Environmental

CHAIR

Brandt, Greggory C.

510.834.6600 T

510.808.4645 F

Overview


Wendel Rosen is home to a talented team of environmental lawyers. The attorneys in this group handle matters for both public and private sector clients on a variety of complex compliance, permitting, negotiation, investigation, remediation and litigation matters. Frequently dealing with local, state and federal regulatory agencies and staff, the team helps clients to navigate through this highly technical landscape.

Clients of this practice include commercial and residential real estate developers, shopping center owners, public entities, construction companies, and real property buyers and sellers, as well as companies from manufacturing, industrial, agricultural, chemical, pharmaceutical, technology, automotive and retail industries.

Typical matters handled by the firm's environmental attorneys include:

  • Contaminated site investigation, cleanup, closure and health risk management
  • Development of environmentally impaired property
  • Identifying and addressing issues in real property, asset and business sales (“due diligence”)
  • Underground and above ground storage tank compliance, closure and reimbursements
  • Storm water permitting and compliance requirements
  • CERCLA cost recovery and contribution litigation
  • Solid and hazardous waste landfills
  • Wetlands and endangered species
  • CEQA and NEPA compliance
  • Air, water and hazardous waste compliance and permitting
  • Resources Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) compliance and litigation
  • Toxic tort and stigma damage litigation based on exposures to contaminated sites
  • Proposition 65 compliance and defense
  • Defense of environmental citizen suits
  • Emergency planning, reporting and community right-to-know
  • Environmental insurance coverage, claims analysis and cost recovery
  • Occupational safety and health compliance, enforcement, appeals and variance proceedings

The attorneys are also experienced in dealing with unusual matters, such as addressing environmental concerns that arise during bankruptcy proceedings.

We have a "can-do" approach.

Along the Oakland estuary and waterfront, we have assisted parties with the remediation of contaminated property and the recovery of associated costs, as well as with lawsuits and administrative actions to fund the remediation and obtain site closure.  We have represented public entities/municipalities in cost recovery, compliance and CEQA negotiations.  We have assisted with the redevelopment of former industrial, infill and “brownfield” sites. One of the largest basic chemical and agricultural chemical manufacturers in the world has used Wendel Rosen attorneys with respect to CERCLA claims on numerous sites in California and Hawaii, including the successful recovery of response costs against the United States Government.

Other clients include several publicly traded real estate investment trusts, a number of shopping center owners, several scrap metal facilities, one of the largest cold storage and logistics companies in the United States, a manufacturer of skin care and hair care products, an independent ice cream manufacturer, and a nonprofit farmlands and open space foundation. The firm also represents several individuals and partnerships, including those who own or purchase real property and seek advice about the liabilities they have inherited or would like to avoid.

Wendel Rosen attorneys take a "can-do" approach, looking for practical solutions to accomplish each client's business goals.

Experience

Transactional Matters

  • Instrumental in the approval of the exchange and sale of Port of Oakland public trust land to Oakland Harbor Partners, LLC. The $35 million development will support a mixed-use residential development of more than 3,000 units of market-rate and affordable rental and for-sale housing, 200,000 square feet of retail and commercial space and two new marinas. The transaction includes finding exchange parcels, conducting the necessary negotiations and the passage of precedent-setting legislation to facilitate the deal.

  • Assisted a number of residents in San Francisco in negotiations with a utility and the Department of Toxic Substances Control over the remediation of historical contamination beneath their homes and compensation for the associated losses.

  • Lead counsel for a scrap metal company's purchase of a facility in San Leandro, California, negotiating provisions to indemnify client, which was taking over and industrial site with known environmental issues.

  • Worked with a closely held trust to meet difficult deadlines for the remediation and sale of a 1-acre parcel to a county transit district for expansion of its maintenance facilities. The firm negotiated an agreement in which the former operator of the property conducted a significant portion of the environmental work without the need for litigation.

  • Assisted a national retailer with environmental issues, including response to Polanco Act demands, from a California redevelopment agency, resulting in the successful sale of the multi-million dollar property to a third party.

