As an accomplished trial lawyer with more than 25 years of public and private sector experience in environmental, civil, and criminal law, Davina Pujari is uniquely suited to help clients solve traditional and emerging regulatory challenges, including those related to climate change and environmental justice. While counseling clients through complex enforcement issues, Ms. Pujari offers an understanding of governmental priorities, procedures, and tactics founded on her years of public service investigating and prosecuting environmental and white collar cases. She also applies her breadth of experience to conducting internal investigations and representing clients in environmental litigation and before arbitrators, administrative judges, regulatory agencies, and mediators.

Before joining WilmerHale, Ms. Pujari most recently co-chaired the environmental and natural resources  practice at a Northern California–based law firm. She previously served as a partner at a  boutique environmental firm in Northern California, where she represented companies and individuals in complex, high-stakes matters involving environmental and white collar crimes,  environmental and business litigation, internal investigations, and regulatory compliance. 

Ms. Pujari’s government experience includes serving as an assistant US attorney in the White Collar Crimes and Major Crimes Sections of the US Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California, a senior assistant district attorney in the Special Prosecutions Division of the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office, and an EPA enforcement attorney. In these roles, she investigated and prosecuted environmental cases under the Lacey Act, Endangered Species Act, Clean Water Act, and other federal and state environmental statutes. She also prosecuted and tried white collar cases involving bribery, false statements, fraud, identity theft, and use of the internet for criminal purposes.

Professional Activities

Ms. Pujari is a Board member and Leadership Council member of the Environmental Law Institute. She also serves on the Endorsements Committee of the South Asian Bar Association and is a member of the Women in White Collar Committee of the American Bar Association’s Criminal Justice Section. She also belongs to the Women’s White Collar Defense Association, the Bar Association of San Francisco, and the Indian American Leadership Initiative.

Experience

  • ENVIRONMENTAL CRIMINAL CASES

    • Represented public agency in federal criminal investigation of alleged violations of the Clean Water Act and reporting laws. No charges were filed.
    • Represented company and its employees in federal criminal investigation of alleged violations of the Endangered Species Act relating to the importation and sale of listed species. No charges were filed.
    • Represented individual in federal criminal investigation of alleged violations of Section 404 of the Clean Water Act for unlawful filling in waters of the United States. No charges were filed.
    • Represented individual in federal Clean Water Act prosecution for alleged falsification of reports and unlawful discharges to water. Obtained reduced Sentencing Guidelines calculation based on ambiguities in discharge permit.
    • Represented individual in state prosecution for overfishing. Probation granted.
    • Represented company in state prosecution for failure to file updated Hazardous Materials Business Plan. Resolved case via plea agreement to an infraction.
    • Represented chemical company in parallel criminal/civil and state/federal investigation for labeling and marketing violations under pesticide laws. Resolved case via misdemeanor plea.
    • Represented employee in investigation and prosecution under the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships for alleged dumping of oil in ocean. Charges were dismissed.
  • CIVIL AND ADMINISTRATIVE ENVIRONMENTAL LITIGATION

    • Lead counsel for chemical company in arbitration hearing before JAMS tribunal to allocate costs at Superfund site in Kentucky.
    • Lead counsel for environmental remediation contractor defending governmental enforcement action and private tort actions alleging falsification of data at Superfund site in California.
    • Represented company in investigation by multiple California District Attorneys involving alleged unlawful disposal and handling of hazardous waste and hazardous materials. Resolved case via favorable civil settlement.
    • Represent company in connection with contaminated property assessment and response, protection of workers from possible vapor intrusion, and threatened litigation with landlord and neighboring property owners.
    • Represented company in investigation by Cal OSHA for alleged workplace safety violations leading to severe employee injury. Resolved case via administrative settlement.
    • Represented individual in action by District Attorney and California Department of Fish & Wildlife alleging violations of Fish & Game Code. Resolved case via civil settlement.
    • Represented oil company in toxic tort litigation involving hundreds of plaintiffs, while defending company in civil and criminal actions filed by environmental agencies.
    • Represented company in action by District Attorney alleging violations of the California Accidental Release Prevention program. Resolved case via civil settlement.
    • Represent and counsel companies responding to investigations and enforcement actions following environmental spills and incidents.
    • Counsel companies regarding acquisition of environmentally impacted properties and protection from potential liability.
  • WHITE COLLAR AND GENERAL CRIMINAL CASES

    • Represented individual charged with antitrust crimes and mail fraud for alleged “bid-rigging” activities at public foreclosure auctions. Negotiated plea agreement with reduced Sentencing Guidelines calculations.
    • Represented employees of community mental health provider who were called as witnesses in state homicide prosecution.
    • Represented companies under investigation by the California attorney general for alleged Medi-Cal fraud.
    • Represented individual charged with bank fraud and tax evasion in context of mortgage and real estate transactions. Obtained variance from Sentencing Guidelines.
    • Represented material witness in Grand Jury investigation of alleged telemarketing billing violations.
    • Represented individual charged with distribution of controlled substances via internet pharmacy.
  • INTERNAL INVESTIGATIONS AND AUDITS

    • Conducted internal investigation for company following threats of workplace violence by employee, including interviews of supervisors, threatened employees, and subject employee.
    • Conducted time-critical internal investigation for company victimized by employee fraud and theft. Assisted FBI and US Attorney’s Office in computation of loss and identification and prosecution of co-conspirators. Obtained restitution and negotiated civil settlement agreements.
    • Conducted internal investigation of alleged air violations made by whistleblower and provided recommendations for improved compliance protocols for major company.
    • Conducted multi-facility audit for biotechnology company regarding possible violations of environmental laws governing use and reporting of chemicals, and developed reporting strategy and protocols to minimize potential penalties.
    • Designed and conducted periodic facility audits for submittal to EPA, DOJ, and private adverse company under federal, state and local emergency planning, worker safety and hazardous materials management laws, as well as applicable safety and building codes.

Recognition

  • Appointed as an appellate panel member (2014–2017) and a trial panel member (2010–2013) on the Criminal Justice Act Panel of the US District Court for the Northern District of California. 
  • Recognized by Northern California Super Lawyers in the areas of Criminal Defense: White Collar and Environmental Litigation (2012–2020). 
  • Given the Department of Justice Director’s Award for Superior Performance as an assistant US attorney in 2002. 
  • Honored with the Wiley W. Manuel Award for Pro Bono Legal Services in 1999. 
  • Awarded the Medal for Commendable Service by the US Environmental Protection Agency in 1994. 

Insights & News

Credentials

  • Education

    • JD, Lewis and Clark Law School, 1992

    • BA, North Carolina State University, 1988

  • Admissions

    • California

    • US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

    • US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit

    • US District Court for the Central District of California

    • US District Court for the Eastern District of California

    • US District Court for the Northern District of California

    • US District Court for the Southern District of California

  • Government Experience

    • United States Attorney's Office

      Assistant US Attorney, US Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California
    • State and Local Government

      Senior Assistant District Attorney, Special Prosecutions Division, San Francisco District Attorney's Office
    • Environmental Protection Agency

      Enforcement Attorney

Credentials