dcsimg Toxic Torts

Toxic Torts

Allegations of exposure to toxic substances can cause significant harm to companies that manufacture, distribute, store and make use of a wide variety of consumer and industrial products. Such cases not only involve a complex framework of federal and state laws and regulations; they often bring significant unwanted publicity regardless of the validity of the claims. Clients facing toxic tort litigation require counsel with the breadth of experience, legal acumen and extensive resources to defend these cases in courts across the country and in the court of public opinion.

McGuireWoods has defended scores of corporate defendants named in personal injury and wrongful death cases arising from alleged exposure to various toxic substances such as asbestos, lead, silica, latex, mold, tobacco, benzene, solvents, PCBs and a host of other chemicals. We have represented clients in cases brought by individual plaintiffs as well as in large common-issue consolidations involving tens of thousands of plaintiffs represented by many different firms. Our toxic tort cases also often involve scores of co-defendants with both common and divergent interests, and have required us to appear in state or federal courts throughout most of the country. Our lawyers have tried toxic tort cases in jurisdictions including, among others, California, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

Our toxic tort team has particular experience in the defense of mass toxic torts. We regularly serve as national coordinating counsel or lead trial counsel in cases involving multiple jurisdictions and defendants. We play a key role in the preparation of joint defenses and the preparation of complex consolidated cases. For example, we have recently represented clients in consolidated actions involving thousands of individual plaintiffs in New York, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Ohio and West Virginia. We have also defended consolidated cases filed by municipalities in such diverse states as California, New Jersey, and Ohio.

In ranking McGuireWoods as a leading national law firm in the area of toxic torts, Chambers USA notes that our team’s “expertise covers a range of industries and it frequently acts as national counsel at both coordination and trial level.” BTI Consulting Group, Inc. also recognized McGuireWoods’ tort practice, noting them as a “Litigation Powerhouse” in recent editions of BTI Litigation Outlook: Changes, Trends and Opportunities for Law Firms survey.

Since most toxic tort cases involve punitive damage claims, we regularly advise clients in the preparation of punitive damages defenses, and have successfully defended punitive damages to verdict in numerous cases. These cases also involve vast amounts of documentary evidence. We use state-of-the-art technology to collect, process, analyze and archive literally millions of documents for use in discovery and defense of large-scale litigation, and have coordinated discovery at the national level.

We understand that long, complex trials are expensive propositions. Depending on the initial assessment of the case and the client’s objectives, our toxic tort litigation team can move quickly to achieve an early settlement or dismissal of cases through summary judgment or by convincing plaintiffs to voluntary dismiss our clients. When cases are headed to trial, we have significant experience conducting federal removals of massive dockets on short notice, attending emergency hearings in remote locations, and expediting document collections and witness preparation under court-imposed deadlines.

CONTACTS

Stephen D. Busch Partner T: +1 804 775 4378
Philip Goldstein Partner T: +1 212 548 7012
Steven R. Williams Partner T: +1 804 775 1141
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RESULTS DEPEND ON A VARIETY OF FACTORS UNIQUE TO EACH CASE. PRIOR RESULTS DO NOT GUARANTEE OR PREDICT A SIMILAR OUTCOME.

Representative Matter

Various Fortune 500 companies

National trial and coordinating counsel for various Fortune 500 companies involving alleged asbestos-containing products and premises for more than 25 years.
Representative Matter

World’s largest pork producer and processor

Defense of leading pork producer and processor in numerous mass tort, class action, and environmental citizen suits across the country relating to allegations of personal injury, property damage, and environmental degradation arising from the discharge of waste from the company’s hog farming operations.
Representative Matter

Leading supplier of rail-based freight transportation

Effective defense of leading supplier of rail-based freight transportation in North America in nuisance case. Resulted in summary judgment for client and dismissal of case. Upheld on appeal by United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit based on preemption. McGuireWoods has handled several nuisance cases in multiple jurisdictions for this client.
Representative Matter

One of the largest producers and transporters of energy in the United States

Defense of one of the largest producers and transporters of energy in the United States in a multi-billion dollar nuisance suit alleging air and water contamination due to fly ash residue on behalf of over 450 plaintiffs.  Achieved dismissal of 10 of the 12 causes of action, as well as all of the water contamination allegations, and the medical monitoring, stigma, fear of future injury, and emotional injury damages.
Representative Matter

Fortune 100 financial institution

Represent major financial institution in mass tort litigation brought by workers alleging injuries and damages as a result of alleged toxic exposure during clean work following 9/11 in buildings surrounding ground zero.
Representative Matter

Global science company

Representing a global science company in a trial in which 10 of the largest municipalities in California filed suit alleging public nuisance against the former manufacturers of lead paint seeking abatement of lead paint from all residences in their respective jurisdictions.
Representative Matter

One of the largest producers and transporters of energy in the United States

Representation of multiple defendants including one of the largest producers and transporters of energy in the United States in a high-profile nuisance suit in federal district court in Mississippi asserting that the defendants’ air emissions are contributing to global warming.
Representative Matter

