Fishman Haygood L.L.P.
Blair Schilling is a partner at Fishman Haygood, where she represents clients in a wide range of commercial matters in federal and state court, with a concentration in environmental law.
Blair’s environmental practice is centered on representing landowners throughout Louisiana against some of the oil and gas industry’s largest operators for contamination of oilfields, land loss, erosion, and groundwater contamination. The environmental cases she handles are highly technical and require a great deal of scientific and operational understanding. Blair is known for immersing herself in the complicated technical aspects of her cases, as well as for her keen ability to steer her cases in a strategic and effective manner to achieve the overarching goal of the litigation. Blair is the point person for the firm’s over 15 environmental matters currently pending.
In 2021, Blair took a lead role representing a putative class of plaintiffs in St. Croix, United States Virgin Islands, who have suffered catastrophic damage from multiple chemical releases from the Limetree Bay Refinery. On several occasions, one of the flares at the Limetree Bay Refinery flare sprayed oil across homes, gardens, and vehicles— despite the company’s reassurances that the refinery was safe for operations. These emissions have resulted in contamination of the only clean water source on the island. Additionally, the emissions have caused significant soil contamination, crop damage, livestock death, loss of income, personal property damage, and real property damage. The case involves multiple state and federal causes of action, and the damages are over $700 million. The emissions and damage to the community were so significant that they led the EPA taking nearly unprecedented measures and even shutting down the refinery.
In 2019, Blair represented a large landowner, who owns 1,200 acres of land near downtown Franklin, La., in a dispute with Chevron USA, Inc. Chevron’s excessive and unreasonable operations resulted in contamination of soil and groundwater on the subject property. Critically, the groundwater contamination threatened the Bayou Teche, the drinking water source for the town of Franklin. With trial only days away, the team was able to reach a confidential compromise that included a remediation of the site to regulatory conditions and a groundwater monitoring program monitored by the State of Louisiana.
In 2018, she was a key player in bringing a dispute over oilfield contamination and land loss with several large oil and gas companies, including Exxon Mobil, to a successful and confidential settlement for our client.
In 2017, Blair was a member of the trial team that obtained favorable injunction against pipeline company defendants in a matter of first impression. Specifically, the injunction required specific performance and restoration of the wetlands that were lost and an ongoing obligation to protect the wetlands from erosion into the future.
Blair is the past President of Association for Women Attorneys. Outside of her legal practice, she has served on several board, including, for example, as the Secretary of Board of the Directors and the Development Committee Chair for the International High School of New Orleans and as the Bylaws Chairperson for the Independent Women’s Organization. She is also a member of the St. Thomas More Inn of Court.
Blair was a panelist at the 23rd and 24th Annual Tulane Environmental Law & Policy Summit—an annual two-day meeting were scientific and legal experts from around the country convene to discuss various topics related to environmental law and policy. She has also authored several published articles for the Louisiana Association for Justice’s Louisiana Advocates magazine.