James A. Geocaris

Partner

  • location icon Orange County, CA
    650 Town Center Drive
    Suite 1400
    Costa Mesa, CA 92626

James Geocaris is a partner in the Orange County office of Lewis Brisbois and a member of the Energy & Environment Practice. His extensive experience from over 35 years of environmental counseling and litigation covers most of the environmental issues of interest to both private and public sector clients today.

Mr. Geocaris has practiced in state and federal courts and in formal and informal proceedings before the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, California Water Boards, California Department of Toxic Substances Control, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, California Coastal Commission, California Air Resources Board, and the South Coast Air Quality Management District. He has counseled and litigated for clients on a variety of environmental, natural resource, and land use laws, including the federal and California superfund statutes, the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) and California hazardous waste control laws, California toxic tort doctrines such as nuisance, California’s Proposition 65, the federal and California Clean Air Acts, the federal Clean Water Act and related California stormwater control regulations, California’s Porter-Cologne Act, the federal and California Endangered Species Acts, California Planning Law, the National Environmental Policy Act, and the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”).

Mr. Geocaris has counseled and litigated for private sector and government clients in many matters involving the construction or operation of large infrastructure projects. These have included airport expansions, highways, power plants, a major proposed natural gas pipeline, chemical plants, solid waste and recycling facilities, and groundwater extraction systems. Mr. Geocaris has also counseled on environmental issues and risks for a variety of transactions, including the purchase, financing and leasing of commercial and industrial real estate.

Mr. Geocaris’ environmental counseling and litigation experience includes:

  • Defending former and current manufacturers in two multi-site groundwater contamination cases brought by a local water district.
  • Pursuing CEQA litigation against the water district for attempting to expand one of its groundwater remediation projects without any CEQA process.
  • Counseling for a major LAX expansion project, with a new airport master plan, focusing on CEQA, hazardous substance, endangered species, air quality and air toxics, and stormwater issues. This work later involved successfully defending the LAX master plan against a CEQA challenge.
  • Counseling and litigating for private sector clients on CEQA matters involving a variety of projects, including a solid waste facility, a regional groundwater extraction system, a new facility at a chemical plant, and new mixed use and residential developments.
  • Counseling two municipal and three private sector clients on superfund matters at five federal superfund sites, including negotiating a lower cost remedial alternative with USEPA, and several low cash out settlements with other responsible parties.
  • Advising multiple companies on compliance with federal Clean Water Act industrial storm water discharge requirements and related state environmental law obligations. 
  • Counseling a major Southern California landowner on endangered species issues for a new tollway project the landowner supported. 
  • Defending numerous California Proposition 65 cases for consumer exposures from chemicals including DEHP, DINP, lead, diethanolamine, and benzophenone.

Admissions

  • State Bar Admissions
    • California
    • District of Columbia
    • Illinois

Admissions

California

District of Columbia

Illinois

Education

Stanford University Law School

Juris Doctor, 1975

Stanford University

Masters of Political Science, 1976

Harvard University

Bachelor of Arts in Government, magna cum laude, 1971

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