Neil S. Witkes - Manko, Gold, Katcher & Fox LLP

Neil S. Witkes

Listed in Best Lawyers since 2009

Neil Witkes is a partner with Manko, Gold, Katcher & Fox LLP. He has a wide range of civil and administrative environmental litigation experience, including class actions, toxic tort claims, insurance coverage suits, defense of agency enforcement actions, citizen suits, challenges to agency action, contract claims, and cost recovery actions. He has represented industrial and commercial entities, as well as real estate developers and closely-held companies, in a variety of environmental litigation matters.

Neil has served as lead counsel in the defense of numerous toxic tort claims arising from alleged exposures to hazardous substances emitted into the ambient air from manufacturing activities and from the release of hazardous substances into drinking water supplies.  Neil has also served as lead counsel in the prosecution of claims under environmental insurance policies to recover costs incurred to remediate environmental contamination.  In addition, Neil has served as lead counsel in the defense of numerous environmental class actions, in a variety of environmental cases, including the defense of citizen suits, suits seeking natural resource damages, cost recovery actions, commercial disputes, and in numerous administrative appeals before the Pennsylvania Environmental Hearing Board.

Boston UniversityJ.D. 1982University of PennsylvaniaBS 1979
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Case History

Sheridan v. Cabot Corp., No. 02-1212, 2003 WL 22999256 (E.D. Pa. 2003)), aff''d, No. 03-1984, 113 F. App''x 444, 2004 WL 2360990 (3d Cir. 2004) — granting summary judgment because plaintiff diagnosed with lung disease failed to present evidence of impairment associated with that illness
Vitalo v. Cabot Corp., 399 F.3d 536 (3d Cir. 2005) — granting summary judgment because undisputed facts established that plaintiff failed as a matter of law to exercise reasonable diligence to discover his chronic lung condition, and claim was barred by the statute of limitations
Waste Mgmt. of Pa., Inc. v. City of York, 910 F. Supp. 1035 (M.D. Pa. 1995) — Action successfully challenged EPA''s settlement with PRP at federal Superfund site, limiting government’s authority to provide contribution protection to settling defendants under CERCLA.
Wack v. Farmland Indus., Inc., 1999 Pa. Super. 327, 744 A.2d 265 (Pa. Super. Ct. 1999) — Represented gasoline supplier in claim brought by representatives of estate who claimed that decedent ingested benzene in well water contaminated by gasoline leaking from underground storage tank.  The court affirmed the entry of summary judgment after plaintiff''s toxicologist was precluded from testifying about link between ingestion of benzene and decedent''s cancer, applying Frye standard to expert''s proffered testimony.
UTI Corp. v. Fireman''s Fund Ins. Co., 896 F. Supp. 362 (D.N.J. 1995) — This was an action brought under a series of historical CGL insurance policies seeking coverage for environmental remediation costs incurred and to be incurred resulting from a leak of industrial solvents from underground storage tanks over an extended period of time.  At the time of this action, Pennsylvania law did not provide for coverage for gradual and continuous leaks based upon the CGL policy''s pollution exclusion, which excluded coverage for environmental remediation costs unless the contamination was caused by a "sudden and accidental" event.  This was the first case to convince a court applying Pennsylvania law to extend coverage under this type of pollution exclusion for gradual pollution events, employing traditional notions of equitable estoppel.  The case settled during the testimony of the policyholder''s insurance expert.  
Frazer Exton Dev., L.P. v. Kemper Envtl., Ltd., 2004 WL 1752580 (S.D.N.Y. 2004)), affd, 153 F. Appx 31 (2d Cir. 2005) and 2007 WL 756494 (S.D.N.Y. 2007) — This case is the first reported decision holding that an environmental "cost cap" insurance policy applied to cost overruns incurred to perform a remediation of a federal Superfund site based on increased costs incurred as a result of a remedy change when EPA issue the Record of Decision (ROD) for the site.  In a subsequent action seeking policy limits of $16.5 million brought to enforce the court''''s declaratory judgment, the court entered partial judgment for $5.6 million for costs then incurred to implement the ROD.  The case settled following the court''''s entry of partial summary judgment.
Pohl v. NGK Metals Corp., 2007 Pa. Super. 306, 936 A.2d 43 (Pa. Super. Ct. 2007) — Class action brought on behalf of class of approximately 220,000 persons living within a six-mile radius of former beryllium manufacturing facility seeking medical monitoring for beryllium lung disease based upon alleged exposure to beryllium emitted into the ambient air from manufacturing operations over 40 year period.  Successfully defended action by defeating class certification and obtaining summary judgment against named plaintiffs upon demonstration that scientific evidence showed exposure to beryllium emissions did not create a significantly increased risk of contracting a serious latent disease as a matter of law.  Ruling followed in two subsequent class actions in federal court and in claims by 70 individual plaintiffs on state court beryllium docket. 

Office Location

401 City Avenue, Suite 901
Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004
United States

Practice Areas

Litigation - Environmental

Other Information

Gender: Male