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EEOICPA & RECA Attorneys

Stephens & Stephens has obtained over $60 million through the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act and the Energy Employees Occupation Illness Compensation Act for our clients

Dianne HarperDianne Harper
01:02 17 Feb 24
Robert and I are very pleased with Mr. Hugh Stephens and all that he has done for us. From the first moment we spoke, we sensed that though Mr. Stephens exhibits sharp business acumen, he cares deeply about his clients and he has a huge heart.
Diane pontonDiane ponton
17:38 07 Feb 24
I tried to get others to help me with this claim, and it wasn"t until I hired Mr. Stephens that things started happening. I would recommend any one to get in touch with him . I would go to him again, if i ever needed to.
Judy LeonardJudy Leonard
22:26 06 Feb 24
I very much appreciate the successful litigation concerning my husband's Hanford work related illness. Stephens & Stephens LLP were thorough, caring, considerate, and fair during this difficult time.
Kenneth GKenneth G
18:23 03 Feb 24
Mr. Stephens was able to simplify an otherwise complicated lengthy process (DEEOIC) to file an initial claim as well as a claim for impairment benefits.
dave DONAIDdave DONAID
18:08 03 Feb 24
Frankie KnucFrankie Knuc
19:24 08 Jan 24
I had other attorneys hired in Cortez, Colorado and Grand Jct., Colorado to assist me with receiving my uranium claim, but they were not successful. I was advised by an employee of CNS of Stephens & Stephens, LLP good work. I contacted them & they took my case It was settled very quickly. I have been very pleased with this group & would advise others of their prompt service. I would recommend them to others. Respectfully, Frankie Knuckles
Rebecca ConsolRebecca Consol
19:57 22 Dec 23
My family used Stephen’s and Stephen’s for a settlement case. We were extremely pleased with all they did. They were very professional, easy to get a hold of, and invaluable when it came to answering questions and handling complicated Department of Labor issues and forms. They also did everything in a very timely manner. I have already recommended them to other people.
Thomas CliffordThomas Clifford
15:29 21 Dec 23
I have been represented by Hugh Stevens for several years now, He and his staff has made everything so easy for me. I had lung cancer from working in the uranium processing industry, they have opened so many doors for me and made dealing with DOL so much easier. They always answer my questions in a very timely manner. I have referred several other people to him and he has been able to get them through this process also. There are benefits that I was not aware of that he has brought to my attention and been able to lead me through the process of obtaining them. I would most highly recommend him to lead anyone through this process.
Lonnie killingHawkLonnie killingHawk
02:35 14 Dec 23
When I first contacted Stephens & Stephens I was at the end of my rope with DOL. Hough and his staff got me on track and handled everything with DOL and just made this process so easy. Do not know where I'd be with out them. They are able to communicate at a layman's level and understand the client. Would strongly recommend this firm.
Ruthy LyonRuthy Lyon
21:00 28 Sep 23
Our initial conversation with Mr. Stephens was productive & reassuring. His previous experience with similar cases was obvious and very helpful, in both asking us specific questions for clarification & also addressing our own questions. Breanna is also a great asset to their team.
James O'DayJames O'Day
15:07 13 Sep 23
I have referred several friends to Hugh Stephens and they were more satisfied than they ever expected. I would refer him with confidence to anyone in need. I trust when he speaks for me, for example, in court. He is a good communicator and a deep thinker. He is well respected in his profession. He handles environmental law, injury law, and medical malpractice. He is tactful and direct and knows what he is doing. He knows the legal briar patches well.
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Summary of Representative Cases

Mr. Stephens appreciates the opportunity to respond to inquiries regarding the types of matters he has handled in the past, and to describe how he and his firm can assist in the management of legal issues faced by potential clients. Stephens & Stephens, LLP never charges for initial consultations or simple requests for information.

Federal CERCLA Cost Recovery Litigation and State Personal Injury and Property Damage Litigation

For over ten years, Hugh Stephens has handled matters related to the remediation of inactive hazardous waste sites. Since approximately 1983, Stephens & Stephens, LLP and its predecessor Raichle, Banning, Weiss & Stephens have handled the liability of General Motors Corporation at inactive hazardous waste sites throughout upstate New York and more recently in New Jersey. Stephens & Stephens also represents potentially responsible party (PRP) groups in cost recovery and contribution litigation. Hugh Stephens has managed issues from the first notice from state and/or federal regulators through post-closure site maintenance and monitoring. His work has focused on cost recovery and contribution litigation, as well as personal injury and property damage defense litigation, on behalf of General Motors Corporation as well as on behalf of PRP groups. This work has involved dozens of multi-party depositions and all manner of document discovery. He has worked closely with his father, R. William Stephens, on these matters.

