trial in federal court related to claims by buyers that seller failed to properly disclose alleged water intrusion and mold.
  • Permit Challenges: Successfully represented utilities, refineries, landfills, and manufacturers in defense of permit challenges by environmental groups, including the successful defense of a lawsuit by a local environmental citizens’ group and a national environmental group challenging a Clean Air Act (CAA) Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) Permit to construct a billion and a half dollar power plant in Western Missouri. We also have represented companies in a wide variety of permit enforcement actions brought by state and federal environmental agencies.
  • Served as lead counsel in successful defense of CERCLA multi-party cost recovery action in Missouri. Plaintiff was a PRP that received a discharge and release of its CERCLA liabilities at multiple CERCLA sites in a global bankruptcy settlement with the United States. Plaintiff argued that it paid more than its fair share of response cost at the site in the bankruptcy settlement and therefore was entitled to recover response costs in excess of its fair share. Plaintiff dismissed its claims against our client.