Steptoe Expands Environmental, Torts Practice with Chris Amantea

(March 15, 2016, Los Angeles) — Steptoe & Johnson LLP is pleased to announce that Chris Amantea, who has practiced environmental law in California for more than 25 years, has joined the firm’s Los Angeles office as a partner in the Environmental, Products and Mass Torts practice.  The firm is also pleased to welcome Christopher Smith as an associate in the Los Angeles office.  Together, the pair joins a national practice that was expanded in 2015 with the arrival of a five-partner team in Chicago led by Robert Shuftan, who now serves as the head of the firm’s practice.

Mr. Amantea focuses his practice on environmental, transactional and judicial proceedings, as well as product liability claims and other complex litigation.  He has successfully represented clients in matters involving hazardous substances, air and water quality, land use, toxic torts and other environmental matters, including state and federal Superfund liability, National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permitting and compliance issues, California's Safe Drinking Water & Toxic Enforcement Act (Proposition 65) and hazardous waste regulatory issues.

Mr. Amantea’s trial experience includes matters in both state and federal courts.  He has argued cases before the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, including a case that was argued before an en banc panel of the court.  Mr. Amantea also has extensive experience in resolving environmental matters through mediation and arbitration proceedings, and working with various state and local environmental agencies.

Mr. Smith works closely with Mr. Amantea representing clients in a wide range of environmental regulatory compliance and litigation matters.

Steptoe Chair Phil West commented:  “Chris Amantea has a deep understanding of federal environmental law as well as California’s specific regulations.  His and Chris Smith’s arrival will expand the range of environmental administrative and judicial litigation we handle in California, as well as our environmental regulatory capabilities in the state.  They are terrific additions to our broad national practice.”

Steptoe’s toxic tort litigation practice, which was recognized in the 2014 and 2015 editions of The Legal 500 US for providing “exceptional skill and service,” defends toxic tort, product liability and environmental claims nationwide for the chemical, petrochemical, aerospace, manufacturing, and agricultural industries.  The group, which also includes professionals in the firm’s Washington, Chicago and Phoenix offices, has handled litigation in more than 30 states in cases ranging from putative nationwide class actions and mass actions for personal injury and property damage to complex environmental investigation and/or remediation issues and matters involving multiple defendants and hundreds of products.  The firm also handles regulatory issues for the same industries, both from its Washington, DC base and from offices in Brussels and Beijing.

“Steptoe is the perfect home for my practice,” said Mr. Amantea.  “Not only does the firm have terrific capabilities in environmental, mass torts and products liability, but its deep bench of attorneys experienced in handling national and international regulatory issues and government investigations provides clients with a full suite of services to handle regulatory compliance issues as well as both civil and criminal investigations.”

Recognized for his environmental work in Chambers USA and The Best Lawyers in America, Mr. Amantea has authored numerous articles on environmental and energy issues.  He also was a national contributing author for the environmental chapters of Thomson-West’s Business Law Deskbook series including the California Business Law Deskbook.

Mr. Amantea earned his B.S. from the University of California, Davis and his J.D. from the Illinois Institute of Technology Chicago-Kent College of Law, where he was elected to the Order of the Coif.

Mr. Smith is a graduate of San Diego State University and earned his law degree from Seattle University.

About Steptoe

Steptoe & Johnson LLP is an international law firm widely recognized for vigorous advocacy in complex litigation and arbitration, successful representation of clients before governmental agencies, and creative and practical advice in guiding business transactions.  The firm has more than 500 lawyers and other professionals in offices in Beijing, Brussels, Century City, Chicago, London, Los Angeles, New York, Palo Alto, Phoenix and Washington.  For more information, visit www.steptoe.com.