Today, Tom Van Wyngarden, a veteran litigator who has 25 years experience handling a wide array of environmental, toxic tort, hazardous materials, commercial and real estate disputes, has joined Pillsbury’s cross-disciplinary team of Environment, Land Use & Natural Resources lawyers.

Van Wyngarden, who joins the firm as Counsel in Los Angeles, had practiced at Chapman and Cutler in Salt Lake City since 2007. Prior to that, he was Chair of the Los Angeles Litigation Department for Morgan Lewis & Bockius.

“We are thrilled to bring a trial lawyer of Tom’s caliber to Pillsbury,” said Jim Rishwain, Pillsbury’s Chair. “Tom has vast experience in environmental, product liability and toxic tort cases, and he has handled among the most sophisticated, complex commercial disputes for clients operating in a broad array of industries. Tom is joining Pillsbury at an opportune time with our environmental, land use, natural resource and safety attorneys being kept fully busy by our clients and with our platform attracting numerous high-profile matters all across our United States and international offices.”

Among his career highlights, Van Wyngarden defended a waste management company in a series of cases stemming from a Superfund site. For that matter, the court and his co-defendants named him as lead defense counsel in what ultimately amounted to eight lawsuits with 1800 plaintiffs and 150 defendants. Likewise, he was able to secure the early dismissal of multiple class actions arising from a childhood leukemia cluster in Nevada. The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the District Court’s dismissal.

Over the years, Van Wyngarden’s clients have included companies hailing from the energy, aerospace, oil and gas, waste management, fuel transportation, mining, biotechnology, agricultural, maritime, entertainment, munitions and chemical industries. In addition, he has also helped his clients respond to alleged violations of federal and state regulations, including the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation & Liability or CERCLA, the Resource Conservation & Recovery Act, the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the Petroleum Marketing Practices Act, California’s Proposition 65, and the Unfair Business Act. A prolific writer and lecturer, Van Wyngarden also provides his clients with advice and counseling on their non-litigation needs.

“I am excited to join Pillsbury, which has a well-deserved reputation as one of the country’s top environmental litigation firms, and to return to Los Angeles, where I developed a thriving practice for many, many years,” Van Wyngarden said. “This is a homecoming of sorts as I know many of the people here at Pillsbury and in Los Angeles. I look forward to working alongside this great team of lawyers.”

Van Wyngarden earned his law degree from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law in 1987 and his undergraduate degree at the University of California, Los Angeles in 1984. He is admitted to practice in California and Utah. In 1985, he clerked for Northern District Judge Stanley Wiegel of the Northern District of California.

For over half a century, Pillsbury has represented national and international clients in environmental matters, building and refining a practice with a deep understanding of evolving international, federal and state environmental policy and regulation.

Pillsbury’s experience encompasses litigation and enforcement; business and real estate transactions; legal and regulatory compliance and “beyond compliance” counseling; legislative and regulatory monitoring and advocacy; project siting, development and finance; environmental impact analysis; risk assessment; and environmental management systems and strategy. The firm has a strong reputation in such areas as air and water pollution control, hazardous waste management, Superfund, toxic tort, endangered species and environmental impact analysis. To ensure efficient management of local issues, the attorneys at Pillsbury maintain close relationships with local counsel in other states.


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