John T. Dema
John represents individuals, small businesses, and public entities harmed by environmental contamination. Passionate about environmental issues, John is dedicated to helping people and governments stand up to companies responsible for drinking water contamination, toxic chemical exposure, and hazardous waste releases. He is currently representing the governments of Maryland, New Jersey, and Puerto Rico regarding the contamination of public groundwater by the gasoline additive methyl tertiary butyl ether (“MTBE”). MTBE contaminates groundwater throughout the country.
John graduated from Columbia Law School, where he was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar, the co-president of the Environmental Law Society, an editor of the Columbia Journal of Environmental Law, and a member of the Environmental Law Clinic. He also received his B.A. in U.S. History from Columbia University.
After graduating from law school, John began his legal career at Boies Schiller Flexner. At BSF, John litigated complex business disputes and represented clients subject to government investigations in both the U.S. and the U.K. John also represented former federal and local judges pro bono in writing an amici curiae brief to the U.S. Supreme Court for the case Tuaua v. United States. The judges supported the petitioners in the case, who were from the U.S. territory of American Samoa, in arguing that birthright citizenship is a constitutional right for all Americans born in the United States. The case sought a rejection of the Insular Cases, a series of U.S. Supreme Court opinions from the early 1900s declaring that full constitutional rights do not automatically apply to U.S. territories, such as American Samoa, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
John currently splits his time between New York City and St. Croix, where he grew up. John spent most of his childhood outdoors: sailing, scuba diving, fly fishing, and backpacking. Through these early experiences, John developed a strong appreciation of the natural world and a commitment to environmental justice.