Keith B. Walker

Partner

Overview

For 15 years, Keith Walker has practiced environmental law. His main form of expertise is in brownfield redevelopment and complex remediation and human health risk mitigation projects in the context of federal, state and local regulatory compliance in order to obtain the much sought-after “No Further Action” letters.  His practice also involves the performance of extensive environmental risk management in the pre-acquisition, financing and development phases.  In addition, his work includes cost recovery litigation in both state and federal court.

Keith Walker represents residential, commercial and industrial developers, specializing in complicated sites with long and tricky histories, all while navigating a rapidly-changing regulatory landscape where cleanup and exposure standards are completely in flux.  His technical knowledge regarding the science behind the decisions of the regulatory agencies enables him to problem-solve and help clients through to achieve written regulatory closure in the perspective of purchasing, redeveloping, leasing and/or divesting properties and real estate portfolios, often taking the same client through each of these processes.  

Brownfield Redevelopment/Regulatory Compliance Advisor

Guiding clients through the regulatory closure process, Keith has extensive experience coordinating the investigation and remediation necessary for obtaining No Further Action status so that former commercial and industrial properties can be redeveloped for a wide variety of Property.  In addition, Keith counsels property owners, developers, borrowers and lenders on the most effective ways of addressing human health risks in order to avoid the risk of future toxic tort liability.  He has substantial experience advising clients on most effective methods for managing environmental risk, for example through negotiation of effective indemnities and the purchase of environmental insurance policies.

Environmental Litigation Counsel

Keith has successfully litigated landmark federal cost recovery suits, including the first case to uphold a plaintiff’s ability to assert the bona fide prospective purchaser defense to counterclaims asserted under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (3000 E. Imperial, LLC v. Robertshaw Controls Co.).  He also has valuable experience using pretrial litigation to compel otherwise recalcitrant responsible parties to provide reimbursement for environmental assessment and remediation costs.

Pre-Acquisition Environmental Risk Management for Real Estate Developers

Keith performs complex environmental due diligence for site acquisitions involving single property acquisitions, purchases of numerous contiguous properties as part of a regional development plan, and acquisition of hundreds of properties in numerous states across the country, including industrial and residential portfolios where multiple extensive cleanups may be ongoing for years. 

Negotiator of Environmental Insurance Policies

Keith negotiates environmental insurance policies on behalf of owners and developers of individual properties and for larger portfolios. He is also successful at resolving claims for coverage for numerous sites, securing reimbursement for remediation costs amounting to millions of dollars. 

Representative
Matters

Represented an institutional investor in acquisition of 75-property portfolio, including multiple industrial properties at sites across the United States, for a purchase price exceeding $1 billion.

Represented an institutional investor in acquisition of majority stake in LCOR Inc., from Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., including 14 rental-apartment properties with nearly 5,000 apartments for a purchase price exceeding $820 million.

Represented various plaintiffs – including private party developers, municipalities, and redevelopment agencies – in numerous successful federal cost recovery actions asserting causes of action under CERCLA (and its state counterpart, the Hazardous Substances Account Act) and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, and tort claims for negligence, nuisance, trespass, and negligent interference with prospective economic advantage, including 3000 E. Imperial, LLC v. Robertshaw Controls Co.

Served as regulatory compliance counsel for commercial landlords with properties across the United States, with an emphasis on obtaining regulatory closure for former and active dry cleaner and gasoline service station sites.

Led a multi-party cleanup of land heavily contaminated by an industrial accident, including negotiation of financial responsibility among responsible parties, engaging environmental consulting firms in an arduous remediation process, and obtaining "No Further Action" determination from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Represented an institutional investor in acquisition of multiple sites in South Gate, California, with site-wide redevelopment and ongoing remediation of extensive petroleum hydrocarbon contamination caused by underground storage tanks.

Represented a commercial lender in environmental due diligence associated with billions of dollars of loans made on hundreds of separate properties across the United States.

Represented commercial landlords with multiple ongoing environmental cleanups at multiple sites, obtaining "No Further Action" status for numerous sites either through completion of environmental remediation or through ongoing management of risks posed by residual contamination.

Represented commercial landlords in obtaining portfolio environmental insurance policy covering hundreds of properties and numerous covered ownership entities.

Publications &
Speaking Engagements

Publications

New Law Extends Unprecedented Immunities From Cleanup Liability While Expanding The Class Of Eligible Parties, CCN Client Alert, 2009

Supreme Court Confirms Right Of Potentially Responsible Parties To Recover Cleanup Costs Under CERCLA, CCN Client Alert, 2008

Just When You Thought The Site Was Clean: A New Standard For Soil Vapor Assessment, CCN Perspectives, Summer 2008

Speaking Engagements

Awards &
Affiliations

Awards & Recognition

  • Southern California Super Lawyers Rising Stars, 2012-2014

Professional Affiliations

  • International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) - Environmental Committee
  • ICSC - Southern California Government Relations Task Force
  • Council of Advisors – Western HVAC Performance Alliance
  • CORENET Southern California – Professional Development Committee
  • NAIOP Commercial Real Estate Development Association

Bar and Court Admissions

  • State Bar of California

Education

  • J.D., University of California, Los Angeles School of Law, 2004
  • B.S., California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, 1996, President's Council Scholar