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Belynda S. Reck

Partner
+1.310.552.5546
Fax +1.310.552.5001
Belynda Reck is a partner in the firm’s Los Angeles office. She is a member of the environment, land and natural resources practice group. She has more than 25 years of experience counselling and successfully representing large international companies, small businesses, and public entities in federal and state courts and agency actions in numerous states in matters involving toxic tort, Proposition 65, OSHA, water rights, climate change, §17200 (unfair business practice), products liability, CERCLA, RCRA, and a variety of other statutes and common law. For example, Ms. Reck has represented the County of Imperial with respect to the Salton Sea, represented numerous defendants in several toxic tort lawsuits involving more than 3,000 plaintiffs and five class actions in Riverside and San Bernardino Counties, and counsels clients with respect to potential OSHA issues at numerous facilities nationwide. She has significant successful trial experience in both state and federal court. For example, she successfully tried a CERCLA allocation case to judgment in federal court and successfully tried to defense verdict numerous products liability cases.

Professional Background

Prior to joining the firm, Ms. Reck served as a partner for a global law firm where she led the mass tort /toxic tort/environmental litigation practice.

Achievements

  • AV® Peer Review Rated in Martindale-Hubbell
  • L.A. Biz’s Women of Influence List, 2014
  • Named "Super Lawyer" in Environmental Law, California Lawyer, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017
  • Named “Top 75 Women Litigators in California,” L.A. Daily Journal, 2011
  • Named “Top 100 Women Lawyers in California,” L.A. Daily Journal, 2009, 2010, 2015
  • Finalist, 500 Leading Lawyers in America, Lawdragon, 2007

Professional/Civic Activities

  • Member and former Co-chair (2000 - 2001), Litigation Committee, Women Lawyers of Los Angeles
  • Life Member and Past President (2001 - 2002), California Women Lawyers
  • Former Member of Board of Directors, National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations

