Mr. Hauge is an environmental counselor and litigator with a practice focused on compliance with remediation and permitting requirements, CERCLA and Spill Act cost recovery and contribution actions, and the allocation of environmental responsibilities in the leasing and conveyance of real property. 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. He has also assisted clients in obtaining permitted exemptions from remediation requirements, and 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, brownfield disputes, and real estate transactions. His matters have involved:
- Assisting owners of contaminated sites with claims against former owners and operators responsible for the contamination
- Helping the redeveloper of a large waterfront site to obtain a host of state, federal, and interstate agency approvals for the construction of a new port and terminal facility, and successfully defending those approvals in administrative and judicial appeals
- Analyzing transactional documents for a large chemical manufacturing company to determine how they allocated site-related environmental liabilities, and helping to persuade a state court that those liabilities were not transferred to the client when it acquired another company but instead were retained by the former owners
- Protecting clients from unforeseen environmental liability through careful review and drafting of sale agreements and leases
- Helping both large and small contributors to disposal 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
- Evaluating the applicability of New Jersey’s Industrial Site Recovery Act (ISRA) to sites and transactions and guiding clients through the ISRA process
- 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
- Guiding clients through the complicated web of site remediation regulations
- 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 the author 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.
Areas of Focus
Mr. Hauge helps clients to understand and comply with federal and state statutes and regulations that impose a variety of overlapping and sometimes-inconsistent requirements for investigating and cleaning up contamination and for seeking reimbursement from other parties that bear responsibility. One such statute, New Jersey’s ISRA, is triggered for certain kinds of facilities and transactions, regardless of the actual condition of the property. Mr. Hauge’s extensive experience in identifying the pertinent aspects of clients’ businesses and contemplated transactions enables him to ensure that the transactions are planned and conducted in a way that satisfies all applicable ISRA requirements. He also helps clients to navigate the complex liability scheme of the New Jersey Spill Compensation and Control Act and New Jersey’s multiple sets of cleanup regulations.
Planning of Real Estate Transactions
Mr. Hauge frequently assists clients in connection with real property transfers and leases to ensure that clients understand both known and potential environmental risks, including those associated with sites that have already been remediated but require long-term monitoring and maintenance under state regulations and permits.
CERLCA and Its “Act of War” Defense
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 several favorable rulings from the district court, including a ruling 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. The ruling was affirmed on appeal.
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.
Harvard Law School (J.D., magna cum laude)
Boston University (A.M., Marine Biology)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (S.M., Technology & Policy)
Princeton University (A.B., cum laude, Biology)
State of New Jersey
State of New York
United States District Court for the District of New Jersey
United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
American Bar Association
Member, Environment, Energy, and Resources Section
New Jersey State Bar Association
Member, Environmental Law Section
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
Catholic Church of the Holy Trinity, Westfield, New Jersey
Member, Pastoral Council
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
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