Environmental Claims

|||Environmental Claims
Environmental Claims2016-11-10T11:30:22+00:00

Land-PollutionEnvironmental claims involve complex damage measures that often include (i) the delay or alteration of real estate development, (ii) appraisal, and (iii) assessment of the possibility of long-term stigma. We also investigate remediation cost claims, which often involve cost auditing, complex cost allocations, and/or assessments of the reasonableness of purchasing decisions.

Representative Projects

On multiple occasions, reviewed the cost reimbursement claims of environmental remediation. Addressed issues such as:

  • Were the moneys actually spent on the clean-up at issue?
  • Did the claimant use prudent purchasing practices?
  • Were related parties used in the clean-up efforts? Were the costs associated with the related parties equivalent to what could have occurred with unrelated parties?
  • What reimbursements are appropriate, if any, for use of internal resources?

On Numerous Occasions:

  • Addressed stigma damages associated with prior environmental clean-up activities. This generally involved gathering market evidence of comparable transactions that were not affected by the prior environmental challenges.
  • Calculated damages resulting from delayed real estate development occurring because of the need to first clean-up the underlying land. This necessarily involves reviewing changed market conditions that occurred at the time of the planned and eventual development.
  • Calculated damages associated with land subsidence involving allegedly substandard retaining walls, and/or grading and infill in an improper/unsafe manner. This work involves assessing the market value of real estate at multiple points in time.
  • Calculated natural resource damage claims associated with toxic spills.
  • Defended against both federal and state wildfire suppression cost claims. Wildfire forensics accounting is a niche practice
    requiring significant knowledge of (among other things) federal and states’ rules and policies, and their accounting systems.

Specific Engagements Include:

  • Addressed cost allocation issues between Potentially Responsible Parties (PRPs) in a large clean-up allocation. This involved building a large database of the costs involved, and running alternative algorithms based on (i) date, (ii) location within the larger clean-up zone, and (iii) materials being cleaned-up.
  • Performed a detailed review of thousands of procurement documents and compared each to agencies’ rules and policies. Based on the analyses, determined whether each cost reimbursement request was documented according to agency requirements.
  • For one of the largest-ever wildfires in history, determined when the wildfire should have been put out by firefighters had they not followed a “let-it burn” policy. Calculated the related costs had the fire been put out at this earlier date.
  • Calculated Habitat Equivalency Analysis (HEA) damages associated with the wildfires. Provided conceptual guidance on the proper methodology for calculating economic damages related to wildfires. For example, addressed potential overlapping damages between HEA damages, lost timber value, and reforestation costs.

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