Environmental, Products and Mass Tort Litigation

Not all forms of litigation are created alike. Disputes that involve a company’s relationships with consumers and the general public — including product liability, mass torts and environmental litigation — can have lasting, negative consequences with a scope far surpassing the fallout from behind-the-scenes, business-to-business clashes.

We recognize the value of brand and image. We provide strategic counsel designed to minimize the impact of claims, while preserving the all-important connection between a business and its customers.

McGuireWoods’ Environmental, Products and Mass Tort Litigation lawyers bring decades of experience to representing clients in complex, large-scale disputes involving products and consumer goods, environmental issues and toxic substances. This depth of experience is reflected in the praise we have received from clients in numerous legal and industry publications. For example, Chambers USA says, “This team is an established leader in this practice area,” and notes that “sources particularly highlight the group’s wide geographical breadth and client-focused approach as strengths.” Another client says, “The lawyers always provide us with business-oriented and practical advice.” BTI Consulting Group, Inc. cited McGuireWoods' litigation practices in several categories, including recognition as a “Litigation Powerhouse: Class Action and Tort,” and “Standout” and “Honor Roll” for Product Liability Litigation in recent editions of the BTI Litigation Outlook: Changes, Trends and Opportunities for Law Firms survey.

Product liability, mass torts and similar forms of litigation often involve multiple defendants relying on similar legal strategies. We regularly serve as national coordinating and trial counsel for Fortune 500 companies in high-exposure cases, and coordinate the defense of pattern litigation, multidistrict litigation, complex consolidated cases and consumer class actions. When handling multi-district litigation or serving as coordinating counsel, the team regularly works with a nationwide network of localized resources. We also advise companies facing product recalls, labeling disputes, and Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other regulatory and law-enforcement investigations.

We are aggressive in defending our clients’ interests and have tried cases to verdict in dozens of states, including many of the United States’ most difficult jurisdictions. However, we recognize the value of alternative dispute resolution options (including settlement) in managing financial realities and as a means of avoiding or mitigating negative publicity. We work with our clients to implement strategies that make business sense.

We have represented clients in numerous cases involving automobiles and automotive products, food products, pharmaceuticals and medical devices, power tools and equipment, recreational products and chemicals. We also serve as counsel in disputes relating to risk management, insurance coverage, fires and explosions, alleged toxic substances, waste and chemical discharges, nuisance issues, and other litigation relating to manufacturing processes, product distribution and marketing. Perhaps more importantly, we are a firm that values and is driven by relationships, as reflected by the fact we have represented many of our clients for decades.

Product Liability and Mass Torts 100981889

CONTACTS

Diane Flannery Partner T: +1 804 775 1015
Samuel L. Tarry Jr. Partner T: +1 804 775 7873
Stephen D. Busch Partner T: +1 804 775 4378
Results 1-20 of 70
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Representative Matter

Leading generic and specialty pharmaceutical company

After a three week jury trial, obtained a unanimous defense verdict for one of the world's leading generic and specialty pharmaceutical companies.
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

World-class academic and health care system

Representation of a world-class academic and health care system arising from alleged exposure of thousands of surgical patients to a contaminated cleaning agent used on surgical instruments.
Representative Matter

New York Court of Appeals upholds disposal of $11 million jury verdict

In re New York city Asbestos Litigation, 48 N.Y.S.3d 365 (N.Y. 1st App. Div. 2017). McGuireWoods secured entry of judgment notwithstanding the verdict, persuading the trial court to throw out an $11 million verdict against Ford in an asbestos mesothelioma case. In a 3-1 decision, the New York Appellate Division affirmed, holding that that the testimony of the plaintiffs’ expert witnesses on causation failed to meet the admissibility requirements for cases involving alleged exposure to toxic substances. This closely watched case involved the first application of New York’s heightened admissibility standards in an asbestos case.
Representative Matter

Fourth Circuit agrees not to revive wastewater suit

Neal Blankenship and Emma Gay Blankenship v. Consolidation Coal Co. and Island Creek Coal Co. and Dianna L. Graham et al. v. Consolidation Coal Co. et al. The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed decisions on two matters related to the disposal of excess wastewater from an underground mine. Plaintiffs asserted excess wastewater was unlawfully diverted into mine voids beneath their land, and the  applicable statutes of limitations were tolled pursuant to CERCLA. The Fourth Circuit rejected the tolling argument based on a lack of a CERCLA violation and that plaintiffs knew or should have known of the violations.
Representative Matter

World's largest pork producer and processor

Defense of the world's largest pork producer and processor in a claim for private temporary nuisance arising from large swine confined animal feeding operation, alleging numerous personal and emotional injuries, as well as damage to property, livestock and water quality. Defense verdict.
Representative Matter

Third-party complaint for negligence, negligence per se, breach of contract, and indemnity

