Capehart Scatchard’s environmental attorneys have long been recognized for their ability to find practical solutions to our clients’ complex environmental problems and, when necessary, to successfully litigate their cases before federal, state and local courts. The Practice’s attorneys frequently work closely with the Firm’s Business and Real Estate attorneys on matters relating to the acquisition, sale, and development of property and in structuring transactions to minimize environmental liabilities. Often these representations include drafting and negotiating environmental clauses of commercial contracts, environmental compliance and due diligence reviews, and environmental audits.
Our Practice attorneys provide our clients with a full range of environmental services.
The environmental landscape has shifted dramatically over the last decade. Both the federal Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (“NJDEP”) have altered their agendas from expensive adversarial litigation tactics to creative and cooperative solutions to address possible pollution. In this regard, Capehart Scatchard environmental attorneys counsel clients in regulatory matters which are subject to statutes such as Title V permitting under the Clean Air Act; water quality-related limitations under the Clean Water Act; exemptions for recycling/reclamation under RCRA; various CERCLA/Superfund matters as well as compliance with federal and state regulatory requirements relating to noise, soil and surface groundwater. We have successfully assisted clients many times, both in and out of court, with the air and water permitting process and defended several enforcement actions where the assertion of the NJDEP’s claim was violation of the permits.
Real Estate Transactions
With many real estate transactions including an environmental component, our real estate attorneys often call upon our Environmental Practice to assist them in structuring transactions to protect our clients from environmental pitfalls. Our Practice represents and assists sellers, buyers and developers of real estate in connection with a wide variety of environmental-related issues such as complying with the Industrial Site Recovery Act (“ISRA”) and the advantageous use of Brownfields legislation in connection with redevelopment of abandoned sites.
As the focus of a New Jersey environmental law practice has become more business-friendly, there has been a downturn in Superfund and Spill Act litigation, and an increase in the transfer and development of properties once considered useless. Our environmental attorneys are experienced litigators and have handled many government enforcement matters before federal and state courts, and administrative entities. The Practice has also handled a variety of private environmental litigation, including Superfund and Spill Act cases.
With environmental concerns impacting many corporate activities, Capehart Scatchard’s environmental attorneys often team with our transactional lawyers to advise clients on environmental problems arising from mergers and acquisitions as well as other business transactions and property transfers. Practice lawyers assist in the preparation and review of contract provisions involving environmental issues and in negotiating contract terms to limit environmental liabilities. Our Practice attorneys have also counseled lenders on environmental issues in such matters as loan initiations and workouts. We are familiar with, and have counseled lenders on, the secured creditor exemptions under CERCLA.
Wetlands and Pinelands
Capehart Scatchard’s environmental attorneys represent developers and other land owners in developing strategic plans in connection with development in wetlands and the Pinelands areas. Our governmental experience and familiarity with environmentally-related state agencies is particularly helpful to our clients when handling matters in this highly-regulated environmental area.
The Firm has been involved in OSHA matters for approximately twenty-five years. This involvement has occurred in three primary areas.
By far the most common scenario is our assisting an employer after it has been inspected and cited for violation of safety or health standards. Our assistance has usually taken one of two forms, either by providing counsel for a settlement of the citation(s) and proposed penalty or by initiating a contest and commencing administrative litigation. In the later context, we have tried cases to successful conclusion and have litigated not only before the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission but also before the Courts of Appeal. Both specification and performance-based standards have been involved in our advocacy on behalf of heavy and light manufacturers, construction companies, and the like.
A second scenario requiring our expertise has been in the area of preventative counseling. In this regard, we have provided review of policies, written practices and procedures, hired and interfaced with technical consultants.
A third scenario has involved our defending claims of discrimination or retaliation based on section 11(c) of the OS & H Act. In this context, the Firm has succeeded in obtaining dismissal of such claims.
In addition to serving as counsel to many companies, Firm attorneys have written and spoken publically regarding OSHA issues on several occasions. This activity includes contributing to the ABA treatise on three occasions, writing for publication in national journals and speaking in various forums, both locally and nationally, on various issues, most recently, ergonomics, workplace violence and safety and health self-auditing.
A sampling of our environmental/OSHA representative matters is listed below:
- Counsel petrochemical manufacturers with respect to air, water, and waste matters.
- Represent county governments and county improvement authority before NJDEP and in state and federal courts with respect to establishment of solid waste disposal systems.
- Successfully tried an air permit violation case where an adverse judgment would have likely resulted in a plant closing.
- Represent regional cranberry grower before the NJDEP with respect to compliance with state and federal wetlands regulations, and with respect to Green Acres land requisition issues.
- Represent regional high school district before New Jersey Pinelands Commission and NJDEP with respect to obtaining environmental and land use approvals required for high school construction.
- Successfully tried a noise pollution case for a Fortune 100 client where, after the trial concluded, the NJDEP withdrew its enforcement order on its own initiative.
- Represent chemical and electronics manufacturers before NJDEP with respect to compliance with state air pollution regulations.
- Successfully tried a case in Chancery Division for a large retailer involving storm water runoff for which a judgment of dismissal was obtained.
- Successfully defended a Clean Air Act case brought by the EPA and the Department of Justice for a national PVC producer.
- Assisted clients in avoiding massive penalty assessments in air permits and ECRA/ISRA matters.
OSHA Representative Matters
- Successfully handled two process safety management matters.
- Successfully handled and tried worker death cases in manufacturing and construction contexts.
- Successfully tried medical requirements matter for a large manufacturer.
Representative Client List
Representative of the Firm’s environmental clients are petrochemical and chemical manufacturers, developers, solid waste collection/hauling/processing entities, governmental entities, financial institutions, privately-held businesses, engineering firms, academic institutions, wall covering and other coating/printing companies, metal finishing, and light manufacturing.
Firm Experience and Highlights
The Environmental Practice includes attorneys with both public and private sector experience who often represent clients before regulatory administrative agencies and thoughtfully counsel them in the development of sound compliance strategies. Capehart Scatchard’s environmental lawyers strive to take an efficient, cost-effective and results-oriented approach when seeking favorable solutions to clients’ environmental problems by exploring all forms of advocacy in resolving compliance and transactional matters.