Environmental & Toxic Tort
Sedgwick’s full-service environmental and toxic tort practice is made up of experienced civil trial lawyers and former regulatory agency attorneys. Our attorneys represent clients in a broad range of business sectors, such as manufacturing, oil and gas, energy, pesticides, pharmaceuticals, paints, solvents, gas utility, technology, transportation, real estate, mining, chemicals, electrical, biotech and consumer products.
Our expertise includes regulatory compliance and counseling, emergency response and event management, site remediation, Brownfields transactions and risk management.
Toxic Tort and Environmental Litigation
Sedgwick has an extensive practice in traditional environmental litigation, including private cost recovery and abatement actions, groundwater contamination, California’s Proposition 65, public and private nuisance claims, citizen suits and agency enforcement actions pursuant to federal, state and local environmental statutes and regulations. Sedgwick’s environmental attorneys have been at the forefront of all of the major toxic tort disputes that have swept the country over the last 25 years: asbestos, cancer clusters, electromagnetic fields, manufactured gas plants, toxic hot spots, occupational injury and litigation arising from exposure to innumerable individual substances in countless contexts.
Our attorneys also represent clients in civil proceedings and white collar criminal prosecutions initiated by the U.S. Department of Justice, OSHA and various state and local agencies. Our litigators and regulatory attorneys work hand-in-hand to assist in-house counsel with administrative investigations, enforcement actions, health and safety matters and public policy issues.
Environmental, Health and Safety | Regulatory Compliance and Counseling
Sedgwick attorneys provide regulatory advice and counseling on the full spectrum of environmental, health and safety (EHS) issues: air, water, hazardous waste, pesticides, toxic substances, occupational hazards, and contaminated soil and groundwater. Our attorneys have a proven track record of negotiating innovative agreements with government agencies and local communities that address contamination at legacy sites and Brownfield infill properties while minimizing impacts on current business activities. Our regulatory and compliance attorneys routinely assist clients with remediation projects under federal and state programs such as Superfund (CERCLA), RCRA corrective action, voluntary cleanups under state programs and Brownfields redevelopment. We have also negotiated the inclusion of Supplemental Environmental Projects in several landmark settlements with the U.S. EPA and various state agencies.
Our regulatory attorneys also design and implement corporate sustainability policies and audit programs, record retention policies, train auditors, conduct internal Sarbanes-Oxley financial investigations and facility inspections, prepare audit reports and action plans, and advise clients on the applicability of attorney-client privilege, audit privilege, and business confidentiality to self-evaluative documents. In performing due diligence, we identify and value the risks associated with existing environmental liabilities, and project the costs of future environmental, health and safety regulatory compliance, employment issues and potential litigation.
We address environmental, financial, health and safety issues in due diligence investigations in connection with business mergers and acquisitions and real estate transactions through mechanisms such as environmental liability and cost cap insurance and environmental liability transference. These risk management strategies effectively minimize the impact on our clients’ bottom line and reduce liability exposure. As a result, clients can quantify financial exposure, minimize environmental liabilities to third parties, remove environmental liabilities from balance sheets and transfer responsibilities for remediation, monitoring and operation costs to third parties.
Emergency Response and Reporting
Sedgwick has significant experience coordinating our clients’ responses to environmental accidents, such as determining the extent of environmental impacts, analyzing remediation options, and developing strategies to resolve claims before they reach litigation. We provide guidance on reporting requirements to OSHA, EPA, DOT, state and local EHS agencies, and local health authorities. Our attorneys provide immediate counsel and representation to clients served with subpoenas, agency inspection demands, government requests for information, and notices of violation relating to federal, state and local regulations. In addition, we track proposed legislation, regulatory proposals, and enforcement trends, and help clients obtain environmental permits.