Environment and Public Health

Robbins Geller attorneys represent plaintiffs in class actions related to environmental law. The Firm’s attorneys have represented, on a pro bono basis, the Sierra Club and the National Economic Development and Law Center as amici curiae in a federal suit designed to uphold the federal and state use of project labor agreements (“PLAs”). The suit represented a legal challenge to President Bush’s Executive Order 13202, which prohibits the use of project labor agreements on construction projects receiving federal funds. Our amici brief in the matter outlined and stressed the significant environmental and socio-economic benefits associated with the use of PLAs on large-scale construction projects.

Attorneys with Robbins Geller have been involved in several other significant environmental cases, including:

  • Public Citizen v. U.S. D.O.T. Robbins Geller attorneys represented a coalition of labor, environmental, industry, and public health organizations including Public Citizen, The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, California AFL-CIO and California Trucking Industry in a challenge to a decision by the Bush administration to lift a congressionally imposed “moratorium” on cross-border trucking from Mexico on the basis that such trucks do not conform to emission controls under the Clean Air Act, and further, that the administration did not first complete a comprehensive environmental impact analysis as required by the National Environmental Policy Act. The suit was dismissed by the Supreme Court, the Court holding that because the D.O.T. lacked discretion to prevent cross-border trucking, an environmental assessment was not required.
  • Sierra Club v. AK Steel. Brought on behalf of the Sierra Club for massive emissions of air and water pollution by a steel mill, including homes of workers living in the adjacent communities, in violation of the Federal Clean Air Act, Resource Conservation Recovery Act and the Clean Water Act.
  • MTBE Litigation. Brought on behalf of various water districts for befouling public drinking water with MTBE, a gasoline additive linked to cancer.
  • Exxon Valdez. Brought on behalf of fisherman and Alaska residents for billions of dollars in damages resulting from the greatest oil spill in United States history.
  • Avila Beach. A citizens’ suit against UNOCAL for leakage from the oil company pipeline so severe it literally destroyed the town of Avila Beach, California.

Federal laws such as the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, and state laws such as California's Proposition 65, exist to protect the environment and the public from abuses by corporate and government organizations. Companies can be found liable for negligence, trespass or intentional environmental damage, be forced to pay for reparations and to come into compliance with existing laws. Prominent cases litigated by Robbins Geller attorneys include representing more than 4,000 individuals suing for personal injury and property damage related to the Stringfellow Dump Site in Southern California, participation in the Exxon Valdez oil spill litigation, and the litigation involving the toxic spill arising from a Southern Pacific train derailment near Dunsmuir, California.

Robbins Geller attorneys have led the fight against Big Tobacco since 1991. As an example, Robbins Geller attorneys filed the case that helped get rid of Joe Camel, representing various public and private plaintiffs, including the State of Arkansas, the general public in California, the cities of San Francisco, Los Angeles and Birmingham, 14 counties in California, and the working men and women of this country in the Union Pension and Welfare Fund cases that have been filed in 40 states. In 1992, Robbins Geller attorneys filed the first case in the country that alleged a conspiracy by the Big Tobacco companies.