  • Assisted a national cold storage and logistics company with obtaining a favorable variance from the Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board with regard to regulations that would otherwise have required the client to spend millions of dollars to address the alleged violation.

  • Provided environmental due diligence nationwide for a national fitness chain and assisted in the evaluation, investigation and remediation of contaminated property to allow for the construction of fitness centers and associated facilities.

  • Represented the owners of a Napa County vineyard in negotiating a settlement of a Cleanup and Abatement Order in which the agency initially sought penalties and site restoration that could have cost the client several million dollars. The final resolution required only an off-site mitigation program, which cost the owners $15,000.

  • Assisted a San Francisco property owner in a case against a publicly-traded international oil and gas company, in which we obtained for the client reimbursement for past remediation costs (including attorneys’ fees), installation of a soil and groundwater cleanup system, indemnity for future costs and a guarantee that the oil and gas company would pay any future incremental development costs resulting from the contamination.

  • Wendel attorneys Bruce Flushman and Gregg Brandt assisted a Northern California refinery with environmental permitting and compliance issues, as well as taking the lead on environmental due diligence matters for a possible sale of the facility.

  • was lead counsel for the Alco Iron & Metal purchase of a WR Grace facility in San Leandro, California. Chris negotiated provisions to indemnify the buyer, which was taking over and industrial site with known environmental issues.

  • assisted the Port of Oakland in negotiating the remediation of the former Alaska Airlines maintenance facility site at the Oakland International Airport.

  • assisted the Port of Oakland in negotiation of cleanup requirements and the construction details for a state of the art tank farm at the Oakland Airport. The tank farm, which cost in excess of $25 million, supplies jet fuel to the airport and became fully operational within the past 12 months.


Litigation Matters

  • Representing owners of coastal property, obtained a ruling from the California Court of Appeal, that a State Lands Commission policy restricting coastal development was an illegal, underground regulation and could not be used to prevent the landowners from developing their property. (Bollay v. California Office of Administrative Law, et al., California Court of Appeal Case No. C 063268 (Sacramento County Superior Court Case No. 34-2008-80000072).)

  • Negotiated a multi-million dollar settlement for a client seeking to recover environmental investigation, business interruption, loss of use and diminution in value damages from the former owners and operators of an automobile dealership in Palo Alto, California. (AR Automotive, LLC, et al. v. Henry Khachaturian, et al., Case No. RG09450197)

  • Obtained a final judgment dismissing CERCLA claims by the State of California and private parties against The Dow Chemical Company at the Brown & Bryant site in Shafter, California. (Atchison Topeka & Santa Fe Railway, Co. v. Hercules, Incorporated, et al., United States District Court for the Eastern District of California Case No. CIV-F-96-5879.)

  • Represented a client that had previously purchased, remediated and sold property near the San Francisco Airport in litigation with an adjoining landowner who sued to recover his own remediation costs. Negotiated a favorable settlement for the client. (Haskins v. Cherokee Grand Avenue LLC, United States District Court for the Northern District of California Case No. CV 11-5142 YGR).

  • Assisted the owners of a shopping center in Alameda, California with remediation of historical contamination on the property and regulatory closure plus recovery of 100% of past environmental costs and indemnification for future environmental from a major oil refiner that was responsible for the contamination. (Sebanc v. Shell Oil Company, United States District Court for the Northern District of California Case No. C 10-04853 SC.)

Attorneys
  • Brandt, Greggory C.
    Chair
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  • Dunaway, Thiele Robin
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  • Flushman, Bruce S.
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  • Manley, Wendy L.
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  • McKae, Stephen
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  • Noma, Christine K.
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  • Redding, Jonathan W.
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  • Williams, Todd A.
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Publications

Wendel Rosen attorneys understand the importance of providing legal guidance that is clear, practical and answers the questions that you have, so that you can make the right decision and focus on running your business.  To that end, the members of the Environmental Practice Group keep up-to-date on new and emerging issues and frequently write and publish articles, news alerts, updates and white papers that address a variety of environmental issues. Links to recent publications can be found below:

Storm Water Log

 

Available Articles: