About Lou

Lou Ferreira is a senior partner with more than 30 years of complex trial experience. His practice focuses on insurance coverage and environmental, safety & health issues.

Best Lawyers in America® has consistently recognized Lou as one of the leading attorneys in insurance law. He has recovered hundreds of millions of dollars from insurance companies for his clients. Lou is AV Peer Review Rated for Energy & Environmental, Martindale-Hubbell’s highest peer recognition for professional ability and ethical standards. He represents clients in an array of environmental contexts, including issues related to negotiation of consent decrees with governmental agencies, lawsuits between potentially liable parties to allocate the cost of environmental cleanups, suits against insurance companies to recover the costs associated with environmental liabilities, and Citizen Suits under the Clean Water Act. Lou has tried cases under both the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Recovery Act (CERCLA), and Washington State’s Model Toxics Control Act.

Lou regularly advises companies on a wide range of risk management issues, including matters concerning the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission, product liability, regulatory compliance, and contractual allocation of risks, as well as advising clients with regard to the procurement of a wide range of insurance products necessary to deal with their unique issues.

Lou has represented clients in OSHA and other types of regulatory enforcement actions involving workplace fatalities and other catastrophes. Lou is experienced in managing multi-agency investigations, coordinating evidence preservation, and making sure clients have the right experts involved to protect their rights and to understand the root causes of such events.

Prior to joining Stoel Rives, Lou served as law clerk to the Honorable Stephen S. Trott, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (1989–1990) and as an honors intern in the U.S. Department of Justice’s Environmental and Occupational Disease Litigation Section (1987). He also served as a Special Forces medic in the U.S. Army.

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Insurance Matters

  • Representation of national daycare operator in various lawsuits against insurers, obtaining coverage for serious injuries, alleged child abuse cases, and coverage for punitive damages.
  • Representation of car dealerships, gas station owners, dry cleaners, utilities, pole treating companies, steel mills, trucking companies, forest products companies, various manufacturing companies, and municipal government entities in recovering hundreds of millions in insurance proceeds to cover the costs of environmental cleanups.
  • Representation of numerous owners, developers, and contractors in coverage litigation related to construction defects including representing VanPort Homes, Inc. in a precedent setting bad-faith action awarding extra-contractual damages upheld by the Washington Supreme Court.
  • Representation of the Pacific Lumber Company in obtaining insurance coverage of lawsuits seeking various types of environmental damage arising from a long legacy of redwood logging in Northern California.
  • Representation of a number of clients in insurance coverage disputes seeking coverage for first-party property losses from fire, equipment breakdown, tornados, building-collapse, and other types of losses.
  • Representation of large apartment owner in obtaining insurance coverage for class action lawsuit alleging carbon monoxide exposure and wrongful death.
  • Representation of a number of clients in coverage disputes and in obtaining millions of dollars in insurance coverage for damages resulting from forest fires and defending clients from cost recovery actions related to forest fire liability.

Environmental Matters

  • Defense of a client in a CERCLA and Washington Model Toxics Control Act (MTCA) case brought by the Washington State Department of Transportation involving a former manufactured gas plant in Washington State. Although the client admitted liability under CERCLA at trial, the State was denied recovery for the approximately $6 million spent on cleanup due to its failure to comply with the regulations in the National Contingency Plan. The case was upheld on appeal by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. In a subsequent case involving the same gas plant, Lou subsequently sued the Washington State Department of Transportation under Washington’s Model Toxic Control Act on behalf of the same client and won a $7.6 million judgment based upon the Department of Transportation’s actions at the site having contaminated an adjacent waterway.
  • Representation of Fortune 500 manufacturing entity as plaintiff against seller of multiple manufacturing facilities across the United States in action that recovered costs of cleaning up chlorinated solvent contamination at those facilities based upon the seller’s failure to disclose the contamination at time of sale.
  • Representation of client with respect to environmental issues posed by former pole treating site. This included engaging in emergency response actions in response to a Unilateral Order from the EPA and in administrative proceedings culminating in a consent decree and advising on a broad scope of sediment remediation issues.
  • Representation of clients in a number of environmental cleanups under MTCA and defense of related nuisance/trespass, Clean Water Act Citizen Suits, and related breach of lease claims.

Safety & Health Matters

  • Representation of a mine operator in MSHA inspection arising from a catastrophic accident in which four miners were killed.
  • Representation of wind farm owner in OSHA investigation and enforcement action arising out of the collapse of a wind tower resulting in a fatality and another accident involving serious electrical burns to a wind farm technician.
  • Representation of steel mills in several different fatality inspections by Oregon and federal OSHA. Successfully defended a steel mill from an enforcement action dealing with alleged toxic exposure and resulting in one of the largest civil penalties ever sought in Oregon. The majority of the state’s allegations were ultimately dismissed.
  • Representation of a public utility in multiple wrongful death actions and OSHA investigations involving a wide variety of electrical issues.
  • Representation of paper mill clients nationwide in various governmental agency investigations and civil actions arising out of fatal and serious accidents, toxic tort exposures, and releases of hazardous substances.
  • Representation of metal products manufacturers in enforcement actions arising out of catastrophic explosions of manufacturing facilities.
  • Representation of an aerospace manufacturing client in regard to a number of fatal and serious accidents at its facilities across the United States and in providing ongoing compliance advice on complex OSHA and risk management issues.
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Honors & Activities

Professional Honors and Activities

  • Included in The Best Lawyers in America® (currently: Insurance Law), 2013–2023
  • AV Preeminent Peer Review Rated Energy & Environmental with Martindale-Hubbell®
  • Selected as a “Litigation Star” by Benchmark Litigation

Civic Activities

  • Commissioner, Fire District No. 13, Clark County, Washington
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Insights & Presentations

Insights & Presentations

  • “Ore. Employers Must Heed Challenged Heat, Smoke Rules” (co-author), Law360, August 2, 2022
  • “Environmental Claims” chapter of Insurance Law in Oregon, 2020
  • “Guidance on COVID-19 Policies and Job Site Safety for Contractors” (co-author),” Daily Journal of Commerce, May 14, 2020
  • “All is Not Well with Oregon’s ELL,” Daily Journal of Commerce, December 19, 2014
  • “Don’t Neglect to Understand Insurance Jargon,” Daily Journal of Commerce, April 16, 2014
  • “Contribution and Indemnity” (co-author), chapter of the Oregon Torts Manual, 1992, and supplemental updates, 1996, 1999, 2000, 2004, and 2012
  • Lou is a frequent speaker on environmental, insurance coverage, and risk-management issues.

Related News & Publications

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