With over a decade in practice, Chris has a wealth of experience representing clients in transactional matters, regulatory guidance, administrative appeals and litigation—all in the environmental practice area.

Chris counsels clients around the world on the complexities of environmental regulations and laws ranging from issues involving chemicals in products such as food, pharmaceuticals and consumer goods to contamination in air, soil and water. He also represents clients in environmental disputes before regulatory bodies and in federal and state courts around the United States involving all manner of environmental claims, including claims based on California’s Proposition 65, HSAA, Public Resources Code, CEQA, UCL, FAL and other state environmental common law claims like nuisance and trespass, as well as federal claims based on CERCLA, RCRA, CWA, OPA, FIFRA, CAA and NEPA.

Representative Experience

  • Defending pesticide manufacturers and distributors in federal and state coordinated proceedings from products liability and environmental property damage claims based on alleged groundwater contamination.
  • Prosecuting cost recovery claims based on CERCLA, HSAA and state environmental common law claims for naturally occurring asbestos contamination involving redevelopment of real property.
  • Representing consumer products supplier in negotiations with collection of twenty-plus California district attorneys to avoid prosecution for the sale of plastic products labeled as biodegradable in violation of Public Resources Code and Unfair Competition and False Advertising laws.

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  • Advising manufacturers and suppliers of pharmaceuticals and food products on compliance with Proposition 65.
  • Defending food products manufacturer against citizen suit brought under Proposition 65.
  • Counseling real property holding companies on environmental considerations for redevelopment of environmentally impacted property.
  • Representing a construction aggregate mining company in federal CWA citizen suit for alleged non-compliance with NPDES permit terms.
  • Petitioned SCAQMD for variance from risk reduction plan regulating industrial facility’s emissions of hexavalent chromium to provide for additional time to implement necessary risk reduction measures.
  • Serving as outside environmental counsel to a railway transportation company to address environmental-related administrative, regulatory, and litigation matters that arise at the federal and state levels in California.
  • Handled administrative appeal of environmental regulations impacting MS4 NPDES permittee resulting in holding of regulations in abeyance until further environmental review can be conducted.
  • Representing a roofing materials manufacturer in administrative proceedings with Cal/OSHA over health and safety measures instituted at industrial facility.
  • Defended a natural gas regulator manufacturer from products liability claims in state court resulting from explosion.
  • Litigated a CWA citizen suit on behalf of a county in Southern California, including filing of motion to dismiss suit based on wholly past defense, resulting in nominal settlement for the county.
  • Appealed a conditionally approved risk reduction plan to SCAQMD hearing board to address inconsistencies presented in conditions imposed by regulatory agency.
  • Represented an industrial manufacturer before Cal/OSHA Appeals Board and Bureau of Investigation related to an explosion causing personal injuries and environmental contamination.
  • Advised a property owner on obtaining closure for soil contamination at and around an apartment complex.
  • Defended product manufacturers and distributors from claims brought under Proposition 65.
  • Counseled an international precious metals refiner on environmental regulatory compliance issues raised by importation of products into the United States and California.
  • Guided a Fortune 500 Company on navigating California thermal emittance standards for insulation, roofing, and composite products.
  • Counseled a railroad transportation company on regulatory dealings with federal and state environmental regulators addressing concerns over environmental impacts at properties around the country.
  • Litigated CERCLA, RCRA, and common law environmental claims related to soil and groundwater on behalf of a railroad resulting in dismissal of a public nuisance claim based on motion to dismiss.
  • Represented an oil and gas pipeline company in litigation involving access to mineral rights.
  • Prosecuted and defended CERCLA cost recovery claims on behalf of a railroad company against prior tenants and surrounding property owners for environmental contamination around the United States.
  • Represented a collection of real property owners in defending and prosecuting federal and state environmental claims for soil and groundwater contamination.
  • Counseled a public utility on issues of environmental regulatory compliance for business operations around Southern California.
  • Represented a public utility, commercial real property owners and a national theme park in environmental regulatory dealings with federal and state regulatory agencies and in litigation matters arising under federal and state environmental statutes.
  • Guided a food flavoring company on environmental regulations associated with operations in California.
  • Advised distributors of consumer products on necessary warnings under Proposition 65.
  • Guided industrial facilities through NPDES permitting and compliance.
  • Advised clients on environmental regulations, including RCRA, CERCLA, NEPA, CWA, OPA, FIFRA, CEQA, CLRRA, HSAA, Polanco Redevelopment Act and Porter-Cologne Water Quality Act.
  • Represented environmental consultants, sheet metal manufacturers and recyclers, aerospace equipment manufacturers, automobile parts manufacturers, pesticide manufacturers and distributors, and various real property owners in negotiations with U.S. EPA, U.S. ACE, DTSC, DPR, various RWQCB, and NDEP. Issues involved permitting, reporting, compliance, and liability based on Superfund, RCRA, Brownfields, CWA, NEPA, CEQA, OPA, and the National Marine Sanctuaries Act.
  • Defended product manufacturers, distributors, and business operators from toxic tort, product liability, and environmental claims arising out of products liabilities theories, federal and state statutory claims, and numerous common law tort theories.
  • Second-chaired a successful nine-day federal jury trial involving claims of fraud and breach of contract against a reality television star resulting in a jury verdict in excess of $8M.
  • Defended a transporter of hazardous substances from claims made pursuant to CERCLA, HSAA, and common law.

