About Our Firm
We pride ourselves on making sure that governments, communities and individuals are represented as skillfully and diligently as the large corporations that injure them. We have assisted both our private and public clients in recovering substantial damages from major corporations and their subsidiaries.
The Firm is known as a pioneer and national leader in natural resource damage (“NRD”) and environmental litigation. The Firm is one of only a handful of law firms trusted by sovereign governments and natural resource trustees to pursue claims on behalf of the public against those who contaminate the environment. To date, the Firm’s environmental and products liability litigation efforts have yielded judgments and settlements of approximately $600 million for its public clients, including New Jersey, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. These NRD claims have involved extensive contamination to groundwater and other natural resources. Each of these claims has been based upon the states’ and territories’ parens patriae and public trustee capacities and have substantially relied on common law tort doctrines.
Currently, we are actively advising states and territories in their efforts to hold companies responsible for the contamination of air, land, and water with polyfluoroalkyl and perfluroalkyl chemicals. These chemicals, including PFOA, PFOS, PFNA, and GenX, are collectively known as “PFAS”. In 2018, the Dema Firm was selected with its co-counsel to represent the State of New Jersey’s Attorney General with its claims concerning PFAS contamination throughout the State. In addition, New Jersey’s Attorney General also retained the Dema Firm and its co-counsel to pursue claims related to extensive contamination at two other facilities, including the infamous Pompton Lakes Works site.
Since 2007, the Dema Firm and its co-counsel have represented the State of New Jersey and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico in their litigation against dozens of major oil companies and their subsidiaries, including ExxonMobil, Shell, BP, ConocoPhillips, Chevron, Citgo, Valero, Hess, Total, Marathon, and Lukoil, with respect to the gasoline additive methyl tertiary butyl ether (“MTBE”). MTBE contaminated vast quantities of drinking water, impacting thousands of locations, in the State of New Jersey and Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. MTBE litigation throughout the country was consolidated in a MDL in the Southern District of New York. In 2016, the Attorney General of the State of Maryland retained the Dema Firm and its co-counsel to pursue MTBE litigation. All of the MTBE litigation is based on a combination of common law and statutory claims.
Founding partner John (“Jack”) K. Dema and Scott E. Kauff each have decades of experience pursuing NRD actions on behalf of sovereigns, including groundwater contamination. The combination of Mr. Dema’s nearly 50 years of experience as a trial lawyer pursuing claims against major companies on behalf individuals and businesses and Mr. Kauff’s experience advising industry clients with respect to environmental regulatory law give them a unique perspective and the ability to strategize and prevail against the best defense counsel NRD defendants can retain.
Throughout the years, they have developed a team of attorneys and paralegals who understand the complexities of litigating these highly technical and scientific cases. The more recent addition of multiple attorneys who have clerked for the United Supreme Court and Circuit Courts of Appeals has added even greater depth to the team, particularly in appellate litigation.