Steel and Specialty Metals

Steel and Specialty Metals

For more than 50 years, Phillips Lytle has been representing companies in the steel and specialty metals industry. Our involvement has been multifaceted, extending across a broad range of practice areas.

Government Contract & Trade Compliance


  • Represented a U.S. steel company in responding to audit findings by the Defense Contract Audit Agency of non-U.S. content of steel plate purchased by an Israeli defense contractor under the Foreign Military Financing (FMF) program, including a request for waiver and future approvals of calculation methodology for non-U.S. scrap content.


Bethlehem Steel

Bethlehem Steel Corporation was at one time the second-largest steel producer in America. Phillips Lytle began representing Bethlehem Steel’s Lackawanna, New York, plant in 1963. The scope of our work for Bethlehem Steel and its successors was vast and included:

  • Defense of lawsuits involving workplace accident claims, asbestos exposure claims and other chemical exposure claims
  • Challenges to real property tax assessments and sewer charges

Our Environmental Team also provided extensive legal representation, including:

  • Enforcement defense on matters involving air emissions; waste water discharges; storage facilities; asbestos abatement; and hazardous waste treatment, storage and disposal
  • Permitting and regulatory compliance counseling under all major NYS and federal environmental statutes and regulations
  • Government investigations under civil and criminal statutory authority relative to environmental and OSHA matters
  • Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) – also known as “Superfund” defense in multi-party actions
  • Administrative appeals of permit and enforcement actions/decisions
  • Guidance and advice on exemptions and variances and delistings relative to environmental matters, including delisting of hazardous wastes and petitions related thereto
  • Railroad transportation environmental and transportation regulations
  • Permit and administrative order negotiations on matters involving all media, at various levels of state, local and federal government
  • Spill response
  • Surprise inspection response

Additional Environment Experience

  • Represented a scrap metal recycling facility with national operations in obtaining land use and zoning approvals to establish a new recycling facility/shredder operation on a 14-acre brownfield site in Niagara Falls, New York. Zoning approvals were obtained within 60 days without preparation of an environmental impact statement. The project approvals were subsequently challenged in an Article 78 proceeding in State Supreme Court based on the failure of the lead agency to prepare an environmental impact statement under the State Environmental Quality Review Act. Phillips Lytle was successful on a motion to dismiss the proceeding for lack of standing approximately 45 days after litigation commenced.
  • Represented one of the world’s largest producers of silicon metal, silicon-based specialty alloys and silicon fume-critical ingredients with regard to land use and environmental permitting matters associated with the restart of operations, which had ceased in 2003. Phillips Lytle obtained determinations. Our client’s facility was grandfathered under existing zoning laws, and the facility’s Title V air permit, which had never been terminated, fully authorized the plant to restart. We also represented one of its subsidiaries with regard to land use and environmental permitting associated with the construction and operation of a brand new 150,000-square-foot, 36-oven manufacturing plant making high-grade/high-purity silicon for use in photovoltaic solar cells.
  • We continue to represent steel companies in New York State and Ontario, Canada on a variety of environmental matters, as well as New York operation matters.

Project Development

  • Represented a tubular steel company on its new manufacturing facility on a portion of a 1,000+ acre brownfield in New York State. This included structuring the transaction and closing their financing with a senior lender and subordinate financing provided by various public entities. We also assisted with securing substantial tax credits under New York’s Brownfield Cleanup Program and obtaining insurance coverage to minimize potential environmental risk exposure.
  • Advised a United Arab Emirates company on an advanced manufacturing project (approximately $100 million) to develop a steel pipe. Phillips Lytle assisted on the site selection, land acquisition, negotiation of incentives and other related project development tasks.
  • Represented a national steel parts supplier in the conversion and equipping of an underutilized manufacturing site. Matters included site acquisition, project financing, and obtaining NYS Empire Zone tax status and other incentives.

Intellectual Property

Represented the only producer of welded high carbon steel screens in the world with respect to their patent and intellectual property work. This company invented a process for welding high carbon steel wires to form very hard, abrasive, resistant screens that are used to size material in the aggregate, slag, coke, recycle and coal markets, as well as for security applications.

Labor & Employment

Represented a leading manufacturer and distributor of building products for the industrial, infrastructure and residential markets.

Bankruptcy & Creditors’ Rights

Represented a leading manufacturer and distributor of building products for the industrial, infrastructure and residential markets in the following areas:

  • Defended preference actions
  • Assisted with distressed trade debtors unable to pay debts when due (workouts, forbearance agreements, repayment agreements, collection suits)
  • Prepared and filed proofs of claim in bankruptcy cases
  • Negotiated critical vendor status in bankruptcy cases
Practice Area Icon: Manufacturing