What Distinguishes This Environmental Law Firm

Understanding the perspectives of all sides.

Prior to establishing his own firm, Tom Barefoot was a partner and head of environmental litigation at a large North Carolina law firm, where he represented insurance companies, financial institutions, manufacturing companies and small businesses in a wide range of matters related to environmental contamination of land and natural resources and personal injuries caused by exposure to toxic chemicals released into the environment. Tom defended federal cost recovery actions, as well as pursued private cost recovery actions against responsible parties.  He opposed, as well as assisted, governmental agencies in enforcement actions. He also counseled clients on both sides of environmental issues related to corporate acquisitions and the purchase and lease of real property.

For the past twenty years, Tom has represented individuals, communities and small businesses, against major corporations and others responsible for harm resulting from the release of hazardous substances and toxic chemicals. Tom also has assisted those seeking to restore Superfund or Brownfields sites to productive use.

Tom has tried cases to judgment and handled appeals in state and federal courts. He has successfully employed mediation and alternative dispute resolution to achieve the client’s goals.  This varied litigation and counseling experience from all angles enables the firm to approach each matter with an understanding of the interests and strategies of the other side.  From this unique perspective, our clients’ goals can best be achieved in the most efficient and expeditious manner.

Combining the personal attention and flexibility of a small firm with the experience and quality of a large firm.

Tom is committed to meeting the goals of our clients with high quality, cost effective representation tailored to each client’s specific needs. Flexibility is extended in working with each client’s individual circumstances.  Tom has extensive experience in complex, multi-party litigation, mediation, trials and appellate practice. When the situation warrants greater resources or expertise, other experienced lawyers and experts in the relevant fields are associated to form a legal team with the expertise and resources sufficient to be successful against any party, regardless of size or financial resources.

Successfully Handled Trial and Appeal of Nationally Significant Brownfields and Superfund Issues.

Tom recently served as lead environmental plaintiff’s counsel in the trial and appeal of a case involving nationally significant issues in federal Superfund and Brownfields law. Tom’s client was seeking to restore an abandoned Superfund site to productive use and recover its cleanup response costs from a responsible party.  The case was tried in the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina and was one of the first in the country to interpret and apply the liability protection provisions under the 2002 Brownfields Amendments. Also of national significance was the trial court’s interpretation and application of a recent Supreme Court decision on divisibility of harm at a Superfund site, a critical issue in determining the scope and extent of a responsible party’s liability at the site. The decision is reported in Ashley II of Charleston, LLC v. PCS Nitrogen, Inc., 791 F. Supp. 2d 431 (May 27, 2011).

Tom successfully handled the appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit (714 F.3d 161 (4th Cir. 2013)) and successfully opposed the opposition’s Petition for Writ of Certiorari to the U.S. Supreme Court.  134 S.Ct. 514 (November 4, 2013).

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