Environmental, Natural Resources, & Energy

Environmental Litigation

Stites & Harbison has a long history of toxic tort and environmental litigation. In the early 1970s, Johns-Manville Corporation selected the late Lively Wilson, a well-known trial lawyer, to defend the growing threat of asbestos litigation. Our firm tried many of Johns-Manville's subsequent cases across the country, and to this day we continue to defend against asbestos claims of all kinds.

This tradition of hard work and technical insight is why Stites & Harbison provides risk management and litigation defense to many industrial, manufacturing, chemical, coatings, and other companies. We combine interdisciplinary teams of attorneys, many with technical backgrounds, from the firm's business litigation, class action, construction, environmental, complex insurance coverage, and products liability groups. We have defended serial lawsuits, mass torts, class actions, and other high-stakes litigation and have addressed toxic pollutants in every pathway, including indoor and outdoor air, surface water, and ground water.

We have advised clients on matters related to a broad variety of products and processes, including:

Acid Mine Drainage








Chromated Copper Arsenate



Phenol Formaldehyde



Fuming Sulfuric Acid

Vinyl Chloride

Landfill Leachate

Welding Fumes



Stites & Harbison is also a member of the DuPont Network. As a DuPont Primary Law Firm, we represent DuPont's interests in environmental and toxic tort actions as well as other claims involving various products.

Significant Representations:

  • Won summary judgment for a Fortune 500 company in a multi-million dollar environmental remediation lawsuit by arguing that an assumption of liabilities agreement compelled a successor company to pay all environmental permitting and clean-up costs at the site.
  • Favorably settled a mold contamination case on behalf of a general contractor following several rulings on motions for summary judgment, which included the dismissal of plaintiff’s negligence and punitive damages claim.
  • Currently advising an insurer in a coverage matter for nuisance claims involving noise and coal dust from mining operations.
  • Provided defense of than 2,500 claims brought by individuals alleging exposure to silica and/or coal dust.
  • Defending a battery manufacturer from contract workers’ claims alleging injuries caused by on-the-job lead exposure.
  • Successfully resolved a citizen suit alleging releases of hazardous substances and air pollutants from animal agricultural operations.
  • Obtained numerous orders requiring product identification and/or causation evidence from plaintiffs prior to general discovery on liability and damages in cases involving exposure to benzene, oleum, toluene, and xylene.
  • Successfully dismissed a dozen state court cases alleging exposure and injury from welding fumes following hearing on a Rule 12 motion to dismiss the complaints for failure to state a claim.
  • Provide ongoing representation of an asbestos-related, complex insurance coverage matter involving policies spanning decades.
  • Won summary judgment in several asbestos cases based on the government contractor defense, and many more where we argued that plaintiffs could not prove exposure.
  • Helped companies favorably resolve actions by federal, state, and local enforcement agencies as well as personal injury/wrongful death/property damage claims due to industrial accidents and subsequent chemical releases.
  • Assisted two large bourbon distilleries with immediate response actions and negotiations with state and federal enforcement agencies after warehouse fires released hundreds of thousands of gallons of bourbon into adjoining waters.
Main Contacts
See more related to Environmental Litigation

29th Annual Business & Industry's Sustainability & Environmental, Health and Safety Symposium

Date: 3/24/20 - 3/25/20
Time: 7:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Sharonville Convention Center, 11355 Chester Road, Cincinnati, Ohio 45246

Stites & Harbison Environmental attorneys Blaine Early and Jennifer Cave will be presenters at the Sustainability & Environmental, Health Safety Symposium in Cincinnati, OH in March.

W. Blaine Early III, and Jennifer J. Cave January 06, 2020
Client Alerts

Pipeline Crafts Urge U.S. Supreme Court to Reverse Atlantic Coast Pipeline Decision and to Allow a More Reliable Permitting Process

On October 4, 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to review the 4th Circuit’s rejection of the National Forest Service’s permit authorizing the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) to cross the Appalachian Trail within the George Washington National Forest.

by Andrew J. Poltorak October 07, 2019
Press Releases

Best Lawyers Names Six Stites & Harbison Attorneys as "Lawyer of the Year" for 2020

LOUISVILLE, Ky.—The Best Lawyers in America©, one of the oldest and most respected peer-review publications in the legal profession, has named six attorneys from Stites & Harbison, PLLC as “Lawyer of the Year” for 2020.

by Stites & Harbison, PLLC August 26, 2019
Client Alerts

Coming Soon: Revised and (Mostly) Relaxed Hazardous Waste Pharmaceutical Regs!

The regulation of hazardous waste in our nation is one of the most important and complicated programs.

by William T. Gorton III July 02, 2019

22nd Annual Kentucky Environmental Permitting and Reporting Conference

Date: 8/14/19 - 8/15/19

Embassy Suites by Hilton Lexington/UK Coldstream, 1801 Newtown Pike, Lexington, KY 40511

Environmental attorney Jennifer Cave will speak at The Kentucky Chamber's environmental conference in Lexington, Kentucky, August 14-15, 2019.

Jennifer J. Cave May 17, 2019

Exploring the Alternatives: Courts and Clients Increasingly Look to Mediation and Arbitration in Resolving Disputes

In recent years, as courts have become more congested and business dealings have grown more complex, mediation and arbitration have grown in both prevalence and popularity as alternatives for civil litigation, both locally and across the country.

by J. Clarke Keller March 22, 2019
Client Alerts

'Waters of the United States' What Next? Proposed 2019 Trump Administration WOTUS Rule

The latest iteration to replace the 2008 Rapanos Guidance and 2015 WOTUS Rule with a satisfactory definition of Waters of the United States was formally presented to the country on February 14, 2019 when the agencies published the Trump Administration’s Proposed Rule: “Revised Definition of Water of the United States” (“Proposed Rule”).

by William T. Gorton III March 07, 2019

17th Annual Kentucky Environmental Conference

Date: 3/14/19 - 3/15/19
Time: 8:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.

Griffin Gate Marriott Resort & Spa, 1800 Newtown Pike, Lexington, KY 40511

Jennifer Cave will speak at the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce's 17th Annual Environmental Conference held in Lexington, Kentucky.

Jennifer J. Cave February 18, 2019