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Environmental Litigation

In complex matters related to environmental laws and regulations, experienced litigators at Spencer Fane work with businesses, land owners, developers, and municipalities to efficiently resolve issues, keeping clients out of court when possible and prudent, and defending their positions knowledgeably and aggressively when litigation becomes necessary. We can help both plaintiffs and defendants save money, time, and resources while maintaining their reputation.

Attorneys on the Spencer Fane Environmental Litigation team have decades of experience representing clients in the natural resources and environmental fields, including extensive trial experience. Drawing on this background, we understand the bigger picture of how environmental challenges can affect clients’ broader business operations.

Spencer Fane represents both plaintiffs and defendants in Superfund lawsuits seeking to recover cleanup costs. Our 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 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 also frequently are called upon to serve as mediators in litigation involving a variety of parties, including PRPs, states, and the United States, concerning complex environmental cleanup sites.

We also represent parties in a wide range of common law, statutory, and contractual environmental claims that go far beyond typical Superfund litigation. In our role as trial attorneys and counselors, we represent clients in a variety of complex cases involving commercial land and natural resource development; mining; oil and gas; wildlife; and air, water, and waste environmental issues. We regularly represent clients on compliance issues with criminal law implications, and in defense of environmental crimes charges. Our attorneys’ experience includes defending clients in toxic tort lawsuits for personal injury and property damage claims filed by community members allegedly impacted by client operations.

We counsel a range of clients including manufacturing and industrial facility owners and operators; coal, uranium, and hardrock mineral exploration and development companies; oil and gas companies; residential and commercial land owners and developers; and municipalities.

The Spencer Fane Environmental Litigation attorneys are active participants in the American Bar Association Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources (SEER); the Colorado Mining Association; the Colorado Oil and Gas Association; the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation; and the Environmental Law Section of the Colorado Bar Association.

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.