Scott Summy is a shareholder at Baron & Budd, one of the largest and oldest firms in the United States that specializes in environmental litigation. Mr. Summy heads up the firm’s Environmental Litigation Group, which litigates complex environmental contamination cases all over the country. The Group represents public entities in litigation to recover costs of removing chemical contamination from public water supplies, governmental facilities, natural resources, and public property. Through this type of litigation, the Group seeks to shift the costs of remediation to the chemical manufacturers and suppliers responsible for the contamination — and away from public entities and taxpayers.
The Group recently filed a lawsuit against the Monsanto Company and its corporate successors on behalf of a public school district in Massachusetts. The lawsuit alleges that Monsanto knew about the dangers of PCBs as early as the 1930s but failed to warn people of the severe dangers associated with PCBs and their use in common building materials. The litigation seeks to require Monsanto to pay for removing PCB-containing materials from the contaminated schools.
Mr. Summy regularly represents public water providers (e.g., municipalities, water districts, utilities, and school districts) whose water is contaminated by intrusive chemicals. On behalf of these clients, Mr. Summy seeks cost recovery for treatment facilities, operation and maintenance costs, out-of-pocket expenses, and administrative costs. Mr. Summy also represents private well owners around the country whose wells are contaminated.
The Environmental Litigation Group has represented hundreds of public water providers in litigation arising from contamination of water supplies with MTBE, a gasoline additive. Mr. Summy has recovered significant dollars against major oil companies who decided to blend MTBE into gasoline knowing that it would likely contaminate water supplies. One set of cases involved approximately 150 water providers. Mr. Summy continues to file new MTBE cases across the country and currently represents the State of Vermont and a number of municipalities in new MTBE litigation.
Mr. Summy also represented all public water providers in the United States whose water was contaminated with atrazine, a common agricultural chemical used on corn and other crops. On behalf of these water providers, the Group brought claims against Syngenta, the company that makes atrazine and is aware that its normal use causes drinking water contamination. Mr. Summy negotiated a settlement awarding $105 million to over 2,000 water providers.
Mr. Summy’s experience with environmental litigation led to a leadership role in the litigation arising from the Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. In 2010, he was appointed to the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee and Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee in the Gulf Oil Spill Multi-District Litigation in the Eastern District of Louisiana. In that capacity, he played a critical role in negotiating a settlement and claim procedure for the tens of thousands of individuals, businesses, and governmental entities injured by the oil spill.
The Group also represents public water providers and other public entities in litigation involving other chemicals that contaminate water supplies and property including TCP, TCE, PCE, and PCBs.
The Group’s important work for public water providers has been recognized by the legal community on a number of occasions. His groundbreaking work for California communities affected by MTBE won Mr. Summy and his legal team the “Attorneys of the Year” award from California Lawyer in 2001. And Public Justice twice named Mr. Summy and his team as Finalists for the organization’s Trial Lawyer of the Year Award — in 2009, for cases arising from MTBE contamination, and again in 2013, for cases arising from atrazine contamination. Mr. Summy was also included in The Best Lawyers in America (Woodward White, Inc., 2006-2015).
Mr. Summy is licensed to practice law in Texas, North Carolina and New York. He is AV-rated by Martindale Hubbell.