McKae, Stephen

Stephen McKae
Attorney

t: 510.834.6600
f: 510.808.4675
smckae@wendel.com

Education

University of California, San Francisco, Hastings College of the Law; J.D.

Stanford University; B.A., with distinction

United States Navy Submarine School, Groton, CT; graduate

Admissions

State Bar of California

  • Profile
  • PRACTICE HIGHLIGHTS
  • AFFILIATIONS
  • RECOGNITIONS
  • INSIGHTS

A veteran litigator, Stephen has more than 40 years of experience in environmental and employment law at both state and federal levels. He has represented employers and individuals in class action and other complex litigation, guided business executives on policy and operational questions, and argued cases at all levels of the federal judicial system, including the Supreme Court of the United States. Stephen is experienced at successfully employing alternative and creative approaches to conflict resolution.

Environmental Litigation

Stephen’s current practice focuses primarily on environmental matters, including contaminated site remediation, brownfield development, cost recovery litigation, and related toxic tort and stigma damage claims. He has guided clients in public agency review of environmental permitting, claims related to chemical handling, response to abandoned tank sites, quarry restoration, landfills, and solid waste management issues.

Creative Conflict Resolution

Stephen pursues creative solutions to address business needs and community concerns, including mediation. He has planned for integration of institutional controls with permitting to reduce requirements for engineered remedies. He is experienced in fashioning agreements for funding of neighborhood relocation to obtain community support for an in-place remedy, the use of historical resources including federal archives to increase contribution from other parties, and marshaling scientific evidence for cost apportionment and allocation.

Employment and Employee Benefits Experience

Stephen’s employment, civil rights and employee benefits law experience includes work with employers, public entities and labor unions in a variety of administrative and litigation matters. He has handled matters under ERISA, Title VII, ADEA, Americans With Disabilities Act, Executive Order 11246, OSHA, the Family and Medical Leave Act, and corresponding state legislation, as well as proceedings before the National Labor Relations Board, the California Labor Commissioner, and in contract arbitrations and negotiations. He has extensive collective bargaining experience. He has represented numerous construction industry pension, health and apprenticeship trust funds with assets exceeding  $500 million in matters arising under ERISA, including plan structure, benefit improvements, withdrawal liability, COBRA and HIPAA implementation, and fiduciary liability.

Leadership

Active in civic and professional organizations, Stephen served as president of the Danville-Sycamore Valley Rotary Club, and serves as an early neutral evaluator and mediator for the United States District Court. Stephen served in the United States Naval Reserve as an active duty engineering officer from 1969 through 1972.

Stephen’s experience in environmental matters includes:
  • Cost recovery and enforcement litigation respecting industrial plants, agricultural chemical distributors and formulators, bulk storage facilities, chemical drum recyclers, and transmission pipeline releases under CERCLA, RCRA and HSAA, including cost recovery against the United States government for wartime chemical and ordnance plants and missile launch facilities
  • Toxic tort and stigma damage litigation based on exposures to contaminated sites
  • Contaminated site investigation, cleanup, closure and health risk management
  • Community relations for contaminated sites and community relocation
  • Public agency review of environmental permitting
  • Underground Storage Tank Fund claims and other claims related to chemical handling and manufacturing, petroleum refining and abandoned tank sites.
  • Contract and permit matters related to landfill operation, expansion, long-term closure costs and transfer of ownership
  • Quarry restoration and redevelopment
  • County solid waste management planning and waste importation agreements
  • Development of waste recycling programs and household hazardous waste programs
  • Operating agreements, agency approvals and waste stream guarantees in connection with a proposed waste-to-energy project
  • Brownfields redevelopment
  • Occupational safety regulation and enforcement in the construction, demolition, waste disposal, dry cleaning and manufacturing industries
The contaminated sites where Stephen has served as litigation or environmental counsel, or both, include among others:
  • Brown & Bryant (Arvin Plant), Arvin, California, EPA ID# CAD052384021 (Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway, etc. v. Brown & Bryant, Inc.), representing The Dow Chemical Company
  • Hookston Station, Pleasant Hill, California (Block, et al. v. Helix, et al. and Huddleston, et al. v. Union Pacific Railroad Company, et al.), representing Hookston Station property owners
  • Former Kaiser Marquardt aerospace plant, 56 acres at Van Nuys Airport (Kaiser Marquardt, Inc. v. The Marquardt Company), representing Kaiser Marquardt, Inc.
  • Zeneca/Campus Bay (formerly Stauffer Chemical) Site, Richmond, California, EPA ID #: CAD009123456, representing Cherokee Investment Partners III, L.P., and Cherokee Investment Partners III Parallel Fund, L.P.
  • Former Fuller-O’Brien Site, South San Francisco, CA, EPA ID #: CAD005130455, representing Cherokee Investment Partners II, L.P. and others
  • North Beach Manufactured Gas Plant site, Marina District, San Francisco, Envirostor ID # 60001239, representing residential property owners
  • Brown & Bryant (Shafter Site), Shafter, California, EPA ID# CAD009531823 (Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway, etc. v. Brown & Bryant, Inc.), representing The Dow Chemical Company
  • Del Amo Site, Torrance, California, EPA ID# CAD029544731 (Cadillac Fairview, California, Inc. v. The Dow Chemical Company, et al., (Pit Site); Shell Oil Company v. United States (Plant Site); Amcena Properties v. Shell Oil Company, et al. (Coca-Cola Bottling Company); and related cases), representing The Dow Chemical Company
  • Del Monte/Oahu Plantation (Kunia Plantation), Hawaii, EPA ID # HID980637631, representing The Dow Chemical Company
  • Industrial Waste Processing, Fresno, California, EPA ID# CAD980736284 and Pinedale Groundwater Site, Fresno, California (Calcot, Ltd. v. Vendo, et al.), representing The Dow Chemical Company
  • La Mirada Products, La Mirada, California (La Mirada Products v. The Dow Chemical Company), representing The Dow Chemical Company
  • Santa Fe Springs Oilfield, Santa Fe Springs, California (Beaumon Trust, et al. v. The Dow Chemical Company, et al.), representing The Dow Chemical Company
  • United Heckathorn Company, Richmond, California, EPA ID # CAD981436363 (Levin Metals Corp. v. Parr-Richmond Terminal Company, et al.), representing The Dow Chemical Company
  • Napa Bulk Terminal (Bay Cities Oil Marketers v. Commercial, Electrical, and Mechanical Maintenance Company, et al.), representing Chevron Products Company
  • Port of Oakland, Berths 23 and 24 (Port of Oakland v. ExxonMobil Oil Corporation), representing the Port of Oakland
    Dumbarton Quarry restoration and park development, representing the East Bay Regional Park District
  • Mouren-Laurens and Leach Oil Company sites, Los Angeles and Gardena, California, representing Union Carbide Corporation
  • Yosemite Creek sediment site, San Francisco, representing The Dow Chemical Company and Rohm and Haas
Employment and Employee Benefits Experience

