Lee N. Smith

Senior Counsel


Lee was admitted to practice in 1988.  Prior to joining Coleman & Horowitt, LLP, he was formerly a partner with the Fresno firm Perkins, Mann & Everett Incorporated, and Stoel Rives LLC in Sacramento. He is a partner in the litigation department of the firm’s Fresno and Sacramento offices, and is heading the firm’s Environmental Department, where he provides representation to clients in the areas of Environmental Law Compliance and Litigation, the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), Land Use, Proposition 65, Water Law and Litigation in the Central Valley.  Lee’s experience includes air quality and hazardous materials compliance, food safety, and water quality at both the federal and state levels.

Mr. Smith has been recognized by his peers as a Super Lawyer in 2013 and 2014.  

Publications & Speaking

  • Food Safety Regulation and Litigation: Minimizing the Risk of Production Liability Claims. Feb/2017
  • Prop 65 presentations at the annual Northwest Food Processors and the California League of Food Processors
  • Moderator, “Capitalizing on Energy Rich Waste Streams and Technical Approaches for their More Varied Conversion Pacific West Biomass Conference
  • Panelist, “Environmental Compliance: Addressing Permitting Requirements,” Southeast Biomass Conference, Atlanta, GA, Nov. 2
  • Panelist, “Project Development Optimization,” Biogas USA West, San Francisco, CA
  • Moderator, “Opportunities in Biogas Growth,” Infocast Waste to Energy Summit, Newport Beach, CA
  • Speaker, “Permitting Dairy/Biogas Facilities in California,” 4th Annual International Biomass Conference & Expo, St. Louis, MO
  • Speaker, “Imperial Valley Renewable Energy Summit,” Winterhaven, CA
  • Speaker, “The Resurgence in Biomass Facilities: What You Need to Know to Develop, Permit and Finance Your Project,” Tulare, CA
  • Speaker, Prop 65 GMA Litigation Conference
  • Speaker, American Cheese Society Conference
  • Speaker, Dematic Supply Conference
  • “CEQA Realities for Project Developers” The Law Journal 2011 Supplement, Fresno Business Journal, “California Cap-and-Trade Wars,” Biomass magazine
  • “Regulation of Nonpoint Source Agricultural Discharge in California” (coauthor), Natural Resources & Environment, Volume 21, Number 1, Summer 2011
  • “Section 2 – Permitting” Case Study: A Wind Development Project in the State of California (coauthor), Stoel Rives LLP, News Alert, “California Adopts its Cap-and-Trade Program for Greenhouse Gas Emissions”
  • “Alternative for Long-Term Sustainability: Addressing Salinity in the Central Valley,” The Law Journal 2010 Supplement, Fresno Business Journal, Aug. 27, 2010
  • LandValue 77 LLC, et al. v. Board of Trustees of the CSU, et al., 193 Cal.App.4th 675 (5th App. Dist. Feb. 23, 2011)

Representative Cases

Lee handled cases involving the EPA, Cal-EPA, the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board, CalRecycle, the San Joaquin Unified Air Pollution Control District and other environmental agencies. Lee has also been involved in federal litigation involving the Clean Water Act (CWA), the Clean Air Act (CAA), the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) as well as state court litigation concerning pesticide contamination, CEQA and Proposition 65.

  • Assisted minority shareholder in CEQA lawsuit against Water District.
  • Defended Dairy in landmark RCRA case.
  • Represents Industrial Laundry on Compliance issues and CERCLA matter.
  • Represents Adjoining Landowners in CEQA case involving a Quarry.
  • Represents numerous manufacturers, vendors and retailers Prop 65 Issues.
  • Negotiated Air Quality Consent Judgment with EPA for agricultural Processor.
  • Negotiated Lead Paint Settlement with EPA.
  • Represented Dairyman before the Regional Board on violation issues.
  • Assisted Calgren Renewable Fuels, LLC in land use permitting and CEQA process of ethanol plant.
  • Represented Irrigation Districts on a number of issues including CEQA, water law and other litigation involving the San Joaquin River.
  • Represented numerous entities before the state and regional water quality control boards on water quality issues.
  • Represents dairies on Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act and RCRA litigation and compliance.
  • Represented olive processing facility on RCRA and water quality issues.
  • City of Fresno v. Shell Oil; Tulare County Water Company v. Shell Oil; City of Dinuba v. Shell Oil; City of Lodi v. Shell Oil; City of Modesto v. Shell Oil; City of Reedley v. Shell Oil – These cases involved actions filed by municipalities because of contamination of their groundwater supplies by DBCP, a nematocide used extensively in the San Joaquin Valley.  Represented several agricultural chemical distributors who, along with the primary manufacturers of DBCP (i.e., Shell, Occidental and DuPont), had been named as defendants.  A tender of defense was negotiated with the primary chemical manufacturers, by which the agricultural chemical distributors were indemnified by the chemical manufacturers.
  • Assisted clients in compliance and defense of Prop. 65 actions on products including juice supplements and organic products.
  • Provided compliance advice with respect to Consumer Products Safety Commission regulations on lead.
  • Represented Altamont Power LLC in the CEQA process and in obtaining Conditional Use Permits for repowering wind turbines in the Altamont Wind Farm.  The case raised novel issues concerning the repowering of wind turbines and avian take issues.
  • Represented landowners in litigation involving dry cleaners in Sacramento and Fresno federal courts.
  • Assisted a prospective purchaser of a wind farm in environmental due diligence efforts in the Tehachapi area of Central California.  Reviewed all of the environmental entitlements necessary to operate the wind farm.
  • Assisted an alliance of dairy interests in CEQA process in the Central Valley of California, assisting in obtaining the first permits issues in Tulare County for dairies in several years.
  • Represented foreign buyer of tungsten mine and mill in Bishop, California in due diligence activities.

Honors & Awards

William S. Leary Scholar (1985-1986)

Utah Law Review (1986-1988)