Brian Israel focuses his practice on environmental litigation and counseling. One of the nation's leading lawyers for Natural Resource Damages (NRD), Mr. Israel has been serving as lead NRD counsel to BP in relation to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. He also represents corporations in matters involving environmental enforcement and contaminated properties (including toxic tort lawsuits).
Mr. Israel's litigation experience includes representing corporations in matters involving workplace safety, incident investigations, and product liability. His counseling practice covers environmental issues in large corporate transactions, brownfields redevelopment, environmental management systems, and regulatory compliance.
Prior to joining Arnold & Porter, Mr. Israel was an Honors Trial Attorney in the Environmental Enforcement Section of the US Department of Justice (DOJ). While at the DOJ, Mr. Israel handled several high-profile environmental cases, including a large Natural Resource Damages claim related to the marine impacts of dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane (DDT) disposal. In 1998, Mr. Israel was awarded the Distinguished Service Award for his accomplishments in a Clean Air Act jury trial. He also litigated claims on behalf of the US Environmental Protection Agency pursuant to the Clean Water Act, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA).
Mr. Israel has spoken and written extensively about environmental law issues. He serves as co-chair of the annual NRD conference hosted by Law Seminars International. He is the author of the Natural Resource Damages chapter in the Environmental Law Practice Guide (Gerrard, ed.), which includes a comprehensive, 50-state guide of NRD programs. Since 2000, Mr. Israel has been an instructor at the Environmental Law Institute "Boot Camp." He has also written several articles regarding corporate liability issues. Mr. Israel's student note, "An Environmental Justice Critique of Risk Assessment," is published in the NYU Environmental Law Journal.
Mr. Israel clerked for the Honorable Julia Smith Gibbons, Chief Judge of the United States District Court, Western District of Tennessee (1995-1996).
Environmental Representative Matters
- BP, as lead counsel, in NRD matters relating to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, overseeing all legal aspects of defense, including a large team of lawyers and experts. Mr. Israel has been involved in negotiations with the US Department of Justice, Department of Interior, NOAA, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, and Texas.
- Honeywell International, as lead counsel for its Syracuse portfolio, including Onondaga Lake, one of the largest lake Superfund sites in the United States. Mr. Israel represents the company in all aspects of its environmental activities in Syracuse including natural resource damage claims being asserted by federal and state trustees.
- Multi-national agricultural corporation related to potential NRD claims resulting from phosphate mining operations.
- Solutia/Eastman Chemical with respect to potential NRD liability at PCB manufacturing plants.
- CBS, as lead counsel, for natural resource damages claims at the Palmerton Zinc Superfund Site near the Appalachian Trail in Palmerton, Pennsylvania. At this site, the state and federal trustees have alleged massive deforestation resulting from historic zinc smelting operations. Mr. Israel has led the company's defense of the claim including successful negotiations with the trustees.
- Motorola (2006-2007) in a natural resource damages case in Puerto Rico.
- While at the US Department of Justice, Mr. Israel was one of the lead government lawyers prosecuting the Montrose DDT litigation which alleged massive natural resource damages off the coast of the Palos Verdes shelf.
- BP regarding Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
- CSX in putative class action, which sought damages related to a fire at hazardous waste disposal facility.
- Tokyo-based company with respect to wrongful death claim at subsidiary's plant. Affirmed on appeal.
Brian D. Israel
"Q & A With Arnold & Porter's Brian Israel
" Environmental Law360,
March 4, 2013
Brian D. Israel
"Natural Resource Damages
" (PDF: 7.97 MB) Chapter reprinted from Environmental Law Practice Guide: State and Federal Law, published by Matthew Bender & Co., Inc., a member of the LexisNexis Group.