John D. Edgcomb

OverviewSignificant RepresentationsCurriculum Vitae

John D Edgcomb


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John Edgcomb founded Edgcomb Law Group in 1995, marking the continuation and extension of a wide-ranging environmental law practice begun in 1983. In his nearly thirty-five years of practicing environmental law, John has represented Fortune 100 corporations, smaller businesses, government agencies, neighborhood groups, and individuals, bringing to all of the matters on which he works his focus on pragmatic, cost-effective solutions to highly complex sites and issues.

John has extensive experience in many areas of environmental law, including substantial CERCLA experience dating back almost to CERCLA’s inception.  John continues to be involved in cutting-edge CERCLA matters, including two successful arguments on appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal in recent years. Additionally, John continues to assist clients throughout the United States at several multi-million dollar clean-up and site closure proceedings in negotiations with federal and state agencies.  John has also counseled numerous clients on the management of environmental risks in the purchase or sale of many sites, either partially or fully remediated, including the drafting of environmental liability allocation terms. John also has extensive experience in working with insurance brokers and underwriters to procure and manuscript environmental liability and remediation cost cap insurance policies, and pursuing claims on those policies.

John also has extensive experience representing clients at complex third-party disposal sites (e.g. hazardous waste landfills and drum handling sites) as part of, or adverse to, potentially responsible party (“PRP”) groups  formed to collectively negotiate cleanup orders and other response actions with state and federal environmental regulatory agencies.

John also has experience handling natural resource damage claims, including his participation in the settlement of one of the earliest such claims asserted in the 1980s, through continuing involvement in ongoing complex estuarine claims.

John’s wide-ranging environmental practice extends to several other areas as well, including compliance advice regarding the transportation of hazardous materials, due diligence advice to property purchasers and secured lenders, land use and zoning litigation,  trading of air emission credits, and surface mining control and reclamation issues, among others.

Significant Representations

Represented real estate development subsidiary of major insurer that purchased contaminated former steel company property in South San Francisco.  Sued former landowner under CERCLA, state law claims.  One of first cases to establish private party right to CERCLA cost recovery in United States.

Represented major U.S. chemical company against United States Navy claim for CERCLA cost recovery and RCRA injunctive relief arising from wetland contamination of Concord Naval Weapons Station along Sacramento River.  Case settled after over one month of trial proceedings in United States District Court, No. District of California, one of the first CERCLA cost recovery trials in the United States.

Represents Fortune 100 companies at third-party landfill and drum handling facilities throughout California and elsewhere across the United States.

Represents Fortune 100 companies, as well as smaller companies, banks, and family trusts with sales, purchases or financings of partially or fully remediated properties, including supervision of Phase I and II due diligence efforts, negotiation of contractual environmental risk allocation terms and related insurance terms and agreements.

Represents Fortune 100 companies with legacy liabilities attributable to former chemical manufacturing, chemical distribution, chemical recycling, hard rock mining, and geothermal exploration subsidiaries at over a dozen major contaminated sites in California and other states through federal and/or administrative investigation and remediation processes.

Represents multiple clients, in both transaction and litigation settlement contexts, in dealing with insurance brokers’ and underwriters’ due diligence and policy underwriting efforts, policy manuscripting, and procuring environmental insurance policies with substantial limits.

Represented multiple corporate clients in interpretation of and compliance with hazardous material transportation regulations and defense of related notices of violations and penalty assessments.

Curriculum Vitae


  • Tulane Law School, J.D., 1983 (Cum laude)

Order of the Coif

Tulane Law Review

Winner, Morrison Award, Best Law Review Article

  • Lafayette College, B. A., 1980.

Admissions & Memberships

State Bar Admissions

  • California
  • New Jersey (inactive)

Federal Court Admissions

  • Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
  • United States District Courts for the Northern, Central, and Eastern Districts of California


  • San Francisco Bar Association – San Francisco Bar Association, Environmental Section
  • American Bar Association – American Bar Association, Section of Environment Energy and Resources
  • Maritime Law Association – Maritime Law Association, Marine Ecology Committee

Professional Activities and Honors

  • “AV-Preeminent” rated by Martindale Hubbell (2018)
  • “Super Lawyer” honor by San Francisco Magazine (2010 to 2018)
  • “Best Lawyers – Lawyer of the Year: Litigation – Environmental, San Francisco, CA” honor by U.S. News & World Report (2015)
  • “Best Lawyers: Environmental Law, San Francisco, CA” honor (2017)
  • Board of Advisors, Univ. of San Francisco Maritime Law Journal