Background - Practices (Details)

Environmental Contamination

Contacts

“In short, we know the science; we know the governing regulatory regimes; we know how to litigate and try environmental and occupational exposure matters whatever form they may take; and we know how to tackle multi-pronged challenges – including the early minimization and management of risk.”
– Pete Condron, Partner

We offer clients a robust understanding of the science and legal theories relating to perceived environmental exposure issues and extensive experience defending clients in class-action and community-wide environmental tort litigation. We know the tactics of plaintiffs’ firms in these types of matters, including how to respond to dockets of “copycat” cases on behalf of multiple plaintiffs in multiple jurisdictions. We are also well-versed in how environmental justice efforts can impact companies. We have won major cases before juries and successfully resolved others through dispositive motions, exclusion of experts, mediation, arbitration, and summary jury trial.

Per and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS)

As a result of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency establishing lifetime health advisory levels for PFOS and PFOA in drinking water, state regulation of PFAS has surged. Affected sites are routinely being discovered nationwide.

Aggressive and well-funded plaintiffs’ firms have begun bringing actions on behalf of individuals, water providers, water districts and state and local governments over alleged water contamination and personal injuries resulting from PFAS exposure. Because PFAS chemicals may be found in a broad range of products – such as carpets, cardboard boxes, industrial equipment, firefighting foams and apparel – the threat of lawsuits is real for companies in a diverse range of industries.

MTBE

We have represented several major oil companies in federal multidistrict litigation and a nationwide class action involving underground storage tanks. We have won summary judgment for our clients, won cases at trial and defended those victories on appeal. Our successful representation of clients is, in part, due to our strong relationships with expert witnesses, as well as our extensive knowledge of the energy industry and our clients’ businesses. 

Pesticides and Crop Protection

Our pesticide and crop protection experience combines regulatory know-how with product liability and litigation skills, positioning us to effectively address risks and challenges. When clients face pesticide issues, our combined litigation and regulatory teams work side-by-side to support clients’ crisis management needs to help them take timely corrective action, save money, and, often, avoid litigation.

We counsel clients in several areas:

  • Risk Analysis and Due Diligence
  • Stewardship Protocols
  • Pesticide Task Forces
  • Regulatory and Sales
  • Product Sale Risk Assessment
  • Product Cessation
  • Pesticide Data Compensation

Representative Matters

We have successfully defended against alleged exposures to TCE, TCA and PCE, vinyl chloride, polychlorinated biphenyls, dioxins, benzene, creosote, beryllium, fungicides and mixed chemical contamination at hazardous waste sites. We have faced the whole gamut of medical claims, including cancer, endocrine disruption, birth defects, immune dysfunction, neurological injury, and multiple chemical sensitivities, as well as claims for medical monitoring, natural resource damages, diminished property values and lost profits. Among the matters we have handled for our clients:

  • Represent a chemical company in an unprecedented putative national class action that seeks an injunction ordering defendants to fund a “science panel” to determine the alleged health effects of PFAS.
  • Serve as national counsel for a chemical company in hundreds of cases in a federal multidistrict litigation in South Carolina seeking damages for water contamination and personal injuries allegedly arising from the use of aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF) containing PFAS. 
  • Represented clients in responding to pre-litigation subpoenas issued by various state attorneys general in various environmental matters. 
  • Assisted a client in successfully responding to an Environmental Working Group petition before the Consumer Product Safety Commission involving PFOA and worked with the client and two outside experts to successfully defend a Proposition 65 action regarding polytetrafluoroethylene and PFOA/PFOS before the California Attorney General’s office.
  • Serve as national coordinating and trial counsel for several Fortune 500 companies in some of their largest occupational exposure litigation, such as asbestos, silica, and welding fumes. We develop long-term strategy, manage discovery, identify and develop experts and fact witnesses, brief key legal issues, coordinate trial activities and serve as counsel of record in some proceedings.
  • Represent a major petroleum refiner and marketer in nationwide MTBE litigation brought by state governments, water providers, municipalities, and individuals, alleging negligence, public and private nuisance, trespass, and strict liability for design defect or failure to warn based on alleged contamination of groundwater and drinking water supplies.
  • Represented CSX Transportation as trial counsel in national environmental neighborhood cases and putative class actions in several states. We also coordinated CSX’s FELA chlorinated solvent litigation, as well as the company’s creosote docket.
  • Represented a major crop protection manufacturer in a series of cases alleging that exposures to a fungicide caused birth defects. We successfully ended the litigation after obtaining Daubert exclusion of plaintiffs’ causation experts in West Virginia federal court and Delaware state court, both upheld on appeals.
  • Represented clients in environmental spill and neighborhood litigations in which the effects of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita on landowners and the environment were central to the damage and causation claims of plaintiffs.