Munger, Tolles & Olson’s environmental law practice represents clients in litigation stemming from environmental disasters as well as in government enforcement matters. From representing aerospace firms in Superfund cases to defending the non-Exxon Mobile Corporation owners of an oil pipeline in the litigation ensuing from the Valdez oil spill in Alaska, our attorneys have a history of advising companies through their most serious environmental litigation. Today, we represent companies involved in high-stakes matters in state and federal courts, including being heavily involved in the litigation arising from the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

We have assisted clients in a wide range of industries, including high technology, oil production and refining and food processing. The firm advises clients on environmental liability issues that can become central to successfully completing a corporate transaction. Munger Tolles’ lawyers regularly represent companies in state or federal enforcement proceedings. Our litigators also have experience defending complicated, multi-billion dollar environmental litigation in state and federal courts.


Munger Tolles provides day-to-day advice concerning compliance with environmental regulations. Our expertise spans a spectrum of compliance issues, including:

  • Corporate Transactions
  • Environmental Audits
  • Environmental Rulemaking
  • Real Estate Transactions and Development
  • Regulatory Compliance Strategies
  • Utility Divestiture

Enforcement Matters

As state and federal programs mature, government agencies have shifted their focus away from promulgating regulations toward enforcement. This change has resulted in an increasing number of judicial and administrative enforcement actions, particularly concerning hazardous waste, seeking criminal or civil penalties for non-compliance and injunctive relief. Munger Tolles has defended clients in a number of these cases, including those involving the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), the Clean Air Act (CAA), the Clean Water Act (CWA), Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), the Medical Waste Act (MWA) and Proposition 65.


Munger Tolles has represented clients in a wide range of complex environmental litigation matters. Our environmental lawyers combine substantive knowledge of environmental laws with extensive experience litigating cases in state and federal courts. Some representative matters we have handled include representing:

  • Transocean and certain of its subsidiaries, which owned or operated the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig, in litigation arising from the April 20, 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. We represent Transocean in multi-district litigation and other civil proceedings and ongoing criminal investigations. There are classes comprising more than 100,000 individuals and businesses claiming economic loss from the spill and seeking compensatory and punitive damages, as well as claims for contribution and indemnity among the various defendants.
  • Burlington Northern Santa Fe in obtaining a dismissal of a lawsuit in U.S. District Court brought by environmental groups claiming failure to control pollution through diesel emissions.

Superfund Compliance

Munger Tolles lawyers represent clients at some of the nation’s largest Superfund sites and know how to tackle the difficult scientific and legal issues that arise in these cases. We also have extensive experience handling the complex negotiations with federal and state agencies, other potentially responsible parties and interested community groups that are often necessary to achieve a successful resolution for our clients. 

Patrick J. Cafferty, Jr. (415) 512-4012