Groundwater Contamination Litigation: Proving and Defending Against Liability

Demonstrating Nexus, Causation and Injury to Recover Cleanup Costs and Other Damages

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

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Conducted on Thursday, October 10, 2013

Recorded event now available

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Course Materials

This CLE course will provide environmental counsel with a review of the regulatory structures for groundwater contamination, analyze lessons from recent significant cases, discuss trends for damage recovery, and outline best practices for proving and defending against liability.


Groundwater contamination litigation is on the rise. There has been a string of cases in the past year, and courts have ordered defendants to pay upwards of $230 million in damages stemming from multiple groundwater contamination claims.

The recent Third Circuit decision in Trinity Industries v. Chicago Bridge & Iron, diverting from earlier guidance from the Second Circuit, may have significant implications on available remedies, settlement alternatives, and incentives for parties seeking CERCLA contribution in addressing groundwater contamination.

Controversy over hydraulic fracturing and its supposed link to groundwater contamination is also hotly contested as shown in recent cases Strudley v. Antero Resources and Tucker v. Southwestern Energy Co. Environmental counsel must be aware of developing trends in this area and advance appropriate maneuvers in the interests of their clients.

Litigation of such claims is quite arduous. Proving or defending against groundwater contamination liability involves significant documentation, scientific reports, and expert testimony. With increasing regulatory and litigation activity related to groundwater pollution, counsel must have the tools necessary to strategize in proving or defending against liability.

Listen as our panel of experts examines the regulatory structures for groundwater contamination, discusses lessons learned from recent cases of significance and the trends for damage recovery, and offers best practices for identifying the sources and proving liability, and defending against such claims.



  1. Federal and state regulatory structures
  2. Recent litigation
    1. Lessons learned from recent cases
    2. Trends in damages recovery
  3. Strategies for proving liability
    1. Identifying source
    2. Nexus
    3. Documentation
    4. Science
    5. Experts


The panel will review these and other key questions:

  • What are the lessons offered by recent groundwater contamination litigation?
  • How are courts reacting to arguments linking hydro-fracking to groundwater contamination?
  • What strategies can counsel employ to prove liability for groundwater contamination? Conversely, what strategies can defense counsel employ to defend against such claims?

Following the speaker presentations, you'll have an opportunity to get answers to your specific questions during the interactive Q&A.


Alfred E. Smith
Alfred E. Smith


Mr. Smith is Chair of Nossaman’s Water Practice Group. He is a recognized expert in water and environmental law,...  |  Read More

R. Trent Taylor
R. Trent Taylor


Mr. Taylor focuses on defending complex tort and products liability cases with an emphasis on public and private...  |  Read More

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