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Dr. Sunding is the President of The Brattle Group and has over 25 years of experience as an expert on environmental economics, industrial organization, and law and economics. 

Dr. Sunding has conducted expert analysis in a wide range of industries, including chemicals, food and agriculture, paper and forest products, metals, mining, oil and gas, utilities and waste management. He has testified and consulted in antitrust matters, including on class certification, merits, merger analysis and conduct. He has been involved in cases related to price-fixing and collusion in industries such as broiler chickens, packaged seafood, fluid milk, architectural paint and asphalt. Dr. Sunding has also testified extensively in complex environmental cases such as U.S. v. BP Exploration & Production Inc., Minnesota v. 3M, the TCP Product Liability cases, and the West Coast PCB litigation. He has testified in three interstate cases of original jurisdiction at the US Supreme Court.

In addition to his consulting experience, Dr. Sunding has been a tenured professor at the University of California, Berkeley, since 2000. He teaches courses in microeconomic theory, natural resource economics, industrial organization and law and economics. He has also taught economics and law at Boston College, and was a visiting professor at Stanford University.

Along with his achievements in consulting and academia, Dr. Sunding has received many high-profile governmental appointments. He served as a senior economist on President Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisers, and on panels for the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Science Advisory Board and the National Academy of Sciences. A prolific writer, Dr. Sunding has also published extensively on environmental, antitrust, and law and economics topics.

Representative Engagements
West Coast polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) litigation

Working on behalf of a large chemical manufacturer, Dr. Sunding authored testimony based on fish consumption surveys that were conducted in various urban locations along the Pacific Coast, including Seattle, Spokane, Portland, Long Beach, and San Diego. The case settled on terms favorable to the client.

Packaged seafood antitrust litigation

Dr. Sunding testified regarding class certification and damages in a matter related to an alleged price fixing cartel in the market for canned tuna. Working on behalf of the class of indirect purchasers, Dr. Sunding developed econometric models of overcharges and pass-through. Based on his testimony, class certification was granted and is now under appeal at the Ninth Circuit. The damages phase is pending.

Deepwater Horizon

Dr. Sunding testified on behalf of Anadarko Petroleum, the major non-operating investor in the Macondo Prospect, during the civil penalty phase of the Deepwater Horizon trial. He presented arguments that the deterrence objective of the Clean Water Act would not be advanced by imposing a significant penalty on a non-operating entity. The court ultimately issued a $159.5 million penalty for Anadarko, which was significantly less than the minimum penalty of $1 billion sought by the federal government.

Dairy antitrust litigation

Dr. Sunding worked as a damages expert for a class of indirect purchasers of fluid and soft dairy products. He testified at deposition regarding an econometric model to measure the impacts of a dairy herd retirement program instituted by dairy cooperatives in 16 states, and the eventual pass-through of these wholesale impacts to final consumers. The case ultimately settled for $52 million.

Minnesota v. 3M

Working for the Minnesota Attorney General, Dr. Sunding testified regarding econometric models to demonstrate that per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) chemicals produced by 3M that had contaminated the state's water resources were creating adverse economic impacts in the East Saint Paul metro area. Dr. Sunding testified on his analyses in depositions, and his report was released publicly in support of the State’s request for punitive damages. Based on Dr. Sunding’s work, Minnesota received one of the largest natural resource damage settlements in US history at $850 million.

Texas v. New Mexico

Working on behalf of the State of Texas, Dr. Sunding testified regarding injury suffered by Texas as a result of New Mexico’s noncompliance with the Rio Grande Compact. The casework involved developing an econometric model of agricultural land allocation in the El Paso Valley to document the impacts of Texas’ reliance on saline groundwater. Dr. Sunding also testified regarding the impacts suffered by the City of El Paso as a result of reduced supplies of surface water. The case is an Original Action at the US Supreme Court and is currently pending.

Portland Harbor Superfund Site

Dr. Sunding worked on behalf of several potentially responsible parties (PRPs) to assess the relative costs and benefits of Portland Harbor remediation options. The research involved implementation of a fish consumption survey in the Portland metropolitan area to quantify human health risk.

