Matthew F. Pawa

Mr. Pawa represented the state of New Hampshire for 13 years in a groundwater contamination case against the nation’s largest oil companies, which resulted in more than $100 million in pre-trial settlements and a $236 million verdict against Exxon Mobil Corporation in 2013 – the largest verdict in New Hampshire history.

CLICK FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Current Role

  • Partner, Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP
  • Co-Chair of the firm's environmental practice

Experience

  • Prior to joining Hagens Berman, Mr. Pawa was the president of Pawa Law Group P.C. where he was the founder and leader of the litigation firm specializing in major environmental cases. He handled jury trials, bench trials and argued appeals in state and federal courts in Massachusetts and across the nation, and collaborated with state attorneys general and non-profit clients on a major global warming case that went to the U.S. Supreme Court. Mr. Pawa forged the small law firm into a nationally known entity with a reputation for successfully litigating against some of the country’s largest corporations.
  • Attorney, Cohen, Milstein, Hausfeld & Toll PLLC – Mr. Pawa litigated class action and individual antitrust, environmental and consumer cases.
  • Attorney, Crowell & Moring LLP – Litigated insurance coverage actions and drafted Supreme Court amicus brief on behalf of American Bar Association.
  • Deputy State’s Attorney, Chittenden County State’s Attorney Office. Prosecuted felony and misdemeanor cases, successfully defended emergency appeal to Vermont Supreme Court on novel issue.

Legal Activities

  • Board of Trustees, Center for International Environmental Law
  • American Bar Association
  • Massachusetts Bar Association
  • American Association for Justice
  • Massachusetts Academy of Trial Attorneys
  • Boston Bar Association
  • Adjunct Professor of Law, Boston College Law School, Climate Change Law and Policy Seminar (2007)

Recognition

  • 2013 Massachusetts Lawyer of the Year, in recognition of New Hampshire MTBE case
  • 2011 American Lung Association Healthy Air Ambassador Award
  • 2009 Certificate of Recognition for Best Papers, American Bar Association Section of Environment, Energy and Resources, 38th Annual Conference on Environmental Law
  • 1993 Scribes Notes and Comments Award - national award for clarity, force and style in law review note or comment. Selected from among submissions by law reviews nationwide.
  • 1993 University of Pennsylvania’s Fred G. Leebron Prize for excellence in constitutional law writing.

Notable Cases

  • State of New Hampshire v. Exxon Mobil Corp., 126 A.3d 266 (N.H. 2015) Upholding $236 million jury verdict following three-month trial against petroleum company for polluting state’s groundwater.
  • Connecticut v. American Electric Power Co., 582 F.3d 309 (2d Cir. 2009) Reinstating global warming tort case filed by states and land trusts, rev’d on other grounds, 131 S. Ct. 2527 (2011)
  • State v. Hess Corp., 161 N.H. 426 (2011) Holding that, under parens patriae doctrine, a state suing a polluter for groundwater contamination may recover as damages the cost of treating private well contamination.
  • Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound, Inc. v. Energy Facilities Siting Bd., 457 Mass. 663 (Mass. 2010) Upholding state environmental permits for Cape Wind.
  • New Hampshire v. N. Atlantic Refining, Ltd., 999 A.2d 396 (N.H. 2010) Upholding personal jurisdiction over oil company in MTBE litigation.
  • New Hampshire v. Hess Corp., 982 A.2d 388(N.H. 2009) Affirming proper service of process on two oil company defendants in MTBE litigation.
  • In re Inquest Proceedings, 676 A.2d 790 (Vt. 1996) Rejecting claim of parent-child privilege and compelling parental testimony in rape case.

Publications

  • “This Town Ain’t Big Enough for the Two of Us: Interstate Pollution and Federalism under Milwaukee I and Milwaukee II,” American Bar Association Section of Environment, Energy and Resources, 38th Annual Conference on Environmental Law, Keystone, Colorado (March 2009) (presented paper)
  • “Saving Detroit - From Itself,” Boston Globe Op Ed (Sunday lead opinion piece) (Nov. 17, 2008)
  • “Global Warming Litigation Heats Up,” Trial Magazine (April, 2008 cover story)
  • “Global Warming: The Ultimate Public Nuisance,” in Creative Common Law Strategies for Protecting the Environment (Clifford Rechtschaffen et al., eds., Environmental Law Institute 2007)
  • “Behind the Curve: The National Media’s Reporting on Global Warming,” 33 B.C. ENVTL. AFF. L. REV. 485 (2006) (with co-author Benjamin A. Krass)
  • “Global Warming as a Public Nuisance: Connecticut v. American Electric Power,” 41 FORDHAM ENVTL. L. REV. 407 (2005) (with co-author Benjamin A. Krass)
  • “When the Supreme Court Restricts Constitutional Rights, Can Congress Save Us?,” 141 U. PA. L. REV. 1029 (1993)

Presentations

  • Keynote speaker, Boston College Law School’s first annual Green Week (2010)
  • Keynote speaker, Public Interest Environmental Law Conference at the University of Oregon Law School (2009)

Personal Insight

Matt is a triathlete and also enjoys sailing, hiking, camping and river rafting.