Multinational automaker

Defended multinational automaker before the Circuit Court for the City of Baltimore in a trial alleging plaintiff developed mesothelioma from secondary exposure to break shoes worn by relatives who were dealership mechanics.
Representative Matter

Leading pork producer and processor

In a test case the plaintiff alleged that our client’s farming operations caused property damages and severe personal injuries to him and his family. After a three-week trial, the jury deliberated for just over an hour and issued a defense verdict in favor of our client.
Representative Matter

World leader in the manufacture of heavy duty diesel engines

Representation of world leader in the manufacture of heavy duty diesel engines in a wrongful death asbestos case. Obtained summary judgment for our client despite specific identification of our product as a product used by the decedent and despite strenuous opposition from plaintiff.
Representative Matter

Diversified global manufacturer

Defense of diversified global manufacturer in asbestos mesothelioma case in Virginia alleging exposure to asbestos containing products. Secured dismissal with prejudice. .
Representative Matter

Subsidiary of the world's largest pork producer and processor

Representation of a subsidiary of the world's largest pork producer and processor, and its former employee, in a multimillion-dollar trial in North Carolina. The jury trial arose from an accident in which an 18-wheeler ran over a bicyclist in a, leaving him paraplegic with severe, permanent injuries. The trial court submitted issues to the jury of negligence, contributory negligence, last clear chance, loss of consortium and damages. After short deliberation, the jury returned a verdict of no negligence, finding no liability on the part of the firm’s clients.
Representative Matter

Diversified global manufacturer

Defense of diversified global manufacturer in asbestos mesothelioma case in North Carolina. Secured dismissal.
Representative Matter

Multinational automaker

Defended a multinational automaker in Miller County, Ga., in a trial where plaintiff alleged he contracted mesothelioma from decades of exposure to asbestos-containing auto parts manufactured by our client.
Representative Matter

One of the largest producers and transporters of energy in the United States

Defense of one of the largest producers and transporters of energy in the United States in a multibillion-dollar nuisance suit alleging air and water contamination due to fly ash residue on behalf of over 450 plaintiffs.  Achieved dismissal of 10 of the 12 causes of action, as well as all of the water contamination allegations, and the medical monitoring, stigma, fear of future injury, and emotional injury damages.
Representative Matter

Multinational automaker

Defense of multinational automaker at trial where plaintiff claimed that a defective fuel system caused a post-collision fire which caused severe injury to one plaintiff and the death of the other. Following a two week trial, the jury deliberated just under three hours and returned a unanimous verdict in favor of our client.  (Confirmed on appeal; however, we did not participate in appeal.)
Representative Matter

Timber products and services provider

Representation of a timber products and services provider in a creosote exposure class action involving 1,000 town residents alleging property damage, personal injury and medical monitoring claims involving a plant in Sutton, West Virginia.
Representative Matter

Leading distributor of packaging, shipping, and maintenance products

Representation of a leading distributor of packaging, shipping, and maintenance products in a putative toxic tort class action brought by hundreds of Florida residents alleging personal injuries and property damage arising from groundwater contamination and air emissions emanating from a large paper plant and its industrial landfill.
Representative Matter

Leading provider of specialty chemical products

National defense counsel in the trace benzene litigation for a company that is a leading provider of specialty chemical products including cleaners, degreasers, deodorizers, and pesticides in the institutional, industrial, and retail markets.
Representative Matter

Major manufacturer

Representation, as national counsel, for a major manufacturer in the silica litigation pending throughout the country.  
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Kenneth W Abrams Kenneth W. Abrams
Associate
One James Center
901 East Cary Street
Richmond, VA 23219-4030

T: +1 804 775 4771
F: +1 757 640 3950
vCard
Donald D Anderson Donald D. Anderson
Partner
Bank of America Tower
50 North Laura Street
Suite 3300
Jacksonville, FL 32202-3661

T: +1 904 798 3230
F: +1 904 798 3273
vCard
Mark E Anderson Mark E. Anderson
Partner
434 Fayetteville Street
Suite 2600
Raleigh, NC 27601

1345 Avenue of the Americas
7th Floor
New York, NY 10105-0106

T: +1 919 755 6678
F: +1 919 755 6581
vCard
Terrence M Bagley Terrence M. Bagley
Partner
One James Center
901 East Cary Street
Richmond, VA 23219-4030

T: +1 804 775 4371
F: +1 804 698 2008
vCard
Richard C Beaulieu Richard C. Beaulieu
Associate
One James Center
901 East Cary Street
Richmond, VA 23219-4030

T: +1 804 775 1138
F: +1 804 225 5402
vCard
Eric Bilik R. Eric Bilik
Partner
Bank of America Tower
50 North Laura Street
Suite 3300
Jacksonville, FL 32202-3661

T: +1 904 798 2685
F: +1 904 360 6304
vCard
Candace Ali Blydenburgh Candace Ali Blydenburgh
Partner
One James Center
901 East Cary Street
Richmond, VA 23219-4030