Testimony
Written testimony to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission relating to the relicensing of the Don Pedro Project before the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission
2013
Economic analysis relating to the remediation of the Portland Harbor Superfund site, Schnitzer Steel Industries, Inc., The Greenbrier Companies and Vigor Industrial
2012
Oral testimony, expert report, and deposition testimony in a breach of contract case on behalf of the U.S. Department of Justice in Stockton East Water District and Central San Joaquin Water District v. United States. Before the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, Docket No. 04-541L
2012
Oral testimony, deposition testimony, and expert report in an interstate water allocation case involving the Republican River on behalf of the Nebraska Attorney General in Kansas v. Nebraska and Colorado. Before the U.S. Supreme Court, Docket No. 126 Original
2012
Oral testimony and deposition testimony in a breach of contract case on behalf of Roll International Corporation in Primex LLC v. Roll International Corporation. Before the Fresno County Superior Court, No. 10CECG01114
2012
Expert report in a fraudulent conveyance case against the State of California in Central Delta Water Agency et al. v. California Department of Water Resources. On behalf of the Kern Water Bank Authority, before the Sacramento County Superior Court, Docket No. 34-2010-80000561
2012
Expert report in an Endangered Species Act case involving Biological Opinions issued by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and NOAA Fisheries on behalf of San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority in San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority v. Locke et al. Before the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California, Docket No. 1:09-cv-1053
2011
Prepared a report and testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Natural Resources on EPA’s ex post veto of a Clean Water Act discharge permit. Arch Coal
2011
Oral testimony and expert report in an Endangered Species Act take case against the State of Texas on behalf of Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority in The Aransas Project v. Shaw et al. Before the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Docket No. 2:10-cv-00075
2011
Prepared a report quantifying the economic impact of critical habitat designation for the spikedace and loach minnow, Freeport MacMoRan
2011
Prepared a white paper and testified before the California State Water Resources Control Board on economic analysis of once-through cooling, Southern California Edison
2010
Expert report and deposition testimony in a takings case against the United States on behalf of the U.S. Department of Justice in Casitas Municipal Water District v. United States. Before the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, Docket No. 05-168L
2010
Expert report in a case involving proposed groundwater adjudication on behalf of the Water Replenishment District of Southern California in Central Basin Municipal Water District et al. v. Water Replenishment District of Southern California. Before the Los Angeles County Superior Court, Docket No. BS132202
2010
Deposition testimony in a product liability case on behalf of Shell Oil Company in City of Redlands v. Shell Oil Company et al. Before the San Bernardino County Superior Court, Docket No. SCVSS 120627
2009
Prepared an analysis of the impacts on oil and gas production of critical habitat designation for the polar bear. Exxon Mobil
2009
Publications
Article
An Economic Treatment of Pass Through in Indirect Purchaser Antitrust Litigation
May 2020
Published in the California Lawyers Association (CLA) Competition Spring Journal
Presentation
The Stated Preference Method: Is it Reliable for Determining Natural Resource Damages? What are the Alternatives?
September 27, 2018
Mark P. Berkman, David L. Sunding, Daniel L. McFadden, Vic Adamowicz, Loren Dunn, and James Bruen
Presented at The Brattle Group's Webinar, "The Stated Preference Method: Is it Reliable for Determining Natural Resource Damages?"
Report
Article
Valuing Urban Water Shortages
2015
Published in the Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists
Report
Optimal Recycling Policy for Used Lubricating Oil: The Case of California’s Used Oil Management Policy
September 2014
Published in Environmental and Resource Economics
Report
Review of 2014 EPA Economic Analysis of Proposed Revised Definition of Waters of the United States
May 15, 2014
Prepared for The Waters Advocacy Coalition
Article
Conserving Endangered Species through Regulation of Urban Development: The Case of California Vernal Pools
May 2014
David L. Sunding and Jonathan Terhorst
Published in Land Economics
Article
Land Markets and the Value of Water Supply: Hedonic Analysis using Panel Data
April 10, 2014
Published in the American Journal of Argicultural Economics
Article
Potential Economic Impacts of Environmental Flows Following a Potential Listing of Endangered Texas Freshwater Mussels
April 07, 2014
David L. Sunding, Brad Wolaver, Cassandra Cook, Stephen F. Hamilton, Bridget Scanlon, Michael Young, Xianli Xu, and Robert Reedy
Published in the Journal of the American Water Resources Association
Article
The Impact of Water Price Uncertainty on the Adoption of Precision Irrigation Systems
April 01, 2014
David L. Sunding and Karina Schoengold
Published in Agricultural Economics
Article
Environmental Policy with Collective Waste Disposal
September 2013
David L. Sunding, Stephen F. Hamilton, Thomas Sproul, and David Zilberman
Published in the Journal of Environmental Economics and Management
Report
Fish Consumption in Portland Harbor
October 23, 2012
David L. Sunding and Steven Buck
Published by The Brattle Group, Inc.
Report
Economic Benefits of the Bay-Delta Conservation Plan
June 20, 2012
David L. Sunding, Armando Levy, and Steven Buck
Published by The Brattle Group, Inc.
Report
An Optimal Policy for Recycling of Used Lubricating Oil
March 05, 2012
Published by The Brattle Group, Inc.
Report
Economic Analysis of SB568’s Proposed Polystyrene Ban
June 24, 2011
Prepared for Dart Industries, Inc.
Report
Incentive Effects of EPA’s Ex Post Veto of a Clean Water Act Discharge Permit Issued to Arch Coal
May 10, 2011
Published by The Brattle Group, Inc.
News & Events
May 12, 2021
Five Brattle-Authored Articles Nominated for the 2021 Antitrust Writing Awards

