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 its 2013 edition 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.