Stephen’s employment, civil rights and employee benefits law experience includes work with employers, public entities and labor unions in a variety of administrative and litigation matters. He handles matters under ERISA, Title VII, ADEA, Americans With Disabilities Act, Executive Order 11246, OSHA, the Family and Medical Leave Act, and corresponding state legislation, as well as proceedings before the National Labor Relations Board and in contract arbitrations and negotiations. He has extensive collective bargaining experience. From 1976 through 1980, Stephen was the Northern California Home Builders Conference member of the standing Board of Adjustment under the Carpenters 46 Northern California Counties master residential construction agreement.

He has represented numerous construction industry pension, health and apprenticeship trust funds with assets of more than $500 million in matters arising under ERISA, including plan structure, benefit improvements, withdrawal liability, COBRA and HIPAA implementation, and fiduciary liability.

Danville-Sycamore Valley Rotary

  • President, 2015-2016

United States District Court

  • Early Neutral Evaluator and Mediator

American Bar Association

  • Labor and Employment Law Section, member
  • Natural Resources, Energy and Environmental Law Section, member

Alameda County Bar Association

  • Environmental, Land Use and Sustainability Section, member
  • AV® Preeminent™ rated by Martindale-Hubbell. AV is a registered certification mark of Reed Elsevier Properties Inc., used in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell certification procedure’s standards and policies.
  • Selected for inclusion in Northern California Super Lawyers magazine, 2004-2006, 2014-2018
  • Wendel Rosen’s Environmental Practice Group selected as one of top three in the San Francisco Bay Area in The Recorder’s 6th Annual “The Best” survey, 2012
  • Awarded “Best Paper” by the ABA Section of Environment, Energy and Natural Resources in its 39th Annual Conference on Environmental Law, March 18-21, 2010, for “The New ‘Classic’ Divisibility: Pre-Liability Apportionment By Degree

Publications

You’ve Just Become Your Brother’s Keeper

You’ve Just Become Your Brother’s Keeper

03/26/2015 | Construction Practice Newsletter

  On September 28, 2014, the Governor signed AB 1897, which imposes on employers who obtain or are provided workers to perform labor within the employer’s usual course of business…

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A Vapor Intrusion Primer for Real Property Transactions: 10 Questions to Ask Before You Buy or Lease Property

A Vapor Intrusion Primer for Real Property Transactions: 10 Questions to Ask Before You Buy or Lease Property

04/04/2014 | White Paper

Vapor intrusion from chemical contamination in soils and groundwater into overlying buildings has been one of the most talked about issues in environmental due diligence since a series of articles…

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News

Wendel Rosen Sees 26 Attorneys Named 2018 Northern California Super Lawyers and Rising Stars

Wendel Rosen Sees 26 Attorneys Named 2018 Northern California Super Lawyers and Rising Stars

07/10/2018

OAKLAND, Calif., July 10, 2018 – Wendel, Rosen, Black & Dean LLP announces that 26 attorneys have been named to the 2018 edition of Northern California Super Lawyers, including two…

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Education

University of California, San Francisco, Hastings College of the Law; J.D.

Stanford University; B.A., with distinction

United States Navy Submarine School, Groton, CT; graduate

Admissions

State Bar of California