Stephen Fitzgerald

Special Counsel

Stephen Fitzgerald Photo

Dallas

P: +1.214.953.6624 F: +1.214.661.4624
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Environmental Compliance, Regulatory & Administrative Representation

  • Counsel corporate oil, gas, chemical and manufacturing clients on issues relating to operation and management of over 150 international and domestic environmentally-impacted sites in more than thirty states including Texas, California, New York, New Jersey, Louisiana, Tennessee and Pennsylvania
  • Serve as common counsel between the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) and over 50 defendants and third-party defendants in New Jersey Superfund Site litigation and alternative dispute resolution process and negotiate final consent decree with NJDEP on behalf all parties
  • Provide environmental compliance counseling to manufacturing clients related to waste disposition, self-reporting, occupational health and safety (OSHA), worker safety, Greenhouse gas emissions, recycling and sustainable operations
  • Defend numerous administrative environmental enforcement and private party claims under federal and state environmental statutes, regulations and common law theories
  • Defend a $20 million federal response cost demand at one of the largest Superfund copper mining sites leading to two consent decrees involving the United States, federal potentially responsible parties, a federal corporation and state and federal environmental agencies
  • Represent client in response to state agency inquiry regarding heavy metals simultaneously leaching into approximately 50 different streams across multiple states culminating in a voluntary removal response
  • Interface with client’s environmental, technical accounting, communications and treasury groups to manage and administer a $350 million environmental financial assurance program in seventeen jurisdictions including chief financial officer test letters and parent guarantees, environmental insurance, letters of credit, trusts and surety bonds
  • Provide legal guidance relating to accrual of financial reserves, the ability to estimate losses and estimation of loss contingencies (FAS 5) for use in support of public financial reporting and disclosure.
  • Negotiate natural resource damages liability release from federal and state trustees for a 20-mile river stretch with 125 years of industrial activity without incremental cost or penalty
  • Pursue multimillion dollar claims against governmental entities as potentially responsible parties for historical environmental impacts at oil & gas, mining and chemical sites
  • Negotiate clean-up action and liability release agreement with private equity firm specializing in natural resource development
  • Advise clients at former petrochemical refining/production and retail sites with impacted soil, groundwater and vapors where sensitive receptors are co-located or in close proximity
  • Work with client to delist a large impacted soil area from a Superfund site and reduce its size by 75% through a streamlined administrative procedure facilitating redevelopment
  • Lead group of de minimis hazardous substance contributors in allocation and settlement negotiations against large performing parties and EPA ultimately leading to a 70% settlement demand reduction
  • Evaluate clients’ portfolio of facilities/sites for Greenhouse Gas reporting requirements and Sustainability/Green Remediation opportunities
  • Counsel client remediating chrome-impacted groundwater at a geotechnically sensitive former quarry within a floodplain
  • Advise manufacturing clients on spill reporting at operating chemical facilities and pipeline clients on hydrocarbon release impacts to surface water
  • Assist client in development and execution of its environmental self-audit and materials recycling programs
  • Create, and negotiate with EPA, a novel RCRA Design Investigation/ Focused Feasibility Study order to implement presumptive containment remedy
  • Negotiate RCRA orders at former chemical manufacturing facilities in Delaware and West Virginia
  • Advise clients on their U.S. and European obligations for long-term water treatment operations

Pre- & Post-Transactional Counseling

  • Advise client on allocation, site distribution, indemnity, guarantees and representations and warranties in multibillion dollar spin-off of a publicly listed oil and gas company
  • Support real estate transactions by providing counsel on property access, land trusts, federal development, restrictive covenants and institutional controls, conservation easements, property subdivision, and development bonds
  • Develop and negotiate leasehold transaction documents for environmentally-impacted real property to allow for surface development and reuse of contaminated property
  • Draft and negotiate environmental master services agreements, purchase orders and contracts for services and goods
  • Represent buyers in the acquisition of contaminated property and water treatment systems
  • Enforce environmental indemnity agreement against the United States Department of Energy allowing client to pursue hydrocarbon development plans at or near environmental areas of concern
  • Work with exploration and production entities on allocation of environmental responsibilities at compressor stations, fractionators and inactive emergency relief pits
  • Advise sell-side client on environmental investigation procedures and environmental indemnity in $100 million inactive petrochemical plant disposition
  • Counsel upstream client on Purchase and Sale Agreement, Unit Agreement and Unit Operating Agreement obligations at 20,000 acre operating oil & gas field
  • Prepare reports to client’s environmental committee and board of directors

Litigation

  • Resolve $10 million private cost recovery claim at a New York Superfund site utilizing contract, CERCLA, RCRA and common law defenses
  • Litigate and serve as trial co-counsel in Superfund contribution trial, 428 F. Supp. 2d 288, before the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania resulting in favorable $1.5 million judgment and defend resulting Third Circuit appeal, 287 Fed. Appx. 171 (3d Cir. 2008)
  • Pursue litigation defense strategy allowing client to be dismissed from Indiana federal private party litigation at the pleadings stage using a successor liability defense
  • Represent clients in federal and state environmental, toxic tort and land use litigation in Texas, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Indiana and Alabama
  • Recover over $2 million for client in the Plastics Additives Antitrust Litigation (MDL) in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
  • Planned, conducted and managed numerous internal investigation interviews of large multinational petrochemical corporation management and personnel, managed all MTBE class action discovery for same and lead deposition of one of three representative individual plaintiffs