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Environmental Enforcement and Toxic Tort Litigation

Consistently recognized as a top environmental and toxic tort litigation practice, Arnold & Porter excels at representing clients in high-stakes, complex environmental matters spanning the landscape of environmental law, including significant environmental enforcement actions, high-profile toxic tort class actions, and novel cases involving climate change and public nuisance issues. Our team has an established reputation serving as lead or national counsel in complex toxic tort litigations. We are known for developing innovative solutions for addressing the most complex litigation challenges, including a precedent-setting settlement from Deepwater Horizon. We also represent businesses with current operations or legacy liabilities involving a wide range of contaminants including emergent chemicals. Our lawyers are experienced litigators, who combine district, trial, and appellate court experience with deep regulatory know-how to achieve results for our clients.

  • Premier Environmental and Toxic Tort Litigators: Our team has an established track record litigating some of the most challenging environmental, natural resource damages (NRD), and toxic tort matters in the country, including serving as trial counsel for BP after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, defending class action and mass joinder toxic tort actions, litigating issues related to emergent contaminants, and undertaking complex regulatory litigation.

  • Climate Change Lawyers: Arnold & Porter has one of the most comprehensive climate practices in the country. With a sophisticated understanding of the underlying science, we represent clients in the transportation, energy, and chemical industries, among others, in climate-related government enforcement actions, citizen suits, regulatory rulemaking, and policy advocacy.

  • Integrated Solutions: We develop comprehensive, integrated strategies for solving complex environmental disputes. As part of this effort, our Environmental attorneys work regularly and closely with lawyers across the firm, including from our Appellate & Supreme Court, White Collar Defense & Investigations, Product Liability Litigation, and Legislative & Public Policy practice groups.

"Market-leading group offering deep expertise across the field…Particularly prominent for its involvement in the industry's most headline-grabbing disputes." –Chambers USA (Region: District of Columbia)
» Learn more about our Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG) Practice
» Read Environmental Edge, our blog for insights on environmental and climate change policy and law.
Environmental Edge
» Click here to learn more about our recently published Clean Water Act Essentials, Third Edition

Experience Highlights

  • Atlantic Richfield Company in representing client since 1991 in nationwide governmental and private plaintiff litigation asserting public nuisance, class action, economic injury, property damage, and personal injury claims arising from long-ago production of lead pigments formerly used in paints. Won all four cases that have gone to trial, disposed of hundreds more by motion and successfully defended these victories in several federal Courts of Appeal and highest state courts.
  • BP's primary environmental counsel related to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill since 2010. We have been core members of BP's virtual legal team; acted as lead counsel to the incident investigation team; managed the economic claims process; defended BP in citizen action lawsuits; led the company's Natural Resource Damages (NRD) defense; participated as trial counsel in the Clean Water Act penalty phase; participated in the defense of federal government and foreign state actions; and acted as lead counsel on claims related to federal debarment.
  • BP and ARCO as lead counsel for numerous cases originating on the West Coast involving the gasoline additive MTBE, and served as co-national coordinating counsel in ongoing national MDL proceedings involving MTBE. The proceedings involved nearly one hundred lawsuits and hundreds of parties complaining of groundwater contamination from MTBE. Since 1999, we have successfully resolved all of the West Coast MTBE naming BP or ARCO as a defendant and, during MDL proceedings, we participated actively in developing strategic and tactical priorities for the joint defense group as a whole.
  • BP in 20 novel climate change lawsuits filed by state and local governments in California, Washington, New York, Maryland, Rhode Island, and Hawaii, and by a fishermen's trade association. The plaintiffs in these cases allege that greenhouse gas-driven sea level rise is currently damaging and threatening to damage their coastal communities and civil infrastructures. These are the first lawsuits raising climate change and greenhouse gas emissions issues since the unsuccessful round of federal common law nuisance cases filed some ten years ago and have attracted national and international attention.
  • Chemours, as lead environmental counsel, on a range of regulatory, enforcement and litigation matters relating to the presence of chemicals in the Cape Fear River in North Carolina attributable to the client's facility, including a chemical referred to as GenX. We have advised the client on a range of environmental compliance issues, including entering into a Consent Order with the State of North Carolina, resolving the State's claims. We are also advising the client on a range of federal and state environmental issues at other facilities.
  • Honeywell, as lead toxic tort litigation counsel, in the defense of a consolidated class action and approximately 52 individual toxic tort suits arising out of the presence of PFOA in the groundwater and municipal water supply of Hoosick Falls, New York.
  • Honeywell in successful defense of a putative toxic tort class action which initially sought medical monitoring and property damage claims related to approximately 135 sites in Jersey City, NJ, allegedly contaminated by chromium.
  • The Mosaic Company in negotiating a complex settlement with the EPA and DOJ and, as well as with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality, to resolve allegations related to Mosaic's compliance with the RCRA at its phosphoric acid and ammoniated fertilizer manufacturing facilities in Florida and Louisiana, and in addressing issues arising under that settlement.
  • Whirlpool Corporation, as lead counsel, in two mass tort alleged "cancer cluster" cases involving several dozen of the company's plants. These actions included wrongful death claims for allegedly causing multiple cases of childhood cancers in the communities as well as property damage claims. The cases were dismissed with prejudice.
  • Wolverine World Wide, Inc. in three federal putative class action tort lawsuits and more than 200 individual personal injury and property damage lawsuits arising from the alleged presence of PFAS in drinking water in the vicinity of Rockford, Michigan.
Language - English

Focus Areas

Key Contacts

Brian D. Israel
Brian D. Israel
Washington, D.C.;
Los Angeles
+1 202.942.6546 +1 213.243.4005
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Related Services


  • Chambers USA
    Environment (Nationwide, DC, California, New York) (2023)
    Climate Change (Nationwide) (2023)
    Environment (Nationwide, DC, California) (2022)
    Shortlist—Awards for Excellence in Environment (including Climate Change) (2019)
  • The Legal 500 U.S.
    Environment: Litigation (2023)
    Product Liability, Mass Tort and Class Action: Toxic Tort — Defense (2022)
  • U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers
    "Best Law Firms" for Environmental – National, New York, Washington, D.C. (2024)
    "Best Law Firms" for Environmental Litigation – National, New York, Washington, D.C. (2024)
    "Best Law Firms" for Regulatory Enforcement Litigation – SEC, Telecom, Energy (2022)
    "Best Law Firms" for Natural Resources Law – National, New York (2022)
    "Law Firm of the Year" Litigation: Environmental (2022, 2024)
    "Law Firm of the Year" Environmental Law (2021)


  • Law360
    Named to the "Practice Groups of the Year" list in the areas of Environmental and Government Contracts. Up to 5 firms were selected for honors in each of 22 practice areas. Winners were selected from nearly 550 submissions based on significance, complexity, and size of matters in the past year. (2015)