California Commercial Litigation and Business Counseling Law Firm
Specialized in Proposition 65

As You Sow v. Ellis Paint Company.  Defended several separately filed actions against paint companies. Defended Proposition 65 action for failure to provide adequate warning on paint cans.

As You Sow v. Conbraco Industries, et al.  Defended five brass valve and plumbing parts manufacturers in Proposition 65 and California Unfair Business Practices Act action (San Francisco Superior Court, complex calendar) brought by one of California's most aggressive citizen suit activists. Selected among group of 10 large firms as counsel to cross examine plaintiff's only expert and to examine two of defendants' four experts in a trial from May, 2003 to September 2003. Achieved complete trial victory. Briefed and argued successful defense of plaintiff's appeal. Briefed and won successful defense of plaintiff's petition to California Supreme Court. Won largest cost award ever achieved against this plaintiff in their twenty year history of litigating environmental cases. Published Decision.

California Department of Toxic Substances Control v. William Huffman, et al.
Defended PRP Group of scrap recyclers in Federal court against allegations under CERCLA and RCRA and state law for contamination at a smelting facility in the Mojave Desert at one of the largest California Superfund sites. Sued over 150 defendants for contribution leading to seven figure settlements. Brought actions against insurers for site operator under the California Probate Code. Sought and obtained court decision denying partial summary judgment on the issue whether recycling amendment to CERCLA is retroactive.  Achieved settlements that were 40-90% less than original settlement demands fully funded by the insurance carriers.

California Earth Corps. v. Martin Brass Foundry.  Defended six foundries in 10 separately filed actions (between January 1996 and February 1997). Achieved six dismissals with prejudice after individual demands ranged from $200,000 to $800,000 per site.

California Sportfishing Protection Alliance v. Court Galvanizing; CSPA v. Lodi Iron Works  Defended in federal court (E.D. Cal.) two separate lawsuits brought by a citizen group alleging violations of Clean Water Act storm water discharge permits.

Chemical Batch Processing Monitoring Group.  Represent group of paint companies, chemical specialty manufacturers, roof coatings manufacturers and lubricant manufacturers or their California subsidiaries, including 15 Fortune 200 companies, in all Federal Clean Water Act storm water proceedings before all nine Regional Water Quality Control Boards and the State Water Resources Control Board. Incorporated the group under Section 501(c)(6) of the Internal Revenue Code for compliance under general storm water permit (NPDES). Achieved approval of group monitoring plan. Serve as general counsel, secretary and treasurer to the group. Negotiated merger with the California Paint Council Monitoring Group.

City of Los Angeles, et al. v. Kinder Morgan, et al.  Representing the City of Los Angeles in an environmental contamination case at an above-ground petroleum tank farm in the Port of Los Angeles. Defendants are former operators of the tank farm alleged to have caused environmental damage to the property and adjacent harbor waters. Interfaced with the Regional Water Quality Control Board to achieve desired cleanup goals.

City of Rialto, et al. v. Department of Defense, et al.  Currently defending in federal court (C.D. Cal.) former trustees and landowners of contaminated property in $500 million CERCLA (federal Superfund) litigation to recover costs of alleged perchlorate contamination from explosives, fireworks and other manufacturing operations in Rialto.

Coalition for Regulatory Flexibility.  Executive Director and General Counsel to group to oppose EPA implementation of benchmarks and numeric limitations in storm water runoff permits. Formulating nationwide advocacy strategy to persuade the White House Council on Environmental Quality, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the State Water Resources Control Board to modify the benchmarks in the multi-sector industrial storm water permits.

Communities for a Better Environment v. Pacific Steel Casting; Bay Area Air Quality Management District v. Pacific Steel Casting.  Currently defending third largest steel foundry in the United States against three interrelated actions arising from alleged violations of toxic chemical permit limits under the federal Clean Air Act Amendments: federal court (N.D. Cal.) action by citizen group and successfully thwarted preliminary injunction that would have resulted in the immediate closure of a plant and over 200 jobs; action brought by California air agency; and actions brought by numerous local residents for nuisance and toxic exposures.

Consumer Cause v. ITT Sheraton, et al. (and related litigation against hotel chains, including In Re Cigar Smoke Litigation.)  Defended several national hotel chains and Fortune 100 company against allegations of failure to warn for sales of cigars under Proposition 65 and for exposure without warning to second hand smoke of employees and guests. Won dismissals with prejudice of initial round of notices.  Spearheaded, argued and won the appeal in Yeroushalmi v. Miramar Sheraton., 88 Cal.App.4th 738 (2001).  Achieved 90% reduction in settlement.

Courtaulds Aerospace v. William Huffman, et al.  Represented joint defense group in CERCLA cost recovery action brought by British aerospace company for clean up of property adjacent to a smelting facility. Interface at highest levels with the Department of Toxic Substances Control on interpretation of amendment to California regulations. Worked on legal aspects of RI/FS and obtaining DTSC approval under consent decree.

