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  • Pennsylvania
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  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
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  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania

    U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York

    U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York
  • U.S. Supreme Court

Education

University of Pennsylvania School of Law, J.D., cum laude, 2003

    • Senior Editor, Law Review
    • Arthur Littleton and H. Clayton Louderback Legal Writing Instructor

Villanova University, B.A. (Political Science), cum laude

    • Honors Program
    • Pi Sigma Alpha – National Political Science Honor Society, 2000
    • Varsity Rowing Team

MGKF Hiring Partner, 2014-2017

MGKF Summer Associate Program

  • Chair, 2009-2013

Drexel University Thomas R. Kline School of Law

  • Adjunct Professor of Toxic Tort Litigation (2009-2018)

DRI

  • Toxic Torts Committee

American Bar Association

ABA SEER 

  • Superfund and NRD Committee, Newsletter Co-Chair
  • Environmental Litigation and Toxic Tort Committee

Environmental Law Network Firm Liaison

Ss. Colman-John Neumann Home and School Association

Society of Women Environmental Professionals of Greater Philadelphia

Youth girls' basketball coach

Profile
Professional Highlights
Pressroom
Publications

“In complex litigation, smart lawyering, not over-lawyering, is the key to success.”

Kate is a Chambers-ranked litigation partner at the firm focusing on environmental, toxic tort and class action litigation and Superfund and RCRA remediation matters*.  Since joining the firm in 2003, she has developed considerable experience in defending complex toxic tort claims for personal injury, wrongful death, medical monitoring and property damage, in representing potentially responsible parties across the country in CERCLA and RCRA matters, and in litigating federal, state and private enforcement actions under an array of environmental statutes. 

In addition to her litigation and remediation practice, Kate has also been involved for many years in activities involving Total Maximum Daily Loads (“TMDLs”) for toxic pollutants, advocating on behalf of individual clients and a regional coalition of industrial and municipal dischargers. Through this work, she has been able to develop a detailed understanding of the nuances of the Clean Water Act and the TMDL regulatory program, and the contours of TMDL litigation at the federal and state levels.

Kate served as the firm's Hiring Partner for three years after chairing its Summer Associate Program for five years. Outside of the office, she guest lectures on toxic torts at the Charles Widger School of Law at Villanova University and has taught Toxic Tort Litigation as an adjunct professor at Drexel University Thomas R. Kline School of Law.  Kate also serves as the firm’s representative in the Environmental Law Network and has been actively involved for years in various leadership roles for the American Bar Association’s Section of Environment, Energy and Resources.

In her free time, Kate enjoys staying physically active, coaching youth basketball, and spending time with her husband and three children, especially at the Jersey shore.


*See Professional Highlights Tab for listing and rating information.

As lead relationship partner for a number of large corporate clients, Kate’s representations are national in scope and extend to federal and state courts and agencies across the country and in Canada.  

Representative examples of Kate’s toxic tort and class action litigation matters include the following:

  • lead counsel in the defense of a Fortune 500 specialty chemical manufacturing company in a toxic tort lawsuit involving historical releases of benzene and chlorobenzene into groundwater from a RCRA permitting manufacturing facility;
  • lead counsel for a plastic fabricator in the defense of a putative class action in federal court alleging personal injuries and property damage arising out of a warehouse fire, obtaining complete dismissal of all claims asserted against the company with prejudice, including novel failure-to-warn/products liability claims (Callihan, et al. v. Surnaik Holdings of WV, LLC, et al., Civ. A. No. 2:17-cv-04386, 2018 WL 6313012 (D. W.V. Dec. 3, 2018));
  • co-lead counsel in the defense of multiple lawsuits filed by residents adjacent to a former landfill in Montana claiming cancer and other personal injuries as well as property damage allegedly resulting from migration of volatile organic compounds in groundwater and soil vapor;
  • defense of a public utility in a class action filed in Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas seeking environmental testing, remediation, and medical monitoring of over 12,000 residences for an alleged "threatened release" of mercury during the removal of gas pressure regulators; 
  • defense of a former specialty metals manufacturer in multiple class actions filed in state and federal courts seeking medical monitoring from exposure to airborne emissions from manufacturing activities into the ambient air;
  • defense of an operator of a landfill against a class action filed in state court seeking damages for nuisance and diminution of property value as a result of landfill operations;
  • defense of a Fortune 500 company in a federal action brought by over 120 plaintiffs seeking restoration and other damages in excess of $35 million associated with historical releases from a crude oil storage and transportation facility.

