name

Harry Johnson

Partner
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Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP

Virginia, USA
    Local Time: Sunday 15:46

Practice Expertise

  • Air
  • Chemicals, Products and Hazardous Materials
  • Energy and Environmental Litigation
  • Energy Litigation

Areas of Practice

  • Air
  • Chemicals, Products and Hazardous Materials
  • Energy and Environmental Litigation
  • Energy Litigation
  • Energy Transition
  • Environmental
  • Environmental Compliance, Litigation and ...
  • Environmental Justice
  • Pipeline
  • Public Lands
  • Rocket Docket Practice (US District Court ...
  • Waste
  • Water
  • View More

Profile

Pete is widely respected for his capabilities for assisting clients in and out of the courtroom, with substantive knowledge specific to environmental disputes. He is known for his proactive approach in handling compliance, enforcement and permitting matters, with an enhanced focus on resolution.

As a trial lawyer for over three decades, Pete has developed a significant, broad-based trial practice with a focus on environmental litigation. He has been lead counsel in numerous trials, administrative evidentiary proceedings and appeals covering a wide range of important environmental issues around the country. Pete regularly advises clients on risk management to assist with compliance and to avoid civil actions or governmental enforcement.

Pete often acts as lead counsel in high-profile cases involving Certificates of Public Convenience and Necessity, enforcement issues and citizen suits involving New Source Review (NSR) and New Source Performance Standards (NSPS), as well as toxic tort cases and appeals challenging controversial environmental permitting matters. Pete navigates these legal issues with a deep understanding of Clean Air Act (CAA) Title V permits, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) and the Natural Gas Act (NGA), among other statutes.

Pete is charting a new course in cases related to environmental justice – an emerging area of law for both compliance and litigation. His experience in the field is exemplified by his leadership in providing energy clients with efficient legal solutions that include an environmentally just approach.

Pete is a leader in the bar. He is a past president of the Virginia Bar Association and past co-chair of the Southern Conference of Bar Presidents. In addition to his other official duties, he has worked closely with the courts, as well as the legislative and executive branches, on matters involving the administration of justice. Pete is deeply committed to public service and pro bono work. He has devoted thousands of hours to pro bono clients, including working with immigrant children, victims of domestic violence, inmates and charitable institutions, among many others. He has also served on many boards and committees dedicated to advancing pro bono service.

Pete is currently regarded by Chambers USA as a notable practitioner and ranked band 2 for Environment, Virginia. 