Department of Toxic Substances Control v. Atlas Iron & Metal, et al.; Belton v. Atlas Iron & Metal, et al.  Defended company (Los Angeles Superior Court Central Civil West, complex calendar) in action by state toxics agency to recover costs for contaminating Jordan High School. Prosecuting cross-claims against neighbors for contribution. Also defended company in class action brought by neighbors, students and teachers for toxic tort exposures. Sued insurers and successfully compelled them to pay for over $2 million in defense and investigative costs.  Insurers ultimately fully funded the clean up of the property.  Class action was dismissed.

Los Angeles Unified School District v. Pozas Brothers Trucking, et al.  Defending a steel and aluminum foundry in a case brought by one of the nation's largest school districts seeking the recovery of over $84 million in costs expended by the school district to investigate remediate alleged hazardous substance contamination on a 35 parcel site. The action represents one of the largest filed under California's Hazardous Substances Account Act, the state's CERCLA-equivalent statute, and also includes claims under nuisance and trespass. Research indicated that that the majority of costs were attributable to the actions of other parties and prior owners and operators, which allowed a successful settlement of the matter.

Matteel Environmental/Pacific Justice Center v. Edward Gray Corporation, et al.  Defended galvanized pipe manufacturer (Fortune 50 company) in multi-party litigation in San Francisco Superior Court against action alleging failure to warn under Proposition 65 and alleging discharge of lead to drinking water. Advanced and won first of its kind defense knocking out plaintiff's testing methodology under Section 12901 of the California Code of Regulations. Defend appeal.

Mills Land and Water Company v. TRC, et al.  Plaintiff was owner of the property sued numerous parties to recover costs (past and future) to remediate the property from alleged lead and petroleum leaks from underground tanks under California's Superfund cleanup law, among other claims and damages. (Orange County Superior Court) Successfully defended one of the largest environmental engineering firms in the United States in a case that lasted almost 4 years and resulted in a dismissal with prejudice with no costs paid by client to plaintiff.

Natural Resources Defense Council and Environmental Law Foundation v. Badger Meter, et al.  Defended two water meter manufacturers in a case brought against the water meter industry. Conducted early evaluation and achieved early and very low dollar settlement prior to defense defeat on the issue of whether "discharges to sources of drinking water" of lead occurred. Case subsequently settled for seven figures with remaining defendants. Plaintiffs were represented by the Milberg Weiss Lerach law firm.

Northridge Commerce Center v. Dollar Stretcher Cleaners, et al.  Represented partnership land owner in CERCLA and state superfund action in United States Central District Federal Court regarding releases of perchloroethylene from dry cleaners in Southern California.  Landowner obtained near complete recovery of attorney's fees, investigation and remediation costs from their insurer and defendants' insurers.

People v. Keelco Anodes, et al.  Defended individual and corporate defendant in case brought by the Los Angeles District Attorney's office for illegal transportation of hazardous waste to lead smelter in Mexico. Supervised white-collar counsel and presented regulatory defense resulting in favorable plea and reduction of 16 count, $1.6 million complaint.

People v. LMD Warehouse, et al.  Defended manufacturing subsidiary of Fortune 50 corporation against criminal federal hazardous material transportation laws brought by Los Angeles City Attorney. Conducted in depth investigation of claims. Case dismissed with prejudice with no monetary settlement one day before trial.

People v. Asphalt Products Oil Corporation.  Defended roof coatings manufacturer against allegations by City of Berkeley and action by District Attorney of Alameda County for illegal disposal of hazardous waste and for illegal storm water discharges.

San Francisco BayKeeper v. AB&I Foundry.  Defended federal lawsuit filed by private enforcer for storm water violations. Defended Regional Water Board civil investigation for failure to comply with Remedial Action Order. Successfully sought and obtained payment of defense and settlement from company's insurer.

Santamaria v. Screwmatic, et al.   Defended manufacturing companies (Los Angeles Superior Court Central Civil West complex calendar) in multi-party toxic lawsuits filed on behalf of several thousand claimants in San Gabriel, California alleging bodily and property damage arising from groundwater contamination. Achieved substantially reduced settlement fully funded by the clients' insurers.  Plaintiff's attorneys included Girardi & Keese.

Save the Valley v. French Ranch Development.  Defended developer of largest housing development against allegations of failure to comply with Clean Water Act. Interfaced with San Francisco Regional Water Quality Control Board to help preempt litigation.

South Coast Air Quality Management District v. Gregg Industries, Inc.  Represented manufacturer in Hearing Board proceedings over a three year period.  Lead counsel to examine and cross examine AQMD witnesses and expert witnesses.  Successfully negotiated rare settlement for no penalties from AQMD and a creative Supplemental  Environmental Project.  Avoided plant closure and shutdown before the conclusion of the Hearing Board proceedings by simultaneously negotiating cooperative agreement with neighborhood environmental justice group, Mujeres de la Tierra.

State of California v. Lehnus Foundry.  Represented foundry owner and foundry in action under the Carpenter-Tanner-Presley State Superfund Law prosecuted by the California Attorney General's Office. Recovered entire defense and clean up cost from insurer.

State of California v. Southland Oil, et al.  Represented over 50 companies, which included many Southern California automobile dealers and several Fortune 200 companies, in the formation of De Minimis Defense Group. Achieved 90% reduction in the settlement demand for entire group in action brought by PRP Committee to recover costs incurred to implement consent decree in action against the California Attorney General's office.