Land Use and Zoning; Environmental Law.  We represented a local government seeking judicial relief against a solid waste facility that commenced operations without a zoning permit and without obtaining state environmental permits.  The facility was an unlawful use within the zoning district and created a public nuisance, processing thousands of cubic yards of solid waste without complying with basic environmental protection standards and best management practices required by the Pa. Department of Environmental Protection.  We filed a motion for preliminary injunction and obtained an injunction that required the waste facility operator and the landowner to halt any further shipments of waste to the site, shut down the processing operations, immediately commence the removal of all waste from the site, and to complete its removal within 34 days.  Borough of Glendon v. Michael Stine, et al. (Injunction issued September 27, 2013)

Land Use and Zoning; Court Challenges. Mr. Charles Elliott represented a municipal Environmental Advisory Council (“EAC”) in zoning proceedings before a Township Board of Supervisors involving an application by a concrete manufacturer for a “conditional use” to operate a concrete batch plant. The applicant filed a lawsuit alleging bias and conflict of interest, seeking to prohibit the EAC from participating and to prevent the municipal supervisors from hearing the case. We argued that the court lacked jurisdiction to interfere with the zoning proceedings, and that the EAC was a proper party. The Court of Common Pleas nevertheless granted equitable relief. On appeal before the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania, we successfully argued that the lower court lacked jurisdiction, and that no showing of conflict of interest or bias involving the EAC had been made. The Commonwealth Court ordered the applicant’s lawsuit to be dismissed with prejudice. HYK Construction Company v. Smithfield Township, EAC (November 19, 2010).

Nuclear Power, National Environmental Policy Act. Mr. Charles Elliott represented environmental groups opposing the issuance of an operating license for a nuclear power reactor facility before the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and in the federal courts. The plant was a GE Boiling Water Reactor (BWR) with a Mark II containment. We argued that the NRC was required to consider design alternatives and severe accident risk mitigation measures prior to issuance of the license. The U.S. Court of Appeals vacated the license and for the first time in the nation’s history ordered the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission to analyze nuclear power reactor design safety alternatives under the National Environmental Policy Act. As a result of our work, the facility was backfitted with mitigation measures and the nuclear accident risk of the facility was reduced. Limerick Ecology Action v. U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, case reported at 869 F.2d 719, United States Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit, 1989, case opinion:http://openjurist.org/869/f2d/719/united-states-court-of-appeals-third-circuit

Environmental Contamination, Toxic Lead. We successfully concluded federal litigation on behalf of victims of environmental pollution involving area-wide lead contamination caused by secondary lead smelting and battery manufacturing facilities in Pennsylvania with a court decree which provided for the remediation of contaminated properties and future environmental compliance. We brought successful federal claims under the Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (“RCRA”). (LEAD Group v. Exide, summary judgment decision reported in Westlaw, 1999 WL 124473, U.S.D.C, E.D. Pa., 1999, summary judgment opinion: LEAD Exide Case.pdf; case settled with court decree)

Solid Waste Incineration, State Environmental Pemitting. We successfully represented a governmental client in overturning state environmental permits for a solid waste incineration facility proposed to be sited within the municipality and which threatened to release toxic materials including lead and other heavy metals and dioxin. (case reported at 145 Pa. Commonwealth 238, 663 A.2d 226, 1992. case opinion: Glendon v. GEC.pdf)

Land Use Permits for Solid Waste Facility We successfully represented a governmental client through all appellate proceedings in defending its decision to deny land use permits to a municipal solid waste facility. (case reported at 656 A.2d 150, case opinion: GEC v. Glendon II.pdf)

State Permitting for Solid Waste Facility, National Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. We represented an environmental organization in successful state court proceedings to overturn state environmental permits for a solid waste management facility proposed to be sited near a high-quality waterway which was protected under the National Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. (case reported at 722 A.2d 1129, Pa. Commonwealth Court, 1999; case opinion: Tri-State Transfer.pdf)

Water Pollution, Clean Water Act citizen suit. We successfully concluded litigation against several large corporations for violations of the federal Clean Water Act which polluted the Delaware River. That litigation resulted in payments by one defendant of $3.1 million in civil penalties, the nation’s then-largest civil penalty for violations of the federal “pretreatment regulations” under the Clean Water Act, and a halt to the polluting activities. (United States District Court, E.D. Pa., unreported; case settlement)

Business Interference, Civil Rights. We represented a local company put out of business as the result of an agreement between two defendants, a municipality and an amusement park. After the state courts supported the defendants, we took the case to federal court. That court recognized the validity of our claims that an unlawful conspiracy by the defendants deprived our client of its liberty and property rights under the substantive and procedural due process components of the fourteenth amendment to the United States Constitution. (case reported at 1989 WL 23079, United States District Court, E.D. Pa. 1989; case opinion: Lara v. South Whitehall.pdf)

Trade Secrets, Antirust, Unfair Competition. Our client was an industry-leading high technology company which had developed the first automotive materials handling system (“CarTrac”) having the capability of operating different cars at different speeds at different points in the assembly line (“asynchronous” operation), and to accelerate, decelerate, or stop an individual car at various points in the system with great precision and reliability. This was the first such system in the United States. Our client enjoyed trade secret and patent protection. It licensed the technology for use by Nissan in Japan and the technology was subsequently employed by General Motors and Chrysler. After a renegade cadre of employees left the company and went into business for themselves offering a nearly identical technology, we sued them for unfair competition and misappropriation of intellectual property. We obtained an injunction from the federal trial court which was appealed by the employees to the United States Third Circuit Court of Appeals. In deciding 30 separate legal issues, the Court agreed that our client was entitled to trade secret protection for various critical elements of its engineering and business. (case reported at 753 F.2d 1244, United States Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit, 1985; case opinion: SI Handling Systems.pdf)

Health Care Insurance, Class Action. We represented a medical patient who was trapped between his health insurance company claiming that his treatment was not “medically necessary” and his hospital (a member of his insurance company) claiming that it was. It was only after treatment that the dispute arose, and the insurance company’s denial of coverage was retroactive. We brought a class action lawsuit on behalf of the patient and all those similarly situated against both the insurer and the hospital for these practices. On appeal, the state appellate court agreed with us that the trial court had erred in concluding that the case should not proceed as a class action.  Thereafter, the case was successfully settled with relief for the class. (case reported at 347 Pa. Super. 441, 500 A.2d 1137; case opinion: D’Amelio Class Action.pdf)

(Please note that every case is different and must be evaluated on its own merits, and therefore past results do not predict future outcomes.)