The National Law Journal
named McGuireWoods partner Gregory Evans to its exclusive
2019 Winning Litigators
list honoring trial lawyers for victories in high-stakes cases.
Evans earned the honor for representing copper mining giant Asarco in a
federal court trial that resulted in 2018’s largest contribution judgment
under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability
Act (CERCLA). A U.S. District Court ordered Atlantic Richfield to pay
$28.8 million toward the cleanup of a Superfund site in East Helena, Montana. Asarco
agreed to pay the EPA for all response costs needed to remove dangerously
high levels of arsenic from the community’s groundwater. Although Atlantic
Richfield, a BP subsidiary, operated a smelter and caused arsenic
groundwater contamination, it refused to contribute anything toward cleanup
The court initially dismissed Asarco’s lawsuit in 2014, but the 9th U.S.
Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the ruling in 2017, providing needed
clarity on when a settling party such as Asarco can seek contribution from
nonsettling parties under CERCLA. Evans argued the case in the 9th Circuit
and took it to trial in Missoula, Montana. Evans told the NLJ that
the judgment amount “will encourage more cooperation and integrity in
environmental investigations and related federal court litigation.”
Asked to share two tips that have been important to his success, Evans
said, “Be indignant when you spot something wrong. Your clients expect it.
If your opponent misled the government, [it has] likely misled you.” Evans
said trial lawyers also must learn to persevere.
“I filed this case in 2012,” he said. “It took six years to get it to
trial. Difficult litigation is a like a journey home. It is never too
Evans has earned national recognition for trials and litigation. The National Law Journal honored him in its 2018
Energy and Environmental Trailblazers
issue, citing his work representing Asarco. Evans also earned recognition
in Financial Times’
prestigious North America Innovative Lawyers
report and in Law360 as an “Environmental MVP” in 2017. He has been recognized previously by The National Law Journal and The American Lawyer for his
litigation and trial success.