Relevant Experience

  • Represents clients on air permitting for significant natural gas pipeline projects, including environmental justice issues.
  • Represents clients on air and water permitting issues, including permit appeals, for renewable natural gas (RNG) projects around the country.
  • Advised client on air permitting for combined heat and power (CHP) plant adjacent to an environmental justice community.
  • Represented an energy company in original actions and appeals in connection with renewable energy regulation.
  • Represented a utility in connection with permit proceedings and litigation concerning a controversial transmission line project. Issues included NEPA, ESA, CWA, NHPA, and other programs, as well as Federal Power Act emergency proceedings.
  • Tried seven-month case brought by environmental groups challenging a new facility on numerous PSD and Title V grounds, such as BACT, MACT and CAM, and argued all appeals. Judgment was made for the client.
  • Successfully defended an appeal of a PSD permit for a client’s multibillion dollar natural gas-fired power plant.
  • Tried a high-profile case seeking Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity and CAA permits for a proposed LNG export facility. Judgment was made for the client.
  • Represented a client in defending challenges to transmission project under NEPA, CWA and NHPA. Judgment was made for the client.
  • Tried a three-week CAA case in South Dakota brought by environmental organizations against a proposed new facility. Judgment was made for the client.
  • Tried a multiweek PSD and Title V case in Kentucky brought by an environmental group against a proposed new plant, and argued the appeal. Judgment was made for the client.
  • Tried a multiweek PSD and Title V case brought by environmental groups against a proposed new gasification plant. Judgment was made for the client.
  • Represented a utility in an Environmental Appeals Board appeal challenging the client’s permit for new natural gas-fired power plant. Judgment was made for the client.
  • Served as national air permit defense counsel for a large energy client.
  • Advises clients on NGA issues, including preemption.
  • Advises multiple clients on New Source Review enforcement issues.
  • Argued a successful Eighth Circuit appeal in citizens suit alleging NSPS and NSR violations (Sierra Club v. Otter Tail Power, et al.), which was named by a national publication as one of the most significant environmental decisions of 2010.
  • Argued successful appeals in US Courts of Appeals of EPA decisions, effectively allowing clients’ multibillion dollar power plant projects to proceed.
  • Defended multiple cases alleging violations of opacity and monitoring requirements under CAA permits and SIPs.
  • Participated in various successful EPA and Environmental Appeals Board proceedings challenging air permits issued to clients.
  • Represented companies in RCRA citizens suits, including successful opposition to a petition for a temporary restraining order alleging “imminent and substantial endangerment” after a full evidentiary hearing.
  • Represented companies in CERCLA cases, including allocation proceedings.
  • Participated in litigation throughout the country as part of national litigation counsel team for a Fortune 500 company, focusing on environmental litigation.
  • Tried a jury trial in federal court in Illinois involving a dispute over allocation of environmental liabilities under an asset purchase agreement. The case was settled on favorable terms before verdict.
  • Handled numerous toxic tort cases around the country involving alleged exposures to solvents, lead, heavy metals, PAHs, coal tar pitch, asbestos, fluoride and other substances.
  • Tried month-long jury trial in Arkansas in a toxic tort case with five bellwether plaintiffs among a group of 150 plaintiffs. Plaintiffs dismissed all the claims before the jury returned the verdict.
  • Handled numerous Daubert hearings challenging experts engaged in “junk science,” including a six-day evidentiary hearing in Louisiana in a toxic tort case with more than 8,000 plaintiffs, and a three-day evidentiary hearing in Arkansas in a toxic tort case with 150 plaintiffs.
  • First-chaired a significant toxic tort case brought by a plaintiff who was dying of cancer. The case was settled favorably three days into a jury trial that was expected to last three weeks in state circuit court.
  • Served as Regional Litigation Counsel for a national residential mortgage lender; responsible for over 400 individual cases.
  • Defended more than 50 serious products liability cases, including prevailing in one case that a Fortune 100 client considered its “most dangerous ever.”
  • Obtained $22 million cash settlement for a client in a suit for breach of a stock purchase agreement.
  • Tried a six-week jury trial in a complex international commercial case involving manufacture of specialty industrial parts.
  • Obtained a preliminary injunction ordering a technology company to close down after a two-day evidentiary hearing as a result of its misappropriation of client’s software, databases and trade secrets. The case was settled on very favorable terms.
  • Tried a case in Virginia state court between real estate developer and a mortgage lender over development of subdivision. Verdict and judgment were for the client.
  • Tried a case and obtained a permanent injunction against the District of Columbia on behalf of lessees whose leasehold rights were threatened with expropriation.
  • Tried a jury trial for two days before a very favorable settlement on behalf of a major bank suing another bank to recover multimillion dollar losses from a mortgage broker’s fraudulent scheme.
  • Handled hundreds of hearings and trials as pro bono counsel on behalf of a Virginia state agency.

Bar Admissions

  • Texas
  • Virginia

Education
AB, Princeton University, Politics, Program in Political Economics, magna cum laude, 1985

Areas of Practice

  • Air
  • Chemicals, Products and Hazardous Materials
  • Energy and Environmental Litigation
  • Energy Litigation
  • Energy Transition
  • Environmental
  • Environmental Compliance, Litigation and Defense
  • Environmental Justice
  • Pipeline
  • Public Lands
  • Rocket Docket Practice (US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia)
  • Waste
  • Water

