Best Law Firms 2021

Miller Johnson’s environmental experience extends from counseling on compliance issues and transactions to mediation and litigation of disputes in federal and state courts. We recognize that environmental laws, regulations and litigation will continue to affect the operations of our clients and can support the professional staff some clients maintain to handle these issues or counsel and defend a client who is facing an environmental claim for the first time. As illustrated in more detail below, we are experienced in the following areas:

  • Permitting, compliance, reporting, audits, and enforcement
  • Corporate and real estate transactions
  • Site remediation and superfund liability
  • Storage tank regulation
  • Wetlands, sand dunes and other land use restrictions
  • Solid and hazardous waste management, disposal and cleanup
  • Toxic tort litigation
  • Criminal defense
  • Numerous other areas, such as PCBs, asbestos and lead paint management, and Best Management Practices and ISO 14001 registration

Our practice includes experience with federal, state and local regulators and the legislative process. We also have an active energy and utility practice, and OSHA/MIOSHA experience.

Permitting and Compliance

We work with clients and consultants on preparation or renewal of and compliance with air, water and other permits, including:

  • Permit consolidation
  • Renewable operating permit modifications and transfers
  • Respond to notices of violation and negotiate consent orders addressing compliance and penalty claims, including those involving PCBs, hazardous substance transportation, asbestos, and air emissions
  • Storm water management permits and pollution prevention plans
  • Negotiate and secure solid waste permits from local, state and federal agencies
  • Represented national hazardous waste firm which manages waste using state-of-the-art technology
  • Audits, reporting and alleged violations of Community Right-to-Know reporting

Storage Tank Regulation and Compliance 

  • Evaluate impact on purchase and sale of businesses and real estate
  • Handle numerous cases involving UST and AST regulatory compliance, tank replacement and remediation, as well as disputes among private parties and with the state

Real Estate Transactions

  • Represent purchasers, sellers and developers in all types of transactions. Oversee and review numerous environmental site assessments, Baseline Environmental Assessment and Due Care Plans; and counsel clients in connection with leasing as well as the purchase and sale of property.
  • Assist clients in redeveloping contaminated and obsolete property, including assistance in obtaining grants, Brownfield financing, Renaissance Zone designation and Brownfield tax credits

Corporate Transactions

Represent buyers and sellers in evaluating and resolving concerns pertaining to potential environmental exposure in connection with mergers and acquisitions and reorganization, including lender issues.

Land Use and Natural Resource Issues

Work with clients to achieve goals for management of natural resources under complex regulatory framework, including:

  • Obtain inclusion of client’s property in local Brownfields program
  • Negotiate an environmental indemnity agreement and covenant not to sue to allocate risk and enable Brownfields project to proceed
  •  Wetlands filling and development
  • Sand dunes development
  • Gravel mining
  • Erosion and runoff control throughout the State, including along the Great Lakes

Toxic Torts

Represent Fortune 500 companies in toxic tort cases, leading to dismissal prior to trial; asbestos defense litigation.

Superfund (and State Equivalents)

Represent individual clients in all phases, from initial notice and information requests by U.S. EPA and state agencies, through remedial design and remedial action; handle specialized matters and serve as common counsel to group of potentially responsible parties at Superfund sites:

  • Counsel individual major and de minimis clients in connection with claims by government agencies and other private parties, including: American Chemical Services Site (Indiana); Auto-Ion Site; Folkertsma Refuse Site; Green Bay Paint Sludge Site; Holtz & Krause, Inc. (Wisconsin); Kentwood Landfill;  Northeast Gravel Site; SCA Independent Landfill (Indiana);  Sparta Township Landfill; Thermo Chem and Thomas Solvent Sites; Willow Run Site; Lake Calumet Cluster Site (Illinois); KDW, Inc. Superfund Site (Kentucky); Constitution Road Drum Site (Georgia).
  • Counsel and defend with respect to specific topics within Superfund, including officer and director liability, natural resource damages (NRD) claims, the 1999 Scrap Recycling Exemption, corporate parent liability, toll manufacturing
  • Plaintiff cost recovery

Environmental Litigation and Mediation

Represent clients in court through discovery and other phases of litigation, and the allocation/mediation process at numerous sites, including:

  • Represented the named defendant in a case involving issues of corporate parent liability litigated to the United States Supreme Court
  • Obtained summary judgment for client dismissing all cost recovery claims
  • Environmental insurance litigation.  For example:
    • Obtained multi-million dollar settlement for a client in suit against eight insurance companies for coverage for environmental contamination occurring over many years
  • Represented site owners in Superfund contribution case against major petroleum and chemical companies
  • Served as common litigation counsel for group of several dozen defendants in major Superfund contribution case filed by landfill owner Hartley & Hartley
  • Represented clients in cases involving liability for PCB contamination resulting from spills, leaks, and transformer incidents
  • Defended corporate officers and directors as liable parties under Superfund and/or Part 201 of Michigan’s Natural Resources and Environmental Act.
  • Obtained summary judgment for a chemical manufacturer which was sued for personal injury resulting from worker’s exposure at customer’s factory
  • Other litigation matters include defense against MEPA claims;  landfill permitting litigation;   Albion/Sheridan Township Landfill; Butterworth Landfill;  Cadillac Groundwater Site; Cork Street Landfill;  Des Moines TCE Site (Iowa); Skinner Landfill (Ohio); Kalamazoo River Study Group litigation; Metamora Landfill; Verona Well Field Site/Grand Trunk litigation; the West KL Avenue Landfill; Yeoman Creek/Edwards Field Landfill (Illinois).
  • Two Members of the firm serve on the United States District Court facilitative mediator panel and have mediated a number of environmental cases

Environmental Criminal Defense

Our group has substantial experience with white collar criminal allegations, active defense of criminal environmental law cases.