Defending Against Citizen Suits Under Environmental Laws

Navigating Notice, Standing, Jurisdiction, Settlements and More Under RCRA, CERCLA, CWA and CAA

Recording of a 90-minute CLE webinar with Q&A

Conducted on Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Recorded event now available

or call 1-800-926-7926
Program Materials

This CLE webinar will provide guidance on procedural and strategic challenges for counsel defending environmental citizen suits under federal law. The panel will explain recent developments that impact citizen suits and provide best practices to manage your clients’ risks when facing citizen suits.


Federal environmental laws provide an avenue for citizens to separately enforce environmental laws and permits, and when they believe governmental agencies haven’t taken timely action against parties regulated under environmental laws. With governmental budgetary constraints, federal and state regulators frequently support citizen suits to alleviate the government’s enforcement burdens.

Environmental defense counsel must prepare to overcome procedural and strategic challenges inherent in citizen suits. To prevail in a citizen suit, counsel must carefully navigate challenges from more stringent notice requirements to fee provisions and costs incurred as well as sought.

Recent court decisions and EPA actions affect how counsel and parties involved in citizen suits proceed, such as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit decision in Group Against Smog and Pollution Inc. v. Shenango Inc. (Dec. 2015) and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit decision in Askins v. Ohio Dept. of Agriculture, Ohio Envtl. Prot. Agency, U.S. EPA (Jan. 2016).

Listen as our panel of experts examines citizen suit litigation from initial notice to final resolution and also discusses recent developments in the law that impact citizen suits. The panel will provide best practices to minimize the risks of being hit with a citizen suit.



  1. Litigation issues
    1. Notice
    2. Standing
    3. Jurisdiction
    4. Remedies
    5. Settlement
  2. Recent developments impacting citizen suits
    1. Court decisions
    2. EPA actions
  3. Parallel state proceedings
  4. Best practices to minimize the risk of citizen suits


The panel will review these and other key issues:

  • Utilize court-tested litigation defense tactics to prevail on notice and standing in environmental citizen suits
  • Effectively argue jurisdictional issues by relying on and differentiating recent EPA actions and court rulings
  • Guide clients in developing proactive procedures and policies to avoid the risks of citizen suits
  • Settling with state or federal agencies in order to preempt citizen suits


Lily N. Chinn
Lily N. Chinn

Katten Muchin Rosenman

Ms. Chinn is a strategic advocate and litigator for her corporate and individual clients, providing counsel on the...  |  Read More

Seth D. Jaffe
Seth D. Jaffe

Foley Hoag

Mr. Jaffe practice focuses on environmental compliance and related litigation. He works on a wide range of...  |  Read More

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