Environmental and Natural Resource Litigation

Gross & Klein LLP represents property owners, fishermen, non-profit organizations, communities, and individuals in litigation arising out of contamination, disputes over access and regulation, natural resource protection, and environmental review.

Our firm’s attorneys have a proven track record of successfully prosecuting high-profile environmental and natural resource cases. They understand the applicable law and the science; and their deep dedication and broad complex litigation experience ensure application of both in the ways needed to win. 

Representative Cases

A sample of some of the recent environmental and natural resource litigation cases handled by our attorneys:

  • Federal Court – Northern District of California | Pre-Litigation – Represent homeowners and commercial fishermen in claims against PG&E arising out of manufactured gas plant (“MGP”) contamination in the Marina and Fisherman’s Wharf neighborhoods of San Francisco and areas offshore thereof. Negotiated area-wide interim environmental investigation agreement after defeat of motion to dismiss federal Clean Water Act (“CWA”) and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (“RCRA”) claims. Separately negotiated interim and final resolutions on behalf of individual property owners. Published decisions from the case include: San Francisco Herring Ass'n v. Pac. Gas & Elec. Co., 81 F. Supp. 3d 847 (N.D. Cal. 2015). For more information visit here.
  • Federal Court – Northern District of California/Ninth Circuit – Represent class of commercial fishermen in constitutional challenge to four California laws under which nonresidents, for over two decades, were charged several times as much as residents for certain types of commercial fishing permits, licenses and registrations. All four challenged laws were struck down on a successful motion for summary judgment. The State’s appeal of the summary judgment order was rejected by a Ninth Circuit panel. Published decisions from the case include: Marilley v. Bohnam, 802 F.3d 958 (9th Cir. 2015).
  • Federal Court – Northern District of California/Ninth Circuit – Represent San Francisco Bay’s herring fishermen in Administrative Procedures Act (“APA”) claims against the Department of the Interior challenging its authority to prohibit commercial fishing in the waters abutting the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.
  • Federal Court – Northern District of California | California Superior Court/California Court of Appeals – Successful prosecution of federal National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”) and California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”) claims against Caltrans arising out of plans to expand a United States Highway through ancient redwoods of Richardson Grove State Park. As a result of the litigation the project has been halted since 2011. Published decisions from the case include: Bair v. Caltrans, 867 F.Supp.2d 1058 (N.D. Cal. 2012); Lotus v. Department of Transportation, 223 Cal.App.4th 645 (2014).
  • Federal Court – Northern District of California – Successful prosecution of federal Endangered Species Act (“ESA”) and NEPA claims against Caltrans and the National Marine Fisheries Service arising out of plans to expand a United States Highway along the Smith River in Northern California. The Smith River is the nation’s longest designated Wild and Scenic River, is the only major river in California that has never been dammed, and is home to California’s healthiest runs of Chinook salmon, coho salmon, and steelhead. The litigation has resulted in the project’s halt since 2014.
  • New York State Supreme – Represented New York attorney in defense of action brought by South American claimants challenging distribution of proceeds from environmental litigation. Achieved complete dismissal on motion to dismiss. Published decisions from the case include: Huani v Donziger, 997 N.Y.S.2d 219 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. 2014) aff’d 11 N.Y.S.3d 153 (1st Dept. 2015).
  • International Arbitration – Represented El Salvadoran local communities, as amici curiae, in a suit at the International Center for Investment Disputes (“ICSID”) by a Canadian mining company’s U.S. subsidiary against the government of El Salvador under the international investment provisions of the Central American Free Trade Agreement (“CAFTA”). Achieved first ever consideration of amicus curiae submission by CAFTA panel, which supported ultimately successful jurisdictional motion by government of El Salvador.
  • Federal Court – Southern District of New York, Eastern District of Louisiana – Represented several individuals, as defendants and third party subpoena recipients, in connection with high stakes claims arising out of foreign environmental litigation.
  • Pre-Litigation – Represented local community members opposed to unsuitable development of an ecologically sensitive canyon abutting clients’ neighborhood. In the face of regulatory hurdles and community opposition, the project was abandoned.
  • California Superior Court | Federal Court – Northern District of California – Represented commercial fishermen in environmental and natural resource claims arising out of the Cosco Busan oil spill. Successfully certified a litigation class and achieved settlements worth over $8 million.
  • Indonesian Constitutional Court – Represented Indonesian local communities and international environmental organizations in defense of a ban on open-pit mining in Indonesia’s protected forests. Defeated international mining company efforts to overturn the ban.