Morgan Gilhuly has specialized in environmental litigation and environmental compliance counseling for nearly 30 years. He has represented defendants in complex environmental litigation regarding oil refineries, mining sites, and industrial and commercial facilities. Morgan has tried cases involving alleged PCE, hexavalent chromium, and petroleum contamination. He also regularly counsels clients regarding California's cap-and-trade regulation, EPA enforcement and cost recovery actions, and Superfund sites in Silicon Valley. Morgan also has extensive experience with brownfields redevelopment. He is currently the managing partner of Barg Coffin Lewis & Trapp, LLP.

Environmental law is among the most fascinating topics facing mankind. It is about how we balance our need to use resources today with the long-term health of our species and our planet. For me, it also marries several interests – scientific interests in geology and chemistry, which I studied in college, and law and economics, which is at the heart of much of environmental law. Today, my practice encompasses a broad range of legal, scientific and technical issues, including contamination of air, soil and water, greenhouse gas emissions and brownfields.

  • A major industrial gas manufacturer with respect to AB32 compliance
  • A Fortune 500 technology company with respect to three Superfund sites in Silicon Valley, including negotiations with regulatory agencies concerning investigation, remediation, risk assessment and vapor intrusion issues, and in cost recovery litigation with other responsible parties
  • A technology company in EPA enforcement proceedings regarding former semiconductor facilities in Mountain View.
  • Several companies that owned and operated a former wood treating facility in a lawsuit brought by more than 2,000 plaintiffs in the Eastern District of California alleging violations of the Clean Water Act, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, and personal injuries and property damage
  • A chemical company defendant in multiple actions brought by municipalities, water providers and landowners alleging contamination and subsequent closure of drinking water wells due to the dry-cleaning solvent perchloroethylene
  • Two railroad companies in Polanco Act litigation, including trial and appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, concerning petroleum and metals contamination in Stockton. Redevelopment Agency of the City of Stockton v. BNSF Railway Co., 643 F.3d 668 (9th Cir. 2011)
  • Landowners in regulatory proceedings concerning a large ranch in the Sacramento Delta area, including site investigation and development of a remedial strategy, creating a fixed-fee site closure plan, and obtaining environmental insurance for unanticipated cleanup costs
  • A coalition of landowners and water districts in a federal action alleging violations of the Endangered Species Act and of municipal separate storm sewer NPDES permits concerning discharges to the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, Coalition for a Sustainable Delta et al. v. City of Stockton and County of San Joaquin, No. 2:09-CV-00466-JAM-DAD (E.D. Cal.)
  • A national bottled water company in Lanham Act, false advertising, and unfair competition claims brought by a statewide class of consumers and a competitor seeking over $150 million in damages
  • A major oil company in multiple lawsuits brought by more than 14,000 plaintiffs concerning a release of a chemical catalyst from a San Francisco Bay Area refinery

PUBLICATIONS

BLOG ARTICLES

WHERE THE LAW AND ENVIRONMENT INTERSECT

Morgan’s experience at the firm includes:

  • Representing clients in federal and state enforcement actions and administrative proceedings under CERCLA, EPCRA, the Clean Water Act, and state law
  • Representing clients in cases involving soil and groundwater contamination, and toxic tort and property damage cases
  • Advising clients regarding the developing law related to climate change
  • Providing advice regarding the environmental aspects of real estate transactions, including due diligence, purchase and sale of contaminated properties, and contracting
  • Prosecuting and defending citizen suit claims under federal and state environmental law, including RCRA, Clean Water Act, and Proposition 65
  • Representing clients in federal and state courts and before government agencies, including Regional Water Quality Control Boards, Air Quality Management Districts, and city and county agencies

AWARDS + ACCOLADES

  • Named 2012 California Lawyer of the Year in Environmental Law by California Lawyer magazine. 
  • Named 2013 Lawyer of the Year in Environmental Litigation for the San Francisco metropolitan area by Best Lawyers
  • Honored by Chambers USA as a Leader in the field of Environmental Law
  • Named a “Super Lawyer” by San Francisco magazine in its annual survey of Northern California lawyers every year since the survey’s inception in 2004

EDUCATION

Yale Law School, J.D., 1986

  • Executive Editor, Yale Journal on Regulation

Amherst College, B.A., History, 1980

COMMUNITY | OFF HOURS

  • Served as a Judge Pro Tem in the Contra Costa Superior Court 
  • Taught environmental law as an adjunct professor at University of California, Hastings College of the Law
  • Guest Speaker, U.C. Berkeley Extension CERCLA/RCRA course, 1994–1997

PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS

American Bar Association
Bar Association of San Francisco

BAR MEMBERSHIP

United States District Courts for the Northern, Eastern, Central and Southern Districts of California
United State Court of Appeals for the Ninth and Tenth Circuits
State Bar of California