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 was an active member of the DuPont Network for more than 15 years, until the network recently dissolved. As a DuPont Primary Law Firm, we represented 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.
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Press Releases

Robert Connolly Elected to The Nature Conservancy Board of Trustees

LOUISVILLE, Ky.—The Nature Conservancy recently elected Stites & Harbison, PLLC Chair, Robert M. Connolly, to its Board of Trustees of the Kentucky Chapter.

by Stites & Harbison, PLLC May 08, 2020
Client Alerts

Four Important Environmental Law Changes Since You’ve Been Home

Stites & Harbison environmental attorneys address several environmental issues that have been on-going over the past couple of months in this combined client alert.

by William T. Gorton III, W. Blaine Early III, Jennifer J. Cave, Robert C. Moore, Mary Lucille Noah (Mary Lu), and W. Patrick Stallard May 05, 2020
Press Releases

Chambers USA 2020 Honors 19 Stites & Harbison Attorneys

LOUISVILLE, Ky.—Chambers USA selected 19 Stites & Harbison, PLLC attorneys in Kentucky and Tennessee for inclusion in their 2020 guide.

by Stites & Harbison, PLLC May 05, 2020