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Richard J. McNeil

Richard J. McNeil

Partner| Orange County|Los Angeles

Rick McNeil has over 25 years of experience representing businesses in the defense, aerospace, chemical, energy, waste disposal, manufacturing, food processing, printing, dry cleaning, real estate development and other industries against environmental claims. He has litigated environmental cost recovery (including CERCLA), CEQA, Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, RCRA and state common law actions, as well as toxic tort cases, environmental insurance actions and environmental criminal matters. Rick has defended parties in cases involving federal Superfund sites, groundwater contamination, product liability and Proposition 65. He also counsels clients in air quality, energy, climate change, water quality and hazardous waste compliance.

Rick was named one of Los Angeles Daily Journal’s “Top 20 Under 40,” and selected for inclusion in Los Angeles Lawyer’s “Super Lawyers” in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009..

Rick is a member of the American Law Institute, the Litigation and Environment, Energy and Resources Sections of the American Bar Association, the Litigation and Environmental Law Sections of the California State Bar and the Environmental Law Section of the Orange County Bar Association.  Rick formerly served as a member of the Executive Committee of the California State Bar Environmental Law Section.

Representative Matters
  • Defended an automobile manufacturer in a large chlorinated solvent contaminated groundwater case involving federal Superfund and state claims (successfully settled)
  • Defended an oil company against claims brought by a developer of a shopping center involving petroleum contamination of groundwater (successfully settled)
  • Defended an aerospace and munitions contractor in a product liability case (won on summary judgment)
  • Defended a chemical company in a multi-site groundwater contamination suit (successfully settled)
  • Defended criminal proceedings against a fertilizer manufacturer for allegedly illegally disposing of hazardous waste (settled with payment of a modest civil penalty and no incarceration)
  • Defended a suit against an asbestos manufacturer brought by the State of California for soil remediation and damages (successfully settled)
  • Prosecuted a property damage action against a former property owner and environmental contractor for disposal and exacerbation of hazardous waste (all remediation costs and attorneys' fees recovered in settlement)
  • Defended a sports and gaming complex racetrack in a Proposition 65 case (settled for less than cost of defense after successful rulings on post-trial motions)
  • Filed a petition for administrative mandamus under CEQA against a water district that proposed constructing a project that would divert the flow of groundwater currently being captured and remediated by an industrial client (resulted in water district preparing an EIR in lieu of a negative declaration)
  • University of California, Berkeley, Boalt Hall School of Law (J.D., 1984)
    • California Law Review
  • Yale University (B.A., 1981)
  • Supreme Court of California
  • United States District Court, All Districts of California
  • United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
  • American Bar Association
  • State Bar of California
    • Environmental Law Section, Former Member, Executive Committee
  • Orange County Bar Association
    • Environmental Law Section
  • American Law Institute
  • "EPA Issues Proposed Rule to Significantly Reduce Carbon Dioxide Emissions," Co-Author, Snell & Wilmer Legal Alert (July 10, 2014)
  • "'CEQA-in-Reverse' Case Headed for the California Supreme Court," Co-Author, Orange County Business Journal (May 12, 2014)
  • "New EPA Standard Provides Guidance for Phase I Investigations," Author, Snell & Wilmer Legal Alert (February 21, 2014)
  • "2014 Legal and Legislative Update for Commercial Real Estate," Co-Presenter, Society of Industrial and Office Realtors, Newport Beach, CA (January 27, 2014)
  • "'Takings' Decision Raises State Law Questions," Author, Daily Journal (July 8, 2013)
  • "California Scores Another Cap-and-Trade Victory," Co-Author, Snell & Wilmer Legal Alert (February 15, 2013)
  • "LEED Legal Alerts," Co-Author, Orange County Business Journal (November 19, 2012)
  • "Countdown to California's 'Cap and Trade' Carbon Credit Auction," Author, Snell & Wilmer Legal Alert (October 26, 2012)
  • "Desalination: The Carlsbad Project and Huntington Beach," Speaker, California Water Law Conference, San Diego, CA (May 3-4, 2012)
  • "Regulatory Justice: In Key Decision, U.S. Supreme Court Makes It Easier To Challenge EPA Orders," Author, JMBM Land Use Blog (March 26, 2012)
  • "The Rising Tide of Stormwater," Speaker, CalCIMA Education Conference, Monterey, CA (October 11, 2011)
  • "Developments In Stormwater," Speaker, JMBM Breakfast Briefing, Irvine, CA (September 26, 2011)
  • "Will Health Care Facilities Prove To Be The Antidote For Orange County’s Ailing Real Estate Market?," Author, Orange County Business Journal (September 26, 2011)
  • "How Review Standards Changed Cap-And-Trade In California," Author, Law360 (April 19, 2011)
  • "Climate Change/AQMD Update," JMBM Breakfast Briefing, Irvine, CA (March 24, 2011)
  • "Liability for Pharmaceuticals in Ground Water," Speaker, National Ground Water Association, Memphis, TN (April 1, 2008)
  • "Recent Developments In CERCLA Litigation," Speaker, 2006 State Bar Environmental Law Roundtable, Monterey, CA (June 9-11, 2006)
  • "Environmental Insurance and Other Third Party Risk Transfer Mechanisms," Speaker, 2001 State Bar Environmental Law Conference, Yosemite, CA (October 25-27, 2001)
  • "Managing Environmental Issues I Real Estate Lending & Securitization Transactions," Speaker, sponsored by AIG Insurance and Miller & Associates, Scottsdale, AZ (October 1-3, 2000)
  • "Swimming Toward a Safe Harbor, EPA’s Lender Liability Rule," Speaker, State Bar of California Environmental Subsection of the Real Property Section, San Diego, CA (November 13, 1993)
  • "Environmental Regulations and Financing Transactions: Their Impact on Lenders, Borrowers and Regulators: EPA’s Lender Liability Rule," Speaker, State Bar of California Environmental Subsection of the Real Property Section, Irvine, CA (June 4, 1993)
  • "Environmental Concerns in Real Estate Transactions: The Developer’s Perspective," Speaker, CEB Presentation, Los Angeles, CA (October 31, 1992)
  • "Requirements for Publicly Owned Treatment Works," Speaker, Executive Enterprises Water Quality Regulation Course, San Francisco, CA (May 15, 1990)
  • "Current Developments in Environmental Law," Speaker, Orange County Chamber of Commerce, Santa Ana, CA (May 11, 1989)
  • "Asbestos Abatement," Speaker, Hazardous Materials and Water Pollution Subcommittee of the Environmental Law Section of the Los Angeles County Bar Association, Los Angeles, CA (April 14, 1988)
  • "Proposition 65, Asbestos and the Real Estate Industry," Author, 6 Cal. Real Property Journal 29 (Spring 1988)
  • "Environmental Issues for Lenders," Speaker, Pension and Real Estate Advisors Winter Meeting, Los Angeles, CA (February 11, 1988)
  • Southern California Super Lawyers®, Environmental (2004-2009)
  • Top 20 Under 40, Los Angeles Daily Journal (1999)
  • Pacific Chorale, Board of Directors
  • Jeffer, Mangels, Butler & Mitchell LLP, Partner (2011-2012)
  • Irell & Manella LLP, Partner (1991-2010)
  • Latham & Watkins, Associate (1985-1990)
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, Washington, DC, Law Clerk for Hon. Aubrey E. Robinson, Chief Judge (1984-1985)