The Lower Passaic River Study Area (LPRSA),
A Superfund Megasite in Newark, New Jersey

Several years ago, after being recommended by Bill Hengemihle, a Superfund allocation consultant, Hugh Stephens was asked to represent General Motors Corporation at the Lower Passaic River Study Area (LPRSA) Superfund Site, a 17-mile stretch of the Passaic River and operable unit of the Diamond Alkali Superfund Site in Newark, New Jersey. He participated on the steering committee and was involved in negotiations with federal and state trustees on a cooperative Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) process that gave rise to an agreement with the federal NRD trustees. This agreement was designed to set the stage for an early settlement of the NRD liability arising out of the Study Area. This site generated a Remedial Investigation / Feasibility Study (RI/FS) estimated at more than $50 million. Ultimate liability for the remedy is estimated at over $1 billion even before any Natural Resource Damage (NRD) liability. There are more than 70 parties in the main cooperating parties group (CPG), and 300 parties were named in the third-party contribution litigation in New Jersey state court, begun in 2008 by the main PRP at the site. Hugh Stephens helped negotiate the cooperating parties group agreement, the administrative order on consent with the EPA for the RI/FS, financial assurance requirements, and counseled General Motors Corporation on compliance with financial reporting requirements for environmental remediation liabilities under FAS 5/FIN 14, SOP 96-1, ASTM E-2137, and the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002.

A New York State Court Article 78 Petition
Arising Out of a RCRA Closure Cost Bond

One cost recovery action involved an Article 78 proceeding through which the firm successfully forced the State of New York to relinquish the proceeds of a Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) closure cost bond to a PRP group which had expended more than $7 million to close the site. See Frontier Chemical Royal Avenue Phase I PRP Group v. Cahill, Sup. Ct., Albany County, No. 7536-99, Petitioners’ Memorandum of Law and Reply Memorandum of Law; Decision and Judgment.

A Federal Cost Recovery Action
Involving Breaches of Fiduciary Duty and
Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Fraud

Another interesting matter, currently pending, seeks recovery from individual officers and directors of a bankrupt corporation who attempted to hide assets through a complex bankruptcy fraud.

Magistrate Judge Schroeder of the Western District of New York wrote a very favorable Report, Recommendation and Order (RR&O) granting Plaintiff’s motions in large part and denying the most important of Defendants’ motions. After the RR&O was adopted by Chief Judge Arcara, Mr. Stephens completed discovery, taking five depositions in under two months, and was prepared for trial with just under 800 authenticated exhibits that had been culled from more than a thousand boxes of documents, when settlement discussions postponed the trial. Hugh Stephens acts as lead counsel on this matter, handling the depositions and all arguments before the Court.

See Booth Oil Site Administrative Group v. Safety-Kleen Corp., W.D.N.Y., No. 98-CV-0696A(Sr), Plaintiff’s Memorandum of Law in Support of Motion for Summary Judgment; Plaintiff’s Memorandum of Law In Opposition to Defendants’ Motions to Dismiss and/or for Summary Judgment and Other Relief; Plaintiff’s Reply Memoranda to Joseph Chalhoub, Lonsdale Schofield, Ahsen Yelkin and EC Holdings Corp., George T. Booth, III and Katherine Street Properties, Inc., and Booth Oil Company, Inc.

Mr. Stephens has also been involved in a number of interesting litigated matters outside the environmental context.

Federal Court Civil Rights Litigation

He prepared the post-trial reply brief in a discrimination action in federal court that caused the client’s wife to comment that, even though he was not a minority, he truly understood the character of this type of subtle but insidious discrimination. See Franklin v. Frontier Hot Dip Galvanizing, W.D.N.Y., No. 94-CV-75C, Plaintiff’s Response to Defendants’ Proposed Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law.

Federal Bankruptcy Chapter 11

He was able to have a debt repaid in full without litigation by investigating the Chapter 11 records in a bankruptcy action and discovering that the bankrupt was commingling funds between the bankrupt entity and a related entity that had not sought bankruptcy protection.

State Court Preliminary Injunction / In Rem Seizure of Property

One case involved the misappropriation of the image and weight loss story of a Polish celebrity. A company had appropriated the celebrity’s story and image to sell its weight loss product. Orders for the product were sent to a warehouse in Niagara Falls. Hugh Stephens had the orders and the checks seized in an in rem proceeding. The defendants, whose identity was unknown prior to the seizure, appeared and the case was resolved with a six-figure payment from the defendants and an agreement not to use the celebrity’s image or story.