Representative examples of Kate’s CERCLA, site remediation and other complex litigation matters include the following:

  • lead counsel for a former nuclear mining and development company at a 300+ square mile Superfund site in New Mexico impacted by decades of legacy uranium mining and milling operations;
  • co-counsel for the City of New York at the Gowanus Canal Superfund Site in Brooklyn, New York;
  • lead counsel for the developer of an international marine terminal facility at a Brownfields site on the Delaware River, defending the company in federal, state and administrative challenges to environmental permitting for the facility and providing overall compliance and permitting counseling;
  • defense of a Fortune 500 company in a CERCLA cost recovery claim based on successor liability theories, resulting in the voluntary dismissal of all claims against the company;
  • lead litigation counsel in the defense of an electric and gas utility company in a federal citizen suit under the Clean Air Act, resulting in a voluntary dismissal of the suit following fact and expert discovery;
  • defense of a specialty metals manufacturer as appellate counsel in a CERCLA private cost recovery action, resulting in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit vacating a $13 million verdict entered in favor of the plaintiffs by the trial court (Agere Systems, Inc. v. Advanced Environmental Technology Corp., 602 F.3d 204 (3d Cir. 2010));
  • defense of a specialty chemicals company in a CERCLA cost recovery action brought by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, resulting in the dismissal of the federal government’s claims with prejudice (United States v. Rohm and Haas, 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 99585 (D.N.J. Sept. 22, 2010)); 
  • defense of a national telecommunications company in cost-recovery litigation under CERCLA and the New Jersey Spill Act with approximately $175 million in alleged past and future costs; and
  • defense of a national railroad in a $9 million civil penalty action arising out of a derailment and resulting release of sodium hydroxide into soil, surface water, and groundwater.

Honors & Awards

  • Chambers USA - America's Leading Lawyers for Business listing (environmental law), 2020. The Chambers list is issued by Chambers and Partners. Click here to view the selection methodology.
  • The Best Lawyers® in America listing (environmental litigation), since 2020. The Best Lawyers list is issued by Woodward/White Inc. Click here to view the selection methodology.

    The Legal Intelligencer "2017 Lawyers on the Fast Track" listing.  Click here to view the selection methodology.

    Pennsylvania Super Lawyers
    since 2020 and “Rising Star” listings (environmental litigation),  2010-2019. The Super Lawyers list is issued by Thomson Reuters. Click here to view the selection methodology.

    Main Line Today "Top Lawyer" Listing (Environmental Law), since 2014
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Press Releases

Seminars & Speaking Engagements

"Easily Found and Hard to Forget: Class Action and Forever Chemicals" presented at the Class Action Money and Ethics (CAME) Virtual Conference, June 29, 2021

"Virtual Depositions, Hearings and Trial: Practical Realities and Lessons Learned" presented at the American Bar Association's Virtual Section Annual Conference, May 6, 2021

"Briefings on the Environmental Initiatives of the Biden Administration” a webinar presented by MGKF, March 24, 2021

“Supreme Court Year in Review 2019-20: The Environmental Cases,” presented at the American Bar Association’s Constitutional Law Committee’s webinar,  September 25, 2020 

"Superfund Task Force Report: Two Years Later, the PRP Perspective,” presented at the American Bar Association’s Section of Environment, Energy and Resources (ABA SEER) Fall Meeting, Boston, MA, September 12, 2019

"Combating Creative Legal Theories," presented at the Association of Corporate Counsel's In-house Counsel Conference in Philadelphia, PA, April 24, 2019

"Roadmap to Pennsylvania's New Vapor Intrusion Guidance" presented by MGKF and GHD in King of Prussia, PA, February 1, 2017

"Sediment and PRP Summit" presented by EHS Support, September 22, 2016

“Vapor Intrusion from Regulatory, Technical, and Legal Perspectives” webinar sponsored by the American Bar Association, June 7, 2016. 

“Environmental Enforcement Actions in Pennsylvania” a three-city series sponsored by the Philadelphia Bar Institute, November 9 (Mechanicsburg, PA); November 20 (Philadelphia) and November 23, 2015 (Pittsburgh).  

"The Migrating Impact of Vapor Intrusion," a teleconference presented by the American Bar Association’s Section of Environment, Energy and Resources (ABA SEER), Superfund and Natural Resources Damages Litigation Committee and Environmental Litigation and Toxic Torts Committee, April 27, 2015

"Medical Monitoring & Toxic Tort Claims: Preparing for the Future in a Post-Dukes Environment," teleseminar presented for the American Law Institute-American Bar Association (ALI-ABA), December 8, 2012

"CERCLA Private Cost Recovery: How Courts are Directing Traffic Five Years after Atlantic Research," teleseminar presented for the American Law Institute-American Bar Association (ALI-ABA), April 4, 2012

"Environmental Issues That Can Impact Any Business - What Every In-House Counsel Should Know", presented at the Delaware Valley Chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel's (DELVACCA) In-House Counsel Conference, Philadelphia, PA, April 7, 2011

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