Susan Brice has 20 years of experience in science-based laws, including environmental law, energy law and food law. She regularly handles environmental, toxic tort, food and product liability litigation in federal and state courts; routinely advises on environmental and food regulatory issues; and has substantial experience handling regulatory aspects of major transactions, including mergers and acquisitions, public/private partnership ventures and renewable energy deals.

Environmental: Ms. Brice has experience in all major aspects of environmental law, including handling significant Clean Water Act, CERCLA, RCRA, Clean Air Act, chemical exposure and project development disputes. Before joining the firm, Ms. Brice was co-leader of the environmental action group at another international law firm in Chicago.

Food: Ms. Brice has significant experience handling litigation alleging food contamination, adulteration and/or tampering. She routinely advises on FDA and USDA regulatory issues, including labeling and recalls. She also drafts and negotiates commercial contracts for food clients, including those involving supplier, co-packer and distributor arrangements.

Ms. Brice is the co-lead of our Toxic Tort Group as well as our Food and Beverage Team.

Civic Involvement & Honors

    • Ranked in Chambers USA, 2019 (Environmental Litigation)
    • Marquis Who’s Who in America, 2019
    • The Best Lawyers in America©, Environmental Law, 2013-2019
    • Illinois Leading Lawyers, Environmental and Products Liability Defense Law, 2012-2015
    •  Illinois Super Lawyers, Environmental, 2014-2019
    • The Best Lawyers in America©, Environmental Law, 2013-2019
    • Illinois Leading Lawyers, Environmental and Products Liability Defense Law, 2012-2015
    •  Illinois Super Lawyers, Environmental, 2014-2019
    •  Illinois Super Lawyers, Environmental, 2014-2019
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Representative Experience

Environmental, Toxic Tort and Product Liability Litigation

  • Secured a victory before the Illinois Pollution Control Board for a global manufacturing client against a State agency, obtaining an order that the state violated the Illinois Environmental Protection Act and must pay for cleanup costs.
  • Defeated USEPA at trial with federal court finding that USEPA’s conduct under CERCLA was "arbitrary and capricious." 
  • Defense verdict for industrial manufacturing client in Illinois lead contamination property damage case involving breach of contract claim and allegations that client "violated" environmental laws. Case turned on the meaning of "solid waste" under RCRA. 
  • Represented various clients vis a vis USEPA in implementing and challenging aspects CERCLA cleanups and Administrative Orders on Consent, including cleanups involving over 200 million dollars. 
  • Represented clients in USEPA enforcement actions, including matters involving Notices of Violation under the Clean Air Act, Consent Decrees under the Clean Water Act and multi-million dollar cleanup orders under CERCLA. 
  • Represented client in action brought before Illinois Pollution Control Board against State agency in order to require state agency to participate in CERCLA cleanup because state violated Illinois Environmental Protection Act. 
  • Represented client in litigation and enforcement proceedings in New York state stemming from a large leak from client’s retail gas station that led to explosion in the city sewer system. 
  • Represented clients in multi-plaintiff tort and contract suits alleging personal injuries, property damages and punitive damages stemming from historic operations, including clients in the railroad and heavy industrial and manufacturing industries. 
  • Represented various clients in cases challenging the reach of the Clean Water Act, including the federal government's NPDES, Total Maximum Daily Load ("TMDL") and wetlands programs. Work includes representing clients and/or providing case assistance in seminal cases such as Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Rapanos v. United States, U.S. v. Robison and Pronsolino v. Nastri. Cases also involve defending clients facing civil and criminal liability for violations of Clean Water Act. 
  • Represented large metropolitan city in criminal investigation involving violations of Clean Water Act at City’s wastewater treatment facilities. 
  • Represented client in personal injury suit in California stemming from allegations that plaintiff was exposed to and ill as a result of landfill gas emissions in proximity to residence.
  • Worked on numerous Brownfield redevelopments, including negotiating regulatory agreements with USEPA and the State of Maryland to cap liability on massive Brownfield redevelopment of former Bethlehem Steel Site in Baltimore Maryland. 
  • Managed and negotiated environmental aspects of large public-private partnership transactions, including serving as lender's/underwriter's environmental counsel for the winning bidder on the multi-billion dollar Denver Fastracks infrastructure project. 

Food and Beverage

  • Represented food company that discovered its product had been contaminated by third party prior to sale. Successfully developed and executed strategy to prevent any health hazards, mitigate risk, investigate causation and scope, comply with regulatory requirements and provide appropriate notifications. Pursued responsible party through litigation and company recovered $7 million loss. 
  • Represented food manufacturer on all fronts when razor blades were found in its product in retail stores in New Jersey; ultimately, it was determined that the product had been tampered with after it left the control of the client. 
  • Represented companies in cases involving claims of "bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome" (otherwise referred to as "popcorn lung") allegedly caused by the naturally-occurring chemical diacetyl.
  • Represent large manufacturer of spirits in cases involving allegations that their distillation processes caused fungus to infest neighboring properties. 
  • Advise various clients on issues involving allegations of false and deceptive labeling and marketing of food products, including "all natural" claims.
  • Serve as outside general counsel for a food service company, advising on issues ranging from supplier agreements to local wage and hour laws to bankruptcy collections.
  • Advised start up food distributor on a variety of issues, including drafting form supplier contracts and advising company that insurance policy did not cover what they were told was covered. Negotiated new policy for them. 

Publications

  • Lead author: The Use of Genetic Evidence to Defend Against Toxic Tort Claims (three part series), Journal of Intellectual Property and Technology Law, September – December 2017
  • Co-author, “Fractured US Supreme Court Reins in Army Corps of Engineers’ Wetlands Program,” Real Estate Finance Journal, Fall 2006
  • Co-author, “Do Environmental Laws Regulate Commerce?” Natural Resources and Environment, Summer 2002
  • “Convention on the Rights of the Child: Using a Human Rights Instrument to Protect Against Environmental Threats,” Georgetown International Environmental Law Review, Spring 1995