Overview

Ross Lewin combines sound judgment and deep experience to craft and execute litigation plans during high-stakes commercial and environmental disputes. For more than three decades, he has helped clients resolve litigation at both the trial and appellate levels. With tenacity and resolve, Ross has won 30-day trials and protected public contracts valued at over $100 million. Ross draws on earlier experience as deputy chief counsel for two New Jersey governors and as New Jersey deputy attorney general to help clients mitigate and resolve regulatory issues and agency disputes.

After graduating from Yale Law School, Ross clerked for New Jersey Supreme Court Justice Alan B. Handler from 1982-83. 

Commercial Litigation

Known for his courtroom skills, Ross partners with clients such as Republic Services, Kinder Morgan and Valley Hospital. He advocates for their interests related to contractual disputes, public bidding law, and health and hospital law. According to Chambers USA 2019, “Market sources praise his ‘strong intellect’ and courtroom skills.”

Environmental Law

Ross advises energy and waste management companies, among others, on litigation brought by government agencies and private parties. He steers clients through toxic exposure claims, cost recovery actions, natural resource damages claims and environmental issues related to business transactions. Chambers USA 2019 describes Ross as “brilliant” and notes that he “excels at handling environmental litigation and advising clients on the complex regulations governing commercial transactions.” A recognized leader in solid waste legal issues, he helps industry leaders navigate the complex maze of regulations.

As assistant section chief of the Environmental Protection section in the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office, Ross supervised the handling of the State’s hazardous and solid waste disputes and defended the constitutionality of key provisions of the state’s Spill Compensation and Control Act. He also was responsible for multiple litigations and proceedings in which parties sought to challenge governmental cleanup at toxic waste sites.

Appeals

A familiar face in New Jersey appellate courts, Ross’ arguments have led to New Jersey precedents in environmental law, health care, insurance, alcoholic beverage law, public bidding law and evidentiary privileges. He has served as appellate counsel to the New Jersey Hospital Association for many years and has appeared often in appellate courts as amicus curiae.

As deputy attorney general, Ross was involved in high-profile appeals, including the Mt. Laurel III affordable housing litigation, a challenge to New Jersey’s time limitations on eligibility for welfare, and a challenge concerning the language of a statewide ballot question.

Representative appeals include:

  • C.A. v. Bentolila, 219 N.J. 449 (2014) (confidentiality of self-critical analyses performed under the Patient Safety Act)
  • Freeman v. Corzine, 629 F. 3d 146 (3d Cir. 2010) (Commerce Clause challenge to State winery regulations)
  • Presbyterian Home at Pennington, Inc. v. Borough of Pennington, 409 N.J. Super. 166 (App. Div. 2009) certif. den. 201 N.J. 143 (2010) (interpretation of statute providing property tax exemptions for health care facilities for the elderly)
  • Waste Management of New Jersey, Inc. v. Union County Utilities Authority, 399 N.J. Super. 508 (App. Div. 2008) (federal preemption of state regulation of railroads)
  • Castro v. NYT Television, 370 N.J. Super. 282 (App. Div. 2004) (private rights of action)
  • Borough of Princeton v. Board of Chosen Freeholders of the County of Mercer, 169 N.J. 135 (2001) (public bidding)
  • R&R Marketing, LLC v. Brown Forman Corporation, 158 N.J. 170 (1999) (alcoholic beverage law)
  • New Jersey Turnpike Authority v. PPG Industries, Inc., 197 F.3d 96 (3rd Cir. 1999) (environmental law)

Representative Experience

  • Represented Kinder Morgan Liquids Terminals in twin lawsuits arising out of contamination at a terminal in Paulsboro, NJ. One lawsuit was brought by the NJDEP and sought remediation and recovery of $81 million in natural resource damages. The second lawsuit was a private party action that concerned allocation of responsibility for past remediation costs associated with environmental conditions at the terminal. After the lawsuits were settled on most favorable terms, Ross continues to advise the client on its agreement with the State to implement one aspect of the site remedy.
  • Represented the country’s second largest solid waste company in a bid dispute over a public contract covering the disposal of all solid waste generated in Mercer County (N.J.) for a five year period. The contract value was approximately $100 million. Ross’s client was the low bidder, but its bid was rejected on technical grounds. After extensive litigation, the Appellate Division held that the rejection was erroneous and directed a contract award to Ross’s client.
  • Served as co-first chair for a three-month jury trial in a groundwater contamination case brought by 145 plaintiffs. The trial included dozens of fact witnesses. Ross handled all five expert witnesses, who were on the stand for weeks. His client was allocated a modest share of a very low financial award.
  • Served as first chair for an eight-day bench trial involving contamination at an industrial property. The trial included five fact witness and one expert witness. The trial concluded with a defense verdict, with Ross’s client found not liable for any remediation or cleanup costs.
  • Negotiated a sale to a utilities authority of a privately-owned solid waste landfill that had ceased operation decades earlier. Under the agreement, the client transferred ownership of the landfill along with escrow monies dedicated to landfill closure in exchange for the utilities authority assuming all future environmental responsibilities. Also negotiated and gained a guarantee by the County itself to ensure that the utilities authority met its agreed-upon responsibilities. The transaction was subject to approval by State regulators, which was obtained and had the effect of releasing Ross’s client from all future environmental responsibilities upon transfer of the landfill.
  • Served as coordinating counsel for an industry-wide effort to negotiate with the New Jersey Attorney General’s office over mandatory disclosures required of institutional investors (such as mutual fund companies and private equity concerns) that hold equity stakes in solid waste companies. Under a regulatory program designed to keep organized crime and other corrupt organizations out of the solid waste industry, solid waste companies were being required to arrange for extensive disclosures by these institutional investors and the parties whose capital they are deploying, disclosures that discouraged the entry of legitimate capital into the solid waste industry. The initiative was successful, resulting in legislative reform that freed companies from burdensome filings.

Credentials

Bar Admissions

New Jersey

Court Admissions

U.S. Supreme Court
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit

Education

Yale Law School
J.D. (1982)

Trinity College
B.A. with honors, Phi Beta Kappa (1977)

Leadership & Community

Pro Bono

  • Legal Services of New Jersey — Board of Directors

Professional Associations

  • Yale Law School Association of New Jersey — Past President

Honors

  • Chambers USA — Band 2, New Jersey, Environment, 2020
  • Chambers USA  Band 3, New Jersey, Environment, 2012-19
  • Trinity College — Phi Beta Kappa and President’s Fellow in American Studies

Awards Methodology

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