Biography

Jeff is the Chair of Preti Flaherty's Environmental Group and a nationally recognized trial attorney and environmental lawyer. Before joining Preti Flaherty, Jeff worked at one of the largest law firms in the world and was a trial lawyer at the U.S. Department of Justice. Over the past two decades, he has worked as lead counsel on numerous commercial litigation matters and trials across the country involving antitrust, securities, intellectual property, anti-terrorism, and environmental law.

As an environmental lawyer, Jeff assists clients in environmental litigation, permitting, due diligence, risk management, and the allocation and mediation of liability among parties at CERCLA or RCRA sites. 

He has broad and extensive experience and has worked on over 50 CERCLA/Superfund or RCRA cases, including sites involving contaminated sediments and natural resource damages. He has also led cases involving the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, the Natural Resources Protection Act, and the Endangered Species Act.

Clients have described Jeff as “exceptional,” “very strategic,” an “excellent advocate,” and having a “complete and in-depth understanding of all the issues.”

Jeff was recently recognized by U.S. News, Best Lawyers, as the 2019 Lawyer of the Year for Litigation - Environmental in Portland, Maine. He is a recipient of the EPA's Gold Medal for exceptional service and several U.S. DOJ special achievement awards, and is recognized as a leading lawyer by Chambers U.S.A., New England Super Lawyers, Benchmark Litigation, the American Registry, and the Litigation Council of America.

In the last five years, Jeff has worked on the following representative cases: 

  • Lead Counsel in defense of RCRA citizen suit for injunctive relief associated with contamination of sediments in the Penobscot River, one of New England's largest river systems and estuary. Month-long trial in Federal District Court involved testimony from 22 expert witnesses in various technical aspects of contaminated sediment issues including: fate and transport, stable isotope analysis, geochemistry of marsh areas. Case is currently pending decision. Natural Resources Defense Counsel and Maine People's Alliance v. HoltraChem Manufacturing Company, L.L.C. (CA No. 00-69-BW) (D. Me).
  • Lead Counsel opposing multi-district litigation consolidation on behalf of one of nine parties opposing consolidation with 75 other cases. Jeff argued before the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation and was successful in opposing the transfer motion. In Re: Aqueous Film - Forming Foam Products Liability Litigation (MDL No. 2873) (12/7/18).
  • Lead Counsel in defense of state enforcement action seeking $250 million remedy to address mercury contaminated soils, sediments, and groundwater at RCRA and Maine Uncontrolled Hazardous Substances Site. Jeff did opening statements and all key directs and cross examinations in two week state administrative hearing that led to modified order saving client $150 million. Mallinckrodt US LLC and United States Surgical Corp. v. Maine Department of Environmental Protection, (CA No. AP-2010-19) (Me Sup. Ct.).
  • Co-lead in defense of citizen suit under the Endangered Species Act challenging biological opinion and incidental take status allowing hydropower project to operate. Jeff worked with a team of lawyers to dismiss the action in Federal District Court on jurisdictional grounds. Jeff successfully opposed the appeal to the First Circuit Court of Appeals and prevailed in defeating a related challenge in the D.C. Court of Appeals. Maine Council of the Atlantic Salmon Fed., et al. v. National Marine Fisheries Service and Brookfield Renewable Services Maine LLC, et al. ; USDC Maine 2:15-cv-00261-JAW; First Circuit 16-2155; DC Circuit 17-1003.
  • Lead counsel in defense of Patent Infringement case brought by manufacturer of Volt Amperes Reactive product. Jeff successfully argued Markman hearing and prevailed on 90% of terms argued, including key terms. Varentec, Inc. v. Gridco Inc. (CA No. 16-217-RGA) (D. Del).
  • Lead counsel in anti-terrorism case against large producer of bananas brought by citizens kidnapped and killed by terrorists in Colombia. Julin, et al. v. Chiquita Brands International, Inc. (CA No. 08-20641-CIV-MARRA) (S.D.F.L.).

U.S. Department of Justice Experience

As a trial attorney in the Environmental Enforcement Section of the U.S. Department of Justice, Environment & Natural Resources Division in Washington, D.C., Jeff led trial teams in federal courts across the country in a wide range of environmental cases. Cases and awards included:

  • One of the largest Clean Water Act cases ever brought by the EPA and DOJ
  • One of the first Clean Air Act cases under the New Source Performance Standards
  • Several significant natural resource damage cases
  • Numerous CERCLA and RCRA cost recovery cases

Prior to the DOJ, Jeff worked at White & Case LLP in Washington, D.C., where he worked on complex commercial litigation and arbitration matters involving antitrust, securities, intellectual property and international law.

