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Environmental litigation comes in many shapes and sizes. At MGKF, our environmental litigators handle cases in state and federal court, as well as arbitrations, mediations, and agency appeals, for a diverse client base ranging from large multi-national and Fortune 100 companies to smaller businesses, municipalities, and individuals. Our corporate clients alone come from a variety of sectors including manufacturing, chemical, petroleum, banking, real estate development, transportation, waste disposal, and resource recovery. We can tailor our representation to suit the needs of large and small, public and private clients with varying goals and objectives. Our litigators also have the benefit of drawing upon the services of our in-house technical consultants and our non-litigation environmental practitioners for their experience and knowledge.

MGKF's wide range of environmental litigation experience enables us to hit the ground running on issues we have handled before, and to efficiently and effectively develop creative and novel strategies in new and emerging areas of the law. Finally, our litigators are frequently called upon to evaluate and resolve environmental claims prior to the initiation of litigation.

Our environmental litigation practice has traditionally encompassed the following areas:

Our experience and the depth of our team make us a smart choice for handling your environmental litigation matters.

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A few examples of our environmental litigation experience includes:

  • Administrative Actions and Appeals:  Challenging multiple EPA rulemaking actions, including challenges to EPA’s Clean Air Mercury Rule and Clean Air Interstate Rule in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, and a challenge to an EPA-promulgated Total Maximum Daily Load ("TMDL") for PCBs in the Delaware Estuary.

    The firm is also representing a national railroad in a highly publicized enforcement and civil penalty action brought by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania arising from a release and fish kill in northwestern Pennsylvania.

  • Contract and Common Law Claims: Defending subsidiaries of Tenneco, Inc. as both trial and appellate counsel in action brought by group of parties remediating a contaminated site in New Jersey; plaintiffs asserted statutory claims under the New Jersey Spill Act and common law contract claims; achieved successful summary judgment dismissal of statutory New Jersey Spill Act claims; proceeded to bench trial on remaining contract claims, and received judgment of no cause of action and dismissal of all remaining claims; successful defense of appeal before the New Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division, which affirmed trial court judgment (AGIP USA Inc. et al., v. The Pullman Company et al., Union County, Dkt. No. L-3530-10, Appellate Div. Dkt. No. A-0173-16T1, 2020 WL 1908509, at *1 (N.J. Super. Ct. App. Div. Apr. 20, 2020))

    Representing the seller of an incinerator facility in Illinois in a contract dispute with the buyer, which resulted in a substantial arbitration recovery for the seller in a case where the buyer had claimed damages.

    Additionally, defending a Fortune 500 company in a complex contract dispute involving an easement agreement for the construction of a subsurface stormwater line, which the plaintiff alleged was the cause of a sinkhole that ultimately swallowed a restaurant building.

    Also representing a national environmental consulting firm in a breach of contract action arising out of the discovery of live WWII munitions on the plaintiff’s property, causing the local municipality to issue an emergency order shutting down the property.

  • Cost Recovery, Superfund, Natural Resource Damages and Citizen Suits: Serving as lead counsel in one of the first multiple-party Superfund matters to be litigated through the allocation phase to judgment.

    MGKF is also representing multiple clients in complex cost recovery litigation involving several hundred third-party defendants and relating to the remediation of contaminated sediment in the Lower Passaic River and adjacent water bodies in New Jersey.

    Additionally, the firm is representing the National Solid Waste Management Association in amicus briefing before the United States Supreme Court on successor liability issues under CERCLA.

  • Insurance Coverage:  Representing an industrial client to recover costs associated with a long-term, multimillion dollar remediation of solvent contamination from a leaking underground storage tank used in industrial processes over a 20-year period. (UTI Corp. v. Fireman's Fund Ins. Co., 896 F. Supp. 362 (D.N.J. 1995) (in a case of first impression, holding that an insurer may be estopped by its conduct from enforcing a policy provision that excluded coverage for all but “sudden and accidental” releases)).

  • Real Estate Litigation and Land Use Hearings:  Defending an international manufacturer of industrial inks in litigation alleging real property damage following closure of a manufacturing facility.

    The firm also has experience representing a national grocery wholesaler and multiple national and regional grocery retailers in significant real estate, contract and tort litigation.

  • Special Counsel to Municipalities and Public Agencies for Environmental Litigation: Defending a public utility against a class action filed in state court 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.

    Also representing a school district in a private cost-recovery litigation in connection with an oil spill at an elementary school, resulting in investigation and remediation costs in excess of $1 million.

  • Storage Tank Litigation:  Representing a client in one of the leading cases with a reported decision involving Pennsylvania's statutory presumption of liability under the Pennsylvania Storage Tank and Spill Prevention Act. (Wack v. Farmland Industries, Inc., 744 A.2d 265 (Pa. Super. Ct. 1999)).

    Additionally representing a client in tank litigation who was not the owner of a tank, but was allegedly responsible for ancillary equipment that was claimed to have failed, resulting in a release. This representation was successfully resolved for the client years before the case concluded for many of the other parties.

  • Toxic Tort Defense and Class Action Suits:  Defending a large manufacturing client in all litigation in Pennsylvania involving toxic tort claims, both individual claims and class actions, arising from alleged exposures to hazardous substances emitted into the ambient air from manufacturing activities.  Reported or published decisions include:  Sheridan v. NKG Metals Corp., 609 F.3d 239 (3d Cir. 2010) (affirming summary judgment in medical monitoring class actions against representatives of two classes - residents for ambient air exposures and employees for occupational exposures); Pohl v. NGK Metals Corp.2007 Pa. Super. 306, 936 A.2d 43 (Pa. Super. Ct. 2007) (granting summary judgment against plaintiffs in medical monitoring claim upon showing that scientific evidence showed exposure to beryllium emissions did not create a significantly increased risk of contracting a serious latent disease); Vitalo v. Cabot Corp., 399 F.3d 536 (3d Cir. 2005) (granting summary judgment because undisputed facts established that plaintiff failed as a matter of law to exercise reasonable diligence to discover his chronic lung condition, and claim was barred by the statute of limitations); Sheridan v. Cabot Corp., No. 02-1212, 2003 WL 22999256 (E.D. Pa. 2003) (granting summary judgment because plaintiff diagnosed with lung disease failed to present evidence of impairment associated with that illness), aff'd, No. 03-1984, 113 F. Appx 444, 2004 WL 2360990 (3d Cir. 2004).

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