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Mark L. Farley

Partner
mark.farley@kattenlaw.com
Houston Office
p+1.713.270.3434
f+1.713.583.1953
Overview

Mark Farley, co-head of Katten's Environmental and Workplace Safety practice and crisis response counsel to some of the largest global energy companies and chemical manufacturers, has served in lead attorney roles for some of the most significant US industrial accidents in the last 20 years. His practice is focused on developing a new standard for how companies in the energy/environmental sector respond in the often deadly, usually government-investigated aftermath of workplace disaster.

Mark has helped clients respond to investigations by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the US Chemical Safety Board (CSB), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and state regulatory agencies. He was one of the lead partners supporting the work of the BP US Refineries Independent Safety Review Panel, which investigated the corporate safety culture and oversight at BP's North American refineries on behalf of an independent panel of experts chaired by former US Secretary of State James A. Baker III.

When confronting government investigations, Mark recognizes that defending a client's legal interests is just one part of the equation. Safeguarding an organization's long-term reputation, demonstrating cooperation and promptly regaining site control are equally important. He employs a multifaceted approach to incident response, using a team of lawyers, evidence custodians, technical experts, communications consultants and others. He also works to create efficiencies during on-site evidence collection in an effort to reduce idled operations that can cost clients millions.

Additionally, Mark understands preparedness and proactive risk management activities are essential in time of a crisis. As such, Mark leads Katten's Safety Advisory Group, designed for in-house safety professionals who work on health and safety, process safety, and risk management matters. Frequently, Mark counsels companies on EHS culture and the management of workplace safety, and partners with clients to anticipate and plan for how to promptly provide the resources for an effective response within the first 48 to 96 hours after an event. He routinely advises board of directors, and senior company leaders on developing response and communication plans.

Cognizant of the increasing criminalization of environmental accidents, Mark leads a team that includes former federal prosecutors who evaluate potential worker endangerment actions.

Mark has a reputation of consistently delivering immediate, reliable support in industrial and environmental disasters.

Shown below is a selection of Mark’s engagements.