State Court Zoning Preliminary Injunction

He recently defended a motion for a preliminary injunction in a challenge to the zoning compliance of a house being constructed by a developer. When the plaintiffs did not post the bond necessary to the imposition of the preliminary injunction, the house was completed before the winter weather destroyed it and the matter was settled on favorable terms. See Vacanti v. Courey, Sup. Ct., Erie County, No. 2006-6955, Memorandum of Law in Support of Motion to Dismiss; Memorandum of Law in Support of Cross-Motion and in Further Support of Motion to Dismiss.

Election Law

He recently assisted Alice Kryzan, a former environmental attorney seeking the congressional seat for the 26th Congressional district formerly held by Thomas M. Reynolds, in an election law matter reminiscent of the Bush v. Gore litigation. The Kryzan campaign sought to place Ms. Kryzan’s name on the Working Families Party’s line in the place of Jonathan Powers, the originally endorsed democrat, whom she had defeated in the democratic primary. Mr. Powers took the steps necessary to have his name withdrawn and the Working Families Party took the steps necessary to place Ms. Kryzan’s name on the line. The matter proceeded quickly through the state trial and appellate courts, including the New York State Court of Appeals. The Working Families Party prevailed in state court and the opposition went immediately to federal court on Friday night at 5:30 p.m., where Chief Judge Arcara ruled against the Working Families Party at 11 p.m. Mr. Stephens was able to perfect the appeal to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals over the weekend and the matter was heard on Monday morning. The Second Circuit affirmed Judge Arcara’s decision, and Alice Kryzan’s name did not appear on the Working Families Party’s line.

State Court Appellate Work

A number of years ago, Mr. Stephens and his father handled a medical malpractice case involving an allegation that an 18 x 18 inch laparotomy pad had been left behind during a hysterectomy operation. A laparotomy pad, complete with a radio opaque strip designed to appear on an x-ray in the event it is left behind during surgery, of the same type and variety used during the surgery, was removed from the client’s bowel. The defendants contended that she had swallowed the large gauze. The trial court refused to instruct the jury on the principle of res ipsa loquitor (the thing speaks for itself) which permits the jury to infer negligence from the circumstances without further direct evidence of what occurred. The appellate division affirmed with two dissents. The Court of Appeals reversed unanimously with a lengthy discussion of the res ipsa loquitor principle in what has become the leading case on the issue. Hugh Stephens prepared the briefs with edits from his father, and his father argued the appeal. Kambat v. St. Francis Hospital, 89 N.Y.2d 489 (1997).

In a labor law case, Hugh Stephens prepared the briefs in the trial court and on appeal. He also argued the appeal before the Appellate Division, Fourth Department, where summary judgment for the Plaintiff was upheld under Labor Law § 240. The case settled favorably soon thereafter. Kanney v. Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co., 245 A.D.2d 1034 (4th Dep’t 1997).

Jury Trials to Verdict

Over the years, Mr. Stephens has tried three cases to verdict before a jury. He won two: a false arrest claim and a fraud claim associated with the abuse of a power of attorney. He lost a slip-and-fall case, but was able to negotiate a modest settlement with the remaining defendants. He has also settled numerous plaintiffs’ personal injury cases arising out of automobile accidents. Two recent cases settled for six figures.

Chairman of the Environmental Law Committee of the
Bar Association of Erie County

As the past Chair and a current member of the Environmental Law Committee of the Bar Association of Erie County, Mr. Stephens has made a number of presentations on CERCLA (the Superfund inactive hazardous waste site law) and Natural Resource Damages (interim damage and restoration costs that are collected by the government from polluters over and above any amounts paid for cleanup). He has also organized and conducted two recent successful environmental law Continuing Legal Education (CLE) seminars.

Parkside Community Association,
Erie County Democratic Committee, and
Other Community Involvement

Mr. Stephens is a former board member of the Parkside Community Association (PCA), a neighborhood booster organization in North Buffalo that organizes home and garden tours and appears in housing court to protect the neighborhood from the impact of irresponsible landlords and homeowners. He has also been a Democratic Committeeman for the last eight years in Zone 12, one of the larger zones in the City of Buffalo, which includes his neighborhood and is adjacent to Delaware Park. The position of Committeeman is an elected, volunteer position that primarily requires that he carry nominating petitions in the zone for individuals endorsed by the Democratic Party and attend certain nominating meetings. He is also an assistant coach of his son’s Buffalo Shamrocks Mite hockey team, a coach of his son and daughter’s soccer team, and plays hockey twice a week during the winter.