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A Practice Guide to Pretrial Procedure: Pleadings and Case Management For Natural Resources and Environmental Litigation

John D. Phillips, Brooke Wunnicke, Natural Resources and Environmental Litigation (1989)

Introduction. Natural resources and environmental litigation (NRAEL, our only acronym) is the same as any other litigation acronym) is the same as any other litigation—only more so. It is usually complex, complicated, and highly sophisticated. More often then not, it involves new or badly defined issues, and issues which demand imagination and resolve to manage effectively. An old legal warrior and friend of a co-author aptly described this type of litigation: “Think of mashed potatoes, and add gravy if it is natural resources litigation.” Stated otherwise, NRAEL involves all the usual litigation skills and tactics, plus the “gravy” of a voluminous mass of documents, diverse areas of technical knowledge, complicated facts, and complex issues.

Res ipsa loquitur applies to NRAEL in its literal, rather than legal, meaning. This paper speaks to the desirability of an Anglo-American approach to NRAEL: (1) the English solicitor-barrister relationship between the party's litigation and corporate counsel; and (2) the American “team” concept, including as team members all the litigation counsel, corporate staff counsel, their support staff, the technical experts, and the host of corporate employees who are the fact witnesses.

A final prefatory note: the chronology of preparation is important. As a result, we have included some basic and well-known tasks, but each step