Sher Leff LLP

Sher Leff LLP

Sher Leff LLP Firm has the sole mission of representing public water suppliers and other public agencies in cases involving contamination of groundwater and drinking water supplies by toxic chemicals. This is the only type of representation that the Firm will accept. Sher Leff LLP currently represents the State of New Hampshire, as well as cities and public water agencies in California and elsewhere in cases involving contamination of drinking water by toxic chemicals.

Company details

450 Mission Street, Ste. 400 , San Francisco , California 94105 USA

Locations Served

Business Type:
Service provider
Industry Type:
Water and Wastewater
Market Focus:
Nationally (across the country)
Year Founded:

Sher Leff was founded in 2003 to help cities, states, water districts, water companies and well owners across the United States whose water supplies are contaminated or threatened by contamination. The Firm's mission is to hold polluters, rather than ratepayers and taxpayers, accountable for the costs of treating, replacing or cleaning up contaminated water.

Sher Leff is the preeminent law firm in the country that specializes in drinking water contamination cost-recovery litigation as its main practice focus. The Firm’s attorneys and professional staff have an unparalleled understanding of the challenges water suppliers and water agencies face in confronting complex water quality problems. To date, the Firm has recovered over a billion dollars in settlements and verdicts for its clients.

Safe and affordable drinking water: it’s worth fighting for.

Clean, safe drinking water is a fundamental necessity of human life. It is also a precious public resource. For water utilities – city water departments, public water districts and water companies – it is the product they proudly produce and deliver to the public.

But an ever-growing number of contaminants that are considered toxic at ever-lower concentrations threaten our water supplies. These contaminants put the public’s health at risk. They also generate a barrage of unfunded regulatory mandates. With the costs of contaminant treatment and other mitigation alternatives skyrocketing, and public funds to defray these costs growing increasingly scarce, water utilities are struggling to deliver water that is both clean and affordable.

Neither water suppliers nor the communities they serve should have to choose between clean water and affordable water. But there is a way out of this dilemma.

The solution: shifting contamination response costs from ratepayers to responsible parties.

At Sher Leff, our mission is to make sure that responsible parties, rather than utility ratepayers and taxpayers, pay the costs of cleaning up contaminated water supplies. Using tort-based legal theories, Sher Leff has recovered more than $500 million in settlements and judgments for our clients. Our successful litigation approach is based on two key principles: (1) protecting property rights; and (2) holding the most culpable parties – typically large chemical manufacturers – responsible for the environmental harm they cause.

Protecting property rights. Whether you are a state or water agency charged with protecting or managing a water resource, or a water utility or well owner who uses the water, your water supply is highly valuable property. When your water supply becomes polluted, your property is damaged, and you have a right to seek compensation sufficient to restore or replace that damaged property.

Holding polluters accountable. Some drinking water contaminants are “naturally occurring.” But many of the pollutants detected in drinking water today, especially those that are the most toxic and expensive to treat, are “anthropogenic” pollutants. In other words, someone else put them into the environment. And, typically, it is not your neighbor’s small local business that is at fault, but a large, sophisticated corporation. In fact, the most widespread contamination problems are caused by the normal, foreseeable use of chemical products – gasoline, solvents, flame retardants, fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides, to name just a few. And, as the evidence almost always reveals, the chemical manufacturers and oil refiners who produced those products understood their environmental risks but consciously disregarded them. Thus, the companies who are now in the best position to solve the problem are the same parties who were in the best position to prevent the problem in the first place.

Experience with depth and diversity.

Sher Leff has extensive experience – and has achieved great success – for a diverse range of clients in cases involving a wide variety of contaminants and defendants.

  • Our clients range from small rural water districts to large urban water systems to entire states.
  • Our practice is national in scope: we have represented the States of New Hampshire and New Mexico, the City of New York, and clients in Hawaii, Michigan and throughout California.
  • Sher Leff has handled litigation involving methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE), 1,2,3-trichloropropane (TCP), dibromochloropropane (DBCP), perchloroethylene (PCE), trichloroethylene (TCE), perchlorate, nitrate and para-chlorobenzenesulfonic acid (pCBSA) (a DDT precursor).
  • Sher Leff has successfully sued numerous large companies, including ExxonMobil, Chevron, BP, Conoco Phillips, Shell Oil, Dow Chemical, Occidental, PPG, and Velsicol.