Photo of David J. Topping
David J. Topping Associate
Resident in the New Orleans office
504-584-9362  direct

David Topping is an environmental lawyer serving clients nationwide in three key practice areas: transactional support, regulatory compliance and litigation. David’s transactional experience includes providing due diligence and drafting opinion memoranda on permitting and environmental issues in support of major client divestitures, acquisitions and financing transactions, including of industrial and marine facilities. He regularly handles environmental real estate due diligence matters related to Phase I and Phase II environmental site assessments, CERCLA and state liability defenses, and issues regarding the lease and purchase of contaminated properties. David also routinely advises clients on contractual matters, including environmental indemnity issues, representations and warranties, and disclosure requirements.

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David Topping is an environmental lawyer serving clients nationwide in three key practice areas: transactional support, regulatory compliance and litigation. David’s transactional experience includes providing due diligence and drafting opinion memoranda on permitting and environmental issues in support of major client divestitures, acquisitions and financing transactions, including of industrial and marine facilities. He regularly handles environmental real estate due diligence matters related to Phase I and Phase II environmental site assessments, CERCLA and state liability defenses, and issues regarding the lease and purchase of contaminated properties. David also routinely advises clients on contractual matters, including environmental indemnity issues, representations and warranties, and disclosure requirements.

As part of his regulatory practice, David regularly assists industry clients with permitting issues, including regulatory compliance and reporting, the defense, negotiation and resolution of enforcement actions and remediation of contaminated properties. He has also advised clients on a wide range of environmental matters, including issues related to the CAA, CWA, CERCLA, RCRA, SDWA, CZMA, OPA and their state equivalents.

On the litigation side, he has represented clients in actions involving the Environmental Protection Agency, state regulatory agencies and nongovernmental organizations, including defenses of or challenges to permitting decisions and rulemaking with regional and nationwide implications. He also has experience in environmental litigation arising from toxic tort, legacy litigation, coastal erosion and business-related claims.

David’s practice serves a range of industries, including:

  • Petrochemical
  • Transportation
  • Marine
  • Banking and real estate
  • Power generation and transportation
  • Higher education

Experience

Transactional

  • Conducted environmental due diligence in support of $56 million acquisition of eight industrial facilities across Iowa, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana, New York and Montana, including some with known or suspected contamination.
  • Conducted environmental due diligence of Louisiana enforcement and permitting matters and drafted opinion memorandum in support of client’s limited-stake acquisition in liquefied natural gas terminal and related facilities.  
  • Performed assessment of facility enforcement history and operations, as well as applicable federal and local regulations, and advised multinational company regarding risks related to potential divestiture of industrial facility and research center in Louisiana and Virginia.  
  • Conducted environmental due diligence, commissioned and oversaw site assessments and advised client regarding liability defenses related to bankruptcy acquisition of uncompleted industrial facility with known past contamination in Louisiana.
  • Advised national deal counsel regarding Louisiana representations and warranties and conducted environmental due diligence related to proposed refinance of major natural gas power facility in Louisiana.
  • Conducted environmental due diligence and advised client regarding lease obligations and liability defenses in support of proposed $15 million acquisition of a storage and shipping terminal in Louisiana.
  • Conducted environmental due diligence and advised client regarding liability defenses in support of acquisition of marine terminal operator with facilities in Florida.
  • Assisted in environmental due diligence and drafting of opinion letter to international lender in support of $800 million construction and term financing related to construction of multibillion-dollar methanol facility in Louisiana.
  • Performed environmental due diligence and negotiated indemnity and warranty terms related to multimillion-dollar acquisition of facility with known past contamination in Michigan.
  • Conducted environmental due diligence and oversaw site assessments in support of acquisition of former industrial properties in Louisiana by major university.
  • Regularly advises clients regarding environmental issues and liability defenses and oversees environmental site assessments related to development of fast food franchises across Louisiana, Florida and Georgia.   

Regulatory

  • Represented several industrial facilities facing potential penalties from state regulatory authorities for alleged permit violations, including responding to compliance orders and notices of potential and providing defense, negotiation and resolution of enforcement actions.
  • Represented major university related to site investigation and potential remediation at undeveloped donated property, including oversight of investigation and coordination with Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality.
  • Performed annual analysis of assets, permits and regulatory changes and issued opinion letter regarding compliance with asset retirement accounting obligations on behalf of publicly traded manufacturer with facilities nationwide.
  • Drafted and submitted public comments on behalf of utilities to Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality regarding draft Louisiana Pollution Discharge and Elimination System general permit with statewide impact on natural gas industry.
  • Advised client regarding compliance with Louisiana regulations pertaining to disposal of solid waste and oversaw related reporting to Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality.
  • Oversaw site investigation and advised landowner regarding potential contamination at property related to past oil and gas activity and assisted in notifying Texas Railroad Commission.
  • Advised international manufacturer regarding compliance with Hazardous Communication Standard and OSHA in product labeling.

