- Commercial Litigation
- Environmental/Toxic Tort
Lee Henig-Elona is of counsel in the Environmental/Toxic Tort Group. She handles federal and state court environmental litigation, defense of individual and mass toxic torts and products liability as well as commercial litigation.
Lee has successfully defended manufacturing clients in mass tort claims involving allegations of phosphorus oxychloride exposure; personal-injury suits alleging defective or mislabeled products; and multiparty property damage cases involving allegedly contaminated property. She has defended claims by neighbors of chemical and coatings manufacturers, workplace exposures brought by independent contractors and mold exposure claims.
She also defends manufacturers of products that are alleged to be defectively designed, manufactured or sold without adequate warnings. Lee’s representative cases have involved breast implant multi-district litigation; asbestos suits; exposures from pipe ruptures, defective machinery and equipment, mislabeled food products and medical devices.
Lee has extensive experience in environmental issues such as soil and groundwater contamination; landfill closure and remediation; asbestos defense; cost recovery actions; and chemical exposure in the workplace. She represents clients in cases that involve the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act; the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act; the New Jersey Spill Compensation and Control Act; and New York Navigation Law.
She also handles environmental criminal law, permitting, compliance and enforcement matters and has regulatory experience before administrative boards and agencies. Lee has represented clients in administrative hearings on odor, air, hazardous waste, water and noise pollution matters resulting from allegations of permit violations or administrative refusal to issue permits. In addition, she provides counseling on development issues including permitting in coastal zones, wetlands, stream encroachments and waterfront. Lee has been involved in many Industrial Site Recovery Act (“ISRA”) applications since the Act was promulgated in 1984. ISRA involves site investigation and remediation in connection with a “triggering event” at an industrial establishment, such as a sale of the real estate, reduction in workforce or change in company ownership. In New Jersey, the Technical Requirements for Site Remediation provides a complex regimen for investigation and remediation. Lee has also assisted numerous clients undertaking site investigations in pre-acquisition due diligence to obtain ‘innocent purchaser’ status, in response to Spill Act Directives or Administrative Consent Orders, and in voluntary actions including Brownfields redevelopment projects.
Lee also assists clients on a wide array of federal general regulatory compliance questions including issues relating to RCRA, OSHA, Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Community Right to Know Laws and asbestos regulations.
Lee represents numerous companies in the pending federal Passaic River New Jersey Superfund litigation involving the remedy for dioxin-contaminated sediments in the River and was one of two court-appointed liaison counsel for a group of private third-party defendants in the cost recovery suit brought by the State of New Jersey.
Product Liability/Toxic Tort
Defense of chemical manufacturer in action brought by neighborhood seeking personal injury and property damage resulting from catastrophic release of phosphorus oxychloride to the air
Defense of paint manufacturer in wrongful death and personal injury actions resulting from fires caused by fast-drying floor coatings
Defense of food manufacturer in class action asserting false labeling of fats and sodium in snack product
Defense of medical equipment manufacture sued when plaintiff’s head was struck in pill coating machine
Defense of breast implant manufacturer in MDL
Defense of retail distributors and product manufacturers in asbestos personal injury litigation in NYCAL and Middlesex County, NJ MDL
Environmental Cost Recovery Litigation
Passaic River, Newark, NJ - Common counsel to several companies sued by dioxin-manufacturers for contribution under the NJ Spill Act in connection with the contaminated sediments of the Passaic River. Served as court-appointed Liaison Counsel to approximately 45 additional companies joined as third-party defendants.
