Environmental Litigation & Toxic Tort

Jackson Walker’s environmental and toxic tort litigation team provides clients with predictable, cost-efficient, and practical solutions on environmental and toxic tort litigation matters.

Environmental Litigation

Our Environmental Litigation group has extensive experience defending clients in both administrative settings and against federal and state governmental environmental enforcement actions throughout Texas, New Mexico, and elsewhere across the country. We represent clients in state and federal environmental litigation relating to permitting, enforcement, hazardous waste, toxic substances, agricultural chemicals, petrochemicals, superfund and natural resources damages, contribution claims, contaminated property disputes and air and water issues.

Our objective in environmental litigation is to partner with our clients to achieve a cost-effective win. Many times an environmental litigation matter is part of a larger picture involving not only ongoing relationships with the regulating agencies but the community in which our clients conduct business. We handle our clients’ matters with all of these relationships in mind.

Toxic Tort

Jackson Walker’s Toxic Tort section includes more than 20 attorneys with a specific focus on and extensive experience in toxic tort matters, including cases involving alleged exposure to asbestos, mold, silica, radiation, and chemicals. We regularly represent product manufacturers and distributors, insurance carriers, construction companies, hospitals, and residential and commercial building owners.

  • Defended a major distributor of agricultural protection and production products in the appeal of an air permitting decision by the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED).
  • Successfully defended a Texas pest eradication agency in federal court NEPA litigation, brought by Texas Rural Legal Aid, alleging that an environmental impact statement was necessary prior to the initiation of a pest eradication program in the Lower Rio Grande Valley.
  • Successfully defeated class certification and obtained summary judgment against property owners alleging environmental damage from MTBE contamination arising out of a pipeline rupture.
  • Hicks v. International Paper Company, D. Tex. [Marshall] (2000-2002). Defended forestry land owners in federal court case involving multiple claims arising from alleged damage to soil and water from an overflow of a saltwater disposal tank related to oil and gas operations. Plaintiffs’ claims included: private party cost recovery under CERCLA, Citizen Suit Action pursuant to RCRA, the Clean Water Act, and cost recovery pursuant to the Texas Solid Waste Disposal Act; common law negligence, gross negligence, nuisance and trespass; and removal cost and damages under the Federal Oil and Pollution Act. The case was settled successfully in the first week of trial.
  • Geraghty & Miller v. Conoco Inc. and Condea Vista Company, D. Tex. [Houston] (1997-2002). Defended Geraghty & Miller, an environmental engineering and construction firm that installed a groundwater monitoring well system at a chemical plant. The plant owner alleged state law claim for breach of contract, negligence, fraud, and breach of warranty, as well as claims under the CERCLA. Obtained summary judgment on all claims after opening statements on the day of trial.
  • Clear Lake Properties v. Rockwell International, D. Tex. [Galveston] (1995). Defended tenant who was sued under CERCLA by a neighboring land owner alleging liability for clean up groundwater contamination. After obtaining partial relief on a motion for summary judgment, limiting Plaintiff to CERCLA contribution claims, we were able to settle the case favorably for our client.
  • USA v. Atlantic Richfield et al.,D. Tex. [Houston] (1998). Represented the Dow Chemical Company in an action brought by the State of Texas and EPA under CERCLA for remediation of the Sikes Superfund Site. Work included coordinating with defense counsel committees and investigating and deposing third-party witnesses. The case was resolved after a series of mediations.
  • Successfully defended a Texas pest eradication agency in federal court NEPA litigation, brought by Texas Rural Legal Aid, alleging that an environmental impact statement was necessary prior to the initiation of a pest eradication program in the Lower Rio Grande Valley.
  • Baylor Healthcare Systems v. Maxtech Holdings, et. al., 116th Judicial District Court, Dallas, Texas (2000). Successfully defended a nationally recognized environmental consulting firm against claims for remediation of contaminated groundwater. The lawsuit involved claims by a client of the environmental consulting firm who was hired to investigate pollution at the client’s facility.
  • Harris County, Texas and the State of Texas v. FKP, Inc., 157th Judicial District, Harris County, Texas. Defended a chemical company in alleged violations of state environmental laws related to alleged discharges into the Houston Ship Channel.
  • Potter v. Kaufman & Broad Home Systems of Texas, Inc., 137 S.W. 3d 701; Tex.App.–San Antonio (2004). Represented construction company in suit stemming from allegations of unauthorized disposal of municipal waste. Won case on summary judgment which was upheld on appeal.
  • Walton v. Arcadis Geraghty & Miller, Inc., et al., 24 S.W.3d 853; Tex.App.–El Paso (2000). Defended Arcadis Geraghty & Miller in claims of groundwater contamination. Won case on summary judgment which was upheld on appeal.
  • Defended a major energy company in litigation and regulatory matters in a case involving an environmental tort to a large Texas city water source caused by a refined product pipeline rupture. The case was settled successfully in the third week of trial.
  • Represented a large privately owned energy company relative to a pipeline rupture with two deaths and various property and environmental damages. Case was tried for three weeks and settled favorably.
    Defended a major pipeline company that had purchased poorly designed and substandard-performing equipment that resulted in environmental damage and personal injury. This case was favorably settled just before trial.
  • Arcadia v. Hallwood Petroleum, AAA Arbitration – Dallas, Texas. Represented purchaser in an arbitration over oil & gas purchase and Sale agreement which was terminated due to uncured environmental defects. Questions presented to arbitration panel included: whether the environmental contamination or hazard complained of satisfied the definition of environmental defect; whether existing conditions were adequately disclosed; and whether certain defects were cured or remediated. An environmental defect under the parties agreement was defined as “a violation of any Environmental Law.” After an approximately three-week arbitration hearing, the panel issued a split decision.
  • Successfully represented large natural gas distributors and refined product pipeline companies before regulatory commissions.
  • Represented one of the largest Natural Gas Distribution Companies for 27 years; approving contracts, pipeline construction issues, condemnations, regulatory issues, trials for liability defense, public service commission hearings and advising general counsel and company CEO.

