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

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

This program is included with the Strafford CLE Pass. Click for more information.
This program is included with the Strafford All-Access Pass. Click for more information.

Conducted on Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Recorded event now available

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


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 (parent company, 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 parent company, 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 liability of corporate parents, shareholders, and successors under common law for environmental derelictions
  2. Piercing the corporate veil under prevailing common law doctrines
  3. Operator liability under CERCLA for parent corporations and managers for subsidiary's actions
  4. Liability arising from mergers and successions


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

Warren, Dane
Dane Warren

Sive Paget & Riesel

Mr. Warren’s practice focuses on environmental and land use litigation, environmental review of development...  |  Read More

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