Experience

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.

World Energy, LLC

Represented World Energy, LLC, one of the largest advanced biofuel suppliers in North America, in its acquisition of Delek US Holdings, Inc.’s interests in renewable jet fuel and diesel producer AltAir Paramount, LLC.

FMC Corporation

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.

Methane Recovery / Energy Production Facilities

Representing DTE Energy Resources, an energy and energy technology provider for residential and commercial electric and natural gas, in environmental / land use entitlement under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and air quality permitting of methane recovery/energy production facilities in California.

Titeflex

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 Omega Chemical PRP Group, as common counsel, which includes 115 defendants named in a complex environmental cost recovery lawsuit filed by Angeles Chemical Company in Southern California federal court.  We also represent two defendants in toxic tort litigation brought by nine individual plaintiffs involving sites in Los Angeles County.  Plaintiffs allege a variety of personal injury claims arising from indoor air exposure.

CEQA Entitlement

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

Representing California real estate developers Otay Land Company/Flat Rock Land Company, subsidiaries of HomeFed Corporation, in cleanup cost recovery litigation against multiple defendants who once operated a multi-acre former shooting range near San Diego, CA.  The litigation has raised issues of first impression and national importance that were argued before the Ninth Circuit.  The State of California, the Sierra Club (now Earth Justice) and the Natural Resources Defense Council all filed amicus curiae briefs supporting Otay/Flat Rock – Farella legal positions.

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.

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.

Firm Highlights

Publication

Supreme Court Ruling Expands Reach of Clean Water Act NPDES Permitting

Read the article on California Ag Net , here . In April, the United States Supreme Court issued a landmark ruling clarifying the reach of the federal Clean Water Act. The Court decided that a...

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Publication

The Winding Trail Home: Marin County Secures Key Multi-Use Trail Access Decision

With Marin County’s Mt. Tamalpais often considered the birthplace of mountain biking, it should not be surprising that the County finds itself at the forefront of California’s battle over multi-use trail access and consequently...

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Publication

New Screening Levels for Key PFAS Chemicals Will Spur Regulatory Action at Contaminated Sites

In support of the State Water Resources Control Board’s (State Board) efforts to investigate and evaluate the public health effects of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), the San Francisco Regional Water Quality Control Board...

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News

SCOTUS Clean Water Act Test ‘Devastating’ for Industry

Sarah Bell commented on the U.S. Supreme Court ruling saying that the Clean Water Act can be used to regulate pollution that travels through groundwater. Read full article, here . The case is  County...

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News

EPA Narrows States’ Veto Power Over Infrastructure Projects

Environmental Law Partner Sarah Bell spoke to Bloomberg Law about EPA rule (RIN: 2040-AF86 ), which aims to discourage coastal states from relying on part of the Clean Water Act to block fossil fuel...

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Publication

New EPA Clean Water Act Rule Attempts to Streamline Permitting Process

Earlier this week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency finalized the “Clean Water Act Section 401 Certification Rule” (Rule). The Rule comes with significant procedural and substantive changes to the certification process for infrastructure projects. Under...

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News

Farella Braun + Martel Attorneys, Practices Recognized by Chambers USA 2020

SAN FRANCISCO, April 23, 2020: Farella Braun + Martel announces that Chambers USA has recognized 12 lawyers and five practice areas in the legal directory’s 2020 edition. Individual Rankings: Tyler Gerking – Insurance: Policyholders...

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Event

LSI's PFAS Contamination and Regulation in California Virtual Conference

Sarah Bell will be speaking at LSI's virtual conference on PFAS Contamination and Regulation in California live webinar, "PFAS and Hazardous Materials Cleanup Laws." Details: CWA violations, CERCLA designations, and NRD claims as potential game...

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News

Lawyers See Maui Opinion as Grounds to Challenge Trump Water Rule

Environmental law partner Sarah Bell was quoted in the Bloomberg Law article, "Lawyers See Maui Opinion as Grounds to Challenge Trump Water Rule." In the article, Sarah said the Maui holding will be used...

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Publication

Key PFAS Regulatory Standards Set in California

In support of California’s efforts to investigate and evaluate the presence of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in the environment, the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board (Regional Board) has released interim...

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