You probably know what litigation is, but what is environmental litigation? By strict definition, it is comprised of a contested matter related to any environmental issue whereby parties’ allegations, requests for relief, and monetary damages are decided in any court or before or by any federal, state, or other governmental agency or private arbitration tribunal. This litigation may involve the customary litigation discovery practice to obtain evidence for the issues to be decided through environmental litigation: legal actions, suits, proceedings, or investigations.


For an individual or a business entity, issues with environmental liability arise in various contexts. The most common scenario is at point of sale, where the liability can transfer during a corporate conveyance and during a residential purchase and sale. More multifaceted environmental liabilities can be uncovered during a pre-purchase due diligence investigation, a regulatory permit transfer, and site remediation and cost allocation context.

These scenarios, among others, can act as the foundation for environmental litigation.


Environmental litigation is a niche practice that requires the skill of a talented civil litigator as well as the knowledge base of a studied environmental lawyer. The federal and state environmental protection statutes and programs are highly complex and ever-changing. Some individuals and entities have difficulty in even filing a complaint or responsive pleading because they don’t understand the intricacies of environmental litigation. Hiring a competent environmental lawyer to represent you is an essential first step if you’re facing an environmental issue.

Invariably, environmental matters necessitate the use of an expert to either prove or defend your case. Experts assist the trier of fact, either jury or judge, to aid in the understanding of high-level scientific principles. The environmental litigation team at Desautel Law includes attorneys with advanced degrees in environmental science and experience working as environmental scientists, as well as experience with both civil and environmental litigation.


Because litigating any matter can be costly, we also encourage our clients to maintain ongoing compliance with all applicable laws and regulations. This strategy is effective to avoid environmental litigation. Our compliance initiatives begin with the due diligence process and continue through operations, including permit, license, and assent applications, collaborating with consultants to ensure compliance with permits, licenses, and assents, working with the regulatory bodies, and staying abreast of all regulatory changes and updates.


The attorneys at Desautel Law have incomparable experience in both challenging and defending permits, approvals, licenses, decisions, policy, regulations, and other actions under both state and federal law both for and against the government. In terms of environmental litigation, we have tried cases under the Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, and their Rhode Island and Massachusetts state equivalents, as well as the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act, the National Environmental Protection Act, and the Rhode Island and Massachusetts: oil pollution control laws, wetlands programs, septic system programs, and coastal resources regulatory programs.

The lawyers at Desautel Law have the experience and confidence to fight for your interests in the context of environmental litigation. We know the law, regulation, and process to help you through your contested matter.

To learn more about the lawyers at Desautel Law and how they can represent you in any environmental litigation matter, call us at 401.477.0023 today.

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