Law Seminars International Presents:

An Intensive One-Day Seminar on Litigating Environmental

Citizen Suits

The nuts and bolts for bringing and defending against private enforcement actions

February 2, 2018

Seattle, WA
(or anyplace you may be via webcast!)

Download PDF Brochure
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Program Overview

Who Should Order

In-house, private sector, and government attorneys; technical experts; senior executives and risk managers; NGO program managers; and anyone else involved with environmental compliance issues

Why You Should Order

Citizen suits are among the most active and most heavily-litigated corners of environmental law. Citizens, both as individuals and as groups, frequently file claims and lawsuits against businesses to enforce several federal environmental statutes, including the Clean Water Act and the Clean Air Act. They also bring many actions against the government to challenge rule makings, compel government action or to disclose documents, among others.

Statutory fee-shifting provisions that allow prevailing plaintiffs to recover their costs and reasonable attorney fees can make these cases very expensive for the losing defendant. This program looks at the nuts and bolts of bringing and defending citizen suit cases. We will discuss many of the latest court cases on key issues such as notice letters, preemption, standing, and attorneys' fees. Most importantly, we'll provide strategies on how to avoid potential citizen suits in the first place.

Two of the leading environmental groups in the Pacific Northwest will be there to discuss how they chose the cases they bring and many of the best defense attorneys will present on how to respond if you receive a notice of intent to sue letter or get sued. This one-day CLE is a must for anyone actively involved in environmental law.

Jeff B. Kray, Esq., Program Co-Chair of Marten Law PLLC and Mark A. Ryan, Esq., Program Co-Chair of Ryan & Kuehler PLLC

What You Will Learn

  • ~ Citizen suits and the role they play in our legal system
  • ~ Environmental enforcement priorities at EPA
  • ~ How the agency sees its role when citizen suits are filed
  • ~ How NGOs Identify the cases they want to pursue
  • ~ Regulated community tips for avoiding having a target on your back
  • ~ Standing issues for suits against regulated entities
  • ~ Suits against the government as a regulator
  • ~ Special ethical issues for attorneys participating in citizen suits

What Attendees Said

  • "Excellent faculty - great audience interaction"
  • "Really liked interactive approach to most presentations.
  • "Good variety of topics while conforming to the cohesive theme."
  • "Some other conferences focus so much on networking that they lack content, but LSI always puts on very informational programs."

Friday, February 02, 2018

8:30 am

Registration Opens

9:00 am

Introduction & Overview

Theories and realities: Innovative theories and decisional trends in recent citizen suit cases; trends in who is getting sued (industry vs government)

Jeff B. Kray, Esq. , Program Co-Chair
Marten Law PLLC / Seattle, WA

Mark A. Ryan, Esq. , Program Co-Chair
Ryan & Kuehler PLLC / Winthrop, WA

9:15 am

Citizen Suits and the Role They Play in Our Legal System

Overview of the development and evolution of the concept as an important pathway for addressing environmental contamination; current essential elements and common defenses; national trends and where citizen suits are heading

Todd A. Wildermuth, Ph.D. , Director, Environmental Law Program
University of Washington School of Law / Seattle, WA

10:00 am

Environmental Enforcement Priorities at EPA and How the Agency Sees its Role When Citizen Suits Are Filed

Expected funding and environmental enforcement priorities for the coming budget cycles; areas where we are most likely to see an increase in citizen suits; what to expect in terms of agency involvement

Edward J. Kowalski , Director, Office of Compliance and Enforcement
U.S. EPA - Region 10 / Seattle, WA

10:45 am


11:00 am

Environmental NGOs: How do They Identify the Cases They Want to Pursue?

Geographically, like a watershed? By industry? Randomly based on what presents itself?

Justin Hayes , Program Director
Idaho Conservation League / Boise, ID

Katelyn Kinn, Esq. , Staff Attorney
Puget Soundkeeper / Seattle, WA

12:00 pm

Lunch (On Your Own)

1:15 pm

The Regulated Community: Tips for Avoiding Having a Target on Your Back

Doing, and proving that you have done, what you are obligated to do: Regulatory compliance for the private sector and the role of independent audits for showing compliance

Ankur K. Tohan, Esq.
K&L Gates LLP / Seattle, WA

Permitting as a possible defensive shield

Kelly F. Moser, Esq.
Perkins Coie LLP / Seattle, WA

2:15 pm

Getting into Court: Standing and Related Issues

Violations of substantive statutes vs. common law relief; preemption issues when government has filed an action; applicability of the Burford abstention doctrine for choice of forum

