Experience

WTO successfully represents Geosyntec Consultants in federal court in Colorado and before the Tenth Circuit


WTO represented Geosyntec Consultants in a case that arose from overflow of a cyanide heap leach pad at the Summitville Gold Mine, which led to one of the most famous environmental disasters in Colorado history. The mine owner sued the engineering firm under CERCLA statutes, alleging negligence in the engineering of the heap leach pad. After conducting extensive discovery in England, Canada, and the U.S., we won summary judgment on behalf of our client in federal court in Colorado and prevailed on appeal to the Tenth Circuit, where the lower court ruling was affirmed.

In the first federal appellate decision to address the issue, the Tenth Circuit held that the tort law collateral source rule is inapplicable in a contribution action under CERCLA. The holding precluded the plaintiff, the operator of the now-closed Summitville gold mine, from recovering millions of dollars from WTO's client for costs already paid by the insurance company for the clean-up of the plaintiff's mining operation. The U.S. Supreme Court rejected the mine operator's request to review the ruling.

Successfully defended an environmental engineering firm in litigation stemming from the Summitville Gold Mine disaster, one of the most famous environmental disasters in Colorado history.