Wetlands USA Florida

February 2, 2024
Attorney News

Lawdragon Lists Eight Jackson Walker Partners Among Leading Environmental Lawyers of 2024

According to Lawdragon, “The 2024 Leaders in Environmental Law” list features “an amazing collection of attorneys, ranging from wolf advocates, to sustainable finance leaders, experts in greenwashing claims and regulatory gurus who help businesses navigate environmental regulations to successfully develop projects.”

Skyline of the city of Houston

September 7, 2023
Attorney News

Recognized Litigators Hugh Tanner and Jim Nye Join Jackson Walker

Jackson Walker is pleased to announce the arrival of litigation partners Hugh E. Tanner and James H. Nye to our Houston office. Hugh and Jim are highly regarded trial attorneys focused on complex commercial litigation, primarily within the oil and gas sector.

Superfund Butte Montana copper contamination site CERCLA

February 6, 2023

Expect New Standards for Landfills, Industrial Sites as EPA Tackles PFAS Discharge in Water

EPA recently issued the Effluent Guidelines Program Plan 15 to address the widespread “forever chemicals,” known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), found in water, air, fish, and soil around the world.

By Daniel Vineyard & Tyler Self

August 19, 2021
Attorney News

‘The Best Lawyers in America’ Honors 178 Jackson Walker Attorneys in 2022 Edition, Including 8 “Lawyers of the Year” and 31 “Ones to Watch”

The Best Lawyers in America has recognized 178 Jackson Walker attorneys across 6 offices and 67 specialty practice areas in its 2022 edition, including 8 Lawyers of the Year and 31 Ones to Watch. Best Lawyers listings are based on an exhaustive peer review survey of thousands of attorneys who vote on the legal abilities of others in their practice areas.

May 10, 2021
Attorney News

Jackson Walker Expands Regulatory Practice With Addition of Heath Armstrong

With deep experience in government regulation and legislative policy, Heath Armstrong boosts the Firm’s representation of private and public clients involved in government regulation, including expanding the teams working on electric, water, telecommunication, and energy development projects.

Superfund Butte Montana copper contamination site CERCLA

April 23, 2020

Supreme Court Allows “PRP” Landowners to Bring State Common Law Claims at Superfund Cleanup Site

The U.S. Supreme Court recently held that a state court had jurisdiction over landowners’ state common law claims against Atlantic Richfield Company related to the Anaconda Smelter Superfund Site near Butte, Montana.

January 17, 2019

Trying to Thread a Very Fine-and Possibly Non-Existent-Needle: EPA Proposes to Withdraw a Necessary Underpinning of the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards While Keeping the Rule in Place

On December 28, 2018, the EPA issued a proposed revised Supplemental Cost Finding, in which it concluded that the regulation of power plants (EGUs) was not “appropriate and necessary” under Section 112 of the Clean Air Act (CAA).

More Environmental Litigation & Toxic Tort News

Related Industries