Bonnie Barnett defends clients in large-scale environmental disputes and helps protect them with advice on regulatory compliance and the environmental implications of business and real estate transactions. In addition to her more than 30 years of litigation and advisory experience, she is one of the country’s top Superfund lawyers and is valued for her experience with remediating contaminated sediment sites and helping clients with the allocation of remedial costs. Bonnie is a member of the firm’s board.
Bonnie defends clients in judicial and administrative enforcement actions and in large, multiparty cleanup cases, toxic tort class actions and contractual disputes over environmental liabilities. She defends clients from citizens’ suits brought under federal and state environmental statutes, including the Clean Water Act, Toxic Substances Control Act, and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. Bonnie effectively negotiates consent decrees and administrative consent orders, as well as settlements in private cost-recovery actions.
- Negotiated the largest stipulated penalty assessed under a Superfund Consent Decree, reducing the proposed penalty by nearly half.
- Successfully defended a utility in an enforcement and citizens’ suit over a major spill from an ash basin.
- Defends clients in tort actions claiming damages arising from contamination, either on-site or on adjacent real property.
- Has spent more than a twenty years working on the next environmental frontier – large and complex sediment sites. Bonnie is currently involved in several significant sediment sites on the East Coast.
- Has represented parties at other types of cleanup sites along the East Coast from Boston to Florida and in the Midwest, as well as throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
- Has litigated a number of private party cleanup matters, including a cost recovery and contract dispute over one of the largest Superfund sites in Pennsylvania.
- Often directs efforts to identify additional "responsible parties" at Superfund sites and is involved in allocation disputes, whether through litigation, arbitration or mediation.
- Has negotiated dozens of consent decrees and administrative consent orders at both the federal and state level as well as settlements in private cost recovery actions.
When clients require environmental assessments and audits, Bonnie collaborates with consulting and engineering firms to help clients minimize penalty exposure by identifying compliance deficiencies and establishing or improving internal controls. She helps clients assess environmental risks and associated economic impacts in transactions, and then structure those transactions to protect their interests, minimize their risk and advance their business goals.
- Has represented clients in nationwide corporate audits under various Federal statutes, helping clients take full advantage of audit disclosure policies, to come into compliance and minimize penalty exposure
- Assists clients with the sale and redevelopment of environmentally sensitive property, taking full advantage of brownfields programs
- Helps industry clients establish internal compliance auditing programs to resolve or prevent government enforcement
- Assists business clients in structuring transactions to allocate the risks and costs of addressing environmental exposures
- Has set up due diligence programs for lenders as well as for buyers and sellers of businesses and real property
In her free time, Bonnie practices power yoga and enjoys music (especially jazz), theatre and film.
U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey
Temple University Beasley School of Law
J.D. summa cum laude, Law Review (1982)
B.A. summa cum laude (1979)
Insights & Events
Leadership & Community
- Philadelphia Bar Association — Environmental Law Committee (Past Co-Chair)
- Delaware Valley Inn of Court — Founder
- Board Member
- Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP — Managing Partner (four terms); Chair, Environment and Energy Group, 1994-2014
- Chambers USA — Band 1, Pennsylvania, Environment, 2004-22
- Best Lawyers® — Environmental Law, 2005, 2020-23; Litigation - Environmental, 2011, 2021-23
- American Bar Association — Section of Environment, Energy and Resources 46th Spring Conference —“Best Paper” Award Recipient, 2017
- Who's Who in American Law
No aspect of these recognitions has been approved by the highest court of any state.