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 70 CERCLA/Superfund or RCRA sites across the United States, 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 has been recognized by U.S. News, Best Lawyers, as the 2019, 2021, and 2022 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, and the American Registry. 

Jeff is a fellow in the Litigation Council of America and the American College of Environmental Lawyers.

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

  • Lead Counsel representing group of over 70 companies (liaison counsel) in litigation against Occidental Chemical Corporation regarding CERCLA remediation costs associated with the Lower Passaic River in New Jersey estimated at $1.8 billion. Manage all aspects of the case, including coordination of litigation team involving multiple law firms, and appearances for monthly conferences with Special Master. Occidental Chemical Corporation v. 21st Century Fox America, Inc., et al. (CA No. 2:18-CV-11273) (D. NJ)
  • Lead Counsel representing group of over 70 companies (liaison counsel) in litigation against Occidental Chemical Corporation regarding CERCLA remediation costs associated with the Lower Passaic River in New Jersey estimated at $1.8 billion. Manage all aspects of the case including coordination of litigation team involving multiple law firms, and appearances for monthly conferences with Special Master. Occidental Chemical Corporation v. 21st Century Fox America, Inc., et al. (CA No. 2:18-CV-11273) (D. NJ).
    • Consent Decree lodged and Complaint filed in December 2022, modifications made after Public Comment Period and revised Consent Decree and Amended Complaint filed in January 2024. United States of America v. Alden Leeds, et al., (CA No. 2:22-cv-07326-MCA-LDW) (D. NJ).

    • Lead Counsel representing 29 parties (common counsel) not included in the USA v. Alden Leeds Consent Decree in CERCLA Section 107 litigation against Occidental Chemical Company. Occidental Chemical Corporation v. Givaudan Fragrances Corporation, et al., (CA No. 2:23-cv-1699) (D. NJ).

  • Lead Counsel for Mallinckrodt US LLC 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. Estimated range of remediation $200 million to $1 billion. Three phases of litigation including, month-long trial in Federal District Court involving testimony from 22 expert witnesses in various technical aspects of contaminated sediment issues including: fate and transport, stable isotope analysis, geochemistry of marsh areas. Fairness hearing in October 2021, and Consent Decree filed in October 2022. Natural Resources Defense Council and Maine People's Alliance v. HoltraChem Manufacturing Company, L.L.C. (CA No. 00-69-BW) (D. Me).
  • Lead counsel representing GM Bankruptcy Trust in Second Circuit Appeal of CERCLA sections 107 and 113 claims dismissed by Northern District of New York. Successful appeal granted after oral argument before Second Circuit Court of Appeals on 2/23/23 that Judge Calabresi commented was “well argued on both sides.” Revitalizing Auto Communities Environmental Trust, et al. v. National Grid USA, et al., U.S. Court of Appeals Second Circuit (22-1589).
  • Counsel in several matters in State Court, Federal District Court, and multidistrict litigation, including:
    • State of Maine v. 3M Company, et. al. (CA No. 2:23-cv-00210 and MDL No. 2873)

    • Lawrence Higgins, et al. v. Huhtamaki, Inc., et al. (CA No. 1:21-cv-00369)

  • 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 a 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 suits under the Endangered Species Act challenging biological opinion and incidental take status allowing hydropower project to operate. Atlantic Salmon Federation U.S., et al. v. Brookfield Renewable Partners, LP et al. 1:21-cv-00257. Jeff worked with a team of lawyers to dismiss prior 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 anti-terrorism case against large producer of bananas brought by citizens kidnapped and killed by terrorists in Colombia. Jeff lead and coordinated with team of five law firms. Settlement reached on morning of jury selection. Julin, et al. v. Chiquita Brands International, Inc. (CA No. 08-20641-CIV-MARRA) (S.D.F.L.).

Jeff has worked on or argued cases in the following federal courts: Northern District of California, District of Delaware, Southern District of Florida, District of Illinois, District of Maine, District of Maryland, District of Massachusetts, District of Minnesota, District of New Jersey, Northern District of New York, District of North Carolina, Southern District of Ohio, District of Pennsylvania, District of Rhode Island, District of West Virginia, and the District of Wyoming.

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 focused 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
  • Maine State Bar Association
    • Member, Environment, Energy & Natural Resource Section
  • District of Columbia Bar Association
  • Litigation Counsel of America
    • Member, Trial Law Institute
    • Member, Diversity Law Institute

Honors & Recognition

  • Senior Fellow, Litigation Counsel of America
  • 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
    • Lawyer of the Year,  Litigation - Environmental (Portland, ME), 2019, 2021, 2022
  • Recognized by the American Registry
  • Recognized by New England Super Lawyers
  • Recognized by Chambers, USA
  • Recognized by Benchmark Litigation