First Environment’s litigation team finished out another strong year of providing expert witness services and litigation support to law firms and clients across the country.

 

“We successfully worked with counsel and their clients to provide strategic, innovative litigation support on matters going to trial that hinged on number of key technical issues relating to the environment and environmental contamination,” Tod Delaney, PhD, PE, BCEE, First Environment’s president and primary expert stated in a recent interview at his office in New Jersey. “Our clients recognize that we’re adept at using our diverse real-world engineering experience and in-depth knowledge of historic industrial practices to provide our side with technical leverage they needed. The client knows and this industry knows that if they hire us, we will analyze the facts and data more thoroughly than most and develop the best possible legal strategy.”

 

He added, “My greatest sense of accomplishment is when I sense a light bulb going off in a judge’s or juror’s head during my testimony – it’s an ‘aha’ moment that I’m sure science teachers all over the world feel when a student finally ‘gets it’.”

 

Delaney also noted, “Clients know that we are unbending in applying our scientific know-how to solve complex problems.”

 

With diverse capabilities across many specialized and highly technical subject matters, First Environment has gained a reputation as the “go-to” firm for expert witness services in several key areas. The use, storage, handling, and disposal of chlorinated solvent contamination – including perchloroethylene (or PERC) and trichloroethylene (TCE) – has been one of our most successful areas of expertise. According to Delaney, “our understanding of how these solvents have been used and disposed of since they first came into use puts us in a unique class of experts. In particular, our deep understanding of historic vapor degreasing, dry cleaning, and cold degreasing operations, including the disposal end of the operation, sets us apart from other experts.”

 

Arthur Clarke is head of First Environment’s litigation group and an environmental lawyer and scientist by training and experience. “I worked as a private practice attorney for 20 years and I never saw a firm with the same breadth of expertise as First Environment,” Clarke said. “It’s an absolute boost to a litigator to find so much expertise in one place.”

 

Clarke also commented on the source of First Environment’s clientele. “Our clients are organized by technical subject matter, not necessarily by location or industry type. We get them by word of mouth when lawyers ask their colleagues ‘who’s good at this?’ In a number of cases, we were so successful at explaining a complex technical situation that the opposition ended up retaining us for their next litigation involving the same subject matter.”

 

At the end of the day, our litigation team knows that it’s their job is to help explain complex environmental issues – such as historic contamination, comingled plumes, environmental fate and transport, and contaminant source identification – to the trier of fact. “We understand our role as an expert under the court rules to provide an objective, deconstructed, and understandable explanation of these complex issues to the court,” Delaney said. “So we use demonstratives, groundwater migration and degradation models, computerized graphics, and other tools to clarify often confusing technical issues. Our role is not only to present the technical issues but to simplify and explain them to non-technical people who may be sitting in the jury box, on the bench, or in a conference room.”

 

2017 looks to be another promising year for the team. Sites with emerging contaminants such as PFOA and PFOS will likely grow in number; cases involving contaminated sediments in waterways, ports, harbors, and bays and the attendant Natural Resource Damages claims will continue to make up the multi-party CERCLA litigation work; and groundwater fate and transport modeling will continue to be an important tool for locating and dating environmental contamination. “We are looking forward to 2017 and, although there will be many changes and challenges, we expect the laws that compensate parties for the cleanup of environmental contamination and protect them from human health and environmental damage will be as strong as ever,” Delaney said.

 

First Environment provides expert services on a wide variety of cases. Some recent examples of these are provided below.

 

CERCLA Cost Recovery & Contribution

  • Lockheed Martin Corporation v. United States Of America, 1:08-cv-01160, United States District Court For The District Of Columbia
  • In Re Burbank Environmental Litigation (Hook et al. v. Lockheed Martin Corporation) , 96-5584-MRP, United States District Court, Central District of California
  • The City of Fresno v. United States of America, et al., 1:06-CV-01559,   United States District Court, Eastern District of California
  • Next Millenium Realty, LLC, et al. v. Adchem Corporation, et al. , 2:03-CV-5985, United States District Court, Eastern District of New York
  • City of Newburgh, New York V. Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corporation, 95-CV-3863, United States District Court, Southern District Of New York
  • United States of America v. Goodrich Corporation et al., CV-10-0084, United States District Court Central District of California
  • Land O’ Lakes, Inc., V. United States Of America, Civ-15-863-L, United States District Court, Western District Of Oklahoma
  • Phoenix Beverages, Inc., v. Exxon Mobil Corporation, Exxon Mobil Research And Engineering Company And Quanta Resources Corporation, CV 12-3771, United States District Court For The Eastern District Of New York
  • Lockheed Martin Corporation, Unisys Corporation V. United States Of America, 1:06-Cv-01438, United States District Court, District Of Columbia
  • Chartis Specialty Insurance Company, Whittaker Corporation, v. United States of America, CV-12-105, United States District Court, Central District Of California, Western Division

