Areas of Practice
  • University of Southern California Law School, J.D., 1992
  • Bowling Green, B.S., cum laude, 1987
Bar & Court Admissions
  • California
  • US District Court Central District of California
  • US District Court Northern District of California
  • US District Court Eastern District of California
  • US District Court Southern District of California
633 West Fifth Street
Suite 700
Los Angeles CA 90071
TEL: +1 213 439 9430
FAX: +1 213 439 9599

Jay E. Smith is a partner in Steptoe's Los Angeles office and is a member of the firm's Litigation Department.  Mr. Smith's litigation and trial experience spans a wide variety of substantive areas, but has been divided principally between toxic tort litigation and complex commercial litigation.

Toxic Tort Litigation
Working with the firm's toxic tort practice group, Mr. Smith has frequently defended oil and chemical industry clients in actions alleging environmental and property damage claims.  He has most often represented clients in cases involving groundwater contamination claims by public and private water purveyors and well owners.  Mr. Smith was part of the trial team in the first jury trial in the United States arising from groundwater contamination caused by leaking underground storage tanks (LUSTs) and the gasoline additive methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE). He has also successfully defended chemical industry clients in a number of additional MTBE property damage lawsuits for over a decade.  Mr. Smith has also assisted oil industry clients in defending against claims of soil and groundwater contamination arising from abandoned oil wells and associated facilities. Since late 2004, Mr. Smith has been engaged in defending a major oil company in 13 groundwater contamination lawsuits relating to the company’s former agricultural chemicals business.  In connection with this pesticide litigation, as in his prior LUST and oil well litigation, Mr. Smith has worked closely with experts in a variety of fields to assess and present complex issues of hydrogeology, groundwater modeling and contamination remediation.

In addition to his environmental toxic tort experience, Mr. Smith has defended clients in single and multiple plaintiff toxic substance personal injury and wrongful death litigation.  He has also represented plaintiffs and defendants in traditional products liability litigation.

Commercial Litigation
In the commercial litigation arena, Mr. Smith has represented clients (both as plaintiffs and defendants) in actions involving substantial breach of contract, business tort and unfair competition claims.  Mr. Smith has also served as lead trial counsel in lawsuits arising from real estate transactions.