Atlantic Legal Represents Nobel Laureates


Atlantic Legal is representing three prominent physicists as friends of the court in Sancho et al. v. U.S. Department of Energy, et al., in the U.S. District Court for Hawaii. Two of our clients have been awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for their contributions to the understanding of elementary atomic and sub-atomic particles; the third holds and has held endowed chairs in physics at Harvard University, was chairman and is currently a member of the Harvard Cyclotron Operating Committee, and has expertise in and has published extensively on the subjects of high energy physics, radiation physics, nuclear safety and risk analysis.

This case involves challenges to the United States’ financial support for the construction of the Large Hadron Collider (‘LHC’), a subatomic particle accelerator near Geneva, Switzerland, and research to be conducted there. The complaint alleges that the United States and other defendants violated the National Environmental Policy Act by failing to prepare an adequate environmental impact analysis of several theoretical risks that plaintiffs allege could be produced by the Collider.

Defendants United States Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation (the ‘federal defendants’) have moved to dismiss plaintiffs’ claims for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and for summary judgment.

Our amicus brief supports the federal defendants’ pretrial motions that plaintiffs’ allegations of injury are speculative and not scientifically credible because they are based on purely hypothetical occurrences which do not pose a safety risk and that the complaint and affidavits filed by the plaintiffs are without merit. The LHC has undergone thorough scientific safety and risk analyses, and plaintiffs’ claims have not been accepted by the scientific community and are not based on rigorous scientific analysis. Other than the purely speculative ‘disaster’ plaintiffs speculate about, they do not allege any injury that is particularized, nor do they assert any claim with sufficient geographical nexus to the United States.

Over time, Atlantic Legal has represented 15 different Nobel laureates in friend of the court briefs, several on more than one occasion.