Sophia B. Castillo

Partner

Sophie Castillo (formerly Belloli) is an experienced environmental litigator that helps her clients comply with, and litigate if necessary, complex issues relating to toxics and contaminated sites, California's Proposition 65, and water quality laws.

Sophie’s clients include industrial facilities, oil and gas companies, product manufacturers and public agencies faced with environmental and regulatory issues in California. She prides herself on her excellent client relationships and helping her clients craft practical, common-sense and creative solutions to their most difficult environmental and regulatory problems.

Sophie has expertise in emergency response and associated natural resources damages claims. She defends complex, multi-party CERCLA/contaminated property cases, including toxic tort matters where personal injuries are alleged. She frequently represents clients in environmental lawsuits filed by citizen plaintiffs in her Clean Water Act and Proposition 65 practices, and has litigated and resolved favorably for her clients numerous Clean Water Act and Proposition 65 citizen suits.

In her Proposition 65 practice, Sophie also routinely advises clients on compliance with (and, if necessary, litigation of) Proposition 65 matters, in a wide variety of industries, from chemical and product manufacturers to retailers. Examples of Proposition 65 matters include cases involving cosmetics, food and beverage, lead hardware, power tools, notebooks, sports equipment, glassware, cleaning products, and home goods. Sophie is well versed in exposure issues relating to Proposition 65 chemicals that are frequently litigated by citizen plaintiffs, including lead, acrylamide, di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), cocamide DEA, titanium dioxide, and benzophenone.


Professional, Community And Pro Bono Involvement

  • Bar Association of San Francisco, Environmental Law Section
  • Association of California Water Agencies, Water Quality Committee Member
  • California Stormwater Quality Association
  • Central Valley Clean Water Association
  • California Association of Sanitation Agencies, Associate Member
  • San Francisco Bay Planning Coalition
  • Association of Women in Water, Energy and the Environment

Honors & Rankings

  • U.C. Hastings Pro Bono Attorney Honor Roll, U. C. Hastings Center for Gender and Refugee Studies, 2012
  • Articles Editor, Hastings Law Journal, 2004-05
  • U.C. Hastings Moot Court Team, Roger Traynor Appellate Moot Court Competition, Second Place – Best Oral Argument, 2004

Clean Water Act Citizen Suit Litigation

  • Represented city in Clean Water Act citizen suit, alleging sanitary sewer overflows. Settled case favorably for our client prior to trial and expensive expert discovery.
  • Represented scrap metal recycling facility in Clean Water Act citizen suit, alleging violations of the State of California’s General Industrial Storm Water Permit. Settled case favorably for our client prior to formal litigation.
  • Represented industrial compressed gas facility in Clean Water Act citizen suit, alleging violations of the State of California’s General Industrial Storm Water Permit. The Plaintiff dismissed the case in its entirety during motion practice in the litigation.
  • Represented marine shipping terminal in Clean Water Act citizen suit alleging violations of the State of California’s General Industrial Storm Water Permit. Settled case favorably for client following successful Motion for Summary Judgment, discovery motions and expert discovery.

Proposition 65 Counseling & Litigation Defense

  • Represented product manufacturers and retailers in defending and settling numerous Proposition 65 matters, both at the pre-litigation notice phase and in litigation, in the following industries: cosmetics, food and beverage, lead hardware, power tools, notebooks, sports equipment, glassware, and cleaning products.
  • Advised clients on Prop. 65 compliance programs and supply chain management issues resulting from Proposition 65 compliance decisions.
  • Advised clients on indemnity concerns and supply chain communications following Proposition 65 compliance programs and litigation claims.

Contaminated Property Litigation

  • Litigated multiple CERCLA/superfund contaminated property cases at former dry cleaning sites and managed settlement and mediation efforts for cost recovery issues.
  • Defended three state court coordinated actions with ten plaintiffs asserting CERCLA and state law personal injury claims arising from alleged vapor intrusion from alleged soil/ground water contamination at former dry cleaning site.

Water Rights/Supply Projects & Litigation

  • Prosecuted, through trial, a complex water right dispute between three public agencies.
  • Assisted in representation of developer in litigation relating to purchase and sale of water rights in Southern California.
  • Settled a dispute relating to water system capital maintenance costs between two public agencies on the cusp of arbitration.
  • Counseled water district client in large water transfer/purchase and wheeling project through the Delta and through multiple public water district facilities, which included multiple contracts between multiple agencies as well as associated environmental review.

Land Use Projects & Litigation

  • Assisted developer with CEQA historic resource analysis, issues and advocacy before local public agency.
  • Represented public agency in CEQA historic resource writ matter.
  • Represented multiple cities and counties in CEQA and local land use writ matters brought by citizen groups.

In the News

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Press Releases

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Speaking Engagements / Events

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Legal Alerts

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Publications

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Sophie loves being outside and on the water, and is most comfortable in flip flops at the beach or on a boat with her husband and daughters. She and her family enjoy sailing in San Francisco Bay and traveling to warmer climes (including Florida, where they are from) and swimming in the ocean without a wetsuit.

Sophie is also devoted to women’s and children’s issues, and volunteers at her daughter’s school, Convent of the Sacred Heart, in San Francisco. She has also been actively involved in The Junior League of San Francisco, a non-profit women’s organization that supports and strengthens the lives of women and children in the San Francisco community.


Professional, Community And Pro Bono Involvement

  • Bar Association of San Francisco, Environmental Law Section
  • Association of California Water Agencies, Water Quality Committee Member
  • California Stormwater Quality Association
  • Central Valley Clean Water Association
  • California Association of Sanitation Agencies, Associate Member
  • San Francisco Bay Planning Coalition
  • Association of Women in Water, Energy and the Environment

Honors & Rankings

  • U.C. Hastings Pro Bono Attorney Honor Roll, U. C. Hastings Center for Gender and Refugee Studies, 2012
  • Articles Editor, Hastings Law Journal, 2004-05
  • U.C. Hastings Moot Court Team, Roger Traynor Appellate Moot Court Competition, Second Place – Best Oral Argument, 2004