Contaminated Property

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Contaminated Property
Contaminated Property
Contaminated Property
Catherine Johnson
Hanson Bridgett attorneys have extensive experience managing obligations and liabilities associated with contaminated properties—and associated recovery of costs from other responsible parties or from insurance carriers. We offer practical solutions based on decades of experience—from underground storage tank releases to Federal Superfund sites.

What Sets Us Apart?

Experience. Decades of experience with some of the most contaminated properties in California and some of the most sophisticated transactions and redevelopment projects for some of the largest companies in the country.  

Our clients include public and private marine terminals, publicly-traded REITs, national and global manufacturing facilities, property owners of gas stations, auto repair facilities and dry-cleaning facilities, printing facilities, pesticide companies, regional and national developers, homebuilders, food companies, high tech manufacturing companies, transportation companies, public agencies, and private investors.

Unique Product. We are the only law firm in the country to offer a customized scope of work and bundled technical and legal services for contaminated properties. This product, Contaminated Property Consultation, has been designed by Hanson Bridgett attorneys and is available on a fixed-fee basis. We also offer a full suite of conventional services offered at our standard hourly rates.  

Broad Expertise. We have extensive expertise with every major regulatory agency in California (DTSC, RWQCB’s local agencies) and with all major laws governing cleanups (CERCLA, RCRA, HSAA, UST). Our experience extends to virtually every contaminant and to almost every industry sector.
Special Expertise. We have special expertise in areas that are not available from many other law firms, including:
  • Soil vapor intrusion
  • San Francisco’s Mahar Ordinance
  • Development projects
  • Lead-based paint abatement
  • Methane gas monitoring and abatement
  • Public agency experience
  • Waterfront properties
  • Military base closures
  • Complicated due diligence projects involving multi-million dollar cleanup and escrow agreements
  • PLL policies, both in negotiation of terms and tender of claims
Integrated Expertise. We work closely with other attorneys in our firm to provide you with the integrated expertise you need to manage the liabilities associated with contaminated properties and to optimize opportunities. 
  • Land Use – our CEQA and land use attorneys are available to assist with any CEQA review necessary for development or cleanup projects, and any conditional use or land permits associated with the contamination.
  • Tax Advice – our tax attorneys can provide advice to you or your accountant about planning for optimal tax treatment of costs associated with the contamination.    
  • Corporate – our business attorneys can assist you reorganize the structure of ownership of the property to better insulate other assets that you or your company own.
  • Insurance – our insurance coverage attorneys can advise you how best to position yourself for recovery of insurance proceeds and to tender claims for any PLL coverage.
  • Real Estate – our real estate attorneys are available to assist with any acquisition or other transaction involving contaminated properties.
  • Trusts and Estate – our probate and estate attorneys can help you protect your heirs from environmental liabilities.
  • Personal Injury Defense – we have one of California’s leading practices for defense of personal injury claims, including handling one of the most significant claims for alleged personal injury caused by soil vapor intrusion brought in California.
  • Insolvency and Bankruptcy – our environmental attorneys work closely with bankruptcy counsel to assist you preserve claims and maximize recovery against creditors who may be insolvent.
Client Service. We have trained with legal project management experts to identify and meet your strategic objectives through targeted communications and cost-effective allocation of resources.

Representative Projects

  • Represented developer under San Francisco’s amended Mahar Ordinance, which requires groundwater testing in most cases before applicable permits will be approved. We were able to successfully demonstrate no groundwater testing was necessary, and project is proceeding on schedule.
  • Represented nation’s largest homebuilder in developing single-family homes after discovery of pipeline release. Cleanup and development activities were able to proceed in tandem under agency oversight without project delay. We identified responsible party and were able to secure payment of cleanup costs without litigation.
  • Served on PRP management committee for state Superfund site which was finally closed and resulted in favorable cost allocation and settlement for client.
  • Represented property owner of multi-family home complex contaminated by neighboring dry-cleaning facility with elevated levels of vapors in homes. Advised client on disclosures to tenants and demands to responsible parties, resulting in multi-million dollar settlement with responsible parties and no claims from tenants or any vacancies at property.
  • Represented client in bankruptcy claim against pesticide manufacturing company for cleanup costs for contaminated property and was only creditor to secure an agreement approved by court for future cleanup costs based on unique strategy for recovering costs.
  • Current representation of clients in one of the largest Superfund sites in California, and several matters involving soil vapor intrusion and complicated cost-allocation issues.

If you have any questions about our experience or expertise in a specific area, please call us. This webpage identifies only a small subset of our experience, and on request, we can provide more detail about our experience pertinent to your situation and needs. We look forward to working with you.