Litigation

  • Represented major steel manufacturer in Clean Air Act action against Environmental Protection Agency in District Court for the District of Columbia to compel agency action.
  • Represented major steel manufacturer in an administrative action seeking review of Title V permit issued by the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality under the Clean Air Act.
  • Represented major steel manufacturer in action against Environmental Protection Agency in District Court for Eastern District of Arkansas challenging the agency’s authority to issue a proposed Regional Haze Rule Federal Implementation Plan.
  • Defended oil and gas exploration and production companies in connection with “legacy” suits alleging contamination from operations in Louisiana.
  • Defended oil and gas exploration and production companies in litigation alleging operations contributed to coastal land loss in Louisiana.
  • Drafted amicus brief to Louisiana Supreme Court on behalf of national industry group seeking review of Louisiana appellate court decision with potential negative impact on regulated industry statewide.
  • Defended chemical manufacturer in mass tort litigation in Louisiana related to alleged past disposal of hazardous materials.
  • Defended railroad in mass tort litigation related to derailment and spill of chemicals in Louisiana.

Memberships & Affiliations

  • American Bar Association, Section of Environment, Energy and Resources
  • Louisiana State Bar Association, Environmental Law Section
  • Texas Bar Association, Environmental and Natural Resources Law Section

Education

  • Emory University School of Law
    J.D., 2012
  • Tulane University
    magna cum laude, 2009

Admissions

  • Louisiana
  • Texas
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana
  • U.S. District Court, Middle District of Louisiana
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of Louisiana

Transactional

  • Conducted environmental due diligence in support of $56 million acquisition of eight industrial facilities across Iowa, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana, New York and Montana, including some with known or suspected contamination.
  • Conducted environmental due diligence of Louisiana enforcement and permitting matters and drafted opinion memorandum in support of client’s limited-stake acquisition in liquefied natural gas terminal and related facilities.  
  • Performed assessment of facility enforcement history and operations, as well as applicable federal and local regulations, and advised multinational company regarding risks related to potential divestiture of industrial facility and research center in Louisiana and Virginia.  
  • Conducted environmental due diligence, commissioned and oversaw site assessments and advised client regarding liability defenses related to bankruptcy acquisition of uncompleted industrial facility with known past contamination in Louisiana.
  • Advised national deal counsel regarding Louisiana representations and warranties and conducted environmental due diligence related to proposed refinance of major natural gas power facility in Louisiana.
  • Conducted environmental due diligence and advised client regarding lease obligations and liability defenses in support of proposed $15 million acquisition of a storage and shipping terminal in Louisiana.
  • Conducted environmental due diligence and advised client regarding liability defenses in support of acquisition of marine terminal operator with facilities in Florida.
  • Assisted in environmental due diligence and drafting of opinion letter to international lender in support of $800 million construction and term financing related to construction of multibillion-dollar methanol facility in Louisiana.
  • Performed environmental due diligence and negotiated indemnity and warranty terms related to multimillion-dollar acquisition of facility with known past contamination in Michigan.
  • Conducted environmental due diligence and oversaw site assessments in support of acquisition of former industrial properties in Louisiana by major university.
  • Regularly advises clients regarding environmental issues and liability defenses and oversees environmental site assessments related to development of fast food franchises across Louisiana, Florida and Georgia.   

Regulatory

  • Represented several industrial facilities facing potential penalties from state regulatory authorities for alleged permit violations, including responding to compliance orders and notices of potential and providing defense, negotiation and resolution of enforcement actions.
  • Represented major university related to site investigation and potential remediation at undeveloped donated property, including oversight of investigation and coordination with Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality.
  • Performed annual analysis of assets, permits and regulatory changes and issued opinion letter regarding compliance with asset retirement accounting obligations on behalf of publicly traded manufacturer with facilities nationwide.
  • Drafted and submitted public comments on behalf of utilities to Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality regarding draft Louisiana Pollution Discharge and Elimination System general permit with statewide impact on natural gas industry.
  • Advised client regarding compliance with Louisiana regulations pertaining to disposal of solid waste and oversaw related reporting to Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality.
  • Oversaw site investigation and advised landowner regarding potential contamination at property related to past oil and gas activity and assisted in notifying Texas Railroad Commission.
  • Advised international manufacturer regarding compliance with Hazardous Communication Standard and OSHA in product labeling.

Litigation

  • Represented major steel manufacturer in Clean Air Act action against Environmental Protection Agency in District Court for the District of Columbia to compel agency action.
  • Represented major steel manufacturer in an administrative action seeking review of Title V permit issued by the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality under the Clean Air Act.
  • Represented major steel manufacturer in action against Environmental Protection Agency in District Court for Eastern District of Arkansas challenging the agency’s authority to issue a proposed Regional Haze Rule Federal Implementation Plan.
  • Defended oil and gas exploration and production companies in connection with “legacy” suits alleging contamination from operations in Louisiana.
  • Defended oil and gas exploration and production companies in litigation alleging operations contributed to coastal land loss in Louisiana.
  • Drafted amicus brief to Louisiana Supreme Court on behalf of national industry group seeking review of Louisiana appellate court decision with potential negative impact on regulated industry statewide.
  • Defended chemical manufacturer in mass tort litigation in Louisiana related to alleged past disposal of hazardous materials.
  • Defended railroad in mass tort litigation related to derailment and spill of chemicals in Louisiana.
  • American Bar Association, Section of Environment, Energy and Resources
  • Louisiana State Bar Association, Environmental Law Section
  • Texas Bar Association, Environmental and Natural Resources Law Section