Practice Areas



Summer’s primary practice is environmental law and litigation. This includes pretty much anything involving the condition of real property, particularly actual or potential contamination.

Summer helps clients get through voluntary (and otherwise) investigation and remediation/removal projects, environmental risk management and allocation, environmental due diligence, hazardous materials handling compliance, hazardous substance release reporting, and all disputes and litigation related to releases or threatened releases of hazardous substances including cost recovery and contribution claims and trespass & nuisance actions. She regularly helps clients develop and implement strategies for responding to demands from regulatory agencies relating to the condition of real property, and has extensive experience helping clients achieve site closure in cases overseen by the federal Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA” or “USEPA”), the Regional Water Quality Control Boards (RWQCB), and the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC), as well as cities, counties, and fire departments.

Summer also generally advises and counsels clients on compliance with complex state and federal environmental statutes and regulations and the laws that govern  the handling of hazardous materials and wastes.  These law include, as examples, the Superfund laws (the federal law is the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) and the California law is the Hazardous Substance Account Act (HSAA)), the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (“RCRA,” applies to solid waste, a subset of which is hazardous waste) and California’s analogous law the Hazardous Waste Control Law (HWCL), the federal Clean Water Act (CWA), and California’s Porter-Cologne Water Quality Act (“Porter-Cologne”), as just a few examples.

Summer negotiates, interprets, and litigates provisions in leases relating to hazardous substances including the use and storage of such materials on-site, helps clients with risk allocation in the event of a release, and negotiates access agreements. She drafts and negotiates indemnity agreements between sellers and buyers of real property, and helps clients with environmental disclosures. She also regularly assists prospective purchasers in satisfying their environmental due diligence requirements and assists them in ensuring they will qualify for the bona fide prospective purchaser defense to the extent reasonably practicable.

Representative Matters

  • Represented the owner of a property impacted with metals and solvents in soil, soil vapor, and groundwater resulting from historic on-site metal plating operations in the investigation and remediation of the site and in the associated litigation against the former tenants including the allocation process with the former tenants and successor entities under CERCLA.  (Project overseen by the Los Angeles RWQCB).
  • Regularly advises and counsels buyers and sellers in association with environmental due diligence and the resultant implications.  Tasks include identifying and contracting with environmental professionals; evaluating Phase I Environmental Site Assessments for consistency and sufficiency in satisfying the all appropriate inquiries element of the bona fide prospective purchaser defense under CERCLA; assisting the client in understanding the findings of Phase Is and Phase II Limited Subsurface Assessments; developing cost estimates of risk based on the findings in the Phase I and/or Phase II; negotiating Potential Purchaser Agreements with regulatory agencies; negotiating and drafting adjustments in the purchase price and indemnity agreements between the buyer and seller; and assisting in the evaluation and procurement of pollution legal liability insurance policies.
  • Represented the owner of a property with four historic Underground Storage Tanks (USTs) on site in removing the tanks and closing the site.  (Overseen by the Los Angeles County Fire Department.)
  • Represented various owners of shopping malls impacted with Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) from historic dry cleaning operations in obtaining closure.  (Overseen by various fire departments and RWQCBs).
  • Defended a vehicle manufacturer in an action by the Air Resources Board (ARB) alleging violation of the California Clean Air Act (CAA).
  • Represented the Special Administrator of an estate holding property impacted with heavy metals in soil and groundwater in evaluating reporting requirements and developing a response plan.
  • Represented the Special Administrator of an estate in response to an order from a city and a fire department to reduce the on-site fire fuel load and other allegations of nuisance.
  • Assisted the Trustee of an estate holding property with impacts from a neighboring dry cleaner in achieving a sale of the property and protecting the client in connection with the sale and the impacts.
  • Assisted the Trustee of a property impacted with pesticides from historic exterminator operations in developing options for responding to the impacts and evaluating the associated risk.
  • Represented an alleged generator at a Superfund site in Mississippi in relation to a claim by a group of potential responsible parties (PRPs).
  • Provided advice and counsel to a large public water agency regarding various aspects of an anticipated cost recovery action against multiple PRPs.
  • Defended the owner of property overlying a plume of groundwater contamination originating from a Federal Superfund Site in response to a Special Notice Letter from the United States Environmental Protection Agency.  Defended the client in CERCLA litigation and represented the client in the associated allocation/settlement process.
  • Defended generator parties in a CERCLA action brought by the owner of a former used oil disposal site.