About Lou

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

A seasoned litigator, Lou has significant experience in high-stakes litigation including successfully defending a class action filed against a utility by residents of a town in Washington asserting that the utility was liable for flooding as a result of the operations of its upstream dams. Lou successfully defended a port in Washington from a $20 million lawsuit brought by developers alleging breach of contract to develop a large mixed-use waterfront project on the Columbia River.

Best Lawyers in America® has consistently recognized Lou as one of the leading lawyers in insurance law. Lou frequently represents insureds in suing their insurance companies and has recovered hundreds of millions of dollars from insurance companies for his clients. He has successfully litigated a large number of cases seeking coverage under general liability policies, E&O policies and D&O policies as well as resolving a number of large first party losses involving the complete loss of manufacturing facilities as a result of fires or explosion.

Lou is also AV Preeminent® Peer Review Rating 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 advised clients with sites on the Superfund National Priorities List regarding cleanups. Lou defended 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. Lou also represented this client in obtaining insurance recovery for its environmental liabilities and with respect to natural resource damages claims under CERCLA.

Lou has represented a number of 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.

Lou regularly advises companies on a wide range of risk management issues including regulatory compliance, 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.

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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Environmental Matters

  • Represented 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.
  • Represented a 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.
  • Represented clients in a number of different environmental cleanups under MTCA and defense of related nuisance/trespass, Clean Water Act Citizen Suits and related breach of lease claims.
  • Represented ship owners and operators in federal criminal investigations of environmental releases.

Forest Product Related Matters

  • Represented paper and lumber mills nationwide in various OSHA enforcement actions, environmental enforcement matters and wrongful death matters.
  • Represented Pacific Lumber Company in several lawsuits successfully obtaining insurance coverage for lawsuits alleging legacy environmental damage associated with landslides and erosion resulting from logging of redwoods in California.
  • Represented Oregon Forest Industries Council with respect to a federal Clean Water Act citizen suit case seeking to regulate forest roads as point sources in a case that ended up at the U.S. Supreme Court.
  • Represented forest owners in civil actions arising out of landslides, alleging pollution of rivers and streams, product liability actions, and wrongful death actions.
  • Represented wood treating companies with respect to alleged toxic exposure, products liability lawsuits, environmental cleanup ligation, and insurance recovery actions.
  • Represented lumber mill client in class action alleging the use of nominal descriptions of dimensional lumber such as 2x4 as an unfair business practice.
  • Represented lumber mill owner in recovering insurance for mills damaged or destroyed by fire and collapse caused by snow.

Safety & Health Matters

  • Represented a mine operator in MSHA inspection and civil matters arising from a catastrophic accident in which four miners were killed.
  • Represented 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.
  • Represented 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.
  • Represented a large public utility in multiple wrongful death actions and OSHA investigations involving a wide variety of electrical issues.
  • Represented several 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.
  • Represented several large metal products manufacturers in enforcement actions arising out of catastrophic explosions of titanium mills .
  • Represented a refinery client in a Process Safety Management citation arising out of a large fire at a refinery.
  • Represented manufacturing entity in multiple enforcement proceedings involving toxic exposure, fatalities and other safety and health violations.
  • Represented microchip manufacturer with regard to toxic exposure investigation by OSHA arising out of alleged low level cumulative exposures allegedly causing illness in the high tech industry.
  • Represented a Fortune 500 aerospace manufacturing client in regards 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.
  • Represented a coalition of business entities in litigation challenging WISHA’s promulgation of Washington’s ergonomics standard. The standard was overturned by voter initiative while the case was pending on appeal.
  • Represented TriMet regarding investigations into several fatal accidents during light-rail construction work and in developing safety management programs for construction and tunneling operations.

Insurance Matters

  • Represented national daycare operator in various lawsuits against insurers, obtaining coverage for serious injuries, alleged child abuse cases and coverage for punitive damages.
  • Represented 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 recovering hundreds of millions in insurance proceeds to cover the costs of environmental cleanups.
  • Represented 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.
  • Represented 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.
  • Represented 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.
  • Represented large apartment owner in obtaining insurance coverage for class action lawsuit alleging carbon monoxide exposure and wrongful death.
  • Represented 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.

Construction Matters

  • Represented numerous developers of condominiums, apartments and hotels in construction defect litigation and in seeking insurance coverage for construction defects.
  • Represented engineering firm in an action involving the collapse of a tower crane that resulted in a fatality and significant property damage in Seattle, WA.
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Honors & Activities

Professional Honors and Activities

  • Included in The Best Lawyers in America® (Insurance Law), 2013–2024
  • AV Preeminent® Peer Review Rating from Martindale-Hubbell

Civic Activities

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

Insights & Presentations

  • “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.

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