Environmental Litigation: Piercing the Corporate Veil, Alter Ego, and Successor Liability

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

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Conducted on Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Recorded event now available

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Course Materials

This CLE course will provide environmental litigators with an analysis of legal theories that, in unique circumstances, allow private and government litigants to name shareholders or successors in interest as responsible parties for the historical acts of a company in violation of environmental laws--namely, piercing the corporate veil or alter ego liability, and successor liability.


Environmental investigations and remediation expenses are costly. Private litigants and state and federal governments often seek viable "deep pocket" entities or high net worth individuals to pay for the cleanup costs allegedly attributable to an otherwise defunct or underfunded company's historical operations that caused the environmental contamination.

In the typical scenario, the separate entity (shareholder or successor in interest) does not own, lease, or operate the facility at issue, nor did it directly release a hazardous substance into the environment. And often, the former company was dissolved years ago and incorporated in an entirely separate state.

Thus, the shareholder or successor-in-interest is blindsided by the claims letter, lawsuit, or enforcement order--all of which require a strategic and accurate response. This type of indirect liability can be a real threat in any environmental litigation if pleaded correctly and supported by facts, and not met by a strong, well thought out and supported defense. As such, environmental litigators must be adept at using or defending against these theories of liability before they arise.

Listen as our panel provides environmental litigators with an analysis of legal theories of alter ego and successor liability as they relate to environmental liabilities at cleanup sites, and provides guidance on factors to consider and best practices for defending against such allegations.



  1. Overview of corporate issues unique to environmental liability
  2. Piercing the corporate veil and alter ego liability
  3. Successor liability


The panel will review these and other key issues:

  • What issues to consider when faced with a litigant that seeks to pierce the veil of your corporate client or hold your client responsible for the actions of a predecessor
  • What factors do courts look at in deciding whether to apply the alter ego and successor liability theories?
  • What are some key considerations and best practices for corporations and related entities defending alter ego and successor liability claims?


Riesel, Daniel
Daniel Riesel

Sive Paget & Riesel

Mr. Riesel has litigated a wide variety of cases which include numerous environmental matters, white collar defense,...  |  Read More

Smith, Thomas
Thomas R. Smith

Bond Schoeneck & King

Mr. Smith has more than 35 years of experience in civil litigation, dispute resolution and risk management counseling,...  |  Read More

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