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Wolf Wallenstein’s environmental attorneys concentrate on cost-effective advice, counseling, and advocacy to address and resolve environmental matters. Wolf Wallenstein has helped clients prosecute and defend claims based on Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), Clean Water Act (CWA), and Proposition 65.

Based in Los Angeles, Wolf Wallenstein represents real estate investors and owners, Fortune 500 companies, business entities, individuals, and others in environmental matters across California and the rest of the United States. Our environmental attorneys have decades of experience helping clients with environmental litigation, real estate due diligence and management, regulatory and compliance counseling, and Superfund/CERCLA.

Environmental Litigation

Wolf Wallenstein provides comprehensive solutions to clients facing complicated environmental litigation. Through decades of experience helping clients address the complexities of environmental and administrative matters, the team at Wolf Wallenstein has demonstrated success while also achieving solutions that benefit the client and the environment.

Relevant Experience: 

  • Defended product manufacturers, suppliers, and retailers in Proposition 65 product liability actions prosecuted by citizen-enforcers by challenging pleadings, leveraging fact- and expert-discovery burdens, prosecuting summary judgment motions, and utilizing regulatory contacts to identify non-litigation resolution options for clients.
  • Defended pesticide manufacturer in 20+ complex coordinated cases. Prepared pleadings challenges, managed and conducted fact- and expert-discovery, and dispositive motion practice resulting in precedent-setting summary adjudication order on claims of nuisance and trespass.
  • Negotiated resolution of unfair business practices and false advertising allegations asserted by the Attorney General to permit skincare products manufacturer to sell its products in California with existing labeling.

Real Estate Due Diligence

Wolf Wallenstein's environmental attorneys apply their decades of experience evaluating and advising on environmental risk and risk management to real estate buyers and sellers. Environmental contamination and real estate risk regularly intersect. When that occurs, WW counsels clients on the identification, management and resolution of environmental risks and liabilities associated with suspected or actual environmental contamination or other environmental risks or liabilities.

Relevant Experience: 
  • Represented multi-unit real estate holding company in sale of 28-acre site, formerly used as informal landfill, to school district to be used as a school site.
  • Advised real estate investment trust on environmental due diligence related to commercial and industrial property holdings across California.
  • Represented communication device manufacturer in acquisition of large commercial/industrial facility requiring significant coordination with state regulators to permit continued operations.
  • Advise commercial real estate developer on environmental representations and warranties in asset purchases to minimize or eliminate associated environmental liabilities.
  • Advised commercial real estate property owner on asset sale to venture capital firm for land impacted by environmental contamination.

Regulatory & Compliance Counseling

Wolf Wallenstein has decades of experience advising and counseling clients on environmental regulatory issues related to air, land, water, and waste. Wolf Wallenstein's experience with regulatory and compliance counseling includes advice regarding the Clean Water Act, Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), Proposition 65, and California state air regulations. Wolf Wallenstein's regulatory advice includes challenges to proposed regulations, preparation of complex permit applications, and prosecution of appeals from adverse regulatory decisions.  

Relevant Experience: 
  • Advise food processing company on product labeling of products sold in California to comply with state environmental regulations, including Proposition 65.
  • Counseled and defended concrete aggregate company in Clean Water Act stormwater litigation.
  • Represented aerospace parts manufacturer in regulatory dispute over permit matters with SCAQMD.
  • Challenged and successfully removed default judgment against roofing material manufacturer for alleged violations of Cal/OSHA workplace safety regulations by litigating merits of default judgment in state court.
  • Guide airway and railway logistics companies on environmental compliance issues raised by industrial operations.
  • Counsel renewable energy company on product warning compliance issues arising out of Proposition 65.
  • Counseled transportation company in administrative proceeding brought by a public agency for hazardous materials incident and represented company in settlement negotiations to resolve potential administrative penalties.

Superfund / CERCLA

Wolf Wallenstein advises and litigates environmental contamination actions across the Southwest. The firm’s services range from advising on and litigating cost recovery and property damage claims to defending multi-party cost recovery and contribution actions involving some of the largest Superfund facilities in the country. The firm represents both plaintiffs and defendants in a vast array of environmental contamination litigation, including actions involving claims based on the environmental statutes, including Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), Clean Water Act (CWA), Oil Pollution Act (OPA), Hazardous Substances Account Act (HSAA), Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986 (Prop. 65), Porter-Cologne Water Quality Act, as well as claims based on the common law, including contribution, nuisance, trespass, and other similar common law claims related to environmental contamination.

Relevant Experience: 
  • Advising multi-unit residential landowner on environmental investigation and remediation options meanwhile establishing elements of CERCLA cost recovery claim as part of that process so that the landowner can seek cost recovery for the investigation and remediation of the environmental contamination once the cleanup is underway.

  • Defended Class I railroads from CERCLA, HSAA, and common law claims related to environmental contamination at facilities throughout Southern California.

  • Pursued CERCLA cost recovery claim on behalf of Class I railroads against potentially responsible parties, including leasehold tenants, spur track operators, and upstream mining companies.

  • Interfaced with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Energy, and the State of California on behalf of mining and refining company to address and respond to CERCLA Section 104 information inquiries related to facilities around the United States.

  • Defended waste transportation company from CERCLA arranger and transporter liability based on company’s lack of active participation in selecting waste disposal facility.

  • Coordinated environmental remediation and natural resource damages cost allocation for aerospace facility where Department of Energy and aerospace facility operator were both potentially responsible parties.

  • Prosecuted CERCLA cost recovery action on behalf of real estate developer against contractors who contaminated site with naturally occurring asbestos because of unpermitted grading operations.

  • Prevailed on defense summary judgment dismissing CERCLA claims for groundwater contamination against dry cleaning equipment manufacturer.

  • Defended pipeline operator from OPA claims based on improper OPA claim prosecution because costs were sought under a cost shifting section of OPA when they should have been sought under the subrogation section of OPA. 

  • Negotiated with DTSC to gain final approval over remedial action plan for site being redeveloped from former landfill into school site in Los Angeles.

  • Defended former operator from RCRA liability based on claim mootness principles because facility at issue was already being remediated.

  • Counseled environmental consultant and developer on compliance with “covenant deferral provisions” under Section 120 of CERCLA in order to obtain approval from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps. of Engineers to begin remediation at military facility. 

  • Advised public utility, as outside environmental counsel on regulatory and legal obligations, on preserving environmental cost recovery and contribution claims against potentially responsible parties that contributed to the contamination of aquifers the public utility was responsible for remediating.

  • Defended environmental cost recovery actions through trial and appellate proceedings at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals resulting in favorable resolutions as well as establishing precedent-setting environmental case law.

  • Prosecuted CERCLA cost recovery claims against former foundry operators at and around housing project in South Los Angeles.

  • Established the “active involvement” standard as basis for determining RCRA liability in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals for dry cleaning equipment manufacturer.

  • Defended commercial property owner from HSAA and state common law claims at bench trial resulting in complete defense verdict and allowing for pursuit of attorney’s fees from the party pursuing the action.

  • Counsel commercial property management company on insuring against liability for environmental contamination resulting from their management and oversight role of certain properties.

  • Defended former owner from CERCLA claims brought by BFPP seeking to redevelop the real property underlying the former facility.

  • Served as outside environmental counsel for dry cleaning equipment manufacturer defending environmental contamination actions throughout State of California.

  • Defended owners, operators, arrangers, and transporters from CERCLA cost recovery and contribution claims.

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