Professional Career

Significant Accomplishments
  • Tried seven-month case brought by environmental groups challenging power plant on numerous PSD and Title V grounds such as BACT, MACT, and CAM, and argued all appeals. Judgment for client. 
  • Tried high profile case seeking Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity and Clean Air Act permits for proposed LNG export facility.  Decision pending.
  • Tried three-week Clean Air Act case in South Dakota brought by environmental organizations against proposed coal-fueled power plant. Judgment for client. 
  • Tried multi-week PSD and Title V case in Kentucky brought by environmental group against proposed coal-fueled power plant, and argued appeal. Judgment for client. 
  • Tried multi-week PSD and Title V case brought by environmental groups against proposed coal-to-SNG facility. Judgment for client. 
  • Serves as national air permitting defense counsel for large energy client. 
  • Advises multiple clients on New Source Review enforcement issues.
  • Argued successful 8th Circuit appeal in citizens suit alleging NSPS and NSR violations (Sierra Club v. Otter Tail Power, et al.), which was named by a national publication as one of the most significant environmental decisions of 2010. 
  • Argued successful appeals in U.S. Courts of Appeals from EPA decisions, effectively allowing clients' multi-billion dollar power plant projects to proceed. 
  • Defending multiple cases alleging violations of opacity and monitoring requirements under Clean Air Act permits and SIPs.
  • Participated in various successful EPA and Environmental Appeals Board proceedings challenging air permits issued to clients. 
  • Represented companies in RCRA Citizens Suits, including successful opposition to petition for TRO alleging "imminent and substantial endangerment" after full evidentiary hearing. 
  • Represented companies in CERCLA cases, including allocation proceedings. 
  • Participated in litigation throughout the country as part of national litigation counsel team for Fortune 500 company, focusing on environmental litigation. 
  • Tried jury trial in federal court in Illinois involving dispute over allocation of environmental liabilities under Asset Purchase Agreement. Case settled on favorable terms before verdict. 
  • Handled numerous toxic tort cases around the country involving alleged exposures to solvents, lead, heavy metals, PAHs, coal tar pitch, asbestos, fluoride and other substances. 
  • Tried month-long jury trial in Arkansas in toxic tort case with 5 bellwether plaintiffs among group of 150 plaintiffs. Plaintiffs nonsuited all claims before jury returned verdict. 
  • Handled numerous Daubert hearings challenging experts engaged in “junk science,” including six-day evidentiary hearing in Louisiana in toxic tort case with more than 8,000 plaintiffs, and three-day evidentiary hearing in Arkansas in toxic tort case with 150 plaintiffs. 
  • First-chaired significant toxic tort case brought by plaintiff dying of cancer. Case settled favorably three days into jury trial expected to last three weeks in state circuit court. 
  • Served as Regional Litigation Counsel for one of nation’s largest residential mortgage lenders and responsible for over 400 individual cases. 
  • Defended more than 50 serious products liability cases, including prevailing in one case that Fortune 100 client considered its “most dangerous ever”. 
  • Obtained $22 million cash settlement for client in suit for breach of Stock Purchase Agreement. 
  • Tried six-week jury trial in complex international commercial case involving manufacture of specialty industrial parts. 
  • Obtained preliminary injunction ordering technology company to close down after two-day evidentiary hearing as a result of its misappropriation of client’s software, databases and trade secrets; case settled on very favorable terms. 
  • Tried case in Virginia state court between real estate developer and mortgage lender over development of subdivision. Verdict and judgment for client. 
  • Tried case and obtained permanent injunction against District of Columbia on behalf of lessees whose leasehold rights were threatened with expropriation. 
  • Tried jury trial for two days before very favorable settlement on behalf of major bank suing another bank to recover multimillion dollar losses from mortgage broker’s fraudulent scheme. 
  • Handled hundreds of hearings and trials as pro bono counsel on behalf of Virginia state agency.


Professional Associations
  • Past President, Virginia Bar Association
  • Co-Chair, Southern Conference of Bar Presidents
  • Fellow, American Bar Foundation
  • President, Virginia Bar Association Foundation
  • President, Virginia Barristers Alliance, Inc.
  • Vice-Chair, ABA - TIPS Toxic Tort & Environmental Law Committee
  • Member, Board of Directors, Central Virginia Legal Aid Society
  • Member, Board of Directors, Legal Aid Justice Center

Professional Activities and Experience
  • 2017 Chambers USA Environment Law Firm of the Year
  • Recognized as a Leader in Environmental Law, Virginia, Chambers USA, 2014-2017
  • Named among Legal Who’s Who in Environmental Law, CR Magazine, 2014
  • Named to Leaders in the Law, Virginia Lawyers Weekly, Class of 2012
  • Recipient, John C. Kenny Pro Bono Award, Bar Association of the City of Richmond, 2013
  • Named among the Legal Elite for Environmental Law, Virginia Business magazine, 2015. A description of the selection methodology can be found on Virginia Business’s webpage.
  • Selected as a Super Lawyer for Environmental Litigation Law, Virginia Super Lawyers magazine, 2012-2016. A description of the selection methodology can be found on Super Lawyers’ webpage.
  • George H. Hettrick Leadership Award, Greater Richmond Bar Foundation, 2013
  • Randolph Williams Award for Outstanding Pro Bono Service, Hunton & Williams, multiple years between 1996-2013

Articles

  • Expert Testimony: Does It Matter Whether Virginia Adopts Daubert v. Merrell Dow? VSB Litigation News, , Winter 2002
  • Kumho Tire: The Real Significance For Trial Lawyers, ABA TIPS Newsletter, , January 1999
  • Premises Liability: An Emerging Trend in Toxic Tort Litigation, , March 1999
  • Pro Bono Innovation and Momentum in the Commonwealth, Virginia Bar Association Spring Journal, Author, May 2014
  • The Runaway Jury: Current Issues in Punitive Damages, VSB Litigation News, , Winter 2001

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