Professional Activities

  • American Bar Association
    • Member, Natural Resource & Environmental Section
    • Member, Litigation Section
  • Fellow, Litigation Counsel of America
  • Maine State Bar Association
    • Member, Environment, Energy & Natural Resource Section
  • District of Columbia Bar Association

Honors & Recognition

  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Gold Medal for Exceptional Service, 2010
  • U.S. Department of Justice
    • Special Achievement Awards
    • Special Recognition Awards
    • Nominated by the Environmental Enforcement Section for the Attorney General Award
  • Recognized by Best Lawyers in America
    • 2019 Lawyer of the Year,  Litigation - Environmental (Portland, ME)
  • Recognized by the American Registry
  • Recognized by New England Super Lawyers
  • Recognized by Chambers, USA
  • Recognized by Benchmark Litigation

Civic and Charitable Activities

  • E2Tech, Marketing & Enrollment Committee
  • President, Falmouth Youth Soccer Association 
  • Soccer Maine "D" License Soccer Coach

Firm Highlights

Press Coverage

Bangor superintendent blocked BDN reporter on Twitter after critical news coverage

In an apparent violation of the First Amendment, Bangor schools superintendent Betsy Webb temporarily blocked a journalist on Twitter following a report that news of a student suicide was announced over the loudspeaker at...

Event

Tony Manhart and Jason Howe Present Top Ten Construction Contract Tips for ABC of Maine

As part of the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) of Maine Contractor Series, Preti Flaherty attorneys Tony Manhart and Jason Howe will present the Top Ten tips for AIA contracts. ABC is a national association with 72...

Publication

Maine WC Alert: Updated Version of Notice of Controversy (WCB-9) Must Be Used Effective February 1, 2020

Following the recent statutory changes to the Workers’ Compensation Act, the Maine Workers’ Compensation Board has updated the language in Box 22 of the Notice of Controversy. This new version should be used as...

News

David B. Van Slyke Named Preti Flaherty Managing Partner

Preti Flaherty is pleased to announce that, in a unanimous vote, the firm’s partnership has elected attorney David B. Van Slyke as its incoming Managing Partner. David is one of the preeminent environmental lawyers...

Publication

Maine WC Alert: MAE Unit Publishes Guidance on Compliance with Recent Amendments

The Maine Workers’ Compensation Board’s Monitoring, Audit & Enforcement Unit has issued a document to provide guidance on complying with certain recent amendments to the Workers’ Compensation Act in P.L. 2019, c. 344 (LD...

News

Preti Flaherty Attorney Benjamin S. Piper Promoted to Partner

Preti Flaherty is pleased to announce that the firm’s partnership has named attorney Benjamin S. Piper as a partner. Ben is a member of the firm's Environmental, Litigation, and Media Law Practice Groups and works...

Publication

Maine WC Appellate Division Addresses Refusal of Suitable Work and Notice

The Maine Workers' Compensation Appellate Division recently addressed cases dealing with refusal of suitable work and notice. Both decisions rely heavily on the specific facts of each case. In the context of a refusal...

Publication

Bankruptcy Alert: Significant Implications of the New Small Business Reorganization Act of 2019

Small Business Reorganization Act of 2019 (H.R. 3311) On August 23, 2019, President Trump signed the Small Business Reorganization Act of 2019 (H.R. 3311) (the “SBRA”) into law.  Lenders should be aware of the...

News

Preti Flaherty Welcomes Government Relations Liaison Andrew I. Roth-Wells to the Firm

Preti Flaherty is pleased to announce that Andrew I. Roth-Wells has joined the firm as a Government Relations Liaison. Andrew will help manage legislative and regulatory advocacy efforts for the firm’s Government Affairs Team...

Event

Ken Rubinstein to Present at Boston Bar Association Brown Bag Lunch

2019 AIA A133 CM at Risk with a Guaranteed Maximum Price – Updates You Should Be Aware Of Ken Rubinstein will present an update on the provisions and implications of the new AIA form...