Speaking Engagements

  • "Latest CERCLA Decisions: Navigating Complexities of Arranger Liability, Divisibility, Settlement and More," 17 April 2018
  • “Leveraging Latest CERCLA Decisions and Navigating New Complexities,” 11 April 2017
  • "Drought and Dust: Innovative Control Measures," AEHS Foundation’s 26th Annual International Conference on Soil, Owens Valley, California, 22 March 2016
  • "Environmental Hazard Compliance in Sale of Goods: California’s Prop 65 and Safer Consumer Products Act," Strafford Webinars, 19 January 2016
  • "Prop 65 Update and New Environmental Legislation," MCLE Day 2016, California, 21 January 2016
  • "Handling the High Profile Case: Strategies for Managing Complex Hazardous Waste, Environmental Remediation, Toxic Tort and Enforcement Matters," State Bar Annual Environmental Law Conference, Yosemite, California, 24 October 2015
  • "Leveraging Latest CERCLA Decisions and Navigating New Complexities," CERCLA, 22 April 2015
  • "Property Damage and Personal Injury Claims Demystified," CERCLA, 23 July 2014
  • "Doing Business in an Increasingly Litigious Environment," CalCIMA 2011 Annual Educational Conference, Monterey, California, 11 October 2011
  • "Corporate Law Department: The Times Are Changing," National Conference of Women's Bar Associations Annual Summit, 6 August 2010
  • "The Business of Climate Change," Biotechnology Industry Organization International Annual Meeting, 19 June 2008
Publications
  • “EPA Switches Gears on Emission Standards,” The Recorder, 15 April 2018
  • "Managing Aging Water Delivery Systems to Reduce Costs and Avoid Liability,” American City & County, 17 May 2016
  • "What Companies Need to Know About California’s Safer Consumer Products Regulations," Corporate Counsel, 7 October 2015
  • “To Whom And Where Will The Water Go In California?," Law360, 1 October 2015
  • "New Groundwater Controls," California Lawyer, July 2015
  • "Courts Still Grapple With Expert Testimony Standard," Daily Journal, 17 November 2014
  • "Pearl Harbor Shipyard Asbestos Cases Stay In Federal Court," Law360, 31 October 2014
  • "CERCLA: Contribution Protection Over Private Settlements," Daily Journal, 4 November 2010
  • "Green Chemistry: California Regulators' Responses to Public Concerns," Daily Journal, 2 October 2010
  • Represent client in OSHA matter involving death of employee, including investigation, citation and appeals phases. Resulted in finding by agency that death unrelated to client’s facility, downgrade of citations, and withdrawal of penalty.
  • Represent global client in evaluation nationwide of OSHA compliance at facilities, including in Texas, California, Virginia, Florida, Louisiana, Arizona, and numerous other states.
  • Represent multiple clients as lead counsel in multiple Proposition 65 cases. All successfully resolved.
  • Perform environmental due diligence in multiple property sales and purchases; draft provisions in purchase and sales agreements for same.
  • Counsel client on compliance with products regulations.
  • Lead counsel in toxic tort matter alleging $10 million in damages. After successful narrowing of claims, settled for de minimis amount.
  • Represent client in OSHA matter in Texas related to complaints of exposure to hexavalent chromium. Resulted in no citation being issued and no claims by employees or third parties being filed.
  • Represent client as lead counsel in breach of indemnification clause case. Won summary judgment and attorney fees, despite fact that no attorney fees clause was in the contract.
  • Represent client in OSHA compliance issues at newly acquired operation in California.
  • Represent multiple defendants as lead counsel against plaintiffs’ lawyer Tom Girardi in five high profile-class actions and against approximately 3,500 individual toxic tort claimants alleging property damage and personal injury due to exposure to hexavalent chromium and other chemicals in air and groundwater. Successfully struck injunctive relief and punitive damages against her clients, and obtained dismissals with prejudice of more than 900 plaintiffs, before successfully resolving the matters.
  • Represented the County of Imperial with respect to the Salton Sea.
  • Lead counsel in high-profile action for fraud alleging failure to disclose/misrepresentation of environmental conditions at Northern California oil refinery and asserting damages in excess of $100 million. Complaint resulted in formation of multi-agency task force to investigate allegations, overseen by the District Attorney of Contra Costa. Represented client with respect to litigation, task force, and site remediation. Motion to Compel Arbitration granted, after which matter successfully concluded.
  • Lead counsel in bankruptcy with respect to claim for costs associated with remediation of petroleum contamination at site of former smelter in Northern California. Negotiated settlement of $33.5 million dollars to client, which was paid at 100 cents on the dollar plus interest.
  • Lead counsel in multiple actions alleging toxic tort (property and personal injury) and other claims relating to alleged exposure to benzene and other chemicals from alleged million gallon pipeline leak in petroleum tank farm and terminal in Los Angeles. Defeated Motion for Preliminary Injunction on fear of cancer claim and obtained dismissal of injunctive relief claim on primary jurisdiction grounds. All actions successfully resolved.
  • Lead counsel in litigation relating to alleged petroleum contamination on 13.2 acre site on the East Basin Channel of the Port of Los Angeles. Obtained dismissal of public nuisance and nine other claims; obtained favorable settlement of sole remaining claims for private nuisance, equitable indemnity, and liability under California Water Code § 13304.
  • Represent five entities, as lead California counsel, sued in high-profile climate change litigation asserting $100 million in damages related to alleged impact of global warming on Alaskan village. Negotiated stay of discovery pending outcome of numerous motions to dismiss. Motions to dismiss granted in favor of all clients. Ninth Circuit affirmed (published opinions in district and appellate court).
  • Environmental action relating to CERCLA contribution for cleanup of VOCs In groundwater in Burbank Operable Unit. Obtained verdict in favor of client after five week trial for 11% share of $500 million cleanup and also successfully pierced corporate veil to hold sister and parent corporation of defendant liable.
  • Lead counsel in class action “greenwashing” case brought under California's Section 17200 and 17500 statutes. Case successfully resolved.
  • Lead counsel in environmental action relating to alleged benzene contamination of property from service station. Successfully obtained de minimis settlement after obtaining deposition testimony in which plaintiff’s environmental consultant admitted to fabricating conclusions in environmental report, which fraud was committed at behest of plaintiff’s counsel.
  • Lead counsel in toxic tort litigation involving worker exposure to chemicals. Obtained voluntary dismissal of client after winning multiple demurrers.
  • Massive toxic tort litigation defending claims brought by 3,000 plaintiffs allegedly damaged by exposure to chemicals, including PCE, TCE, and Hexavalent Chromium. With co-counsel, obtained summary judgment.
  • Represented drug manufacturer in numerous trials alleging injury, including death, from ingestion of prescription drug. Obtained several defense jury verdicts in the “Bank” courthouse in favor of client against Plaintiffs’ trial lawyer Tom Girardi. Numerous other cases successfully resolved on summary judgment before trial and via settlement during trial.