Jeff Parker is a partner in the firm's Los Angeles office, where he specializes in complex commercial, products liability, and environmental litigation through trial and appeal, as well as environmental law. Although based in Los Angeles, he routinely handles matters throughout California and works out of the firm's many offices.
Areas of Practice
Jeff’s clients range from family-owned businesses to multi-national corporations in diverse industries such as energy, petroleum, chemicals, aerospace and defense, pharmaceuticals, manufacturing, real estate, construction, asphalt and aggregate production, financial services, high-tech, computer manufacturing, consumer goods, in-store and online retail, cosmetics, food and beverage, sporting goods, and transportation.
Jeff has extensive experience in complex commercial, environmental, and tort litigation and environmental counseling. His commercial litigation experience includes actions involving false advertising consumer class actions based on alleged presence of PFAS and other chemical in consumer products and food, ownership of intellectual property, rights of first refusal, shareholder disputes, challenges to mergers, corporate dissolution, breach of contract, injunctions, and allegations of fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, and violation of the Unfair Competition Law (UCL) and the Consumer Legal Remedies Act (CLRA). His environmental and tort litigation experience includes dozens of products liability actions in California state and federal district courts and multi-district litigation proceedings in the Southern District of New York that alleged MTBE contamination of drinking water aquifers, Federal dust and odor class actions, and other actions brought under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), California Proposition 65, the Clean Air Act, the California Hazardous Substances Account Act, and various state and federal criminal laws, environmental laws, and tort doctrines. He also advises clients in connection with PFAS issues, including regulatory compliance, response to CLRA notices, and litigation. Jeff is experienced in all aspect of litigation, including discovery, motions, settlement negotiations, mediation, arbitration, trial, appeal, and writ practice.
He helps clients develop Prop 65 warnings programs and guides clients through evaluating and responding to pre-lawsuit notices of intent to sue under various state and federal statutes. He has also advises clients with respect to the California Air Resources Board and South Coast Air Quality Management District variance proceedings, Regional Water Quality Control Board permit proceedings, and resulting writs of mandate. He has 32 years of experience advising on voluntary and agency mandated investigation and remediation of contaminated land, response to agency orders, handling of hazardous substances, and evaluation of potential human exposure to chemicals.
Recent Trial and Litigation Experience
In 2021-2022, Jeff defended Soco West, Inc., and Brenntag Pacific, Inc., in a 13-month Zoom bench trial in Orange County Superior Court in Orange County Water District v. Sabic Innovative Plastics US, LLC, et al., a cost recovery lawsuit under the Orange County Water District Act, the Hazardous Substances Account Act (California Superfund), and several common law tort theories. At the conclusion of trial, the court awarded less than the amount of other settlements, which offset the award.
In 2019, Jeff defended Exxon Mobil Corporation and ExxonMobil Oil Corporation in a jury trial in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California in Orange County Water District v. Unocal, et al., a product liability and nuisance lawsuit that was initially part of a Federal multi-district litigation matter in the Southern District of New York, then remanded to California for trial. The plaintiff initially sought hundreds of millions in damages, but the case settled very favorably after the defendants’ opening statements. Earlier in the case, Jeff obtained a major summary judgment victory in the Southern District of New York, disposing of most of the claims asserted by the plaintiff.
In 2013, Jeff obtained summary judgment on 4 of 5 claims in City of Merced Redevelopment Agency v. Exxon Mobil Corporation, et al., a Federal multi-district litigation matter in the Southern District of New York. In 2015, after transfer to the Eastern District of California for trial, he prevailed on a second motion for summary judgment dismissing the plaintiff’s remaining claim for cost recovery under the Polanco Act.
In 2013, Jeff obtained summary judgment on all claims in Orange County Water District v. SABIC Innovative Plastics, et al. The case involved a claim for tens of millions of dollars in purported future damages associated with alleged groundwater contamination in Orange County asserted against approximately 40 property owners and manufacturers.
In 2013, Jeff obtained a TRO and preliminary injunction against the California Department of Toxic Substances Control, enjoining an order shutting down Exide Technologies’ lead recycling facility in Vernon, California. He was also co-lead trial counsel in a related administrative trial against the Department of Toxic Substances Control.
In 2011-2012, Jeff was lead trial counsel for Exxon Mobil Corporation in City of Merced v. Chevron U.S.A. Inc., et al., a 4½ month products liability jury trial in Merced Superior Court. He obtained dismissal or directed verdict of punitive damages and millions of dollars in claimed compensatory damages, followed by a favorable jury verdict.
In 2010, Jeff tried the case of Sullins v. Exxon Mobil Corporation in the Northern District of California, obtaining a jury verdict for the defense in July 2010 and a bench trial judgment for the defense on the remaining claims in January 2011.
In 2010, Jeff obtained summary judgment in D&H v. Exxon Mobil Corporation, which was affirmed in full on appeal in 2011.