Shpack Landfill, Attleboro, MA - Defense of former jewelry manufacturer in CERCLA administrative action involving mixed waste landfill containing Department of Defense and private party radioactive wastes and chemical wastes. Negotiation of Consent Decree involving the Army Corps of Engineers cleanup of radiological material pursuant to the FUSRAP program. Served on Technical Committee to ensure the most cost effective and beneficial disposal options to meet EPA’s Record of Decision
Pinecastle Jeep Range, FL and Raritan Arsenal, NJ – Represent national home builder in cost recovery action against US government regarding unexploded ordnance left on former Department of Army facilities
Ramp Dry Cleaning, Hightstown, NJ – Defense of former dry cleaner in cost recovery action commenced by landlord due to PERC contamination in soil under strip mall buildings and groundwater
Former Russo Site, Newark, NJ – Represent industrial property owner in cost recovery suit against lessee trucking companies which contaminated soil and groundwater with motor oils, gasoline and solvents
Bonnieview Homeowners, Montville, NJ – Defense of real estate developer who unknowingly built houses on former apple orchard that was contaminated with pesticides. Successful in obtaining dismissals of RCRA and common law claims and settling CERCLA claim in exchange for client’s performance of soil blending to reduce pesticide concentrations
Congress Landfill, Hillside, IL – Defense of landowner in CERCLA litigation brought by adjacent Landfill claiming that trucking operations caused harm to Landfill
Farmers Ave., Bellmore, NY – Defense of homeowner in contribution action by neighbor under NY Navigation Law regarding allegations of leaking underground storage tank causing damage to property and stream
Represent former manufacturer with regard to its legacy site issues related to participation in Administrative Orders on Consent with USEPA Region 2 involving RI/FS for the Lower Passaic River Study Area and a Removal Action for a dioxin-contaminated mudflat in the River. Advise client regarding the statutory authority of EPA pursuant to CERCLA, developing case law and the practical pros/cons of entering into voluntary agreements with the government to perform agreed-upon scope of work
Represent industrial coatings manufacturer regarding statutory and regulatory requirements of TSCA, Title V, RCRA and OSHA programs
Defense of fat rendering operation in connection with penalties and injunction relating to odors and violations of water pollution control laws
Defense of municipal solid waste transfer station operator charged with violations relating to waste flow rules, inspections and permit requirements
Defense of chemical manufacturer in connection with OSHA violations relating to training, recordkeeping, confined space rule and lock-out tag-out requirements
Defense of regulated medical waste transporter in connection with alleged packaging and labeling requirements
In Superior Court of New Jersey, Essex County, defense of general contractor of residential apartment complex regarding personal injury claims arising from alleged exposures to mold and HVAC-dispersed construction and drywall dust
In Superior Court of New Jersey, Monmouth County, defense of general contractor in personal injury action rising from alleged exposure to natural gas from restaurant equipment exhaust systems and sewer gas from faulty plumbing
Represent New Jersey Township School District in personal injury suit by lunchroom worker allegedly exposed to mold due to water damage caused by inadequate roof repairs
In Supreme Court of New York, Dutchess County, defense of environmental engineer in claim by gas station property owner that remediation was improperly performed
In Supreme Court of New York, Kings County, represent drilling subcontractor on East Side Access Tunnel project regarding silicosis claim of a “nipper”
In Supreme Court of New York, New York County, defense of general contractor and co-op owner in commercial remodel of retail space allegedly causing property damage, personal injury, loss of income and injury to dog
Provided pre-litigation counseling to asbestos abatement contractor on project at University housing apartments where owner failed to properly identify presence of asbestos in bid package
Publications & Presentations
New Jersey Supreme Court Finds Liability Possible For Replacement Parts Supplied By Others If Original Product Contained Asbestos Components, Gordon & Rees Environmental & Toxic Tort Defense Insight, June 12, 2020
Last Defendant at Trial, You Are Not Alone: Apportionment Under New Jersey Law, Gordon & Rees Environmental & Toxic Tort Defense Insight, September 19, 2019
When is the Statute of Limitations Period Triggered for a Construction Defect Claim in New Jersey?, Gordon & Rees Construction Law Blog, October 12, 2017
Property Seller’s Failure to Disclose Environmental Cleanup Actionable, Even For “As Is” Sale, Gordon & Rees Environmental & Toxic Tort Defense Insight, September 13, 2016
New Jersey Supreme Court Decides Developer/General Contractor's CGL Policy Covers Damages Arising from Subcontractor's Faulty Workmanship, August 2016
Important Recent Decisions From New York City Asbestos Litigation, Gordon & Rees Environmental & Toxic Tort Defense Insight, December 31, 2014
What It Takes to Establish Divisible Harm Under CERCLA, New Jersey Law Journal, July 21, 2014
Asbestos Personal Injury, Wrongful Death Plaintiffs May Seek Punitives in NYC Cases, Gordon & Rees Environmental & Toxic Tort Defense Insight, April 18, 2014
EPA Announces $1.7 Billion Cleanup Plan for Lower Passaic River, Gordon & Rees Environmental & Toxic Tort Defense Insight, April 17, 2014
U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey
U.S. District Court for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York
U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit
U.S. Court of Federal Claims
DRI-The Voice of the Defense Bar
New York State Bar Association
New Jersey State Bar Association
J.D., cum laude, New York Law School
B.A., cum laude, Economics, Rutgers University