Julia (Julie) Hatcher is a partner in the Washington, D.C. office of Latham & Watkins, focusing on environmental, health, safety and product defense. Ms. Hatcher currently chairs Latham's Chemical Regulation & Contaminated Properties Practice and has been recognized as a leading practitioner in Washington, D.C. from 2004-2017 by Chambers USA.
Ms. Hatcher possesses deep experience in laws that control chemicals at every life cycle stage, including the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA); Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA); Superfund law (CERCLA); Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act; Federal Hazardous Substances Act; Safe Drinking Water Act; Clean Water Act; federal transportation statutes; the Occupational Safety and Health Act; and related state laws, as well as the intersection of these laws with toxic tort liability. Her chemicals experience also extends to consumer products-related requirements for labeling, reporting, “green” and “health” claims and recalls administered by the Consumer Products Safety Commission, the Federal Trade Commission and state counterpart agencies.
Ms. Hatcher’s experience includes international chemical control requirements, such as the European Union Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH), the Stockholm Convention and the Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution (LRTAP). Ms. Hatcher collaborates regularly on international matters with Latham colleagues in offices outside of the United States.
Ms. Hatcher also has worked extensively in the Clean Air Act and climate change arenas. She has been involved for clients in all recent major rulemakings to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act, and in many of the judicial challenges to those rulemakings as well.
Ms. Hatcher represents clients in matters ranging from compliance advice to rulemaking to agency enforcement proceedings to federal court litigation. She appears regularly before the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and state counterpart agencies as well as other regulatory bodies, including the Occupational Safety and Health Administration; Department of Transportation (DOT); Consumer Products Safety Commission; Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board; and Department of Homeland Security.
Ms. Hatcher has particular experience advising both individual companies and industry groups on forward-looking management of regulatory, public policy and litigation risks with reference not only to current legal requirements, but also to emerging areas, such as the measurement of chemicals in the body, nanotechnology and climate change. She also has worked extensively with major semiconductor, electronics and chemical companies in connection with Clean Air Act rulemakings, policy development, compliance issues, enforcement matters and appellate litigation arising under the PSD, NSR and Title V permitting programs, as well as under Title III (air toxics) and Title VI (ODS replacements). In this capacity, Ms. Hatcher has been instrumental in pursuing innovative performance-based regulatory approaches that provide the flexibility necessary for technologically dynamic industries to compete in the global marketplace and yet remain environmentally progressive.
Prior to practicing law, Ms. Hatcher served as a law clerk intern for Chief Judge Harry T. Edwards of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
Ms. Hatcher’s representative experience includes advising:
- A major automobile manufacturer in connection with its vehicle service and recall campaigns. Recent work entailed leading a large, multi-disciplinary team to obtain approvals and assure compliance at the dealer-level with a complex web of air, waste, zoning, building and fire code regulatory compliance issues across over 20 states and addressing waste issues raised by a separate component part recall.
- An aircraft industry company in connection with an investigation by the Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board and related enforcement matters before the DOT’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration stemming from the company’s disposal of unspent oxygen generators as hazardous waste that were alleged to have contributed to a fire and evacuation situation.
- The Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) as its primary outside environmental counsel for over 15 years. In this capacity, Ms. Hatcher has represented SIA as well as several of its member companies on strategies for addressing both pending and threatened “clean room” worker health litigation and for responding to charges by several well-funded activists groups supporting such litigation. Her SIA work also entails developing approaches for preemptive action before business disruptions occur due to chemical restrictions, including approaches for tracking "chemicals of concern;" securing "essential use" regulatory status; and identifying more environmentally-viable replacement chemicals. She also represents SIA on climate change-related matters, including in connection with its member companies’ voluntary reduction commitments memorialized in a memorandum of understanding with US EPA, the greenhouse case rulemakings for reporting and permitting recently conducted by US EPA, state laws, such as California AB-32, and federal legislative proposals for a “cap and trade” system.
- Chemical and consumer product companies on issues raised by the detection of chemicals in the human body, including extensively 3M Company on its fluorochemical-related regulatory and litigation matters. These 3M matters have involved diverse work that ranges from, for example, serving as the primary drafter and negotiator of an innovative memorandum of understanding for fluorochemical plant site investigation and exposure assessment to negotiating a new form of TSCA Section 4 consent agreement for research and development to formulating strategies around scientific and regulatory developments in pending toxic tort litigation.
- Various individual companies by leading special investigations into product- and manufacturing-related risks pertaining to the intersection between regulatory, public policy and litigation. For example, Ms. Hatcher led a multi-year TSCA auditing effort for 3M Company that resulted an innovative settlement with US EPA involving pre-negotiated penalties. As another example, she is currently representing a large consumer products manufacturer in connection with a stop-sale order and an enforcement action by US EPA alleging “adulteration” under FIFRA and assisting the client in parallel with implementation of its business decision to discontinue all product lines containing the FIFRA-regulated substance in question.
- Various investment banks on private equity and M&A transactions where the circumstances warrant performing specialized chemical-related diligence, with a particular focus on future material obligations that may arise under, for example, new chemical laws, such as the EU’s REACH regulation and Biocides Product Directive, as well as the potential for significant business impacts if these laws end up either banning a chemical that is critical to the target company or stigmatizing that chemical in a manner which may force deselection in the marketplace.
- Numerous clients seeking to defend their products in a variety of venues, ranging from new product reviews/approvals by regulators, recall actions by governments, scientific review processes by United Nations organizations and under international treaties and attacks by environmental and other non-governmental organizations. As one example, Ms. Hatcher is currently representing a major vaccine manufacturer seeking to defend its product after a scientifically questionable World Health Organization review process led to recommendation of another vaccine. As another example, Ms. Hatcher recently concluded a successful defense of a consumer products company on two separate matters: (1) a US EPA enforcement matter arising from the company’s importation of products containing prohibited ozone depleting substances and (2) a threatened citizen’s suit by a national environmental group for the company’s failure to submit TSCA 8(e) risk reports for data that resulted in the company’s decision to recall various lead-containing children’s products.