Professional Highlights

  • Co-Presenter, “Prop. 65: Revised Warnings One Year Later and Developments in PFOA/S, Acrylamide, Glyphosate, and Soluble Nickel,” Strafford Webinar (July 2019)
  • Presenter, “Assessing, Managing, and Forecasting Environmental Liability…Once Considered Settled and Closed,” CHWMEG 2018 Fall Meeting, New Orleans (November 2018)
  • Co-Presenter, “Prop. 65 Revisions: Liability Allocation, New Safe Harbor Warning, Internet Warnings,” Strafford Webinar (July 2018)

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  • Presentations
    • Co-Presenter, “CERCLA Actions and Statute of Limitations: Navigating the Circuit Split, Lessons From Recent Decisions,” Strafford Webinar (July 2018)
    • Co-Presenter, “The Coal Ash Rule: Looming Battles Over Enforcement and Rollback,” Firm Webinar (October 2017)
    • Presenter, “Recent Updates to CERCLA,” CHWMEG 2017 Annual Meeting, Tampa (May 2017)
    • Co-Presenter, “Clean Water Act Citizen Suits: Defense and Litigation Strategies,” Strafford Webinar (March 2017)
    • Co-Presenter, “CERCLA Actions and Statute of Limitations: Navigating the Circuit Split, Lessons from Recent Decisions,” Strafford Webinar (February 2017)
    • Presenter, “An Update on Aerial Emissions and CERCLA Liability as we as a Primer on Recent Environmental Issues Impacting Industrial Waste Management,” CHWMEG 2016 Fall Meeting (November 2016)
    • Presenter, “Air Emissions from a Recycling Facility May be the Basis for an Entirely New Wrinkle for CERCLA Liability,” CHWMEG 2016 Annual Meeting (May 2016)
    • Co-Presenter, “Joint and Several Liability is the Future of the Clean Water Act,” NACWA Hot Topics in Clean Water Law Web Seminar (December 2015)
    • Co-Presenter, “Preparing for E-Scrap’s Unexpected,” e-Scrap 2015 Conference (September 2015)
    • Presenter, “Risk Management Concerns in the eWaste Processing & Recycling Sector,” Environmental Show of the South (April 2015)
  • External Publications
    • Author, “Court Leaves Cracks for ‘Aerial Emissions’ Liability under CERCLA,” LA Daily Journal (August 2016)
    • Author, “A New Basis for CERCLA Liability?,” LA Daily Journal (March 2016)
    • Author, “The Economics of E-Waste and the Cost to the Environment”, Natural Resources & Environment Magazine (Fall 2015)
    • Author, “Sustainable Land Application of Sewer Sludge as a Biosolid,” Natural Resources & Environment Magazine (Winter 2014)
    • Co-Author, “Circuits Say CERCLA Contribution Available for State Law Liability,” LA Daily Journal (August 2013)
    • Author, “New Clean Water Act Decision Raises Defense Concerns,” LA Daily Journal (July 2013)
    • Co-Author, “Court Says Clean Water Act Permit Reviews Cannot Be Compelled,” LA Daily Journal (May 2013)
    • Co-Author, “EPA ‘Legislation by Memo’ Comes Under Fire,” LA Daily Journal (March 2013)
  • Honors & Awards
    • Super Lawyers, Southern California Rising Star (2018 and 2019)

Education

  • J.D., Seattle University School of Law, 2007
    cum laude

    B.S., San Diego State University, 2003

Admissions

  • California

Courts

  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California

    U.S. District Court for the Central District of California

    U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California

    U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California

    U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit