Heather Demirjian is a member of the firm’s Environmental Department.
Heather uses her broad experience in both federal and state environmental law matters to craft creative solutions that meet her clients’ environmental needs. She has a multi-faceted practice representing clients in environmental litigation and defense actions, as well as on environmental aspects of corporate and real estate transactions.
Heather is a Chambers USA ranked attorney. Her clients have described her in Chambers as “persistent, focused, knows environmental law in incredible detail and enthusiastically represents her clients.” She counsels clients using results driven advocacy while leveraging opportunities for collaboration to achieve their strategic objectives.
Heather is particularly interested in how Artificial Intelligence (AI) is being used in environmental law related areas, and how advancements in AI technologies may change the practice of environmental law and impact how clients do business. She recently completed a certification program on AI for Decision Making: Strategies and Applications through The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.
Environmental Litigation and Defense
Heather has worked on over 20 CERCLA/Superfund cases, ranging from traditional landfill sites to large multi-party sediment and natural resource damages mega-sites. Her experience includes:
- Representing and advocating for owner, operator, generator, and transporter Potentially Responsible Parties (PRPs) in mediations, allocations, and joint defense groups at multiple sites.
- Collaborating with environmental consultants and engaging directly with U.S. EPA on the details and requirements of scopes of work for removal and remedial actions.
- Successfully obtaining dismissal for lack of personal jurisdiction from federal district court with no jurisdictional discovery on the basis that the client had no successor liability.
- Negotiating a Bona Fide Prospective Purchaser Administrative Settlement Agreement for Removal Action with the United States which capped the client’s monetary obligations for the work.
- Representing clients in multi-party federal district court actions involving CERCLA §107 and §113 claims, including litigation involving the Diamond Alkali Superfund Site.
- Challenging the basis for U.S. EPA’s perfection of a Superfund Lien resulting in a CERCLA Section 122(h)(1) Settlement Agreement for approximately 1% of U.S. EPA’s alleged past costs.
- Obtaining de minimis for multiple clients based on a lack of alleged nexus to sites.
Heather has also represented clients in other environmental litigation matters, including:
- Defending a client in one of NJDEP’s new “Environmental Justice” lawsuits related to historic recycling and disposal actions.
- Asserting claims against an insurance carrier for coverage and reimbursement under legacy policies for a client’s site remediation and Superfund related costs.
- Challenging NJDEP’s denial of a wetlands permit in an administrative hearing process for a client’s property redevelopment.
Transactions and Compliance
Heather also has extensive experience representing clients on environmental transactions and in regulatory matters, including:
- Representing clients in the acquisition, complex remediation, and sustainable redevelopment of former oil refineries, coal fired power plants, and contaminated industrial sites for e-commerce, life sciences, and logistics operations.
- Advising an international pipe fitting manufacturer in risk management and compliance issue for a $20+ million remediation and in securing cost reimbursement under long-tail environmental insurance coverage.
- Counseling a national real estate investment trust in obtaining state and federal environmental permits and securing the first waiver of New Jersey Coastal Zone Management Rule requirements under the N.J. Dept. of Environmental Protection Waiver Rule for a $1 billion mixed use waterfront development in Camden, New Jersey.
- Conducting internal investigations for multiple chemical manufacturers in connection with potential violations under state and federal environmental statutes.
- Counseling an international airline in obtaining, modifying, and transferring Clean Air Act Title V, NPDES, Storage Tank, RCRA, and Pa. Dept. of Environmental Protection permits and risk management plans for the acquisition and operation of an oil refinery.
- Successfully negotiating resolutions to significant violations and obtaining penalty reductions under various state and federal environmental laws.
Networks & Affiliations
Heather is on the Board of Directors for the Environmental Law Section of the New Jersey State Bar Association. She is also a former member of the Delaware Valley Environmental American Inn of Court in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Heather has authored articles on numerous state and federal environmental law topics and has presented on many of those topics to clients and peers. She has taught environmental litigation courses as an Adjunct Professor at Rutgers University School of Law in Camden, New Jersey and has coached the law school’s Pace University National Environmental Law Moot Court Competition team.
Prior to joining the firm, Heather was a senior environmental associate in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at an international firm, and led the environmental practice group at a leading regional New Jersey law firm.
While in law school, Heather participated in the Stetson University International Environmental Moot Court Competition and the Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition. Heather also clerked for the Environmental Enforcement Section of the United States Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. and for the United States Environmental Protection Agency in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.