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James O'Toole, Jr.

James O'Toole, Jr.


Philadelphia, PA
Newark, NJ

As the former co-chair of the firm's Energy and Environmental Section, Jim founded and co-managed the firm's integrated energy, environmental, utility and natural resources practices including the Oil & Gas, Coal, Power Generation, Renewable Energy, Utility and Environmental Practice Groups.

For almost 30 years, Jim's practice has focused on environmental litigation, and related transactional and regulatory counseling. He has prosecuted and defended complex environmental, toxic tort, commercial and class action litigation; conducted internal investigations; and counseled clients on environmental regulatory compliance and permitting issues in the oil and gas (operating in upstream, midstream and downstream markets), utility scale wind energy, coal and minerals mining, waste transportation and disposal, manufacturing, chemical, petrochemical, real estate, retail, health, insurance and military defense industries.

For more than 25 years, Jim has served as trial and appellate counsel for Waste Management, Inc., and he has served as common litigation counsel to numerous PRP groups on environmental matters in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York. Jim has litigated complex multi-party environmental, contractual indemnity, fraud, successor liability, landfill permitting claims, criminal waste disposal investigations, toxic tort class actions and multiple multi-million dollar cost recovery actions.

Jim has been consistently selected to the Pennsylvania Super Lawyers® list for environmental and energy, as noted in Philadelphia Magazine and Law and Politics Magazine; to The Best Lawyers in America list consecutively since 2018; was named the Best Lawyers® 2021 and 2024 Energy Law "Lawyer of the Year" in Philadelphia; and was named the Best Lawyers® 2023 Environmental "Lawyer of the Year" in Philadelphia. He was also named to the 2014 Super Lawyers® Business Edition List; and to "Who's Who in Energy," as noted in the Philadelphia Business Journal and Pittsburgh Business Times and has garnered an AV® Preeminent distinction, the highest available mark for professional excellence from Martindale-Hubbell's® Peer Review Ratings.

He curates several e-magazines devoted to current issues in the oil & gas industry at Trending in Energy: Natural Gas and the renewable energy industry at Trending in Energy: Renewable Energy.

Jim's representative environmental and energy matters include:

  • Represented Waste Management, Inc. on environmental and toxic tort litigation, regulatory counseling, Brownfield development, renewable energy and SEC environmental compliance matters.
  • Counseled a national eyewear manufacturer in connection with a voluntary corporate-wide environmental regulatory compliance audit and disclosure to regulatory agencies.
  • Represented Essex County Improvement Authority in connection with environmental indemnity claims, and CERCLA and Spill Act liabilities related to a former chemical facility's alleged discharges into the waters and sediments of the Newark Bay Complex.
  • Performed environmental due diligence in connection with PNC Bank's financing of an acquisition by an international chemical manufacturer.
  • Served on the PRP Executive, Steering and Allocation Committees in connection with USEPA mandated multi-party regional sediment and surface water investigation into the Berry's Creek Study Area in Bergen County, N.J.
  • Provided environmental and government relations services in connection with a proposed liquefied butane export facility.
  • Provided environmental counseling and due diligence to various E&P and midstream oil & gas companies.
  • Provided litigation counsel for multiple defendants in the defense of a toxic tort law suit related to alleged groundwater and air contamination from natural gas drilling site.
  • Represented several national utility scale wind energy companies in environmental due diligence and operational issues including compliance with the Endangered Species Act.
  • On behalf of Waste Management of New Jersey, litigated and then negotiated the Brownfield redevelopment of a 49 acre former PJP Superfund site in Hudson County, N.J. The former landfill is being redeveloped into a distribution center serving the Ports of New York and New Jersey, and a Jersey City public park.
  • Defended and argued before the New Jersey Supreme Court, a NJDEP cost-recovery and NRD action leading to a favorable consent decree and settlement on behalf of multiple PRP groups.
  • Represented international aluminum manufacturer in claims for environmental indemnity, conducted environmental compliance audits and addressed NPDES violations.
  • Defended Amerikohl mining company in injunction proceeding brought by a local environmental group before the Pennsylvania Environmental Hearing Board.
  • Represented Acme Markets in multiple environmental investigations and litigation matters involving alleged contaminated sites in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Maryland.
  • Served as lead defense counsel for Labatt's Brewing Company, Ltd. in federal litigation involving alleged remedial obligations at former production facility in Pennsylvania.
  • Negotiated a favorable Clean Air Act settlement with EPA for a commercial propane distributor in connection with explosion and fire at the facility.
  • Through aggressive litigation (including injunctive relief) and implementing an inventive remedial strategy, reduced $120 million initial cost-recovery claim involving the Pennsauken Landfill in Camden County, N.J. by over 80 percent, thus facilitating a global settlement among over 100 PRPs.
  • On behalf of Waste Management of Illinois, litigated and settled a 400 property toxic tort class action and third-party PRP claims involving alleged groundwater contamination, vapor intrusion and diminution in property value. In over four years of litigation in both Illinois federal and state courts, the class was never certified.
  • Served as lead litigation counsel for transporter groups in environmental litigation involving the BEMS, Florence, Warwick, Calais Road sites in New Jersey and New York.
  • Represented ArcelorMittal LLC in state litigation with tenet involving lease obligations and issues relating to residual waste general permits and stormwater.
  • Represented military defense contractor in challenging adverse "solid waste" determination under RCRA, and reporting requirements under Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA).
  • Advised Tampa General Hospital on environmental due diligence and remedial matters connected to real estate acquisitions.
  • Represented CSX Transportation in complex Brownfield real estate transaction.
  • Represented BP/Amoco and gas station operators in UST and related environmental litigations.

Jim's representative commercial litigation and investigations include:

  • Defended and prosecuted several substantial claims for construction cost overruns, attorney malpractice and environmental liability in connection with a highly publicized road construction project in New Jersey.
  • Defeated a million dollar trespass and property diminution claim, and further saved the municipality approximately $400,000 in remediation costs related to an undisclosed landfill.
  • Conducted internal investigations of alleged political corruption and financial mismanagement of municipality's redevelopment project.
  • Led internal investigation on behalf of charter school alleged to have mismanaged federally funded programs.
  • Represented GE Corporation and directed a multistate internal investigation in connection with a federal criminal investigation into military defense contracts.
  • Defended Grumman Corporation in government contracts litigation involving a terminated subcontractor.
  • Managed an international medical device manufacturer's FDA compliance audit, product recall investigation and response to a Hazard Notice issued by the UK's Medical Device Agency.
  • Defended an international wire manufacturer in connection with alleged fraudulent trading of metals futures and related RICO claims.
  • Served as national counsel to Continuum Healthcare Inc., selecting and managing outside counsel and advising the company on employment, contractual, intellectual property and medical malpractice issues.

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