About Eric Grant

Before rejoining the Hicks Thomas team in 2021, Eric Grant spent the previous four years as the federal government’s top appellate lawyer for energy and environmental litigation. As a Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Environment and Natural Resources Division (ENRD) of the U.S. Department of Justice, he supervised the lawyers who defended a wide range of permitting decisions related to pipelines and other projects, as well as the lawyers who prosecuted Clean Water Act claims against private defendants.

For example, as ENRD’s top lawyer on the case, Mr. Grant spearheaded the government’s successful petition for certiorari (and its ultimate victory) in U.S. Forest Service v. Cowpasture River Preservation Ass’n, 140 S. Ct. 1837 (2020), in defense of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. On two occasions, he led the teams that ran the gamut from the district court to the Ninth Circuit to the U.S. Supreme Court to obtain extraordinary relief in high-profile cases — involving the Keystone XL Pipeline and “kids against climate change.”

Mr. Grant adds that recent litigation experience, expertise, and inside knowledge to three decades of top-level legal practice that includes arguments in the U.S. Supreme Court, the California Supreme Court, and numerous other federal and state appellate courts.

Practice Emphasis

  • Environmental Litigation
    • Prosecuting and defending against claims under the major federal environmental statutes — CERCLA, Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act, National Environmental Policy Act, and RCRA
    • Defending against toxic tort and environmental contamination claims under state law, including nuisance and trespass
  • Specialized appellate litigation, including mandamus, extraordinary injunctive relief, rehearing, and petitions for review or certiorari.


  • A.B. in Economics, University of California, Berkeley, 1986
  • J.D., Boalt Hall School of Law (Berkeley), 1990

Board Certifications

  • Certified Specialist in Appellate Law, as certified by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization

Judicial Clerkships

  • Judge Edith H. Jones, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, 1990-1991
  • Chief Justice Warren E. Burger (retired) and Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, Supreme Court of the United States, October Term 1994

Court Admissions

  • California, Texas, and District of Columbia
  • Supreme Court of the United States
  • Eight U.S. Courts of Appeals
  • All U.S. District Courts in California and Texas

Honors & Distinctions

Representative Cases

  • Northern Plains Resource Council v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 141 S. Ct. 190 (2020); 9th Cir. No. 20-35412 (dismissed as moot Aug. 11, 2021): Defended the Corps’ Nationwide Permit 12 (authorizing discharges associated with oil and gas pipelines and other utility lines) from attacks under the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act, including by obtaining a stay of preliminary injunctive relief from a unanimous Supreme Court.
  • Optimus Steel, LLC v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 492 F. Supp. 3d 701 (E.D. Tex. 2020): Successfully defended the application of Nationwide Permit 12 to an oil pipeline near Beaumont, Texas from attacks under the Clean Water Act, the Endangered Species Act, and the National Environmental Policy Act.
  • U.S. Forest Service v. Cowpasture River Preservation Ass’n, 140 S. Ct. 1837 (2020): Spearheaded the successful petition for certiorari (and ultimate victory) on the interpretation of the Mineral Leasing Act, in defense of rights-of-way for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.
  • Team Enterprises, LLC v. Western Investment Real Estate Trust, 647 F.3d 901 (9th Cir. 2011), and Hinds Investments, L.P. v. Angioli, 654 F.3d 846 (9th Cir. 2011): Won two related decisions in the Ninth Circuit establishing that equipment manufacturers are generally not liable under CERCLA or RCRA or for nuisance or trespass for environmental contamination resulting from equipment purchasers’ disposal of hazardous waste.
  • Osborn v. Haley, 549 U.S. 225 (2007): Drafted the successful petition for certiorari and argued for the petitioner in this dispute involving the Westfall Act, a procedural component of the Federal Tort Claims Act.
  • Bighorn-Desert View Water Agency v. Verjil, 39 Cal. 4th 205, 138 P.3d 220 (2006): Won a unanimous decision in the California Supreme Court establishing the right of ratepayers to lower (by means of voter initiative) the utility rates charged by public agencies.


  • A Revolutionary View of the Seventh Amendment and the Just Compensation Clause, 91 NW. U. L. REV. 144 (1996)
  • Right to Jury in Civil Cases (Amendment VII), in THE HERITAGE GUIDE TO THE CONSTITUTION 463 (David F. Forte & Matthew Spalding eds., 2d ed. 2014)