Leah J. Knowlton has more than 30 years of experience in a broad range of environmental regulatory, litigation and transactional matters. She has particular expertise in remediation of contaminated sites listed in the Superfund (CERCLA) program and analogous state Brownfields programs. Ms. Knowlton has successfully litigated complex federal Superfund litigation and other civil litigation involving chemical contamination and alleged environmental violations, and has defended clients in federal environmental criminal prosecutions. She has served as lead crisis response counsel to major manufacturing companies in workplace toxic exposure incidents and fatal industrial accidents.
Ms. Knowlton has extensive experience conducting environmental due diligence and negotiating contracts and remediation plans in corporate, real estate and lending transactions. She regularly counsels clients on permit compliance and develops and implements environmental management systems. Ms. Knowlton advises clients on process safety management and chemical manufacturing security matters.
For example, she:
- Advises a major chemical manufacturing company on RCRA regulations governing hazardous waste treatment, storage and disposal and workplace chemical safety standards.
- Served as lead counsel on a team that recently won summary judgment for a Fortune 100 manufacturing client in years-long Superfund litigation involving an 84-acre dump and dozens of potentially responsible
- Counsels a leading Georgia educational institution on the investigation and remediation of a Midtown Atlanta property in the Georgia Voluntary Cleanup Program. Most recently, she has negotiated contracts with developers and tenants, and negotiated remedial action goals with the Environmental Protection Division, to facilitate the development of a $450 million mixed-use project on the property.
- Serves as crisis-response counsel to a consumer product manufacturer for worker exposures to hazardous substances, and has led several internal investigations of incidents.
Ms. Knowlton has been involved with several organizations including the Air and Waste Management Association, the American Bar Association's Environmental Committee and its Energy, Environment and Resources Law Section and its Litigation Section, the American Water Works Association, the Georgia Manufacturing Alliance, Litigation Counsel of America, and the Atlanta Chapter of the Women’s Energy Network.
Represented Georgia Tech in the successful acquisition of 52+ acres of research, warehouse and office buildings. The property will be utilized by Tech as a large expansion to its existing Cobb research campus.
Lead counsel in Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) cost recovery litigation for owners of property contaminated by polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) from an adjacent National Priorities List (NPL) Superfund Site.
Serves as common counsel to a PRP Group of more than 20 companies alleged to be large volume generators at a Superfund site in U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 4.
Lead joint defense counsel in a federal Clean Water Act citizens suit brought by property owners adjacent to a 100-acre residential development.
Coordinating remediation of contaminated sites under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA), the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), and state remediation programs, including daily management of a Superfund site during emergency removal action.
Counseling clients on Section 404 wetlands permits and National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit compliance under the Clean Water Act, and defending administrative challenges to such permits.
Advising manufacturing clients on OSHA hazardous communications regulations (HazCom 2012), Globally Harmonized System (GHS) chemical classification and labeling requirements, and registration under the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) program.
Developing environmental management systems for clients in automotive, chemical and plastics manufacturing businesses, in compliance with ISO 14001 Environment Management System (EMS) standards.
Counseling poultry producers on water quality and waste issues, including wastewater treatment and surface and groundwater withdrawal permitting.
Negotiating air permits with federal and state agencies, and conducting permit appeals in the Georgia Office of State Administrative Hearings.
- Defense of a manufacturing company and employees indicted for felony violations of the Clean Water Act
Served as lead environmental counsel in the successful defense of a manufacturing company and five employees indicted for eight felony violations of the Clean Water Act, and orchestrated Daubert challenges of scientific evidence that led to dismissal of all charges.
Served on a team as national Daubert counsel for a Fortune 100 consumer products manufacturer in hundreds of latex glove and medical device toxic tort suits.
