Overview

Mr. Hauge is an environmental litigator with a practice focused on CERCLA and Spill Act cost recovery and contribution actions. He represents clients principally in connection with sites in New Jersey and New York, ranging from small, client-owned industrial facilities to massive, multi-party disposal sites. His scientific training and experience as an environmental scientist–at a consulting firm, a public-interest organization, and the research division of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection–enable him to provide special insights into complex environmental matters. In one recent matter, he helped to obtain dismissal of a CERCLA claim by persuading the court to recognize the applicability of the statute’s rarely invoked “act of war” defense.

In addition to litigation in both federal and state courts, Mr. Hauge represents clients in administrative proceedings, EPA investigations, and brownfield disputes. His matters have involved:

  • assisting owners of contaminated sites with claims against former owners and operators responsible for the contamination
  • helping both large and small contributors to landfill sites to minimize their allocated shares of liability
  • successfully defending a manufacturer of leather goods sued by neighbors of a former facility for alleged harms from substances used at the facility
  • responding to Spill Act directives issued by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
  • coordinating the work of experts, consultants, and Licensed Site Remediation Professionals under the novel “private oversight” approach of New Jersey’s Site Remediation Reform Act
  • challenging agency rules and regulations
  • unraveling an unreasonable and arbitrarily administered system of municipal sewer fees on behalf of a large food-processing company

Before joining Gibbons, Mr. Hauge clerked for then-Judge Samuel A. Alito, Jr. of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, who was elevated to the United States Supreme Court in 2006. Mr. Hauge is also a co-author (with Gibbons Director Susanne Peticolas) of the chapters on CERCLA and New Jersey Environmental Law in West’s annually updated Business Law Deskbook series. He has taught courses in Environmental Law and the Clean Water Act as an adjunct professor at Seton Hall University School of Law in Newark.

FOCUS AREAS

Mr. Hauge has litigated and briefed many complex issues arising under CERCLA, including the statute’s little-used “act of war” defense. When a Manhattan building owner sued a Gibbons client and a number of other parties, alleging that as of September 11, 2001, they operated “facilities” at the World Trade Center site from which hazardous substances were released into and onto the plaintiff’s building, Mr. Hauge helped to obtain a judgment on the pleadings in favor of our client. In the plaintiff’s appeal, the Second Circuit remanded the matter to the district court for consideration of the applicability of CERCLA's "act of war" defense. Mr. Hauge’s work helped to secure another favorable ruling from the district court, which held that the "act of war" defense applied to bar the plaintiff's claim–the first time (to our knowledge) that a defendant has successfully invoked the “act of war” defense to bar a CERCLA claim.

Prior to becoming an attorney, Mr. Hauge worked for nearly ten years as an environmental scientist, including four years in the Division of Science and Research of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, where he conducted and supervised research on coastal pollution and resource contamination and provided technical support for natural resource damage claims related to several large oil spills.

Education

  • Harvard Law School (J.D., magna cum laude)
  • Boston University (A.M.)
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (S.M.)
  • Princeton University (A.B., cum laude)

Professional Activities

American Bar Association
Member, Environment, Energy, and Resources Section

New Jersey State Bar Association
Member, Environmental Law Section

Legal Employment

Legal Intern, Office of the United States Attorney, New York, New York, July-August 1994

Legal Intern, Environmental Defense Fund, New York, New York, June-July 1994

Legal Intern, Conservation Law Foundation, Boston, Massachusetts, Summer 1993-January 1994

Professional Admissions

  • State of New Jersey
  • State of New York
  • United States District Court for the District of New Jersey
  • United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit

Judicial Clerkship(s)

Law clerk to the Honorable Samuel A. Alito, Jr., Circuit Judge, United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, Newark, New Jersey (now Associate Justice, United States Supreme Court), 1995-1996

Professional Experience

Research Scientist, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Science and Research, Trenton, New Jersey, 1988-1992

Staff Scientist, Conservation Law Foundation, Boston, Massachusetts, 1985-1988

Environmental Planner, Jason M. Cortell and Associates, Waltham, Massachusetts, 1983-1984

Publications & Features