State Law Cleanup Recovery & Contribution

  • New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, et al. V. Occidental Chemical Corporation, Tierra Solutions, Inc., Maxus Energy Corporation, et al., ESX- L-9868-05, Superior Court of New Jersey Law Division: Essex County
  • Richard Catena v. Daniel P. Anderson, et al., BER-L-5914-05, Superior Court of New Jersey Law Division Bergen County
  • Loren S. Riggins, Jr. v. Anchor Hocking Corporation, n/k/a Newell Rubbermaid, Inc. and ExxonMobil Corporation, CUM-L-000165-03, Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division: Cumberland County
  • Gasland Service Station v. H.A. Fernot Co. Inc., PAS- L-5124-11, Superior Court of New Jersey   Law Division: Passaic County
  • Route 21 Associates v. Township of Belleville, ESX-C-34-11, Superior Court of New Jersey Chancery Division: Essex County
  • Ezzedin Bautista And Melanie Ryan, V. Hoffmann-La Roche, Inc.; The City Of Clifton, New Jersey; The Township Of Nutley, New Jersey; Deluxe Corporation; ESX-L-008724-14, Superior Court Of New Jersey, Law Division: Essex County
  • S & S Associates, L.L.P., V. Molecu-Wire Corporation, MON-L-1279-15, Superior Court of New Jersey Law Division, Monmouth County
  • New Jersey Schools Development Authority v. Johnson Jones Architects Planners, P.A., Hill International, Inc. And Pennoni Associates Inc., MER-L-2704-12, Superior Court of New Jersey, Mercer County: Law Division
  • New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, et al. v. Occidental Chemical Corporation. Tierra Solutions, Inc., Maxus Energy Corporation, et al., ESX- L-9868-05, Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division: Essex County

 

Toxic Tort, Personal Injury, & Professional Liability

  • Edward Blaine, et al. v. IBM, Index No. 2012/000768, Supreme Court, State of New York: Broome County
  • City of Moses Lake v. United States of America et al (DOD, Air Force, Department of the Army, Army Corps of Engineers; Boeing and Lockheed Martin), CV-04-0376-AAM, United States District Court, Eastern District of Washington
  • Verl D. Leflore and Jeana Lasiter Leflore v. Waste Management of New Mexico, Inc., No. CV-2011-00742, Fifth Judicial District Court, County of Eddy, State of New Mexico
  • Kirk v. Schaeffler Group, USA, Inc., et al., 3:13-CV-05032, United States District Court, Western District of Missouri
  • John A. Manganelli; JAM Realty, LLC, v. William F. Johnson, Jr., Esq.; Johnson, Murphy, Hubner, McKeon, Wubbenhorst & Appelt, P.C.; Murphy, McKeon, P.C., UNN-L-4239-13, Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division: Union County
  • New Jersey Schools Development Authority v. Johnson Jones Architects Planners, P.A., Hill International, Inc. And Pennoni Associates Inc., MER-L-2704-12, Superior Court of New Jersey, Mercer County: Law Division

Insurance Recovery

  • Dominion Colour Corporation (USA), a New Jersey Corporation v. Atlantic Employers Insurance Company and Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company, Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division: Passaic County
  • ConAgra Grocery Products Company, LLC v. Admiral Insurance Company, et als., UNN-L-0805-08, Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division: Union County
  • American Linen Supply Company v. Federal Insurance Company, et al, Case No. 10-2-266 12-7, Superior Court State of Washington: King County
  • Consolidated Rail Corporation v. Ace Property & Casualty Insurance Co., et al., No. 002638, In the Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas, Philadelphia County Trial Division
  • Seattle Times Company v. National Surety Corp. General Insurance Company of America, and Travelers Casualty and Surety Company, Cv-13-1463, United States District Court,  Western District of Washington At Seattle
  • Northrop Grumman Guidance and Electronics Company, Inc., v. Employers Insurance Company of Wausau, et al., 316-cv-27418, Circuit Court of Jackson County, Missouri At Kansas City
  • Chartis Specialty Insurance Company, Whittaker Corporation, v. United States of America, CV-12-105, United States District Court, Central District Of California, Western Division

 

Natural Resource Damages

  • NJDEP and Administrator, New Jersey Spill Compensation Fund v. ExxonMobil Corporation and AGC Chemicals Americas Inc. f/k/a ICI Americas, Inc., UNN -L-3026-04; Superior Court of New Jersey Law Division: Union County Docket No. L-3026-04; Consolidated with Docket No. HUD-L-4415-04
  • New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, et al. V. Occidental Chemical Corporation, Tierra Solutions, Inc., Maxus Energy Corporation, et al., ESX- L-9868-05, Superior Court of New Jersey Law Division: Essex County

RCRA Enforcement Litigation

  • United States of America ex rel. Natural Resources Defense Council et al. v. Lockheed Martin Corporation et al., 5:99-cv-00170-Consolidated with 5:00-cv-39, United States District Court, Western District of Kentucky, Paducah Division