State Superfund Trial
Represented a transportation company in a 4-week trial in federal District Court in Washington in a state Superfund contribution action relating to a former wood treating site. Obtained a complete defense judgment.
First Solar - Desert Sunlight Project Approval
As lead outside counsel to First Solar on environmental, real estate and permitting issues, we obtained the key U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Record of Decision (ROD) that cleared the way for the development and financing of the largest PV project ever approved on public lands. The Desert Sunlight project is a 550-megawatt (MW) solar photovoltaic facility located on approximately 4,000 acres of land administered by the BLM in Riverside County. We assisted First Solar secure numerous permits and approvals from other federal, state and local agencies, including the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, California Department of Fish and Game, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and Riverside County. We also assisted First Solar negotiate protest settlement agreements with major environmental organizations and individuals, addressing environmental and cultural resource concerns.
First Solar- Desert Topaz Permitting Project
As lead outside counsel to First Solar on environmental, real estate and permitting issues, we obtained key federal, state and local environmental permit approvals for the construction and operation of the 550 megawatt Topaz Solar Farm Project in San Luis Obispo County, California. This project will be located on approximately 3,500 acres of private land. We assisted First Solar in securing many permits and approvals from a wide range of federal, state and local agencies, including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, California Department of Fish and Game and County of San Luis Obispo. We also assisted First Solar in negotiating agreements with both national and local environmental groups and community organizations that address environmental and other topics relating to the projects.
Farella represents FMC Corporation in separate coordinated lawsuits filed throughout the State of California regarding groundwater contamination due to historical applications of soil fumigants. Farella successfully negotiated resolution of seven of the original eight lawsuits.
Hookston Station Toxic Tort Litigation
Represented Union Pacific Railroad in a mass tort litigation involving 225 plaintiffs in Contra Costa Superior Court alleging personal injuries and property damages from groundwater contamination. We obtained summary judgment eliminating the plaintiffs' strict liability/ultra hazardous activity, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligent infliction of emotional distress, medical monitoring and "remediation" causes of action. We also won summary judgment of negligence-based property damage claims from 50 of the plaintiffs. Following these advantageous rulings, we negotiated a very favorable settlement of the remaining claims.
Humboldt BayKeeper Clean Water Act Litigation
Represented Union Pacific Railroad in this citizen suit involving alleged violations of the Clean Water Act and RCRA relating to a former railroad maintenance yard in Eureka, California. Only a few months before trial, Union Pacific retained Farella to take over its defense. We obtained dismissal of a key cause of action, reducing the number of alleged Clean Water Act violations from more than 3,500 to 37, and submitted trial briefs that significantly undercut plaintiffs’ theories of liability under both RCRA and the Clean Water Act. The litigation resolved favorably shortly thereafter.
Los Angeles World Airports
Represent Los Angeles World Airports in connection with over $15 billion of new construction at LAX, the transfer of the Ontario International Airport to a joint powers authority comprising the City of Ontario and the County of San Bernardino, and in trial in Los Angeles Superior Court.
Serve as national coordinating counsel for products liability litigation relating to gas delivery system, and products liability counseling relating to Prop. 65.
Angeles Chemical Company
Represent DTE Energy Resources, a company that develops energy, and energy related technology and provides electric and natural gas to residential and commercial consumers. In these particular matters, we assisted in environmental/land use entitlement issue under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and air quality permitting of methane recovery/energy production facilities in California.
Cost Recovery Litigation and Related Remediation Counseling at Former Shooting Range
Environmental Species Act Litigation
Obtained a significant victory for the State of Alaska in an Environmental Species Act litigation focused on the ribbon seal. Judge Laport of the US District Court, Northern California upheld the National Marine Fisheries Service decision that the ribbon seal did not warrant a listing under the ESA. At issue was the size of the ribbon seals’ population and declining habitat. Judge Laporte’s ruling clarifies species classification under the ESA stating that not every climate-imperiled or climate challenged species will warrant listing under the ESA, and listing is determined on a case-by-case basis in which current conditions (population, conditions and prospects), the effects of climate change, and the “foreseeable future” may serve as key determinants.
Industrial Park Remediation
A commercial property client discovered that a portfolio of properties it acquired included an industrial park where historical releases of degreasing solvents had resulted in a contaminated groundwater plume leading off-site and, as a result, faced significant and uncertain costs and resource impacts. We advised the client on conducting an investigation to identify responsible parties, used that investigation to bring those parties to the table and negotiated a cost-sharing agreement under which the parties have cooperatively investigated and remediated the site. Additionally, we coordinated closely with the client’s insurer to obtain coverage for the client’s cost, which minimized the financial impact and allowed the client to focus on leasing the property to commercial tenants and develop a plan for its eventual sale after the remedial work is complete.
Methane Recovery / Energy Production Facilities
San Rafael Rock Quarry
Represented The Dutra Group in obtaining unanimous approval of the Marin County Board of Supervisors, following analysis and public review under CEQA and SMARA, for continued surface mining and proposed reclamation of San Rafael Rock Quarry. We also represented Dutra in favorably resolving nuisance litigation by the State of California, County of Marin and a coalition of property owners that predated the Supervisors’ action.