Rick R. Rothman focuses on environmental and energy counseling and litigation. Rick’s practice encompasses a broad range of environmental and energy laws, including the laws and regulations concerning air quality (both stationary and mobile sources), water quality, power plant siting, hazardous substances, impacted properties, energy efficiency, climate change, and Proposition 65. He is recognized for his environmental work by Chambers USA, where clients describe Rick as an “expert in air quality matters” and “very smart and knowledgeable, and easy to work with.”
Rick has experience in counseling clients in a number of different contexts, including threatened enforcement actions, variance requests, permitting and appeals, due diligence reviews, and meeting state and federal reporting requirements and warning requirements.
Rick’s litigation practice involves the representation of clients from large corporations to local agencies in matters before both federal and state courts. He has litigated cases addressing alleged violations of most of the major environmental statutes, as well as cases involving alleged common law violations and injuries arising from exposures to products and chemicals regulated by those statutes. His recent case load has included Clean Air Act enforcement matters both criminal and civil, Superfund actions, criminal and civil enforcement of waste disposal requirements, Clean Water Act discharges, Proposition 65 enforcement actions, multimedia enforcement actions, and chemical exposure complaints.
Rick has also applied his environmental experience in the appellate context. He has represented clients in both state and federal courts of appeal, including a Clean Air Act case before the Ninth Circuit and a Proposition 65 case before the California Court of Appeal, Third Appellate District.
Prior to joining Morgan Lewis, Rick was a partner in the environmental practice of another international law firm, where he served as a practice group leader and office managing partner of the Los Angeles office.
Representing a North America refining company, concerning its response to the US Environmental Protection Agency’s renewed efforts relating to its New Source Review (NSR) refinery initiative enforcement at one of its refineries
Representing a former owner and operator of a manufacturing facility in addressing historical soil and groundwater contamination with local and state agencies as well as disputes with subsequent owners and operators of the facility.
Representing a global leader in the paper and packaging industry in Superfund litigation, regulatory negotiations with EPA, and NRDA efforts
Represented the Imperial County Air Pollution Control District with respect to the District’s efforts to defend its promulgation of new regulations addressing the control of particulate matter sources
Represented a consortium of domestic passenger and cargo air carriers in defending a Proposition 65 lawsuit brought by private plaintiffs
Representing a chemical manufacturer in challenging the listing of certain chemicals by the State of California as a carcinogen under Proposition 65
Georgetown University Law Center, 1989, Juris Doctor, Cum Laude
University of Michigan, 1985, Bachelor of Arts, Economics
District of Columbia
Supreme Court of California
US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
US District Court for the Central District of California
US District Court for the Eastern District of California
US District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan
US District Court for the Northern District of California
US District Court for the Southern District of California
Supreme Court of the United States
Awards and Affiliations
Member, Practice Group of the Year, Environmental, Law360 (2017, 2019)
Recognized, Acritas Star Lawyer (2017)
Recognized, Environmental Law, Los Angeles; Litigation – Environmental, Los Angeles, The Best Lawyers in America (2010–2020)
Lawyer of the Year, Litigation – Environmental, Los Angeles, The Best Lawyers in America (2015)
Ranked, Environment, California, Chambers USA (2009–2020)
Recognized, Super Lawyers, Southern California (2004–2017)
Recognized, Who’s Who Legal: Environment (2014, 2016)
Recommended, Industry Focus: Energy litigation: oil and gas, The Legal 500 US (2020)
Recommended, Industry focus: Environment: regulatory, The Legal 500 US (2020)
Recommended, Industry Focus, Environment: litigation, The Legal 500 US (2007, 2013, 2020)
Recommended, Industry Focus: Energy (Litigation), The Legal 500 US (2016)
Editor-in-chief, Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics