Van Ness Feldman Launches Environmental Cost Recovery Unit for Energy, Industrial, and Government Clients

February 1, 2019

Recognizing client demand for efficient environmental cost recovery strategies particularly tailored to today’s challenging business conditions, Van Ness Feldman has launched an environmental cost recovery unit (CRU) that will enable clients to maximize use of customized fee structures and insurance assets for environmental cost recovery.  The new CRU will be led by Michael Goodstein and an elite team comprised of former government enforcement attorneys and insurance recovery specialists to support firm clients in prioritizing, funding, and maximizing environmental cost recovery efforts. 

“We can support our clients’ cost recovery efforts in ways that avoid using substantial internal resources,” said Michael Goodstein, in describing the advantages of the newly launched CRU.

Firm Chair Richard Agnew said, “We are pleased to offer our clients these new services.  We understand the challenges facing energy, industrial and government clients day-to-day.  The experience and talent of our CRU team  will provide leverage to clients looking to offset the cost of environmental investigations and cleanups.”

The Van Ness Feldman CRU will focus on assisting clients in developing and refining their environmental cost recovery programs to make them more effective.  Our experience is that prior owners and operators, arrangers and transporters, if approached methodically, will pay a fair share of investigation and remediation costs.  Similarly, our experience with insurance claims for environmental costs is that carriers will frequently honor defense and indemnity obligations if provided the necessary information.  Since additional damages can be pursued against recalcitrant responsible parties and insurance carriers a comprehensive program maximizes use of these incentives to encourage earlier cooperation and payment.  

Mr. Goodstein and his team have been successful at recovering millions of dollars of environmental costs for clients in the energy, manufacturing, petroleum refining, scrap, dry cleaning, lumber and other industries, and have obtained cost recovery and insurance coverage for environmental costs that may be the result of clients’ ownership of property, operations, or activities that took place years ago.

If you have questions or would like to discuss a consultation, please contact Michael Goodstein at or 202-298-1923. 

Meet our CRU Team:

Michael Goodstein, Partner (DC) - Michael Goodstein assists private and public clients nationwide with environmental cost recovery, insurance recovery, and other environmental claims. Michael spent the early part of his career as a government attorney trained to effectively pursue cost recovery and other environmental claims. Michael served for twelve years with the United States Department of Justice Environment Division. He was twice awarded the John Marshall award, one of the Departments’ highest honors, and also received the Gold Medal from the United States Environmental Protection Agency. He is regularly recognized as a top environmental attorney in Washington DC.  

Mike Farber, Partner (DC) - Mike Farber has over twenty years of experience in rapidly assessing and resolving environmental compliance issues and developing cost recovery strategies across a wide variety of industries. Prior to joining the firm, Mike served as the Senior Advisor to the Director of the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement at the United States Department of the Interior, where he spent six years leading a number of initiatives reforming government oversight of offshore oil and gas operations. 

Gwen Keyes Fleming, Partner (DC) - Gwen  Keyes Fleming brings decades of environmental law and policy experience to her practice at Van Ness Feldman which includes environmental litigation and cost recovery for private, as well as public clients.  Gwen Keyes Fleming has directed and negotiated numerous environmental cost recovery matters during several decades of practice as a government attorney, including service as the United States Environmental Protection Agency Region 4 (Southeastern Region) Regional Administrator and as Chief of Staff to the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  Gwen was also twice elected as a District Attorney in DeKalb County, Georgia; the first African-American and first woman to hold that office.    

Dale Johnson, Partner (Seattle) - Dale Johnson is an experienced trial lawyer whose practice includes decades of environmental and insurance cost recovery experience, frequently in the context of land use and real estate matters.  Dale has represented private and public clients on a wide range of environmental issues under federal and State law, including liability allocations under Washington’s Model Toxics Control Act (“MTCA”) and the federal “Superfund” law. Dale previously served as a Judge Advocate in the United States Army and as Chief of the Army’s Environmental Law Division, Litigation Branch, coordinated litigation strategy and served as Army counsel in complex environmental cases. 

Anne Lynch, Partner (DC) - Anne Lynch has represented clients in environmental cost-recovery efforts and litigation for over thirteen years.  Anne utilizes her scientific training to litigate complex environmental claims ranging from matters involving some of the nation’s largest Superfund Sites such as the Lower Fox River and Green Bay Superfund Site in Wisconsin and the Anniston Lead and PCB Site in Alabama, to smaller claims for environmental costs and insurance coverage involving single properties.  Anne has a proven track-record of securing the costs of defense and cleanup from insurance carriers, including in “lost policy” cases. 

Allison McAdam, Partner (CA) - For over fifteen years, Allison McAdam has represented clients on environmental contamination and insurance coverage matters.  Specifically, Allison focuses on environmental and insurance coverage issues for a wide range of businesses and industries, including oil producers, refineries and pipelines, industrial and retail dry cleaners, recyclers, paper, foundry, and fireworks manufacturers and automotive manufacturers.  Allison also works with owners of contaminated properties, including state and federal agencies, to oversee remediation.

Marlys Palumbo, Partner (Seattle) - Marlys Palumbo advises clients in assessing and managing environmental liabilities and compliance obligations, and in recovering environmental costs.  In addition to her environmental practice, Marlys has extensive substantive experience in corporate and real estate transactions involving contaminated properties, facility auditing, due diligence investigations, and drafting and negotiating complex transaction agreements.

Brian Zagon, Partner (CA) - Brian Zagon has decades of experience assisting clients in environmental cost recovery and insurance recovery. He regularly represents clients in environmental litigation matters in federal and state court, including affirmative cost-recovery claims. Brian has extensive experience with cost recovery and insurance claims related to large multi-party cases brought under CERCLA, RCRA, the California Health and Safety Code, the California Water Code, and other federal and state environmental laws. Brian has also helped many clients with disputes involving contractual indemnity obligations and insurance coverage for environmental matters. 


Recognized as a 2018 thought leader in environmental law by the National Law Review, Van Ness Feldman is known for the enduring beneficial relationships we build with clients.  The firm is a nationwide leader in law and government relations pertaining to energy, the environment, natural resources, native affairs, health care, land use, real estate, and insurance recovery.  Learn more at