Kell, Alterman & Runstein, L.L.P.
For 35 years John Ashworth has advocated for clients nationwide in complex environmental and business disputes, and has counseled clients on environmental issues in business and real estate transactions. John’s goal for his clients is to resolve their disputes in an effective, timely, and cost-efficient manner through negotiation, mediation, and arbitration. However, as an experienced trial attorney, he knows that there are matters where a negotiated conclusion is not possible or desired and a trial is necessary.
John has successfully represented clients in environmental cleanup litigation involving multiparty Superfund sites, defended and prosecuted cost recovery and contribution lawsuits, handled claims involving leaking underground storage tanks, and defended citizen suits under the Clean Water Act. He currently represents BNSF Railway Company, part of the 14-member Lower Willamette PRP Group, in the sediment investigation and cleanup of the Portland Harbor Superfund Site, and related natural resource damages claims. John has handled and resolved environmental cleanups for clients in the transportation, manufacturing, agribusiness, real estate, health care, dry cleaning, and bulk fuel industries. He is experienced in rail yards, sediment sites, mining sites, landfills, hazardous waste incinerators, chlorinated solvent sites, manufacturing plants, commercial properties, industrial properties, and lead contamination from gun clubs among other sites with contamination issues.
John’s environmental and contamination jury trials have included defending a major railroad company in a $90 million environmental/breach of lease lawsuit and obtaining a favorable verdict after a 6-week trial; prosecuting cost recovery claims against a contractor arising from work done on underground storage tanks; and successfully defending a supplier against claims of crop loss from allegedly contaminated liquid fertilizer.
Beyond the courtroom, John advises clients about agency cleanups, regulatory compliance, and stormwater issues. He also helps clients to buy and sell real estate and negotiate contracts. John’s years of litigating and resolving commercial and business disputes provides experience and “know how” to evaluate contractual risk allocation devices, such as indemnity provisions and environmental representations. John also serves as an expert witness to assist other lawyers involved in attorney fee disputes and related litigation. Outside of work, John enjoys the great outdoors of the Pacific Northwest and likes to fish, hike, and ski with his family. An avid music fan, John also enjoys playing his modest collection of guitars and tube amps.