Environmental Litigation

Kean Miller represents local, national and international companies in a wide range of environmental litigation. We work closely with in-house counsel and business executives to develop strategies, establish goals and contain litigation costs. Kean Miller assists clients with environmental litigation in Louisiana and across the South. We frequently develop creative strategies for our clients in complex environmental matters.

Representative Experience

  • Representation of a global energy client adverse to a large landowner in Calcasieu parish.  The plaintiff asserted claims for $75 million in compensatory damages and $225 million in punitive damages for alleged negligence, breach of contract, unreasonable and excessive use of property, strict liability, and willful and wanton conduct in connection with historic oil and gas operations.  After two and a half weeks of trial in May 2015, and several adverse evidentiary rulings against the client, the jury returned a verdict in favor of our client, which included the adoption of the client's remediation plan.
  • Representation of a global energy client adverse to a significant landowner in coastal Vermilion Parish.  The plaintiffs sought more than $119 million in compensatory damages, plus punitive damages, for alleged negligence, unreasonable and excessive use of mineral lease rights, strict liability, and willful and wanton conduct in connection with handling and storage of wastes.  Plaintiffs claimed that our client had violated environmental regulations, which they claimed resulted in widespread contamination of soil, groundwater, and sediment that required hundreds of acres of wetlands to be excavated, among other remedies.  Plaintiffs also claimed that the alleged environmental contamination had infiltrated crabs and other seafood, making these products unsafe for human consumption.  After a three-week trial in 2015, the jury adopted the environmental remediation plan presented by our client and found that our client had not engaged in any negligent or willful conduct and had not exceeded any of its rights under the applicable mineral and surface leases.
  • Representation of a global energy refining company in litigation and regulatory proceedings involving an attempt by the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals to revoke our client’s exemption from continuous chlorination of a chemical plant water system.  If upheld, the revocation would have required a multimillion dollar reconfiguration of the water system.  The Administrative Law Judge ruled, based on the strength of the Kean Miller team’s hearing presentation and argument in post-hearing briefs, that the Department improperly revoked the exemption.
  • Representation of a global refining and chemical company in over 200 separate suits, involving over 30,000 plaintiffs, as a result of explosions and fires at a local refinery. The cases involved claims for personal injury, property damage, fear of cancer, exposure to numerous chemicals and substances, including benzene.
  • Representation of an international forest products company in a 1,000,000 member class action involving a claim for $160,000,000 arising out of a discharge into the Mississippi River. The suit alleged fear of cancer, cancer, and inconvenience.
  • Representation of international forest products company in a suit by neighborhood plaintiffs alleging exposure to various chemicals from a Plaquemine, Louisiana facility. The chemicals involved included VC, AN, and other toxic substances. The claims centered on fear of cancer from air contaminant exposure.
  • Representation of a global manufacturer in environmental litigation involving alleged ground and air exposure to toxic substances from a pesticide and herbicide mixing plant formerly comprising a city block in New Orleans.
  • Representation of one of the world’s leading phosphate producers in environmental litigation in connection with an explosion at a nitroparaffins plant in Sterlington, Louisiana. The explosion resulted in hundreds of individual claims for personal injury and property damage.
  • Representation of international nitrogen fertilizer producer in six class action environmental lawsuits that were filed following a release of ammonia from a Geismar, Louisiana facility. The plaintiffs claimed they were entitled to recover damages from our client for numerous injuries allegedly sustained from exposure to ammonia. The release resulted in a shelter in place being ordered by local authorities.
  • Representation of seven chemical companies in the Combustion, Inc. litigation. In this action we represented the companies on a joint defense basis. This litigation was a class action environmental lawsuit involving over 9,900 plaintiffs in connection with alleged exposure from the Combustion, Inc. "Superfund" site.
  • Representation of over 30 defendant companies in an environmental class action lawsuit involving alleged contamination of air, soil and groundwater from a Superfund site in Bayou Sorrel, Louisiana. We were successful in removing the pending litigation to federal court and defeating a motion to remand.
  • Representation of the successive owners of a refinery in a number of environmental class action cases involving air emissions from the Chalmette, Louisiana refinery. The cases involved thousands of plaintiffs who had multiple complaints from alleged exposure to both permitted long-term and emergency discharges.
  • Representation of an international industrial cleaning company in connection with two separate truck roll-over and chemical spill incidents and resulting class action litigation. The first incident was a spill of 2000 gallons of molten sulphur on Chippewa Street in Baton Rouge, resulting in 2300 claims by area residents for personal injury, fear and fright, and inconvenience. The second incident was a spill of 2400 gallons of “heavy ends” from ethylene dichloride on Interstate 110 in Baton Rouge, resulting in 1000 claims by area residents for personal injury and fear of cancer.
  • Representation of national corporation in a “Superfund nominated site” near Shreveport, Louisiana, where over 2,000 neighbors alleged property damage and personal injury exposure from ground water migration and air contamination.
  • Representation of a regional chemical company in over 150 lawsuits filed in Louisiana and Mississippi as a result of a rupture of a nitrogen tetroxide railcar at a chemical facility in Bogalusa, Louisiana. The incident resulted in the evacuation of part of the city.