Catherine W. Johnson
Tel: (510) 495-1406
University of Virginia School of Law
Permitting and Enforcement
State Bar of California
U.S. District Courts (Northern District, Central District)
U.S. Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
Catherine specializes in California and federal environmental law, representing a broad range of clients and industries, including manufacturing facilities, national transportation companies, food companies, a recycling facility, and leaders in the commercial real estate and multi-family housing industry. She has represented a leader in the multi-family homes industry for over twenty years, and served as the sole environmental lawyer for a publicly-traded REIT for over fourteen years. She has represented several of her current clients for over a decade or more.
Catherine's areas of expertise include brownfields development, soil vapor intrusion, Proposition 65, pollution legal liability insurance policies, hazardous and solid waste, landfills, Superfund sites, electronic waste, underground storage tanks, asbestos-containing materials, lead-based paint, mold, radon, methane gas, OSHA, Porter-Cologne Act, Truck & Bus Regulation, CERCLA, RCRA, Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, and all aspects of the investigation, cleanup, and closure of contaminated properties. Catherine has special expertise in environmental due diligence and transactional matters for real estate, stock, and asset acquisitions. Catherine has handled enforcement actions brought by federal, state, and local agencies, under a variety of laws, including one of the first U.S. EPA enforcement actions brought under the California Truck & Bus Regulation.
Catherine’s transactional and compliance practice at EGC is backed by years of litigation experience, where she served either as lead counsel or co-counsel in several major cases, including citizens’ suits claims (Prop 65, stormwater), CERCLA cost recovery claims, and claims for property damage associated with subsurface contamination and soil vapor intrusion. Catherine was lead attorney for the landmark case, U.S. v. Chapman, 146 F.3d 1166, 1169 (9th Cir. 1998) (the first case to limit EPA’s ability to recover its litigation fees in a CERCLA cost-recovery action) and she was lead co-counsel for SF Baykeeper v. Levin Enterprises, (N.D. CA, 2013) (first decision to affirm the limited scope of stormwater permit requirements applicable to the transportation industry).
Before establishing EGC, Catherine was a partner at Hanson Bridgett, LLP, in San Francisco for seven years, and a partner at Wendel Rosen Black & Dean, in Oakland for thirteen years. Catherine started her environmental practice at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati in Palo Alto. Before practicing law, she served as a consultant to ICF, Inc., providing support to the U.S. EPA in development of some of the early environmental regulations under CERCLA and RCRA, including the financial responsibility requirements for underground storage tanks and solid waste facilities.
Catherine is Chair of the San Francisco Bar Association's Environmental Section.