Jeff's significant appellate victories include the landmark environmental decision Consumer Advocacy Group v. Exxon Mobil Corporation, 104 Cal. App. 4th 438 (2002), in which the California Court of Appeal held that "passive migration" or "continued presence" of chemicals in soil or water did not constitute a "discharge or release" under Prop 65. Other significant appeals include: Consumer Defense Group v. Shell Oil Company, et al., Cal. Ct. of Appeal, 4th App. Dist. Case No. G034935 (2006 (unpub.)) (same issue as Consumer Advocacy Group v. Exxon Mobil Corporation); Kashani v. Tsann Kuen China Enterprise Co., Ltd., 118 Cal.App.4th 531 (2004) (defined summary judgment burdens of proof on affirmative defenses of illegality and violation of public policy in matter involving contract for export of computer technology from Taiwan and China to Iran by US citizens); and Mylan Laboratories Inc. v. Soon-Shiong, 76 Cal. App. 4th 71 (1999) (established that a non-party can simply file a motion to assert a privilege in a pending action without intervening to become a party). He also obtained California Supreme Court review in D.J. Nelson v. Exxon Mobil Corporation, Cook Endeavors v. Superior Court, 179 Cal. App. 4th 633 (2009); reviewed granted (2010) (addressing the effect on punitive damages of a transfer of the claims on which such damages are sought; case settled before oral argument).
Representative Environmental Regulatory and Proposition 65 Experience
For over 30 years, Jeff has advised clients with respect to conducting environmental and health safety investigations and remediation, as well as associated community and governmental relations issues. Examples include:
- preparing responses to California Water Code § 13267 and § 13304 orders issued by the Regional Water Quality Control Board; and
- working with client personnel and outside consultants on complex and comprehensive investigation and remediation projects and related regulatory submissions, as well as interacting and negotiating with community groups, neighbors, Regional Water Quality Control Boards, the DTSC, local oversight program agencies, and State and County prosecutors.
Jeff's Prop 65 experience includes development of Prop 65 warnings programs, advice on product reformulation, response to pre-lawsuit notices, and defense of lawsuits filed by the California Attorney General, County District Attorneys, and private enforcers related to alleged groundwater contamination and alleged exposure to chemicals in consumer products (including food and beverages) and occupational settings. Examples of matters alleging groundwater contamination involve industrial properties, refineries, bulk storage facilities, and service stations. His consumer product cases have involved alleged exposure to numerous listed chemicals, including chromium in leather goods; diesel emissions from school buses; phthalates in cosmetic bags/cases, eyewear and accessories, and dozens of other consumer products; titanium dioxide in makeup; phenolphthalein and radionuclides in consumer water-testing products; benzene from using propane cooking appliances; toluene from manufacture of window coverings; numerous chemicals in hot mix asphalt, floor coverings, and new homes; and lead and cadmium in food and juice products, cookware, computer power and other cords, electronics, and artificial turf.
Lawyer of the Year – Environmental Litigation, Best Lawyers, 2020, 2024
Best Lawyer in America, Best Lawyers, 2013-2024
Recommended Lawyer – Environment Litigation, Legal 500, 2019-2023
Leading Lawyer, Chambers USA, 2012-2016
Profiled by Los Angeles Business Journal as one of "L.A.'s Leading Environmental Lawyers."
- Food Navigator-USA.com, 11.14.2022
Real Estate, Land Use & Environmental Law Blog Posts
- "The Intersection of Prop 65 and Free Speech: A Recent Win for Businesses," November 14, 2023
- "Get Your Prop 65 House in Order for the New Year," January 9, 2023
- "California’s Newly Adopted “Safe Harbor” Warning Label for Acrylamide In Foods Turns Up the Heat In Ongoing First Amendment Challenge to Proposition 65," December 13, 2022
- "PFAS and Food Packaging: Regulatory Changes Create Ripple Effects for PFAs-Related Litigation," November 16, 2022
- "PFAS Regulations Could Open Floodgates to Prop 65 Enforcement – Assess & Manage Your Exposure Now," June 27, 2022
- "PFAS Regulations Could Open Floodgates to Prop 65 Enforcement - Assess & Manage Your Exposure Now," June 27, 2022
- "Under the Radar Changes to Proposition 65 – OEHHA Issues New “Guidance” For Web Purchases (Is it an Illegal 'Underground Regulation'?)," March 8, 2018
- "WARNING: Prop 65 Has Changed – If Your Product Is Sold In California Or You Do Business In California, Pay Attention," January 16, 2018
- Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton Partner Jeff Parker Joins International Association Of Defense Counselcitybiz, 09.15.2023
- Attorney At Law, 09.15.2023
- Chemical Watch, 01.23.2023
- Chemical Watch, 08.22.2022
- California to consider listing two additional PFASs under Prop 65Chemical Watch, 07.13.2022
- National Restaurant Association Says Legislators Seek to Forever Change the Legal Landscape of Forever ChemicalsRestaurant News Resource, 07.06.2022
- EPA Advisories May Subject More PFAS To Prop. 65 Warnings, Lawyers SayInsideEPA, 07.06.2022
- Legal News Line, 02.27.2018
- What are the Potential Liabilities Surrounding PFAS in Consumer Products?, San Diego, CA, March 18-21, 2024
- Presented by Sheppard Mullin and Ramboll, Webinar, 06.23.2022
- Webinar, 06.08.2022
Member, International Association of Defense Counsel
Member, California State Bar
Member, Litigation and Environmental Law Sections of the State Bar of California
Member, Litigation and Environmental Law Sections of the Los Angeles County Bar Association
Member, California Association of Business Trial Lawyers
Member, National Aerospace Engineering Honor Society
Member, National Engineering Honor Society
J.D., University of Southern California, 1991, articles editor and published author for the Southern California Law Review
B.S., Aerospace Engineering, University of Notre Dame, 1987, with honors
- U.S. District Courts for the Southern, Central, Eastern and Northern Districts of California
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit