Robert P. Doty



Robert is a leading real estate redevelopment attorney who provides strategy and counsel to a wide variety of clients dealing with contaminated site remediation and brownfield redevelopment, including environmental due diligence and related litigation. His projects have included hundreds of contaminated sites including industrial plants, landfills, rail yards, bulk terminals, closed military facilities, timber mills, dry cleaners, commercial nurseries, schools, and service stations.

Banking Background Benefits Transactional Clients

Property owners, developers, financial institutions, government agencies, and manufacturers rely on Robert during transactions for his ability to guide them through due diligence review, acquisition/disposition negotiations, regulatory and entitlement approvals, and insurance and financial underwriting. Robert's commercial banking background provides a real-world business perspective on these matters.

Effective Solutions In Complex California Litigation

On the litigation side of his practice, Robert has successfully litigated more than $100 million of environmental cost recovery claims in federal and state courts, including bench and jury trials as well as appeals. He has also successfully litigated environmental tort claims, Clean Water Act citizen suits, contract claims, eminent domain matters, and disputes arising under the phase out of California's Community Redevelopment Law.


Represents a global REIT as a defendant in ongoing Superfund litigation over a $100 million groundwater remediation program in Southern California.

Represents the plaintiffs in a cost recovery action over a $50 million soil and groundwater remediation program in Northern California.

Trial counsel for the Emeryville Redevelopment Agency in a 7-year process of acquiring, cleaning up, and preparing a highly contaminated 4-acre parcel for redevelopment. Obtained $23 million and fee title through settlements, and a $3 million trial court judgment following an 8-week bench trial.

Lead counsel for the successful appellees in City of Emeryville v. Robinson, 621 F. 3d 1251 (9th Cir. 2010), a seminal case clarifying the interplay of the federal Superfund statute and California's good faith settlement mechanism.

Represented a global REIT in writ litigation against the California Department of Finance over the validity of a $50 million claim secured by a pledge of tax increment revenue. The claim was ultimately acknowledged by the Department of Finance to be a valid obligation and secured by a pledge of tax increment.

Represented a major developer in litigation against municipal and county government entities arising out of environmental contamination and the associated impairment of the economic opportunity at a 3000 unit planned development in Chico, California. Obtained a settlement worth approximately $10 million.

Represented a municipal landowner working with a major developer to convert a 40-acre site heavily impacted by historic MGP operations to a mixed-use development. Client obtained commitment for a full cleanup, estimated at $25-$40 million, from a major utility.

Defended a municipality in a Clean Water Act citizen enforcement suit and resolved matter without payment of civil penalties.

Defended and settled a multi-million dollar penalty proceeding arising out of allegedly illegal disposal of hazardous waste by a Fortune 100 company.

Represented a clothing manufacturer/property owner in a multi-year, disputed administrative proceeding against three major oil companies and concerning contamination associated with historic bulk termination operations. Client obtained a settlement for full excavation of the residual fuel products and related contamination, which allowed client to close its sale of the site to a major REIT.

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Co-chaired a 4-week jury trial and subsequent appeal in the acquisition, cleanup, and redevelopment of a 15-acre industrial site. Client recovered in excess of $13 million of cleanup costs and related expenses. Key decisions reported as Emeryville v. Elementis Pigments, et al., 101 Cal. App. 4th 1083 (2002) and Emeryville v. Elementis Pigments, 2001 WL 964230 (N.D. Cal.).

Lead litigation and co-lead transactional counsel in municipal owner's cleanup and redevelopment of a bulk terminal/former defense facility. Client obtained over $3 million in proceeds from its own historic liability policies and a favorable development and disposition agreement including forward-looking pollution liability and cleanup cost cap coverage.

Publications &
Speaking Engagements

Recent Publications

Recent Speaking Engagements

CBIA's 45th Select Conference On Industry Litigation, 11/16/2013

The 86th Annual State Bar Meeting,10/11/2013

CBIA's 43rd Select Conference On Industry Litigation, 11/17/2012

Redefining Redevelopment: What’s Left, CBIA's 42nd Select Conference On Industry Litigation, April 2012

The Environmental Liability Implications Of ABx1 26, California League of Cities Presentation, January 2012

Long Term Stewardship At Brownfields Sites - Successful Implementation, California Redevelopment Association 2008 Annual Conference, 3/26/2008

Emerging Issues In Brownfield Redevelopment, California Redevelopment Association Annual Conference, March 2008

Brownfields and Green Chemistry – An Update, CBIA's Select Conference On Industry Litigation, November 2008



Awards &

Awards & Recognition

  • Best Lawyers In America, Environmental Law, 2013-2021
  • AV Preeminent Attorney, Martindale Hubbell, 2001-2017
  • Northern California Super Lawyers, 2010-2021
  • Who's Who in American Law, 18th Edition, 2014-2015
  • Top Attorneys In Northern California, San Francisco Magazine, 2015 
  • Leading Lawyer, Real Estate/Northern California, The Legal 500, 2008


Professional Affiliations

  • Urban Land Institute (ULI), Redevelopment and Reuse Council, Founding/Current Member
  • California Bar Association, Environmental Law Section Executive Committee
  • California Association for Local economic Development, Legislative Affairs and Brownfield and Land Revitalization Committees, 2014-Present
  • California Redevelopment Association, Brownfields, Legal Issues, and Sustainability Committees, 1997-2012
  • Center for Creative Land Recycling Training Program, Faculty Member, 2000-2008
  • Editor in Chief, Ecology Law Quarterly, 1989-1990

Bar and Court Admissions

  • State Bar of California


  • J.D., University of California, Berkeley School of Law, 1990
  • B.B.A., University of Texas McCombs School of Business, 1983, highest honors