Biography

With more than 20 years of experience, Don Sobelman focuses his practice on helping clients navigate the complexities of federal and California environmental law. His multifaceted practice encompasses administrative enforcement defense, civil litigation, compliance with regulatory regimes, and contaminated site cleanup and redevelopment.

Don has tackled a diverse range of environmental law matters, including administrative proceedings and civil litigation in trial and appellate courts involving state and federal statutes (such as CERCLA, RCRA, the Clean Water Act, Proposition 65, and the Porter-Cologne Water Quality Act); complex environmental/toxic tort litigation; contractual disputes and claims arising from environmental indemnities; compliance with local, state, and federal regulations pertaining to hazardous materials, hazardous waste, water quality, and wetlands; and remediation, transfer/sale, and redevelopment of brownfields sites requiring investigation, risk assessment, and remediation to address vapor intrusion and soil and groundwater contamination, including from volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as PCE and TCE, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), metals, and PCBs.

He conducts due diligence regarding environmental liabilities associated with real estate and corporate transactions and navigates developers through the CEQA process, including defending projects in both trial and appellate courts.

Don’s clients benefit from his multidisciplinary approach to solving their problems and advancing their goals. By efficiently and effectively collaborating with technical experts and lawyers with relevant specialties, he ensures that his clients obtain the best possible advice when deciding how to address complex environmental issues. 

Active in his community, Don has represented pro bono the South Valley Islamic Center in San Martin, California since 2012 in an ongoing California Environmental Quality Act and permit process for its Cordoba Center—a 16-acre project including a mosque, community center, and cemetery. The project was approved by unanimous vote of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors in December 2019.

Distinctions

  • Best Lawyers in America©, Litigation-Environmental (2018-2021)
  • Northern California Super Lawyers, Environmental Litigation (2014-2022)

Memberships and Affiliations

  • California Bar Association, Section on Environmental Law
  • Bar Association of San Francisco, Environmental Law Section
  • Association of Environmental Professionals

Firm Highlights

News

Legal Experts Say Opioid Coverage Disputes Far From Over

Shanti Eagle was quoted in Law360 's article "Legal Experts Say Opioid Coverage Disputes Far From Over."  Read the article here (subscription required).

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Event

The 15th Annual Santa Fe Advanced Conference on Litigating Natural Resource Damages

Jim Colopy is a speaker at the 15th Annual Santa Fe Advanced Conference on Natural Resource Damages on the panel addressing "Federal Jurisdiction: Waters of the United States.” 

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News

2022 Cannabis Insurance Market Update

Tyler Gerking was quoted in  PropertyCasualty360 's article "2022 Cannabis Insurance Market Update."  Read the full article here (subscription required). Watch the webinar "Cyber Insurance for the Cannabis Industry" here .

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Publication

Upside: Changes in the VCAP Liability Coverage Market

Over the past few years, there's been a dramatic rise in premiums in the venture capital liability insurance market and a steady increase in claims being submitted under those policies. We're also seeing a...

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News

Farella Braun + Martel Named Among 2022 Best Places to Work

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Publication

Platform Ecosystems – The Landscape of US and EU Legislation (Webinar)

Stephanie Skaff and Nate Garhart discuss "Platform Ecosystems – The Landscape of US and EU Legislation." Several new bills targeting online platform companies are making their way through state and federal legislative bodies in the...

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News

LinkedIn Loses Data Appeal

Erik Olson was quoted in the article "LinkedIn Loses Data Appeal" in CDR Magazine . In the article, Erik said: We are pleased to see that the Ninth Circuit has again affirmed, in light...

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Publication

hiQ’s Groundbreaking Injunction Against LinkedIn Reaffirmed: Scraping of Publicly Available Data Likely Does Not Violate CFAA

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has affirmed its prior decision , holding that LinkedIn could not block hiQ, a scraping entity, from scraping public LinkedIn profiles. The court found it was...

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Publication

Illinois Courts Largely Favor Coverage for BIPA Cases Under CGL Policies

Since Illinois passed its Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) in 2008, there has been a proliferation of class action lawsuits filed pursuant to the statute. BIPA generally bars private entities from collecting, capturing, purchasing...

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Publication

Election Year Issues for Private Foundations and Public Charities (Webinar)

Cynthia Rowland discusses Nonprofit Education Series on "Election Year Issues for Private Foundations and Public Charities." Public and private foundations may support nonpartisan election-related activities, but only in limited ways and amounts. Join our interactive live...

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