Environmental Litigation

Environmental situations affect more than our ecosystem. They alter our livelihoods, affect our economic health and — in some instances — change the course of a company’s history.

The environmental litigation team at McGuireWoods draws on our in-depth legal and industry experience and the firm’s broad technological resources to deliver strategic counsel to clients almost anywhere they do business. As members of a firm that values and is driven by relationships, we work closely with clients to understand their companies, markets and regulatory challenges, and collaborate with lawyers from throughout the firm to provide focused, issue-specific counsel.

We have extensive familiarity with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) policies and procedures, and work closely with EPA staff to negotiate appropriate responses to investigations and enforcement action. We also have represented clients before state legislatures and environmental and natural resources agencies. Taken together, this broad experience with regulatory and legislative bodies enables us to move readily between national issues and site- or company-specific engagements.

When unforeseen events arise, we understand that immediate action is often required, not only to reduce the potential impact on the environment, but also to minimize the effects of environmental claims on the companies involved. These decisions must also be made in the context of broader regulatory requirements and in a manner that takes into account the long-term ramifications of any response under consideration. While we are fully prepared to mount an aggressive defense at trial and before federal and state regulatory agencies, we are particularly proud of those cases that do not make it to court. We also recognize the value of a positive reputation, and we work with McGuireWoods Consulting’s public relations and government relations teams to manage the publicity that often surrounds environmental complaints. We also work with these professionals to help ensure that our clients’ perspectives on important issues are heard and understood.



    Leading supplier of rail-based freight transportation in North America

    Representation of a leading supplier of rail-based freight transportation in North America in a cost recovery action by auto dealer alleging environmental response costs arising from development of property on site of former industrial wastewater lagoon against alleged prior owner and operator of lagoon. Suit brought under Florida environmental statute and common law theories (nuisance, trespass, negligence). Extrememly favorable settlement.


    Leading supplier of rail-based freight transportation in North America

    Representation of a leading supplier of rail-based freight transportation in North America in a mass tort action by 102 property owners and other residents of neighborhood against nearby industrial operations seeking damages for personal injury and property damage arising from alleged groundwater contamination. Favorable settlement.


    Global science company

    Representation of a global science company in defense of an environmental civil suit brought by the Sierra Club and NRDC relating to historic mercury deposits in the South River in Virginia. Attained a unique settlement involving a six year study of the mercury issues.


    Representation of a large American energy company

    Representation of a large American energy company in a putative class action filed by lawyers representing a proposed class of 1,500 residents.  The complaint asserted claims for nuisance, trespass, and negligence based on emissions from an electric power generation facility notwithstanding our client’s compliance with its Clean Air Act permit.  We initially won a motion to dismiss all claims, and after that was reversed on appeal we briefed and won a motion to strike the class allegations.  Ultimately, the plaintiffs withdrew their claims and the client paid nothing, in what amounted to a complete victory.


    State coal organization

    Represented a state coal organization in an appeal of consolidated greenhouse gas regulations impacting all of heavy industry.

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