T: +1 804 775 4772
F: +1 804 698 2034
vCard
Leo J M Boyd Leo J. M. Boyd
Counsel
One James Center
901 East Cary Street
Richmond, VA 23219-4030

T: +1 804 775 1066
F: +1 804 698 2025
vCard
Brady_Michael Michael H. Brady
Counsel
One James Center
901 East Cary Street
Richmond, VA 23219-4030

T: +1 804 775 4327
F: +1 804 698 2302
vCard
Bryan C Brantley Bryan C. Brantley
Partner
EQT Plaza
625 Liberty Avenue
23rd Floor
Pittsburgh, PA 15222-3142

T: +1 412 667 7983
F: +1 412 667 7971
vCard
Jennifer R Burbine Jennifer R. Burbine
Counsel
Promenade
1230 Peachtree Street, N.E.
Suite 2100
Atlanta, GA 30309-3534

T: +1 404 443 5736
F: +1 404 443 5798
vCard
Stephen D Busch Stephen D. Busch
Partner
One James Center
901 East Cary Street
Richmond, VA 23219-4030

T: +1 804 775 4378
F: +1 804 698 2024
vCard
Lena Busscher Lena L. Busscher
Associate
One James Center
901 East Cary Street
Richmond, VA 23219-4030

T: +1 804 775 4754
F: +1 804 698 2081
vCard
Clem Carter Clement D. Carter
Counsel
One James Center
901 East Cary Street
Richmond, VA 23219-4030

T: +1 804 775 4757
F: +1 804 698 2069
vCard
Lisa Crabtree Lisa R. Crabtree
Associate
One James Center
901 East Cary Street
Richmond, VA 23219-4030

T: +1 804 775 1327
F: +1 804 698 2222
vCard
Richard J Cromwell Richard J. Cromwell
Partner
World Trade Center
101 West Main Street
Suite 9000
Norfolk, VA 23510-1655

T: +1 757 640 3775
F: +1 757 640 3955
vCard
Michael R Daglio Michael R. Daglio
Partner
One James Center
901 East Cary Street
Richmond, VA 23219-4030

T: +1 804 775 1185
F: +1 804 698 2250
vCard
Joan S Dinsmore Joan S. Dinsmore
Associate
434 Fayetteville Street
Suite 2600
Raleigh, NC 27601

T: +1 919 755 6693
F: +1 919 755 6592
vCard
Michael Driscoll Michael J. Driscoll
Counsel
1345 Avenue of the Americas
7th Floor
New York, NY 10105-0106

T: +1 212 548 7011
F: +1 212 715 6285
vCard
Matthew D Fender Matthew D. Fender
Associate
One James Center
901 East Cary Street
Richmond, VA 23219-4030

T: +1 804 775 1076
F: +1 804 698 2209
vCard
Diane Flannery Diane Flannery
Partner
One James Center
901 East Cary Street
Richmond, VA 23219-4030

T: +1 804 775 1015
F: +1 804 698 2047
vCard
Ronald G Franklin Ronald G. Franklin
Partner
JPMorgan Chase Tower
600 Travis Street
Suite 7500
Houston, TX 77002-2906

T: +1 832 214 9942
F: +1 713 571 9652
vCard
Joy C Fuhr Joy C. Fuhr
Partner
One James Center
901 East Cary Street
Richmond, VA 23219-4030

T: +1 804 775 4341
F: +1 804 698 2056
vCard
Duncan Getchell E. Duncan Getchell Jr.
Partner
One James Center
901 East Cary Street
Richmond, VA 23219-4030

T: +1 804 775 4388
F: +1 804 698 2252
vCard
Philip Goldstein Philip Goldstein
Partner
1345 Avenue of the Americas
7th Floor
New York, NY 10105-0106

T: +1 212 548 7012
F: +1 212 715 2315
vCard
Results 1-4 of 4
Speaking Engagement

Toxic Tort Issues Related to Spray Polyurethane

November 26, 2013
International Association of Defense Counsel Webinar
Speaking Engagement

Groundwater Contamination Litigation: Proving and Defending Against Liability

Demonstrating Nexus, Causation and Injury to Recover Cleanup Costs and Other Damages

October 10, 2013
Strafford Publications Webinar
Speaking Engagement

15th National Advanced Forum on Asbestos Claims & Litigation

American Conference Institute

October 7-8, 2013
New York, NY
Speaking Engagement

Groundwater Contamination Litigation: Proving and Defending Against Liability

Demonstrating Nexus, Causation and Injury to Recover Cleanup Costs and Other Damages

October 4, 2012
Webinar
Results 1-4 of 4
Results 1-3 of 3
Article

Toxic Tort Issues Related to Spray Polyurethane Foam

International Association of Defense Counsel Newsletter
May 2014
Article

The death of environmental common law?

The National Law Journal
October 15, 2012
Legal Alert

The Death of Environmental Common Law?

The Ninth Circuit's Decision in Native Village of Kivalina v. ExxonMobil Corp.

October 3, 2012
Results 1-3 of 3