The Future of Climate Change Nuisance Litigation
Join us Monday, October 3, for a panel discussion on the future of climate change tort litigation post American Electric Power Co. Inc. v. State of Connecticut. Featured speakers include Michael B. Gerrard, the Andrew Sabin Professor of Professional Practice at Columbia Law School; Assistant Attorney General Kimberly Massicotte, who is also head of the Environment Department at the Connecticut Attorney General’s Office; Matt Pawa, lead counsel for the non-profit organizations in the AEP litigation; and Stephen D. Susman, P.C., a litigator renowned for his representation of the coalition of 37 Texas cities opposing the permitting of TXU’s coal-fired electric plants. Doug Kysar, Joseph M. Field '55 Professor of Law Yale Law School, will moderate.
This event is co-sponsored by the Yale Center for Environmental Law & Policy and the Yale Environmental Law Student Association. Refreshments will be served.
MICHAEL B. GERRARD is the Andrew Sabin Professor of Professional Practice at Columbia Law School, where he teaches courses on environmental law, climate change law, and energy law, and is director of the Center for Climate Change Law. From 1979 through 2008 he practiced environmental law in New York, most recently as partner in charge of the New York office of Arnold & Porter LLP. Upon joining the Columbia law faculty, he became Senior Counsel to the firm. His practice involved trying numerous cases and arguing many appeals in federal and state courts and administrative tribunals, handling the environmental aspects of numerous transactions and development projects, and providing regulatory compliance advice to a wide variety of clients in the private and public sectors.
A prolific writer in environmental law and climate change, Gerrard twice received the Association of American Publishers' Best Law Book award for works on environmental law and brownfields. He has written or edited nine books, including Global Climate Change and U.S. Law, the leading work in its field and the twelve-volume Environmental Law Practice Guide. His ninth book, The Law of Clean Energy: Efficiency and Renewables, was published in 2011. Since 1986 he has been an environmental law columnist for the New York Law Journal.
Gerrard was the 2004-2005 chair of the American Bar Association's 10,000-member Section of Environment, Energy and Resources. He also chaired the Executive Committee of the New York City Bar Association, and the Environmental Law Section of the New York State Bar Association. Several independent rating services ranked Gerrard as the leading environmental lawyer in New York and one of the leading environmental lawyers in the world.
Gerrard has taught courses at Columbia University School of Law, Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, and New York University Law School. He has also lectured on environmental law in Great Britain, France, Netherlands, Denmark, China, India, Japan, Canada, and throughout the United States.
KIMBERLY MASSICOTTE is an Assistant Attorney General for the Connecticut Attorney General’s Office and the head of the Office’s Environment Department. She has served as the Environment Department Head for fourteen years where she supervises the Office’s environmental litigation. She has tried many significant environmental cases and persuaded the court to assess for the first time in the state a penalty in excess of one million dollars. She was instrumental in bringing together a coalition of states in order to file the AEP case. She has argued numerous appeals in state and federal courts. She has co-authored articles with former Attorney General Richard Blumenthal on global warming litigation and air pollution regulation, and has argued cases with former Attorney General Richard Blumenthal. She has appeared as a guest speaker at Yale Law School and the University of Hartford and has taught wetland law to municipal enforcement officials. She has lectured extensively on environmental issues both in Connecticut and out of state. She has served on the Connecticut Environmental Justice Coalition. She has received numerous official recognitions for her litigation successes. She has also been appointed a Special Assistant State’s Attorney.
MATT PAWA is a general practice litigator. He has represented governments, citizens, property owners, large corporations, small businesses, environmental groups, non-profit organizations and injured persons in a wide range of cases. He has handled cases involving issues of national importance and cutting-edge legal issues. Mr. Pawa has extensive trial court experience -- including jury trial experience -- and has argued numerous appeals. He recently has argued and prevailed in three appeals in the New Hampshire Supreme Court in a groundwater contamination case.
Mr. Pawa is an award-winning legal writer. His legal articles are regularly published in law reviews and journals. He previously served as an adjunct professor of law at Boston College Law School. He has appeared as a guest speaker at Columbia University Law School, Yale Law School and Harvard Law School. He is a regular speaker at legal symposia and bar association meetings, including at the American Law Institute-American Bar Association annual joint presentation in Washington, D.C., the ABA Section of Environment, Energy and Resources' annual meeting, the annual Public Interest Environmental Law conference at the University of Oregon Law School, the Boston Bar Association, and others. Mr. Pawa has been quoted in numerous news outlets, including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Boston Globe, Hartford Courant, Christian Science Monitor, and Jurist.
Mr. Pawa pioneered the use of common law tort doctrines such as public nuisance in global warming. Mr. Pawa is lead counsel for the non-profit organizations in the AEP cases and is co-lead counsel in Kivalina v. Exxon Mobil, both seeking to hold major greenhouse gas emitters liable for their contributions to global warming injuries. In the oral argument in the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit on the AEP cases, Mr. Pawa shared argument time with Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal. He has written two law review articles and a book chapter regarding global warming that expound upon the tort theories from the AEP cases. In 2003 Mr. Pawa filed the first case on behalf of a state dealing with groundwater contamination from the gasoline additive MTBE. Mr. Pawa is a nationally competitive age-group triathlete.
STEPHEN D. SUSMAN, P.C., is among a small group included in The Best Lawyers in America for over 25 years and most recently, Who's Who Legal has named him to The International Who's Who of Lawyers 2011 list as one of the 150 attorneys recognized in the United States. Expert Guides, Legal Media Group named him "Best of the Best in 2011" - one of the world's top 25 pre-eminent Litigation Lawyers. Susman's landmark victory as a plaintiff's attorney came in 1980 with an award of more than $550 million to victims of a nationwide price-fixing conspiracy, the largest jury verdict of its time. He has since represented both plaintiffs and defendants such as Northrop in its suit against McDonnell Douglas over the F-18 jet fighter, Speaker Jim Wright (cover of New York Times, May 24, 1989) in his ethics battle, the Hunt brothers (New York Times Magazine) in the largest lender liability case in history, and the state of Arkansas in a milk price-fixing case.
Susman has recently become a pioneer in global warming litigation. He has completed a successful representation of a coalition of 37 Texas cities opposing the permitting of coal-fired electric generating plants by TXU. This case garnered Susman Godfrey the National Law Journal's 2008 Pro Bono Award as well as being featured in Robert Redford's Sundance Preserve documentary Fighting Goliath" Texas Coal Wars. The new purchasers of TXU have agreed to suspend all the permit application that Susman was opposing. The Mayor of Dallas had this to say about Susman's efforts: "Without Susman Godfrey, we would never have gotten the result that we did, with TXU withdrawing permit applications, for all eight units that the coalition challenged. The aggressive, relentless, and comprehensive legal work that was done on this case in record time caused TXU to have to rethink its environmentally unfriendly plan. What Steve Susman and his team did will be remembered by the utility industry for a long time to come: people in this country will no longer accept the construction of dirty, old-technology, coal-fired power plants. Not even in Texas. Susman taught a Climate Change Litigation course at the University of Houston Law School and has frequently lectured on the subject for the ABA, BNA, University of Texas and Stanford. He is currently counsel to an Inuit tribe that has lost its home because of global warming.