Litigation & Enforcement Defense

We work with our clients to properly respond to federal and state compliance inquiries and notices of violation. We engage with agency personnel to resolve environmental issues before they result in litigation. Where litigation ensues, we vigorously pursue the case while acknowledging the economic pain of litigation and searching for opportunities to come to reasonable resolution.

Some of our more recent enforcement experience includes:

  • Defending an energy company against Illinois EPA Notices of Violations and citizen suit claims that site operations contaminated groundwater;
  • Representing a property company to resolve a Notice of Violation, defend Illinois EPA litigation, and respond to U.S. EPA cost recovery claims concerning alleged historic contamination from property deeded as part of an estate;
  • Defending a manufacturing company against a potential state criminal investigation and resolving civil allegations relating to Clean Air Act Title V and NESHAP emissions and permitting issues;
  • Defending an office products distribution company against a federal EPCRA administrative proceeding;
  • Defending a specialty chemicals manufacturing plant against alleged statutory, regulatory and Clean Air Act Title V permit violations;
  • Assisting in the defense of alleged violations of the Clean Water Act SPCC and FRP regulations by ethanol production facilities;
  • Defending a food manufacturing company in the defense of alleged violations of the Clean Water Act SPCC and FRP regulations

Our litigation experience includes jury and bench trials and appellate practice in the state and federal courts. Susan Franzetti acted as environmental co-counsel on behalf of a chemical company in a jury trial in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois regarding alleged breach of contract and fraud claims arising from the purchase of a chemical plant in Joliet, Illinois. After an eight week trial, the jury awarded approximately $41.7million to our client.

The firm also served as environmental trial counsel to a waste company in a toxic tort case involving alleged property damage due to the historic operation of a landfill. Plaintiffs claimed negligence, nuisance, and trespass for damage to their properties downgradient of the landfill.  Jennifer Nijman, along with local counsel, successfully tried the case before a state court jury during a seven week trial. The jury entered a verdict for the defense and awarded no damages to the plaintiffs. Ultimately, the verdict was upheld on appeal to the state Supreme Court.