Notable Cases and Legislation

Gramling Environmental Law has represented clients in federal and state court proceedings, administrative agency hearings and before the United States Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA"), the Florida Department of Environmental Protection ("FDEP"), United States Army Corps of Engineers ("ACOE"), Florida Water Management Districts ("WMD's") and a variety of local environmental agencies. Notable examples of the range of Gramling Environmental Law’s practice include:

  • Representing a major corporation during the government's investigation and prosecution for the accidental release of anhydrous ammonia from an industrial facility. The Florida Department of Community Affairs filed an action against the corporation under the Federal Clean Air Act. As a result of Mr. Gramling's two-year representation and defense of this client, the enforcement action was completely dismissed with no penalty.

 

  • Serving as lead counsel to CERCLA "potentially responsible parties" ("PRP") groups. This entailed liability allocation among the PRPs, managing engineering firm investigation and remedial activities, negotiating joint funding agreements with other PRP legal counsel, and negotiating with EPA regarding consent orders and consent decrees for remedial investigation/feasibility studies and for remedial action at Sites.

 

  • Representing a major corporation through the government's investigation and prosecution for alleged violations of the Clean Air Act "ozone-depleting substance" restrictions of the client's industrial truck fleet air conditioning systems. The initial penalty sought by EPA was $650,000 dollars. Through our representation and negotiation, we reduced this penalty to $23,000. This was a "whistle blower" case involving a disgruntled employee of the corporation. Mr. Gramling represented the corporate client in this enforcement action for a period of approximately two years.

 

  • Representing two corporate officers who were arrested and prosecuted civilly and criminally for infractions of the State of Florida's Endangered Species Statute. The U.S. Dept. of Interior also pursued the company for civil infractions of the federal Endangered Species Act. Allegedly, corporate officers ordered the destruction of protected Florida Scrub jay habitat. Mr. Gramling represented this client in negotiations and case management regarding habitat conservation planning, incidental take permitting and conservation easement donation to the State of Florida.

 

  • Representing a wood-treating and lumber company concerning the FDEP's investigation and remediation of the wood-treating facility. This site ultimately became the first Brownfield Site in Florida under the Florida statutory program. Mr. Gramling obtained the first Brownfield Site Rehabilitation Completion Order in Florida for a lumber manufacturer whose facility was contaminated with arsenic. This allowed the client to sell the property and the new owners to re-develop it into residential housing.

 

  • Managing Brownfield Process for former wood-treating facility in Hillsborough County and negotiating Brownfield Site Rehabilitation Agreement (BSRA) with Florida DEP to address site rehabilitation and to enable client to file Voluntary Cleanup Tax Credit Application.

 

  • Handling Brownfield Process for printing plate manufacturing facility in cooperation with the City of Tampa.

 

  • Representing a corporation during an investigation conducted by the Army Corps of Engineers concerning the alleged destruction of wetlands. The Corps issued a Cease and Desist Order triggering an extensive internal investigation by the corporation. After two years, the matter was resolved through the Corps' issuance of an "after-the fact" permit, the client's donation of a Conservation Easement to the DEP and the mitigation of several acres of wetlands.

 

  • Creating and passing legislation amending the liability and immunity provisions of Chapter 376.3078, Florida Statutes, regarding dry cleaning and petroleum contamination. As an environmental subject matter expert and Registered Lobbyist in Florida, Mr. Gramling helped to develop a "voluntary cleanup" process for these sites, a 50% tax credit for the costs incurred in such cleanup and a legal immunity for innocent owners of such contaminated real property. His clients have been able to substantially lower their accounting reserves for contingent environmental liabilities associated with this type of pollution and avoid costly, protracted litigation in state or federal court.

 

  • Working with the Florida DEP on behalf of retail clients to develop an administrative rule governing "pharmaceutical hazardous waste." Mr. Gramling has also participated in the development of other administrative and statutory cleanup processes for Brownfield sites, petroleum contamination sites, dry cleaning contamination sites and global "Risk-Based Corrective Action" ("RBCA") sites.

 

  • Representing a nationally recognized retail chain regarding the alleged improper disposal of damaged or unsalable over-the-counter drugs and small retail products. The Florida DEP filed an enforcement action against a large, nationally recognized corporation, seeking to establish that such discarded products were "hazardous waste" and that the corporation was liable for vast quantities of product that it allegedly discarded into dumpsters over a period of several years. This litigation settled and the client implemented a Supplemental Environmental Project ("SEP"), in lieu of paying fines and penalties. The SEP entailed the client's implementation of software to "bar-code" product to prevent inadvertent disposal of product that might contain potentially hazardous chemicals.

