Steven Soule is of counsel in Kirkland's Los Angeles office and practices environmental law and litigation. Steve has litigation experience in state and federal courts, at both the trial and appellate levels, as well as before the South Coast Air Quality Management District hearing board and in private arbitrations. In particular, he has experience in complex civil cases involving toxic tort, nuisance, and trespass claims arising from alleged contamination of real property, CERCLA cost recovery, and a number of government investigations including several involving claims based upon compliance with petroleum storage requirements and contamination of groundwater, and one involving alleged violations of various air pollution laws. He was lead trial counsel for a ten-day jury trial in a personal injury action and was lead defense counsel in two business tort and fraud cases, one that was dismissed on summary judgment and upheld on appeal and one that was dismissed at the pleading stage. Steve has also taken a leading role in criminal environmental cases based upon alleged failures to report hazardous substance releases and in a number of civil enforcement cases based upon claims under Proposition 65 for alleged failures to warn of exposures (both environmental and product exposures) and improper discharges to groundwater.
Steve has also assisted clients in complying with a broad range of environmental regulatory requirements, including compliance with air emission, waste water discharge and hazardous waste permit requirements, state and federal release reporting and clean-up requirements, underground storage tank requirements and California's Proposition 65 requirements.
Represented BP West Coast Products in a 400-plaintiff toxic tort case alleging personal injury and property loss due to exposure to emissions from BP's Carson, California Refinery. The plaintiffs, both adults and children, live in the neighborhood adjacent to the refinery and allege that its airborne emissions have caused numerous illnesses, including cancer, asthma and other respiratory problems.
Represented The Irvine Company in a declaratory relief action brought by The Irvine Company against Orange County seeking confirmation that the County bore responsibility for remediation of an a landfill under a contract between the parties. The County argued that The Irvine Company was not properly controlling methane and other gases from the landfill causing fires and exposing nearby residents.
Represented ARCO in a criminal investigation relating to its underground storage tank compliance across California and against public nuisance claims relating to underground storage tanks.
Represented a major California public utility, Pacific Gas and Electric Company, regarding environmental issues related to the divestiture of a majority of its fossil fuel power plants resulting from the deregulation of California's electric industry.
Represented Tosco Refining Company in an action brought under the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act and unfair business practice statutes alleging failure to warn of exposure to petroleum coke and related toxic substances in the Port of Long Beach area and property damage to nearby businesses and residences.
Represented the owner of a chemical manufacturing facility in a toxic tort case brought by residents of a housing project adjacent to the facility. Several hundred plaintiffs alleged exposure to chemicals in the groundwater and airborne emissions from the facility and claimed to suffer a wide variety of injuries.
O'Melveny & Myers LLP, 1994-2006
Senior Deputy District Prosecutor, SCAQMD, 2007-2008