Claims arising from injuries allegedly caused by exposure to allegedly toxic substances, environmental factors and “cancer clusters” present a challenging array of scientific, medical, epidemiological and legal issues. Our lawyers have wide-ranging expertise in defending clients locally, regionally and nationally in complex toxic tort and environmental cases seeking damages for personal injury and medical monitoring. Through these many engagements, we have developed the skills to handle the unique challenges confronting a client involved in these matters, whether they involve a single claimant, or a multi-plaintiff mass tort litigation. The relevant skills our team brings to bear include the management and coordination of cases pending in multiple jurisdictions, supporting local or regional counsel, creating and participating in joint defense arrangements with codefendants, and identifying, securing and preparing experts. We endeavor to streamline the litigation early on by promptly seeking phased discovery orders to address issues such as product identification and medical causation, which often can be dispositive in cases of this sort.
The successful defense of toxic tort and environmental injury claims depends on a thorough understanding of the epidemiology, toxicology, and exposure issues, as well as the relevant procedural devices available in each case. To that end, we have worked closely with many nationally known experts in the fields of medicine, oncology, genetics, epidemiology, industrial hygiene and toxicology, and we are comfortable working with these experts to develop solid liability, product identification and causation defenses. We have the ability and experience to resolve these cases through trial, pre-trial motion practice or settlement, depending on the circumstances and the clients’ strategy. We have had considerable success in attacking the reliability and admissibility of expert testimony proffered by plaintiffs on issues of exposure and general and specific causation through Daubert/Frye challenges.
Representative engagements include:
- Defending chemical company and two manufacturers of specialty chemical products in multi-state litigation brought by hundreds of clean room workers claiming exposure to scores of chemicals while employed by major semiconductor computer chip manufacturer. Our team played a major role in developing and executing industry’s defense strategy. In doing so, we mastered the science and technology associated with computer chip manufacturing and clean room engineering, took the lead on numerous highly technical depositions, prepared several successful motions on cutting-edge legal issues, and worked with engineers, epidemiologists, toxicologists and many other medical experts to prepare successful causation defense.
- Defending large manufacturer in litigation brought by national plaintiff’s law firm involving several families claiming children developed brain cancer from exposures to industrial chemicals allegedly released from manufacturing facility.
- Representing one of the largest farms in New York State in litigation brought by multiple neighbors grounded in trespass, nuisance and federal citizen suit provisions of the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act.
- Defending Fortune 100 company in CERCLA cost recovery action brought by the federal government for alleged PCB contamination in a residential area. Unlike most cost recovery actions, this case was actively litigated in federal court, and ultimately was prepared for trial. The case settled shortly after our attorneys completed the deposition of the government’s key expert witness. Although the government spent more than $50 million to remediate the site, our client was able to settle the case for nuisance payments.
- Defending Fortune 100 company in class action claiming personal injuries, property damage, medical monitoring and fear of cancer as a result of alleged exposure to chemicals emanating from a manufacturing facility. We worked with experts in several fields of medicine and science to defeat the request for class certification and then in defending the individual lawsuits.
- Representing large corporation with respect to putative class action consisting of thousands of persons seeking medical monitoring and damages for personal injury arising from their alleged exposure to PCBs.
- Representing Fortune 500 corporation in action brought by a worker alleging that his lung cancer was caused by exposure to product containing chromium. The case was dismissed after we successfully precluded the plaintiffs’ experts’ opinions on general and specific causation.
- Representing Fortune 500 corporation in multiple actions brought throughout the country alleging exposure to products containing benzene.
- Representing Fortune 500 chemical company in action by worker alleging that his exposure to pure benzene product caused his leukemia. The case was dismissed for lack of product identification.
- Representing corporations in the nuclear energy and environmental remediation industry in lawsuits alleging injurious exposure to radiation in violation of the Price-Anderson Act and various common law tort claims.
- Defending public nuisance action brought by municipality and state environmental authority to enjoin operation of a meat rendering plant. We coordinated client’s contacts with the news media, governmental regulators, zoning authorities and neighborhood organizations, and successfully defeated plaintiffs’ attempts to preliminarily enjoin the operation of the business. Ultimately, plaintiffs dropped the suit.
- Representing numerous different clients in numerous cases alleging damages to children arising from alleged exposure to lead paint.
- Serving in many different roles representing manufacturers and premises owners embroiled in asbestos litigation throughout the United States. One corporation has retained us to develop and implement a national defense strategy, which includes the preparation of a sophisticated scientific defense. We are handling complex insurance coverage claims for another large corporation, with thousands of asbestos cases throughout the United States, and our team has been selected by several companies to serve as New York regional trial counsel. In this role, we work closely with each client’s national counsel to prepare asbestos cases for trial.
- Assisting in successful defense of several class actions filed in state and federal courts in Pennsylvania and New Jersey brought against tobacco companies seeking medical monitoring class, and against a leading tobacco company alleging consumer fraud.
- Successfully defending largest producer and supplier of beryllium and beryllium products against a medical monitoring class action.
- Successfully prosecuting Section 107 and 113 CERCLA action against more than ninety potentially responsible parties on behalf of a corporate client which had been named the principal responsible party at a Superfund site, leading to settlements totaling in excess of $10,000,000.