Toxic Torts

Overview

Toxic tort cases can involve injuries to a single individual exposed to a potentially dangerous substance, or they can evolve into mass torts where hundreds or thousands claim injuries from exposure to the substance. Our Product Liability and Mass Torts group has decades of experience across the country in state and federal courts defending both kinds of cases.

We played a lead role in one of the largest, most historic and politically charged toxic tort matters ever litigated in the United States — the September 11 World Trade Center site litigation. The public authority that owned the WTC site retained us to defend it in over 10,000 cases filed by first responders. Claimed injuries spanned the medical spectrum, from rare blood cancers, to an assortment of often disabling lung diseases. Our lawyers worked with experts to determine complicated causation issues stemming from a never-before-seen mix of substances present at the WTC site. When our client requested that we craft a resolution of the litigation, we negotiated a novel settlement agreement protecting our client from both known and unknown claims. It also guaranteed that meritless or potentially fraudulent future claims would be eliminated from the litigation.

We are national leaders in representing companies facing the specter of asbestos litigation, having represented sellers of virtually every type of product that has been implicated in this 30-year-old litigation. We are skilled in Daubert and Frye challenges to junk-scientific arguments, and in limiting the scope of plaintiffs’ experts’ testimony. We create case management orders that work to our clients’ benefit in controlling trial risk, and we take the lead in crafting arguments that dramatically change the law to the defendants’ overall benefit. Our lawyers are adept at presenting testimony involving carcinogenesis, industrial hygiene, toxicology, and state-of-the-art and industry custom and practice.

Some of the world’s largest chemical companies depend on our Product Liability group as lead trial and appellate counsel for claims relating to a variety of substances that plaintiffs claim have caused them injuries. Our group is known to have a deep bench of first-chair trial lawyers. We deliver a real trial option for our clients in every case — and the plaintiffs’ bar knows it. Our team is at the forefront in creating standards for causation in toxic exposure cases, the application of statutes of limitation in latent disease cases, and the admissibility of evidence.

Our group has deep experience rebuffing the assertion of jurisdiction over foreign parent companies of domestic entities in the direct stream of commerce. We deal extensively with attempts to take discovery of foreign parent companies. This experience is vital, as managing foreign discovery efforts has become a core aspect of successfully defending clients in today’s globalized, data-heavy economy.

Product Liability Blog

On the Road Again: Does Bristol-Myers Squibb Limit Courts’ Jurisdiction Over Claims by Out-of-State Class Members?

It has been two years since the U.S. Supreme Court decided Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v. Superior Court (BMS). In BMS, the Court held that state courts lacked personal jurisdiction over out-of-state defendants relating to state-law mass tort claims that had no connection to the forum state. We have followed this decision closely on the blog... Continue Reading

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