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 lead-based 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

26th Annual Kentucky Environmental Permitting and Reporting Conference

Date: 8/9/23 - 8/10/23

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

Environmental attorney Jennifer Cave will be a speaker at this Kentucky Chamber of Commerce event.

Jennifer J. Cave June 15, 2023
Client Alerts

Significant Merchant Electric Legislative Amendments Head to Governor's Desk

Over the past several years, Kentucky, similar to other states, has received many applications for industrial-scale solar generation and energy storage facilities in rural areas across the Commonwealth. Up to this point in time, seeking and receiving a Certification for Construction from the Kentucky State Board on Electric Generation and Transmission ("Siting Board") followed a framework developed before recent commercial interest in large-scale solar development arose in Kentucky. Attorney Bill Gorton takes a look at the issues and concerns that have arisen.

by William T. Gorton III March 24, 2023

56th Georgia Defense Lawyers Association (GDLA) Annual Meeting

Date: 6/15/23 - 6/18/23

The Breakers, One South County Road, Palm Beach, FL 33480

Don't miss the 56th GDLA Annual Meeting at The Breakers in Palm Beach, Florida from June 15-18. Earn CLE hours* and network with your friends and colleagues at various social events. Atlanta office attorney Jennifer Guerra will be a speaker at the event.

Jennifer M. Guerra March 07, 2023

21st Annual Kentucky Environmental Conference

Date: 3/9/23 - 3/10/23

Griffin Gate Marriott Golf Resort & Spa, 1800 Newtown Pike, Lexington, Ky. 40511

Where can you find the latest information on Kentucky and federal environmental policies and regulations, as well as information on new environmental compliance mandates? The Kentucky Chamber of Commerce will provide this and more at our annual Kentucky Environmental Conference. You will leave this conference with a detailed, up-to-the-minute review of major environmental regulatory issues that affect your facility. Environmental attorney Jennifer Cave will be a speaker.

Jennifer J. Cave March 02, 2023
Press Releases

Bluegrass Tomorrow Honors W. Blaine Early at 2023 Vision Awards Breakfast

LEXINGTON, Ky. —Bluegrass Tomorrow recently honored Stites & Harbison, PLLC attorney W. Blaine Early, III with the Robert N. Clay President’s Award for most valuable board member. This is the second time Early has received the award.

by Stites & Harbison, PLLC February 27, 2023

What You Need to Know About Reclamation Bonds

Date: 2/28/23
Time: 2:00 p.m.

Virtual Seminar

Attorneys Blaine Early and Bill Gorton will be speakers for the NASBP's virtual seminar on reclamation bonds on Tuesday, February 28th.

W. Blaine Early III and William T. Gorton III February 17, 2023
Press Releases

Benchmark Litigation 2023 Honors 15 Stites & Harbison Attorneys

LOUISVILLE, Ky.—The 2023 edition of Benchmark Litigation names 12 Stites & Harbison, PLLC attorneys as “Litigation Stars” and three as “Future Stars” in Kentucky. The guide honors the firms and attorneys who have demonstrated the ability to consistently handle complex, high-stakes cases in multiple jurisdictions.

by Stites & Harbison, PLLC November 17, 2022

2022 Kentucky Commercial Real Estate Conference

Date: 10/18/22
Time: 7:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

The Seelbach Hilton Louisville, 500 South Fourth Street, Louisville, KY 40202

Presented by Louisville Bar Association and CCIM Kentucky Chapter Join real estate professionals from across Kentucky for an extraordinary day of lively panel discussions, informed conversation, and comprehensive one-hour courses covering a variety of commercial...
Jennifer J. Cave October 05, 2022