James J. Dragna represents energy, aerospace, and manufacturing clients in environmental matters nationwide, including air, water, and wastewater enforcement and litigation. His practice includes the representation of clients in multi-party, multi-claim litigation following environmental crises, infrastructure litigation, hazardous waste proceedings, and municipalities in water treatment, collection, and discharge infrastructure matters. Jim also serves as group or common counsel to several multiparty Superfund groups. Jim serves several major municipalities as special counsel in wastewater litigation and permitting issues.
He is one of the top practitioners in the state. He is terrific and top-notch.
He is really strong technically and a good strategist.
Jim’s work includes the development of broad-based litigation and settlement strategies in some of the nation’s most complex environmental proceedings. His work includes serving as coordinating or lead counsel in several major environmental proceedings, including the multi-district litigation involving the explosion and release of hydrocarbons from the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig into the Gulf of Mexico, the multi-district proceedings involving the release of methane from the Aliso Canyon gas storage facility in Porter Ranch, California, and the Kerr-McGee bankruptcy proceeding, the largest environmental bankruptcy proceedings involving the legacy environmental obligations of the former Kerr-McGee Corporation. He also represents municipal and water agency clients in major water infrastructure, natural resource, water rights, and revenue litigation. Jim takes great pride in his ability to develop creative resolutions of complex environmental issues and, where collaboration fails, in his ability to litigate these disputes to achieve decisive results.
Prior to entering private practice, Jim served as senior trial counsel at the US Department of Justice, Environmental Enforcement Section in Washington, DC, where he managed the EPA’s environmental enforcement litigation in Regions IX and X. He has been recognized by Chambers USA for the last ten years and sources “have great respect” for him. Before joining Morgan Lewis, Jim was a partner and group leader of the environmental, land use, and natural resources practice of another international law firm.
Coordinating counsel for Sempra Energy and Southern California Gas Company in all litigation and regulatory matters involving the Aliso Canyon gas leak in Porter Ranch, California
National coordinating counsel for the non-operating minority investors in the Macondo well associated with the explosion and release of hydrocarbons in the Gulf of Mexico
Representation of Anadarko and Kerr-McGee in the largest environmental bankruptcy in the United States
Common counsel in four major multiparty Superfund actions
Involved in over 50 Superfund actions nationwide
Special counsel on wastewater issues to the cities of Los Angeles, Honolulu, San Diego, Oakland, San Luis Obispo and county of Orange
National or regional environmental counsel for several multinational oil, chemical, fertilizer and packaging companies on air, water and waste matters
Counsel for one of California’s largest water purveyors in native American water rights case and in litigation involving the development of water rates in Southern California
Group counsel for a consortium of Southern California Water purveyors, including the Metropolitan Water District, in successful litigation against a coalition of Northern California Water purveyors involving the proceeds of the sale of hydroelectric power generated by the State Water Project
Allegheny Technologies Incorporated
Anadarko Petroleum Corporation
BKK Joint Defense Group
Casmalia Steering Committee
City and County of Denver
City and County of Honolulu
City of Los Angeles
Port of Los Angeles
City of Newport Beach
City of San Diego
Metropolitan Water District of Southern California
Mitsui & Co. (U.S.A.) Inc.
County of Orange
Solvay USA, Inc.
Shell Oil Company
Southern California Edison Company
Southern California Gas Company
Teledyne Technologies, Inc.
Loyola Law School, 1979, Juris Doctor
University of California, Irvine, 1976, Bachelor of Arts, Cum Laude
Superior Court of California for the County of Los Angeles
Supreme Court of California
US District Court for the Central District of California
US District Court for the District of Colorado
US District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana
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
Client Service All-Star, BTI Consulting Group (2022)
Recognized, Lawdragon 500 Leading Environmental & Energy Lawyers (2021)
Band 1, Environment, California, Chambers USA (2010–2021)
Recognized, Litigation – Environmental, Los Angeles; Water Law, Los Angeles, The Best Lawyers in America (2010–2022)
Lawyer of the Year, Litigation—Environmental, The Best Lawyers in America (2018)
Trailblazer, Energy & Environmental, The National Law Journal (2018)
Hall of Fame, Industry focus: Environment: regulatory, The Legal 500 US (2020, 2021)
Hall of Fame, Industry focus: Environment: litigation, The Legal 500 US (2020, 2021)
Leading Lawyer, Industry focus: Environment: regulatory, The Legal 500 US (2007–2019)
Leading Lawyer, Industry focus: Environment: litigation, The Legal 500 US (2007–2018)
Recommended, Industry focus: Energy litigation: oil and gas, The Legal 500 US (2018–2021)
Recommended, Industry focus: Energy litigation: conventional power, The Legal 500 US (2019–2021)
Recommended, Industry focus: Industry focus: Environment: litigation, The Legal 500 US (2019)
MVP, Environmental, Law360 (2017)
Member, Practice Group of the Year, Environmental, Law360 (2017, 2019)
Hall of Fame, The Legal 500 US (2017)
Trailblazer, Litigation, The National Law Journal (2016)
Recognized, Who’s Who Legal (2009, 2016)
Recognized, Southern California, Super Lawyers (2004–2013)
Lawyer of the Year, Litigation—Environmental, Los Angeles, The Best Lawyers in America (2012)
Top 100 Leading Attorneys of California, Daily Journal (2010)
Recognized, Top Defense Verdicts, Daily Journal (2009)