Susan guides clients in handling environmental issues related to business and real estate transactions, particularly brownfields redevelopment, and regulatory compliance at the local, state, and federal level. Her practice is rounded out by her representation of clients in environmental regulatory and litigation matters involving a variety of issues including toxic torts, cost recovery, property damage, and administrative penalties.
For nearly 30 years, Susan has worked with clients on environmental due diligence for buying and siting new development, contract negotiation, permitting, environmental audits, reporting, and resolving regulatory compliance matters. She represents clients in negotiations and agreements with regulatory agencies such as the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, handling permitting, RCRA, brownfields, USTs, dry cleaners, and wastewater issues. Her experience includes representation of companies in CERCLA (Superfund) matters, including internal investigations and negotiated settlement agreements with the EPA. She has also served as defendants’ and plaintiffs’ counsel in environmental litigation matters ranging from complex mass toxic tort cases to leaking underground storage tank cases.
Susan is ranked among the top lawyers in North Carolina for Environmental Law by Chambers USA, where clients have praised her as “very good and practical," and "very smart and detail-oriented." She was named to Business North Carolina’s Legal Elite Hall of Fame for Environmental in 2021 and has also been recognized by The Best Lawyers in America© in the field of Environmental Law since 2015.
Any result the lawyer or law firm may have achieved on behalf of clients in other matters does not necessarily indicate similar results can be obtained for other clients.
- Counseled manufacturer regarding siting a new facility in a “green field” that involved new permitting issues
- Worked on numerous business transactions utilizing North Carolina’s Brownfields Program to safely redevelop impacted industrial and commercial properties
- Represented a major international social media company in negotiating a brownfield agreement for building a new $900 million data center in N.C. The brownfield agreement was negotiated while construction was underway
- Led environmental due diligence for evaluation of a potential complex mining and chemical processing operation in North Carolina, including analysis of multiple permitting issues
- Worked with a bioenergy operation on a first-of-its kind air permitting issue in North Carolina and successfully obtained the first declaratory ruling from the North Carolina Environmental Management Commission in favor of the permittee
- Advised client on environmental due diligence and contract negotiation related to multi-million stock purchase sale of company with over two thousand sites across the U.S.
- Co-lead counsel on EPA Region IV environmental criminal investigations related to hazardous waste and industrial wastewater
- Co-lead counsel for Fortune 100 company in a complex federal jury trial related to the migration of hazardous substances, including PCBs, into surface water and groundwater, and related claims for property damage and lost profits. The case involved numerous fact witnesses, expert witnesses and documents spanning a 30-year period
- Advise lenders on environmental risks and documentation related to loans and foreclosure issues
Professional & Civic Engagement
- NC Environment, Energy and Natural Resources, NC Bar Association
- Ethics Chair, 2021-2023
- Co-Editor, Environmental News newsletter, 1996-1998
- City of Charlotte Brownfields Site Selection Committee, 2001-2002
- Charlotte Chamber Manufacturing Council, Environmental Committee, 2001, and Government Task Force, 2000
- Minor Fundraising Chair, Patriots Elementary School, 2010-2011
- Youth Basketball Coach, Harrisburg Park & Recreation, 2009-2013
- Volunteer, Youth Soccer Coach, 2006-2008
- Speaker, "Vapor Intrusion and Updates to the Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Standard," The Intersection of Real Property Law and Other Practice Areas hosted by the North Carolina Bar Association’s Real Property Section, May 21, 2022
- Speaker, “Legal Update on Vapor Intrusion,” Global EnviroSummit, April 4, 2022
- Co-Author, "North Carolina’s Road to the Redevelopment of Brownfields," NC Lawyer’s Weekly, 1999
- "North Carolina’s Dry Cleaning Solvent Cleanup Act of 1997," NC Lawyer’s Weekly, 1998
- Co-Author, "The North Carolina Brownfields Property Reuse Act of 1997," Commercial Real Estate Today, Fall 1997
- "North Carolina’s Draft Risk Analysis Framework," Newsletter of the NC Groundwater Professionals, 1997
- Co-Author, "Superfund Reform Part II – What’s Ahead for 1995?" For the Defense, 1995
- Co-Author, "The Effect of Environmental Costs of Financial Statements," The Journal of Commercial Lending, 1994
- Co-Author, "Superfund Reform: Will It Happen in 1994?" For the Defense, 1994
- Co-Author, "Monitoring the Development of the Medical Monitoring Claim," NC Lawyer’s Weekly, 1994
Honors & Awards
- Hall of Fame, Business North Carolina magazine's Legal Elite, Environmental, 2021; 2020
- Chambers USA Ranked Lawyer, Environment, North Carolina, 2018 – Present
- Recognized in The Best Lawyers in America (BL Rankings) in the fields of Energy Law, Energy Regulatory Law, Environmental Law, 2015 – Present
- Charlotte Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 Award Winner, 2003
- Services to the Indigent Award, Mecklenburg County Bar Volunteer Lawyers Program, 1998