Environmental Litigation

Whether in the courts or in administrative proceedings, litigating environmental disputes requires not just a strong command of basic litigation skills, but the ability to understand and explain the science applicable to contested issues. At Bowles Rice, we have considerable experience litigating environmental matters in all forums.

Pollution and Contamination Claims
Simple environmental disputes often arise when one party’s activities pollute his neighbor’s land, water or air. Bowles Rice defends and, where necessary, prosecutes the traditional common law claims – such as nuisance and trespass – that are frequently alleged in such matters.

Extensive industrial activity and the resultant pollution that can accompany it may give rise to more complex environmental toxic tort claims. Such claims may manifest themselves as mass torts or class actions, including claims of alleged injury to person or property and, increasingly, claims seeking medical monitoring. Bowles Rice lawyers have extensive experience with such litigation. We defended what was among the largest, most complex environmental toxic tort cases in West Virginia history, involving tens of thousands of putative class members allegedly exposed to pollutants over a period of several decades.

At Bowles Rice, we have unsurpassed experience researching our client’s historical practices, evaluating the science behind the fate and transport of alleged pollutants and understanding the human health effects upon those potentially exposed. We know how to gather tremendous amounts of historical, technical and medical information, analyze it meticulously, grapple with hotly contested points of law and present our client’s case in its most favorable light.

Administrative Appeals and Regulatory Enforcement Actions
Just as administrative agencies – the so-called “fourth branch of government” – have grown, so too have the regulatory regimes under which our clients operate daily. The body of environmental regulations has grown rapidly and applicable standards are implemented and enforced with increasing aggressiveness. Whether the subject is land use, waste management, or water or air quality, businesses in a variety of industries are subject to a host of complex permitting and compliance obligations. Bowles Rice helps guide its clients through this administrative jungle.

Bowles Rice has extensive experience appealing adverse permitting determinations and defending its clients charged with violating permit conditions or other applicable standards. We are always prepared to defend our clients’ interests with skill and determination. Where a cooperative approach is indicated, we help our clients and regulators find common ground. We know the key to effective, cost-efficient representation in these matters is analyzing our client’s problem, correctly identifying the best, potential outcomes and designing a clear strategy to achieve them.

Criminal Actions
In exceptional cases, non-compliance with environmental laws may lead to criminal prosecution. Whenever possible, we strive to help our clients avoid exposure to criminal liability. When avoiding a criminal claim is not possible, we defend our clients vigorously. At Bowles Rice, we recognize that our clients’ reputation is on the line, and we defend it as we would our own.

Contact a member of our Environmental Litigation Team today, and further explore this website to learn more about our Environmental Litigation practice and its capabilities.

View Expanded