Some cases defy their traditional legal classifications, because their impact and reach are much broader. The two finalists and the winning firm in this category went beyond helping the individuals and classes they represented; they sent strong messages about the costs of not protecting the environment. The cases involve property owners near a closed nuclear-weapons facility in Colorado, owners of homes built atop an old chemical tank farm in California, and residents living alongside the Ohio River, near a plant where chemicals were dumped. One case took a quarter-century to resolve, and our winning firm’s bellwether case has implications for 3,500 more individuals.
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