Debra concentrates her practice in the area of complex environmental and toxic tort litigation and environmental due diligence and compliance with a special emphasis on the defense of complex, multiparty groundwater contamination cases involving claims under the New Jersey Spill Act and CERCLA for cost recovery, as well as private party litigation seeking recovery for both property damage and serious personal injury. Debra’s work has been in both state and federal courts and she has handled matters in jurisdictions throughout the United States.
Debra has significant experience in other litigation matters, including products liability and chemical workplace exposure cases. She also advises clients on transactions involving purchase and redevelopment of brownfields. Debra frequently counsels clients on environmental compliance issues with a focus on Underground Storage Tank regulations and Industrial Site Recovery Act (ISRA) requirements and is well-versed in the Site Remediation Reform Act, the ARRCS regulations and the Licensed Site Remediation Professional program. She regularly represents clients in compliance and enforcement matters brought by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, and has also represented clients in matters involving emerging contaminants, including PFAS chemicals and 1,4 dioxane.
Debra serves as Co-Chair of Archer’s Personnel Committee and is a member of the firm’s Diversity Committee. She is also a founding member and Co-Chair for the Archer & Greiner Women Lawyer’s Network.
- Served as lead trial counsel in the defense of underground storage tank environmental contamination cases in various matters throughout the Middle Atlantic states which typically involve claims for personal injury and property damage related to groundwater contamination with amounts in controversy frequently exceeding $1,000,000.
- Served as lead counsel for alleged generator in CERCLA action seeking recovery of costs for landfill remediation involving over 300 potentially responsible parties.
- Served as lead trial counsel in defense of third-party claims under CERCLA against landfill owner/operator.
- Served as lead counsel with respect to environmental claims against a petrochemical company at over 150 sites in ten states which involved complex hydrogeologic issues, including hydrocarbon fingerprinting and aging analysis, as well as multiple legal issues under the applicable cost recovery statues and common law.
- Advised major petrochemical company on due diligence and environmental issues related to purchase of brownfields petroleum terminal property in New Jersey.
- Served as lead trial counsel in the defense of benzene exposure case in claimed workplace exposure to petroleum products.
Professional and Community Involvement
- Executive Vice President and Board Member, Garden State Council, Boy Scouts of America
- Board Member, Philadelphia Diversity Law Group
- Member, Environment Committee, Chamber of Commerce Southern New Jersey
- New Jersey Society of Women Environmental Professionals
- New Jersey State Bar Association
- Camden County Bar Association
- Philadelphia Bar Association
- Former Co-Chair, New Jersey Society of Women Environmental Professionals
- Former Parent Representative, YMCA School’s Out
Awards and Recognition
- Named a “Top Attorney” by SJ Magazine for Brownfields (2009-2021) and Regulatory Government (2021)
- Named one of New Jersey’s Best 50 Women in Business by NJBIZ Magazine (2019)
- Alice Paul Equality Award Recipient (2016)
- Woman of Achievement, Garden State Council, Boy Scouts of America, Camden County (2013)
- Named to New Jersey “Super Lawyers” list for Environmental Law (2008 – 2010)
Articles and Presentations
- Speaker, Emerging Contaminants, Environmental Law for Lawyers and LSRPs, Rutgers Office of Continuing Professional Education (2018-2020)
- Speaker, “Implicit Bias- The Bias You Didn’t Think You Have, But You Do,” Lawline
- “New Jersey Site Remediation Reform Act Makes Major Changes to Clean-Up Process,” Archer Client Advisory (2009)
- “Old Dog, New Trick: Cost-Benefit Analysis in DEP Decision-Making,” New Jersey Law Journal (December 2010)
- Speaker, Environmental Law and Regulation Short Course, “Underground Storage Tank Act and Regulations,” Rutgers Office of Continuing Professional Education (2009-2011)
- Speaker, Brownfield Redevelopment in Pennsylvania, NJ Institute of Continuing Legal Education (2009)
- Speaker, Brownfields Course, New Jersey Institute of Technology (2008)
- Speaker, Environmental Law and Regulation Short Course, “Spill Act and CERCLA Liability, Enforcement and Cost Recovery,” Rutgers Office of Continuing Professional Education (2008)
- Speaker, Litigation Issues Relating to MTBE Drinking Water Contamination, A Defense Perspective, New Jersey Institute of Continuing Legal Education (2002 – 2004)