When companies face environmental and land use lawsuits, they need experienced lawyers to assess pre-litigation cases, determine if other avenues to resolution are possible and litigate the dispute successfully. These companies turn to the environmental and land use litigators at Bingham.
Bingham maintains one of the largest and most renowned integrated Environmental and Land Use Groups in the United States, with more than 50 lawyers who practice in this area. Indeed, in 2010 Bingham was again ranked as one of the top two environmental law firms in California by Chambers USA.
Bingham’s Environmental and Land Use Litigation Group provides legal services that extend into virtually every area of environmental and land use law that affects the business operations of our clients. In handling environmental litigation, we represent a vast array of business and governmental concerns. These include landowners and developers, basic and high technology manufacturing companies, energy companies, transportation companies, trade associations, and governmental entities. Our clients include many from the Fortune 500 and come from diverse geographical areas, from Washington, D.C., to Hawaii, and from Europe to the Far East.
Our environmental and land use litigators have an extraordinary range of experience. Among their number are former federal prosecutors, Department of Justice and U.S. EPA lawyers, treatise authors, and Capitol Hill staffers. Their work has ranged from the quick, efficient disposition of small Proposition 65 cases, to defending environmental findings and government entitlements for large-scale development projects, to chairing defense groups in some of the most complex multiparty environmental litigation in the country.
Our Geographic Experience
We have litigated environmental cases across the country, from Washington, D.C., to Alaska to Hawaii to Guam; from San Diego to Montana to Maryland; from Michigan to Texas and up and down both coasts.
Our Jurisdictional Experience
We have tried environmental and land use cases before administrative law judges, hearing boards, federal and state court judges and juries. We have argued appeals in both the federal and state court systems as well as within administrative agencies, including the Environmental Appeals Board and the Interior Board of Land Appeals.
Bingham’s environmental and land use lawyers have litigated cases under nearly every federal and California environmental law, including:
- The Clean Water Act
- The Clean Air Act
- The Safe Drinking Water Act
- California’s Proposition 65
- The California Environmental Quality Act
- The Oil Pollution Act of 1990
- The Surface Mining Control & Reclamation Act
- The Endangered Species Act
- The Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act
Our environmental litigators have handled criminal cases as well as related civil proceedings conducted by EPA and investigations undertaken by various federal agency Inspector Generals’ offices. Our experience includes multimedia enforcement actions, OSHA-employee work injury cases, asbestos litigation and underground storage tank litigation. We have handled bankruptcy cases with environmental law aspects, and we have experience with environmental insurance claims. We have tried asbestos property damages cases to verdict and regularly defend clients in mass tort cases in which thousands of plaintiffs claim personal injury or property damages from alleged toxic exposure.
Bingham also has a pre-eminent land use litigation practice. We have litigated National Environmental Policy Act and California Environmental Quality Act cases involving commercial and industrial developments, residential subdivisions, airports, university expansion projects, air pollution control programs, water supply projects and wastewater treatment plants. We have also handled cases involving the full spectrum of NEPA and CEQA approvals, including program and project level EIS and EIRs, FONSIs, negative declarations, supplemental and subsequent environmental documents and exemptions. Bingham lawyers have successfully defended or upheld virtually every variety of land use approval, including general and specific plans, zoning decisions, annexations, subdivision maps, preliminary and final development plans, design review approvals, and building permits. We also have extensive experience litigating growth control measures, initiatives and referenda, and development fees and exactions.
Experience, depth and careful staffing support Bingham's practical approach, whereby we draw upon our experience to avoid reinventing the wheel at the client’s expense. The costs and potential benefits of significant tasks are discussed with our clients in advance. Great care is taken in the assignment of members of the team to specific tasks. We are extremely sensitive to both sides of the equation regarding seniority. On the one hand, tasks that can be performed efficiently by lower-level staff should be performed at that level to provide cost-effectiveness. On the other hand, we are aware that a more experienced lawyer can often perform certain tasks more efficiently and in less time. We make every effort to staff each task in the most efficient way.
We tend to staff cases leanly. We do not assign large numbers of lawyers and legal assistants to a case just because additional staff may be needed at some later point. Additional resources will be available when and if they are needed. We frequently work with other defense counsel under joint defense agreements to hold down costs.