 

  • Representing a very large land-holding company whose President was accused of "knowingly endangering" human health and the environment under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) RCRA summary. The President allegedly ordered employees to bury drums and containers of waste pesticides and chemicals. The USEPA, Florida DEP, Sheriff, Florida Marine Patrol and local Fire Department conducted an all-day surprise search of the facility, seized corporate records and located the drum burial area. The area was secured while the government performed extensive soil and groundwater sampling and excavated the buried chemical containers. This case proceeded as a civil and criminal prosecution in parallel, and Mr. Gramling coordinated the civil defense while working closely with criminal defense counsel for the client.

 

  • Hillsborough County, et al. v. A&E Road Oiling Service, Inc., 853 F.Supp. 1402 (M.D. FL 1994). This was a CERCLA cost-recovery action against numerous Potentially Responsible Parties (PRPs) and Mr. Gramling represented more than 20 individual generator PRPs in a proceeding to establish "fair shares" of liability, over a period of almost 10 years.

 

  • United States v. David L. Rieker, Civil 8:03-CV-647-T-26MAP. U S District Court Middle District Florida. Represented client in CERCLA cost-recovery lawsuit filed by the Environmental Protection Agency.

 

  • Thomson v. Florida Power Corporation, Case number 6:04-CV-1514-ORL-18DAV (US District Court Middle District of Florida). This was a CERCLA cost recovery action arising out of PCB contamination, in which Mr. Gramling represented the defendant.

 

  • Florida Wildlife Federation Inc. and Sierra Club vs. Progress Energy Florida and State of Florida Department of Environmental Protection, OGC Case No. 11-1407, DOAH Case No. 11-5442. Petition filed by the Sierra Club and Florida Wildlife Federation seeking to re-formulate NPDES Permit.

 

  • In Re: CERCLA Superfund proceedings:

    • Peak Oil Site in Hillsborough County, Florida

    • Bay Drum Site in Hillsborough County, Florida

    • Reeves Site in Hillsborough County, Florida

    • Landia Site in Polk County, Florida

    • Sydney Mine Site in Hillsborough County, Florida

    • Danmark Site in Broward County, Florida

    • Sanford Manufactured Gas Plant Site in Seminole County, Florida

    • Orlando Manufactured Gas Plant Site in Orange County, Florida

    • Davis Refining Site in Leon County, Florida

    • Constitution Road Site in Atlanta, Georgia

    • Miami Drum Site in Dade County, Florida

    • Missouri Electric Site in Cape Girardeau, Missouri

    • Barker Chemical Site in Levy County, Florida

    • Petroleum Reprocessors Superfund Site in Broward County, Florida

    • Petroleum Products Corporation (PPC) Site in Broward County, Florida

    • M & L Solvents Site in Atlanta, GA

    • Jacksonville Gas Plant Site

 

  • Hillsborough County, et al. v. A&E Road Oiling Service, Inc., 853 F.Supp. 1402 (U.S. District Court Middle District of Florida,1994)

 

  • United States v. David L. Rieker, Civil 8:03-CV-647-T-26MAP.  Represented client in cost recovery lawsuit by Environmental Protection Agency.

 

  • Thomson v. Florida Power Corporation, Case number 6:04-CV-1514-ORL-18DAV (U.S. District Court Middle District of Florida). Represented defendant in CERCLA cost recovery action arising out of PCB contamination.

 

  • Florida Wildlife Federation Inc. and Sierra Club vs. Progress Energy Florida and State of Florida Department of Environmental Protection, OGC Case No. 11-1407, DOAH Case No. 11-5442. Petition filed by the Sierra Club and Florida Wildlife Federation seeking to re-formulate NPDES Permit.

 

  • Florida Power Corporation d/b/a Progress Energy Florida, Inc.; Atlanta Gas Light Company; Peoples Gas System, a Division of Tampa Electric Company; and City of Orlando, Florida v. Continental Holdings, Inc., Case No. 6:12CV1066ORL-36GJK (U.S. District Court Middle District of Florida, 2012). Represented client in Superfund cost recovery action.

 

  • Seminole Tribe of Florida v. Florida Power & Light Company, Case No. 262011CA000540CA (Twentieth Judicial Circuit in and for Hendry County, Florida, 2013). Represented client in rezoning application challenge.

 

  • The City of Jacksonville v. Shoppes of Lakeside, Inc.; Jacksonville Holdings L.P.; Continental Holdings, Inc., Case No. 3:12-CV-850-J-25MCR (U.S. District Court Middle District of Florida, 2012). Represented client in environmental liability litigation under CERCLA.

 

  • Florida Dry-cleaning Solvent Cleanup Program: Drafted legislation and lobbied for passage (1995, 1996, 1998, 2002).

 

  • Florida Sport Shooting and Training Range Environmental Liability Protection: Drafted legislation and lobbied for passage (2003, 2004).

©2020 Gramling Environmental Law, P.A.

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