Environmental & Natural Resources

Shipley Snell has deep experience litigating environmental disputes. Even before the firm was founded in 2006, Shipley Snell’s lawyers represented refinery and petrochemical companies in litigation arising from catastrophic events, including defending claims brought by the EPA and OSHA.  Recently, Shipley Snell assisted a client in resolving more than 1,700 claims arising under the Oil Pollution Act after a collision in the Houston Ship Channel.

Shipley Snell has handled numerous lawsuits filed in Louisiana against a major electric utility and pipeline company. These cases involved allegations that various operations, including oil and gas wells, pipelines, and compressor stations, contaminated soil and groundwater. We obtained dismissals in many of these cases and negotiated favorable settlements in others. In addition, we have represented defendants in Louisiana litigation involving wide-ranging claims  of coastal erosion allegedly caused by oil and gas operations.

We have represented corporations and individuals in environmental investigations and prosecutions, and we have assisted companies in responding to OSHA, EPA, NTSB, Coast Guard, and other government investigations. In addition, we have represented companies in post-accident internal investigations. 

Through our work on these types of disputes over the years, we have developed a detailed understanding of the science and regulations that frame them.  We have also learned the nuances of defending cases that involve operations that occurred decades ago under different regulatory requirements.

Representative Engagements

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·       Defended an environmental lawsuit with more than 500 plaintiffs claiming millions of dollars in damages to a drinking water aquifer. We assisted our client by developing legal defenses to novel legal claims and working with the regulatory agencies to achieve a multi-faceted settlement, thus resolving this complex dispute.

·       Represented a chemical company in claims that it was a potentially responsible party at an EPA Superfund site.

·      Resolved more than 1,700 Oil Pollution Act claims arising from a collision and oil spill in the Houston Ship Channel.

·       Represented a petrochemical company in a two-year criminal investigation involving charges brought against its plant and environmental managers.

·       Represented a U.S. barge operator in a joint U.S./Texas task force investigation and criminal prosecution.

·       Achieved summary judgment dismissal for pipeline operator in Louisiana state court case consisting of environmental claims related to the pipeline  operation.