Experience
  • Defense of a barge fleeting and shifting company in a Clean Water Act federal criminal enforcement case initiated by the Texas Environmental Enforcement Task Force.
  • Representation of a Fortune 50 chemical manufacturer in connection with a laboratory explosion and subsequent inspection by the federal OSHA, including subsequent enforcement.
  • Representation of a Fortune 50 integrated energy company in an investigation by BSEE and United States Coast Guard (USCG) into an offshore contractor fatality.
  • Representation of a Fortune 50 chemical manufacturer in connection with investigations by the CSB, OSHA, the EPA and other agencies into a four-fatality accident resulting from the release of toxic chemicals, including subsequent enforcement.
  • Representation of a Fortune 50 integrated energy company with respect to investigations by the CSB and Cal/OSHA into a refinery explosion.
  • Provision of advice to a major electric utility in connection with the development and implementation of process safety management systems related to a multibillion-dollar capital project.
  • Representation of a vehicle manufacturer in connection with an OSHA inspection into machine guarding and other workplace safety standards, including subsequent enforcement.
  • Representation of a Fortune 50 integrated energy company with respect to a loss of well control resulting in a contractor fatality and investigations by OSHA and other enforcement agencies.
  • Representation of a Fortune 50 integrated energy company with respect to a furnace explosion resulting in a fatality and investigations by OSHA and the EPA, including subsequent enforcement.
  • Representation of a chemical manufacturer into a fire that seriously injured two employees and resulted in investigations by OSHA and the EPA.
  • Representation of a Fortune 100 refiner with respect to investigations by the CSB, Cal/OSHA and the EPA into a chemical spill and subsequent enforcement.
  • Representation of a Fortune 50 integrated energy company in an investigation by the BSEE Investigations Review Unit with respect to whistleblower allegations of falsified test results.
  • Representation of a Fortune 50 integrated energy company in investigations by the CSB, Cal/OSHA and the EPA into a refinery fire, including subsequent enforcement.
  • Representation of a Fortune 50 integrated energy company in the appeal of multiple BSEE Incidents of Noncompliance.
  • Representation of a Fortune 50 midstream energy company in an OSHA investigation into a storage terminal fire that resulted in a fatality, including subsequent enforcement.
  • Representation of a Fortune 100 refiner in an investigation by the CSB and Washington State Department of Labor & Industries into a refinery accident that resulted in seven fatalities.
  • Representation as one of the lead lawyers conducting a special investigation into corporate safety culture and corporate safety oversight at BP's five North American refineries on behalf of an independent panel of experts.
  • Representation of a Fortune 50 integrated energy company in a Cal/OSHA investigation into a steam pipeline rupture that resulted in serious burn injuries, including subsequent enforcement.
  • Representation of a Fortune 50 refiner in connection with inspections and subsequent enforcement by OSHA under the Petroleum Refinery Process Safety Management National Emphasis Program.
  • Representation of a chemical manufacturer in an investigation by the CSB into a release of toxic chemicals that necessitated a community evacuation in Pennsylvania.
  • Representation of a Fortune 50 refiner in a confidential internal investigation into whistleblower allegations regarding mechanical integrity inspections.
  • Representation of an electric utility in connection with an EHS compliance systems review.
  • Representation of a chemical manufacturer in preparation for inspections and subsequent enforcement by OSHA under the PSM Covered Chemical Facilities National Emphasis Program.
  • Counsel to a chemical manufacturer in evaluating the effectiveness of a company's systems for EHS corporate oversight.
  • Provision of advice to a major passenger air carrier regarding hazardous waste compliance for airport maintenance facilities throughout the United States.
  • Defense of an independent refiner in a Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act federal criminal enforcement case in Oklahoma.
  • Defense of a Fortune 50 refiner in a state criminal prosecution under the Texas Water Code.
  • Defense of a marine transportation company in multiple environmental whistleblower complaints filed with the DOL's Office of Administrative Law Judges.
  • Representation of an independent energy company in connection with state OSHA enforcement involving a contractor fatality.
  • Special investigation on behalf of a Fortune 50 integrated energy company into safety performance and culture at a refinery in response to a whistleblower complaint to the chief executive officer after a fatality.
  • Representation of a sports arena operator in an investigation by OSHA into a workplace fatality.
  • Representation of an oil field services company in connection with a DOJ and SEC investigation into alleged violations of the FCPA.
  • Defense of a pipeline company in a federal criminal enforcement case involving the unpermitted disposal of hazardous waste in Pennsylvania.
  • Defense of a chemical manufacturer in an administrative action filed by the EPA alleging violations of the requirements for burning hazardous waste in boilers.
  • Representation of an energy company in a criminal investigation into alleged violations of SEC regulations regarding oil and gas reserves accounting.
  • Defense of an environmental manager in a federal grand jury investigation into the use of ozone-depleting substances.
  • Representation of an oil field services company in an investigation by a federal grand jury and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms regarding the management of nonconforming munitions.

Recognition

BTI Client Service All-Star

BTI Client Service All-Star, 2011
Legal 500, 2012, 2016, 2017

Houston Business Journal

Houston Business Journal, 2016 Who's Who in Energy

National Law Journal

National Law Journal, Energy & Environmental Trailblazer, 2017
Chambers USA - Ranked In, 2015–2017
Advisories
June 17, 2015
Firm News
Presentations
September 16, 2014
Presenter | Trends in General Duty Clause Enforcement | Chemical Safety and Security Seminar | Houston, Texas
Mark L. Farley

Education

  • JD, University of Pittsburgh School of Law
  • MPH, University of Pittsburgh
  • BA, Washington and Lee University
  • BS, Washington and Lee University

Bar Admissions

  • Texas

Court Admissions

  • US District Court, Southern District of Texas
  • US District Court, Western District of Pennsylvania

Recognition

BTI Client Service All-Star

2011
2012, 2016, 2017

Houston Business Journal

2016 Who's Who in Energy

National Law Journal

Energy & Environmental Trailblazer, 2017
2015–2017
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