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[4769] Catherine Johnson (61 of 101)(3k) 3_edited_edited.jpg

Principal

cjohnson@egcounsel.com

925-400-9045

EDUCATION

  • University of Virginia, JD

  • Smith College, BA

COURT ADMISSIONS

  • All California courts 

  • U.S. District Courts (Northern District, Central District) 

  • U.S. Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)

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CATHERINE W. JOHNSON

Catherine is the CEO and founder of EGC and EPR Group Consulting Inc. After over thirty years of experience with a broad range of environmental compliance, permitting, administrative, litigation, and enforcement matters, Catherine's focus at EGC is on emerging EPR packaging programs and truth in labeling laws -- supplemented with her long-term practice in the areas of remediation projects, vapor intrusion, transactions and development projects, and Proposition 65. 

 

Catherine represents a broad range of clients and industries, including manufacturing facilities, food and beverage companies, consumer products, affordable housing developers, public agencies, leaders in the commercial real estate and multi-family housing industry, a B corporation, start-up companies, and family-owned businesses. She has represented an S&P 500 publicly-traded REIT in the multi-family homes industry for over twenty-five years and has represented several of her other current clients for over a decade or more.

Catherine handled the landmark case, EHA v. Sream, Inc., 83 Cal. App. 5th 721 (2022), in which the appellate court affirmed the trial court decision (also handled by EGC) in favor of EGC's client, Sream, Inc., holding that no Proposition 65 warning was required because only direct exposures require warnings under Proposition 65. The Sream case was widely covered in the media, including the San Francisco Chronicle and heralded as a turning point in Proposition 65 litigation.

From 2014 to 2016, Catherine managed a stormwater litigation matter in federal court for a private marine terminal, resulting in a successful partial summary judgment affirming as a matter of first impression her client's interpretation of the scope of the general stormwater permit as it applies to transportation facilities.

 

Catherine also handled the ground-breaking case of U.S. v. Chapman, 146 F.3d 1166, 1169 (9th Cir. 1998), which for the first time established a limit on U.S. EPA's ability to recover its attorneys' fees in CERCLA cost-recovery actions. The Ninth Circuit adopted Catherine's novel argument that the U.S. EPA should be governed by the same standard applicable to private plaintiffs seeking recovery of fees under various federal statutes. Chapman has been the subject of a law review article and cited by courts in scores of federal cases.

Recent representative projects include:

  • Handling environmental matters for the Port of Oakland in the Oakland A's proposed $24 billion development of the Howard Terminal into a baseball stadium and a commercial and residential complex;

  • Developing Proposition 65 compliance plans for numerous clients, including consumer products, food & beverage, and the healthcare industry;

  • Assisting an international printing company respond to customer inquiries about product stewardship practices;

  • Advising a food and beverage client about webpage and marketing claims for compliance with the FTC's Green Guides and California law; 

  • Advising a commercial property owner on a long-term remediation project and compliance with cleanup & abatement order, including off-site vapor intrusion investigation and remediation of emerging contaminants;

  • Advising developer client about implementation of vapor intrusion mitigation measures at mixed use development project, associated land use controls, and compliance with agency directives re: same;

  • Advising owner of restaurant chain about potential liabilities associated with the purchase of contaminated property subject to DTSC cleanup order;

  • Settling Proposition 65 claim on behalf of pharmaceutical company. 

Before establishing EGC, Catherine co-founded and managed a seven-attorney law firm for five years, served as a partner/shareholder at Hanson Bridgett LLP in San Francisco, and before that served as a partner/shareholder at Wendel Rosen Black & Dean LLP in Oakland. 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 environmental regulations under certain provisions of CERCLA and federal solid and hazardous waste laws. 

Catherine has served on the board of directors of Zyzzyvaa nationally known literary magazine and of Bay Area Legal Aid, a non-profit group providing pro bono legal services to the underserved.

 

Memberships:

 

  • Advisory Board for the Bar Association of San Francisco's Environmental Section; previously served as Chair of the Section

  • Advisory Board for Proposition 65 Clearinghouse News

  • SB 54 Implementation Working Group, National Stewardship Action Council, Chair Subcommittee on Labeling and End Markets 

  • Member, Product Stewardship Institute

Speaking Engagements (2022-2023)

  • Updates on Recent Appellate Court Decisions, Annual Prop 65 Conference (scheduled for September 2023)

  • Contaminated Properties: Beyond ASTM, Stafford Webinars (July 2023)

  • Implementing an ESG ProgramBar Association of San Francisco (June 2023)

  • Attorneys Fees and Prop 65, Proposition 65 Clearinghouse Annual Conference (September 2022)

  • Buying Contaminated Properties, California County Counsel Association (May 2022)

  • Purchasing Contaminated Properties, Stafford Webinars (April 2022)

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