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.
- ABA Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources, 21st Fall Conference, Water, Wind, Waste, and More: Navigating New Tides in Environment, Energy and Resource Regulation “Low Dose Litigation ‘The Plaintiff’s Perspective,’” (October 9-12, 2013)
- “BP Oil Spill Litigation Update,” Energy Accounting and Technology Conference, University of New Orleans, May 15, 2012
- Mass Torts Seminar – Deepwater Horizon/BP Spill, Status of MDL, April 20th Deadline and Status of Scientific Experts (April 13-15, 2011)
- Speaker, HB Litigation Conferences – Oil in the Gulf: Litigation & Insurance Litigation Coverage Conference, “National Survey of Cases Filed to Date & Coordinating State and Federal Cases,” June 24-25, 2010
- Speaker, 360 Advocacy Institute – Gulf Coast Disaster: Representing the Plaintiffs – Individuals to Institutions, “Back to the Future – Limitations of Shipowners’ Liability Act of 1851 (46 U.S.C. § 30505),” May 20-21, 2010
- Speaker, “Update on MTBE Litigation,” 4th Annual Energy Litigation Conference, October 19, 2005
- Speaker, “Representing Public Water Providers in Water Contamination Cases,” IMLA Annual Conference, September 26, 2005
- Speaker, “Groundwater Contamination Litigation Cases,” 67th Ohio Section AWWA Annual Conference, September 21, 2005
- Speaker, “Emerging Contaminants and Their Impact on America’s Water Supply,” 2005 Ground Water Summit of the National Ground Water Association, April 17, 2005.
- Speaker, “Lessons Learned in the Settlement and/or Trial of MTBE Cases,” Mealey’s MTBE & USTs Litigation Conference, December 7, 2004.
- Speaker, “Transitioning Your Litigation Practice,” University of Texas School of Law Page Keeton Civil Litigation Conference, October 28, 2004.
- Speaker, “Perchlorate: The Blast That Lasts,” Fall 2004 Conference of the CA-NV Section of the American Water Works Association, October 13, 2004.
- Speaker, “Emerging Contaminants and Their Impact on America’s Water Supply,” 69th Annual Conference of the International Municipal Lawyers Association, October 5, 2004.
- Speaker, “The 2003 Federal Energy Bill and MTBE Liability Protection: If You Fail in Court You Can Win in Congress,” National Ground Water Association – Ground Water and Environmental Law Conference, May 5-6, 2004.
- Speaker, “Perchlorate in America’s Ground Water,” American Ground Water Trust, May 3, 2004.
- Speaker, “PCE – The Groundwater Contamination Problem: Who Should Pay to Clean Their Waste from Our Water?,” Groundwater Resources Association – Investigation and Remediation of Dry Cleaner Release Sites, April 7, 2004.
- Speaker, United States Composting Council 12th Annual Conference, January 25-28, 2004.
- Speaker, “Protecting Your Drinking Water: MTBE Detects? The Solution to MTBE Pollution,” International Municipal Lawyers Association, October 12-15, 2003.
- Speaker, “How Do We Pay for the Costs of Restoration?,” Tribal Concerns Perchlorate Contamination Conference, September 10, 2003.
- Speaker, United States Composting Council 11th Annual Conference, January 28-30, 2003.
- Co-chairman, Mealey’s MTBE & USTs Litigation Conference, November 4-5, 2002.
- Speaker, Mealey’s MTBE Litigation Conference 2001, May 10-11, 2001.
- Speaker, “Plaintiff, Defense and Expert Perspectives,” Mealey’s Toxic Tort Conference, April 17-18, 2000.
- Speaker, American Bar Association Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources 30th Annual Conference on Environmental Law, March 8-11, 2001.
- Co-chairman, UST and MTBE Litigation Conference, Mealey’s Emerging Toxic Torts, November 15, 1999.
- Author, “Managing Claims Arising from the Gulf Coast Oil Spill: Multidistrict Litigation v. the $20 Billion Fund,” in TXLR, Vol. 25, # 26, July 8, 2010
- Author, “The Legal Challenges and Ramifications of the Gulf Oil Spill,” Aspatore Special Report – Understanding the BP Oil Spill and Resulting Litigation – An In-Depth Look at the History of Oil Pollution and the Impact of the Gulf Oil Coast Disaster, 2010
- Author, “Should the Public Pay for the Oil Industry’s Mistake?” North American Precis Syndicate, 2003.
- Co-Author, “‘Fuels Safe Harbor’ Provision Grants Immunity to MTBE Manufacturers,” New Jersey Law Journal, October 20, 2003.
- Author, “MTBE Immunity Provision a Bad Idea,” Texas Lawyer, October 13, 2003.
- In re Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether (“MTBE”) Products Liability Litigation, 175 F. Supp.2d 593 (S.D.N.Y. 2001).
- Ashcraft v. Conoco, Inc., 218 F.3d 282 (4th Cir. 2000).
- Ashcraft v. Conoco, Inc., 218 F.3d 288 (4th Cir. 2000).
- Hartford Ins. Co. v. Commerce & Industry Ins. Co., 864 S.W.2d 648 (Tex. App.– Houston [1st Dist.] 1993, writ denied).
- Sherwin-Williams Co. v. Trinity Contractors, Inc., 852 S.W.2d 37 (Tex. App.–Waco 1993, writ denied).