SAN FRANCISCO, CA, October 2, 2014 – Edlin Gallagher Huie + Blum (EGHB) is pleased to announce the firm won a complex environmental case for the City of Fort Bragg (the City). The lawsuit, filed in 2012 by OfficeMax and Georgia-Pacific LLC (GP), alleged that the City was responsible under CERCLA for substantial clean-up costs at GP’s former lumber mill in Fort Bragg. GP – which is part of the Koch Industries, Inc. family of companies – was demanding millions in past and future costs. Both parties have agreed to a settlement by a joint stipulation filed in federal court to dismiss the entire case. As a result the City will not be required to pay any portion of the clean-up costs or damages.
The case was notable because the lumber mill had been in operation for more than 120 years, multiple parties were involved over time, and discovery entailed reviewing 11 million pages of records and taking numerous depositions in locations throughout the country. It was among the first cases assigned to Judge William H. Orrick upon his appointment to the federal bench. It was also the first time EGHB used its in-house predictive coding solution to manage the e-discovery process.
“We are thrilled to obtain such a favorable and just outcome for the City of Fort Bragg,” says Fred Blum, the lead EGHB attorney on the case. “This was a very tough case. We had to figure out what occurred at the lumber mill more than one hundred years ago and how those facts related to GP’s present-day conduct. Reviewing 11 million pages of documents was daunting, but with the support of an extremely helpful client and a highly talented legal staff, we got to the truth.” City Manager Linda Ruffing called Blum a “bulldog” for his tenacious representation of the City in this case.
In addition to Blum, the EGHB trial team consisted of Noel Edlin and Farheena Habib. The team’s substantial environmental trial experience was crucial to achieving such a successful outcome. Blum and Edlin have been recognized as Super Lawyers in Environmental Law and Environmental Litigation for numerous years.
About Fred M. Blum
Fred M. Blum has 30+ years of environmental litigation and appellate experience. He has been lead counsel in hundreds of matters, including cases involving environmental, product liability, employment and constitutional law. He has filed briefs and argued before all federal and state courts, including an en banc hearing before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Fred is a 1978 graduate of the University of California, Davis and he received his J.D. in 1981 from Whittier College School of Law.
About Noel Edlin
Noel Edlin defends clients throughout the U.S. in high-stakes environmental, toxic tort and product liability matters. He has successfully tried numerous cases to verdict during his 30 years of practicing law. Edlin earned his J.D. in 1982 from UC Hastings College of the Law. In addition to his busy law practice, Edlin is the managing partner at Edlin Gallagher Huie + Blum. Under Noel’s leadership, the firm makes intelligent investments in continuing education and information technology to work smarter, decrease costs for clients and stay on the cutting edge litigation.
About Farheena A. Habib
Farheena A. Habib is a partner with Edlin Gallagher Huie + Blum whose practice is focused primarily in the areas of commercial litigation, toxic tort litigation, asbestos litigation and environmental law. Prior to practicing law, she worked as a law clerk at the Connecticut Superior Court. Habib graduated from the University of California Davis, with a B.S., in psychology. She earned her J.D. from Boston University School of Law in 2005 and was admitted to practice in the State of California in 2006.
About Edlin Gallagher Huie + Blum
Founded by trial lawyers Edlin Gallagher Huie + Blum specializes in complex litigation. The firm’s Law & Motion Department delivers work product that frequently results in dismissals. With more than 100 trials to verdict, 100+ appeals and thousands of mediations, EGHB offers clients the unique blend of large firm experience and small firm agility. With every matter, the firm strives to achieve early resolution while keeping costs under control for its clients. Read more.