Mark A. Ryan, Esq. , Program Co-Chair
Ryan & Kuehler PLLC / Winthrop, WA

Kevin T. Haroff, Esq.
Marten Law PLLC / San Francisco, CA

3:15 pm


3:30 pm

Getting into Court (cont'd): Suits Against the Government for Failure to Properly Perform Its Regulatory Enforcement Functions

Suits alleging failure to adequately address climate change: Causes of action for failure to perform non-discretionary duties or acting in arbitrary and capricious ways

Matthew Cohen, Esq.
Stoel Rives LLP / Seattle, WA

4:00 pm

Ethical Issues for Attorneys Participating in Citizen Suits

Contingency fees and fee shifting issues in settlement negotiations; confidentiality issues when handling multiple cases or pointing to a neighboring properties; ex-parte contact with government employees; other traps for the unwary

Richard A. Smith, Esq.
Smith & Lowney PLLC / Seattle, WA

5:00 pm

Evaluations and Adjourn

Faculty Bios

Jeff B. Kray, Jeff B. Kray, Program Co-Chair and partner at Marten Law PLLC, focuses his practice on water quality, water resources, and environmental litigation, including Clean Water Act permitting, regulatory compliance and CERCLA site remediation. He advises clients on water quality permit compliance and defense, stormwater pollution prevention, and transferal of water rights.

Mark A. Ryan, Mark A. Ryan, Program Co-Chair and Principal at Ryan & Kuehler PLLC, was the Regional Counsel at the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 10, focusing on Clean Water Act litigation and permitting. He is editor and co-author of the ABA's Clean Water Act Handbook, 2nd edition.

Matthew Cohen Matthew Cohen is a partner in the Environment, Land Use and Natural Resources practice group at Stoel Rives LLP. He supports clients applying for NPDES permits, Title V air operating permits and Prevention of Significant Deterioration permits for complex industrial facilities, and represents clients facing enforcement proceedings and citizen suit litigation.

Justin Hayes Justin Hayes is Program Director for the Idaho Conservation League. His conservation work includes mercury and mining, air quality, water quality and litigation.

Katelyn Kinn, Katelyn Kinn, Staff Attorney for the Puget Soundkeeper Alliance, manages Soundkeeper's Clean Water Act Enforcement Program.

Edward J. Kowalski, Director, EPA Office of Compliance and Enforcement (OCE) in Region 10 is responsible for most of the EPA direct enforcement, compliance assurance, and state oversight work, and also coordinates enforcement efforts with OECA.

Kelly F. Moser, Kelly F. Moser, partner in Perkins Coie LLP's Environment, Energy & Resources practice, focuses on regulatory compliance, project development and litigation. She advises clients on environmental, health and safety (EHS) laws, including the Clean Water Act (CWA), Clean Air Act (CAA), Emergency Planning and Community Right-to Know Act (EPCRA), Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) and state counterparts.

Richard A. Smith Richard A. Smith helps people use the law to protect the environment and wildlife. He has extensive experience in water quality issues and has brought scores of successful Clean Water Act citizen suits against polluters across Washington. He has also assisted environmental and community groups and other clients to accomplish their public interest goals through a variety of other state and federal environmental laws, including the Endangered Species Act, Clean Air Act, and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.

Ankur K. Tohan, Ankur K. Tohan, partner at K&L Gates LLP, focuses his practice on energy infrastructure, natural resource development, compliance counseling, and defense of governmental and citizen enforcement actions.

Todd A. Wildermuth, Ph.D., Todd A. Wildermuth, Ph.D., is Director, UW Environmental Law Program, where he coordinates current curricular offerings, works with faculty to increase UW's depth and stature in the field, and conducts outreach.

Continuing Education Credits

Live credits: This program qualifies for 6.25 (including 1 ethics) Washington CLE credits. Upon request, we will apply for, or help you apply for, CLE credits in other states and other types of credits.

Replay Options

Video Replays allow you to time-shift your content. The Vodcast has navigation tools and search capabilities that allow you to quickly find the portions most important to you. It allows you to plug a flashdrive into your laptop and make effective use of in-flight plane time.

Audio Podcasts are perfect for making more effective use of the time you spend commuting.


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