Michael McGovern has practiced primarily in environmental litigation since the early 1990s. He has broad expertise in various types of environmental litigation, particularly cases involving CERCLA/Superfund, petroleum contamination and toxic torts. He also regularly handles environmental insurance claims, breach of contract, warranty or lease claims involving environmental issues, Endangered Species Act challenges and NEPA claims, as well as civil and criminal environmental enforcement actions.
Mr. McGovern has represented clients in numerous federal and state courts, before administrative law judges, commissions and boards and in various types of ADR proceedings. He has amassed substantial experience in all aspects of environmental case advocacy and management, including serving as first-chair counsel at numerous trials, mediations and hearings. He has even served as an expert witness on environmental contamination issues.
Mr. McGovern also regularly counsels banking and corporate clients on land use/transactional issues for contaminated properties, such as due diligence, property transfer requirements, brownfields, greenfields, voluntary cleanups, environmental indemnities, warranties and representations, liability transfer packages and other types of insurance and indemnification mechanisms.
In addition, Mr. McGovern advises clients on various types of environmental management and regulatory issues, including governmental and private party negotiations concerning remedial requirements and the allocation of related costs and obligations, AST/UST requirements, lender liability issues and environmental inspections and audits.
Publications, Speeches and Presentations
- Scrap metal recyclers – successful defense of a CERCLA cost recovery action based primarily on a statutory defense provided for under the Superfund Recycling Equity Act (U.S. v. Mountain Metal Co., 137 F. Supp. 2d 1267 (N.D. Ala. 2001))
- Major oil company – successful defense that included dismissal of a cost recovery action at the summary judgment stage and recovery of attorney’s fees through the novel application of a state law (Teck General Partnership v. Crown Stations, Inc., 11 Fed. Appx. 119 (4th Cir. 2001))
- Multinational package printing company – favorable result in a breach of contract action brought against the manufacturer of an environmental pollution abatement system (Aluglass Packaging, Inc. v. Weatherly, Inc., (D. Md. 1999))
- Major oil company – successful recovery at trial of remediation costs and attorney’s fees in a cost recovery action brought against a regional petroleum distributor (Crown Central Petroleum Corp. v. Webb’s Oil Co., 8 Mealey’s Litig. Rep. 12 (W.D. Va. 1996))
- Former owner/operator of a defunct municipal landfill – successful defense at trial of a CERCLA cost recovery action concerning contaminated property (Catoctin Investment Corp. v. Town of Leesburg, (E.D. Va. 1995))
- Appearance as expert witness on the issue of the effect of regulatory remedial requirements on the valuation of contaminated property in an equitable distribution proceeding (Johnson v. Johnson, (Va.Cir.Ct. 1997))