Five Brattle-authored articles have been nominated for the 2021 Antitrust Writing Awards, which are presented annually by Concurrences and the George Washington University Competition Law Center to honor the best in antitrust commentary. Brattle authors are up for “Best Articles – Business” awards in the General Antitrust and Economics subcategories.

July 01, 2020
Economics Expert David L. Sunding Elected as President of The Brattle Group

We are pleased to announce that David L. Sunding has been elected as Brattle’s next President, effective July 1, 2020. Dr. Sunding succeeds M. Alexis Maniatis, who served as Brattle’s President for more than a decade and will return to full-time consulting at the firm.

May 21, 2020
Brattle Experts Discuss Pass-Through in Indirect Purchaser Antitrust Litigation in Recent CLA Article

Brattle Principals Armando Levy and David Sunding have published an article in the California Lawyers Association (CLA) Competition Spring Journal on updates regarding retail pass-through rates, the percentage of wholesale price changes that are reflected in the retail price. 

September 27, 2018
Brattle to Host Webinar on Methods for Determining Natural Resource Damages

Brattle invites you to join us for our upcoming webinar, “The Stated Preference Method: Is it Reliable for Determining Natural Resource Damages?” taking place Thursday, September 27th at 11am PST.

February 21, 2018
Brattle Team Contributes to $850 Million Settlement in Minnesota v. 3M

3M Co. has settled a lawsuit related to groundwater and surface water contamination with the State of Minnesota for $850 million on the day trial was set to begin. Brattle economists provided evidence on liability and assessed damages on behalf of the State of Minnesota.

June 06, 2016
David Sunding’s Research Cited in Supreme Court’s Decision in Army Corps of Engineers v. Hawkes

Brattle Principal David Sunding’s research was cited in a United States Supreme Court decision on Army Corps of Engineers v. Hawkes, issued on May 31, 2016.

April 26, 2016
Report by Brattle Economists Highlights Adoption of Wireless Technology to Effectively Manage Water Use for U.S. Farmers

Brattle economists have authored a report demonstrating the potential of wireless technology to not only help U.S. farmers more efficiently manage water use, but to also add substantial value to the agricultural industry.

March 31, 2016
David Sunding’s Research Cited in Arguments before the Supreme Court of the United States

Brattle Principal David Sunding’s research was cited in arguments before the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) on Wednesday, March 31, 2016.

December 03, 2015
Testimony by David Sunding Contributes to Significant Win for Anadarko in Deepwater Horizon Penalty Phase

David Sunding, a principal of The Brattle Group and professor at the University of California, Berkeley, provided expert testimony on behalf of Anadarko Petroleum Corporation in the recently concluded penalty phase stemming from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

February 25, 2015
David Sunding Provides Expert Testimony in Supreme Court Water Rights Case

Brattle principal David Sunding recently served as the damages expert for the state of Nebraska in the U.S. Supreme Court case, State of Kansas v. State of Nebraska and State of Colorado, in which Kansas sought more than $80 million in damages from Nebraska for taking more than its share of water from the Republican River Basin.

Personal Interests

An avid mountain biker, Dave lives in Marin County with his wife and two daughters.