Environmental Law
Environment Litigation

Many of our attorneys are trial lawyers who regularly appear in state and federal court and before administrative panels and arbitration tribunals. They are experienced with jury and bench trials, and have argued appeals before state and federal appellate courts. Their litigation experience also extends to the defense of criminal proceedings involving both state and federal agencies.

Our litigation experience includes the defense and prosecution of enforcement proceedings and cost recovery claims involving the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA); the Resource, Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA); the New York Oil Spill Act; New York’s State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA); and land use and zoning-related approvals, denials and variances.

We frequently litigate issues concerning:

  • The applicability of owner, operator, arranger and transporter provisions, and third-party and bona fide purchaser defenses under CERCLA
  • The prosecution and defense of claims relating to corporate successor liability, contractual indemnity, dissolution and bankruptcy issues
  • Personal and subject matter jurisdiction challenges, statute of limitations defenses, and all aspects of divisibility and cost allocation issues
  • National Contingency Plan and other challenges to the validity of response costs
  • All aspects of expert proof, including Daubert challenges

The breadth of our experience is best illustrated by reported environmental decisions in which Phillips Lytle participated in a significant role. These include:

  • W. R. Grace & Co. –Conn. v. Zotos Int'l, Inc., No.98-CV-838S, 2013 WL 5488939 (W.D.N.Y. Sept. 30, 2013)
  • New Cingular Wireless PCS, LLC v. Town of Fenton, 843 F. Supp. 2d 236, 239–40 (N.D.N.Y. 2012)
  • NL Industries, Inc. v. Halliburton Company, Civil Action No. 10-CV-89A, November 2, 2010
  • United States v. ExxonMobil Corp., 264 F.R.D. 242 (N.D.W.V. 2010)
  • Price Trucking Corp. v. Norampac Ind. Inc., 2010 WL 4069223 (W.D.N.Y. June 17, 2010)
  • United States v. ExxonMobil Corp., 264 F.R.D. 242 (N.D.W.V. 2010)
  • W. R. Grace & Co. –Conn. v. Zotos Int’l Inc. 559 F.3d 85 (2d Cir. 2009)
  • Buffalo Color Corp. v. AlliedSignal, Inc., 139 F. Supp. 2d 409 (W.D.N.Y. 2001)
  • Raiport v. Gowanda Electronics Corp., 739 N.Y.S.2d 811 (Sup. Ct. 2001)
  • State of New York v. Panex Indus., Inc., No. 94-CV-0400E(H), 1996 U.S. Dist. Lexis 9418 (W.D.N.Y. June 21, 1996), motion granted, 2000 U.S. Dist. Lexis 7913 (W.D.N.Y. June 5, 2000)
  • W.R. Grace & Co. –Conn. v. Zotos Int’l, Inc., No. 98-CV-838S(F), 2000 U.S. Dist. Lexis 18091 (W.D.N.Y. Nov. 2, 2000), Motion granted by, in part, Motion denied by, in part, 2000 U.S. Dist. Lexis 18096 (W.D.N.Y. Nov. 2, 2000)
  • State of New York v. Westwood-Squibb Pharmaceutical Co., 981 F. Supp. 768 (W.D.N.Y. 1997), modified, 62 F. Supp. 2d 1035 (W.D.N.Y. 1999), and 138 F. Supp. 2d 372 (W.D.N.Y. 2000)
  • Seneca Meadows, Inc. v. ECI Liquidating, Inc., 983 F. Supp. 360 (W.D.N.Y. 1997) and 16 F. Supp. 2d 255 (W.D.N.Y. 1998)
  • Al Tech Specialty Steel Corp. v. Allegheny Int’l Credit Corp., 104 F.3d 601 (3d Cir. 1997)
  • State of New York v. Solvent Chemical Co., 984 F. Supp. 160 (W.D.N.Y. 1997)
  • Town of Wallkill v. Tesa Tape, Inc., No. 94 Civ. 7133 (JSR), 1997 U.S. Dist. Lexis 16620 (S.D.N.Y. Oct. 24, 1997)
  • U.S. v. A&N Cleaners and Launderers, Inc., 788 F. Supp. 1317 (S.D.N.Y. 1992) and 854 F. Supp. 229 (S.D.N.Y. 1994)
  • Westwood Pharmaceuticals, Inc. v. Nat’l Fuel Gas Distribution Corp., 737 F. Supp. 1272 (W.D.N.Y. 1990), reconsideration denied, 767 F. Supp. 456 (W.D.N.Y. 1991), aff’d, 964 F.2d 85 (2d Cir. 1992)
  • General Electric Co. v. Aamco Transmissions, Inc., 962 F.2d 281 (2d Cir. 1992)
  • U.S. v. Hooker Chemicals & Plastics Corp., 680 F. Supp. 546 (W.D.N.Y. 1988)

Phillips Lytle has also been a national leader in the defense of chemical exposure and toxic tort lawsuits since well before the personal injury actions resulting from Love Canal. In addition to defending individual companies in lawsuits with hundreds of plaintiffs, Phillips Lytle has achieved significant economies for our clients through the joint representation of multiple defendants, often in the capacity of liaison counsel.

Practice Area Icon: Environmental Law