Groundwater Contamination Litigation: Proving and Defending Against Liability

Demonstrating Nexus, Causation and Injury to Recover Damages

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

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Conducted on Tuesday, June 5, 2018

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 recent cases, and courts have ordered defendants to pay millions of dollars in damages due to groundwater contamination claims. For example, 3M Co. agreed to pay $850 million to settle a suit over decades-long groundwater contamination in Minnesota in Feb. 2018. In Aug. 2017 Shell and ConocoPhillips settled class action claims brought by Illinois residents for $4.83 million in their lawsuit for groundwater contamination related to multiple spills that released toxic chemicals into the water.

Hydraulic fracturing’s purported link to groundwater contamination is also hotly contested. 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 high priority issues:

  • What are the lessons from recent groundwater contamination litigation?
  • How are courts reacting to arguments linking hydrofracking to groundwater contamination?
  • What strategies can counsel employ to prove liability for groundwater contamination? Conversely, what strategies can defense counsel use to defend against such claims?


Napoli, Paul
Paul J. Napoli

Of Counsel
Napoli Shkolnik

Mr. Napoli has achieved hundreds of verdicts and settlements for his clients and has also received many awards from his...  |  Read More

Taylor, R. Trent
R. Trent Taylor


Mr. Taylor defends complex toxic tort and products liability cases with an emphasis on public and private nuisance...  |  Read More

Thompson, Andrew
Andrew M. Thompson

Smith Gambrell & Russell

Mr. Thompson’s practice includes environmental, commercial and insurance-related litigation in state and federal...  |  Read More

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