Typical Fact Patterns in Environmental Lawsuits

Michael Goldman
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An accomplished litigator representing his clients in complex environmental disputes throughout the country.


Although the facts of each case undoubtedly differ, most environmental lawsuits share some striking similarities.  The cases usually involve claims related to either property damage or personal injuries.  Although it is possible, they rarely involve both.  Property damage claims usually involve alleged damage to the air, surface, subsurface, surface water or groundwater at or near real estate owned by the plaintiff as opposed to personal injury claims which concern exposure to the plaintiffs themselves.

Double your rate of failure … You are thinking of failure as the enemy of success. But it isn’t at all … so go ahead and make mistakes. Make all you can. Because remember that’s where you will find success.” Thomas J. Watson

With respect to property damage claims, the plaintiffs are typically the current owners of real estate which has been impacted by historical operations on their property or the current owners of a neighboring property which has been impacted due the migration of contaminants from a site with historical operations.  It is not unusual for the owner to have learned of the contamination when he attempted to sell his property and the lender for the buyer discovered it as part of its due diligence.  The problem, of which the current owner was previously unaware, now has to be dealt with if the owner ever wants to sell the property.  Dealing with the problem, however, can be very expensive and potentially take years if not decades to complete.

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