- Hobart Corp. et al. v. Waste Management of Ohio, Inc., 758 F.3d 757 (6th Cir. 2014)
- Wilson Road Development Corp. et al. v. Fronabarger Concreters, Inc., et al., 971 F.Supp.2d 896 (E.D. Mo. 2013)
- Hobart Corp., et al. v. Coca-Cola Enterprises, Inc., et al 923 F.Supp.2d 1086 (S.D. Ohio 2013)
- September 20, 2017
- "Environmental Due Diligence and Contract Provisions," Real Estate in Mergers and Acquisitions, Webinar, National Business InstituteApril 27, 2017
- "Leveraging Latest CERCLA Decisions and Navigating New Complexities," Strafford Publications, WebinarApril 11, 2017
- "CERCLA Actions and Statute of Limitations," Strafford Publications, WebinarFebruary 2, 2017
- "Drafting Real Estate and Environmental Contract Provisions in M&A Agreements: Guidance for M&A Counsel," Strafford Continuing Education WebinarsAugust 16, 2016
- "Leveraging Latest CERCLA Decisions and Navigating New Complexities," Strafford Publications webinarApril 22, 2015
- "Solving the CERCLA Statute of Limitations and Preemption Puzzles - Lessons from Recent Decisions for Timing in Superfund and Environmental Litigation," Strafford Publications webinarFebruary 5, 2014
- "Environmental Criminal Enforcement," Chattanooga Regional Manufacturers Association Environmental SummitNovember 14, 2012
- "Environmental Criminal Investigations and Enforcement," Strafford Publications webinarMay 10, 2012
- "EPA Criminal Enforcement on the Rise," Strafford Publications webinarAugust 6, 2011
- "Alternative Dispute Resolution of a Stormwater Runoff Case," State Bar of Georgia Environmental Law SectionJuly 31, 2010
- "Legally Green: Compliance with Green Building Codes," National Facilities Management Conference, BaltimoreMarch 17, 2010
- "Water Law," Everyday Law/Leyes Cotidianas, WABE Channel 30February 26, 2010
- "Green Retrofitting Commercial Buildings: Conserving Water and Energy," Green Retrofitting SeminarOctober 8, 2009
- Green Building Code Compliance, Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) International ConferenceJune 29, 2009
- "Environmental Risks in Lending and Foreclosure," Spring Program for Bank Directors and Executives, Community Bankers Association of GeorgiaApril 25, 2009
- "Sustainable Building Codes: Key Features, Incentives and Challenges," Southeastern Greenprints ConferenceMarch 26, 2009
- "Water Features of Green Building Codes," Georgia Association of Water Professionals' Annual ConventionMarch 18, 2009
- "Everyday Environmental Law," Everyday Law/Leyes Cotidianas, WABE Channel 30January 25, 2009
- May 25, 2017
- "The Risks and Benefits of Rule 26 Amendments for Expert Reports," American Bar Association, In-House Litigator, Vol. 25, No. 3, Spring 2011
- Co-author, "Any Port in a Storm: Strategies for Defending Environmental Criminal Enforcement Actions," Georgia ICLEJanuary 28, 2011
- "Georgia's Drought Response," Daily Report, Litigation/Technology Practice GuideJune 16, 2008
- "Water Law for a Thirsty Atlanta," American Bar Association, Wetlands Committee Newsletter, Vol. 17, Issue 11April 2008
- December 6, 2018
- June 3, 2017
- June 3, 2017
- May 31, 2017
- December 16, 2016
- December 16, 2016
- September 16, 2016
- August 9, 2016
- July 14, 2016
- July 8, 2016
- June 30, 2016
- June 30, 2016
- "Leah Knowlton: Partner in the Environmental and Energy Team at Taylor English Duma," Atlanta Business ChronicleJune 30, 2016
- June 30, 2016
- June 23, 2016
- May 9, 2019
- February 20, 2019
- December 6, 2018
- Nine Attorneys Also Recognized as Leaders in Their FieldsMay 3, 2018
- February 22, 2018
- December 4, 2017
- Ten Attorneys Also Recognized as Leaders in Their FieldsMay 30, 2017
- February 23, 2017
- December 13, 2016
- June 28, 2016
- Six Attorneys Also Recognized as Leaders in Their FieldsMay 27, 2016
Yale Law School, JD, 1987
University of Chicago, BA, with honors, 1982
Courts & Adjudicative Bodies
U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
LEED Accredited Professional for New Construction and Major Renovations Projects
Chambers USA: Leading Business Lawyers - Environment, 2013-2017
Georgia Trend's Legal Elite, Environmental Law, 2012, 2015-2018
Georgia Super Lawyers, Environment, 2013-2019
Top 50 Women Attorneys in Georgia, Atlanta Magazine, 2014
Business and Law Award from the Georgia Women's Institute, 2014