Our client was sued in a third-party complaint for negligence, negligence per se, breach of contract, and indemnity or contribution by the defendant in a personal injury case. McGuireWoods successfully filed and argued a Plea in Bar and Demurrer to the defendant’s negligence, negligence per se, and indemnity and contribution counts. The court held that the express contract between the parties precluded the equitable cause of action for indemnity or contribution. The court further held that the defendant’s negligence counts sounded in contract, not tort. As a result, those counts against our client were dismissed with prejudice by the court.
Representative Matter

Tractor trailer wrongful death case

Successfully argued and prevailed on numerous motions in tractor trailer wrongful death case. Prevailed on two summary judgment motions (causation and standard of care necessitating expert testimony), summary judgment on punitive damages, plea in bar on workers’ compensation as exclusive remedy, plea of sovereign immunity, and on several motions in limine.
Representative Matter

Global science company

Representation of a global science company in defense of an environmental civil suit brought by the Sierra Club and NRDC relating to historic mercury deposits in the South River in Virginia. Attained a unique settlement involving a six year study of the mercury issues.
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

Secured precedent setting class certification opinion in 4th Circuit

Representation of a gas company and two co-defendants in the vacating certification of five classes related to coalbed methane (CBM) gas royalty litigation. In its precedent-setting opinion, the court analyzed Rule 23 requirements and definitively placed the burden first on plaintiffs to meet those requirements and then on the district court to analyze them robustly.
Representative Matter

Representation of a large American energy company

Representation of a large American energy company in a putative class action filed by lawyers representing a proposed class of 1,500 residents.  The complaint asserted claims for nuisance, trespass, and negligence based on emissions from an electric power generation facility notwithstanding our client’s compliance with its Clean Air Act permit.  We initially won a motion to dismiss all claims, and after that was reversed on appeal we briefed and won a motion to strike the class allegations.  Ultimately, the plaintiffs withdrew their claims and the client paid nothing, in what amounted to a complete victory.
Representative Matter

Supreme Court of Virginia reverses and renders final judgment where plaintiffs’ liability expert lacked sufficient foundation for his opinion

Hyundai Motor Company, Ltd., et al., v. Keith Allen Duncan, Individually and as Guardian and Conservator for Zachary Gage Duncan, et al., Record No. 140216. On January 8, 2015, the Supreme Court of Virginia reversed a $14.14 million jury verdict against Hyundai and entered final judgment in favor of Hyundai.  The court held that the plaintiffs’ expert testimony, which was the sole support for plaintiffs’ liability theory, should not have been admitted by the trial court because it was merely the expert’s “ipse dixit assumption” and was without any evidentiary support or empirical analysis.
Representative Matter

Building products distributor

Successfully mediated catastrophic injury case where the plaintiff lost her nose, all of her teeth and her vision following nasal cancer allegedly as a result of her exposure to our client’s wood dust.
Representative Matter

Regional medical center

Representation of a regional medical center in obtaining a complete dismissal, with prejudice, of wrongful death and medical malpractice claims against the client and a number of its doctors.
Representative Matter

Building owner

Obtained a full defense verdict in favor of firm client after a two-week jury trial involving subrogation claims of $6.1 million in North Carolina Eastern District Court, Vance County, N.C.
Representative Matter

National rental car company

Representation of a national rental car company in a strict products liability and negligence action by consumer alleging that the crash was caused by defective and/or poorly installed tires on rental vehicle. The court granted summary judgment for the firm’s client, finding that plaintiff failed to submit any evidence creating a disputed issue of fact as to the existence of a defect.
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

Leading global provider of components, systems and services

Representation of leading global provider of components, systems and services used in heating, air conditioning, commercial cooking/refrigeration, and residential thermostat products in a lawsuit for personal injuries and property damage arising from a gas explosion.
Results 1-20 of 70
Results 1-25 of 58
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Ben Abel Benjamin P. Abel
Associate
Court Square Building
310 Fourth Street, N.E.
Suite 300
Charlottesville, VA 22902-1288

T: +1 434 980 2233
F: +1 434 980 2262
vCard
Kenneth W Abrams Kenneth W. Abrams
Associate
Gateway Plaza
800 East Canal Street
Richmond, VA 23219-3916

T: +1 804 775 4771
F: +1 757 640 3950
vCard
Ali Syed Syed D. Ali
Counsel
Tower Two-Sixty
260 Forbes Avenue
Suite 1800
Pittsburgh, PA 15222-3142

T: +1 412 667 6030
F: +1 412 402 4190
vCard
John Huske Anderson Jr. John Huske Anderson Jr.
Partner
300 North Third Street
Suite 320
Wilmington, NC 28401-4099

T: +1 910 254 3828
F: +1 910 254 3900
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
Gateway Plaza
800 East Canal Street
Richmond, VA 23219-3916

T: +1 804 775 4371
F: +1 804 698 2008
vCard
Richard C Beaulieu Richard C. Beaulieu
Partner
Promenade
1230 Peachtree Street, N.E.
Suite 2100
Atlanta, GA 30309-3534

T: +1 804 775 1138
F: +1 404 443 5678
vCard
Candace Ali Blydenburgh Candace Ali Blydenburgh
Partner
Gateway Plaza
800 East Canal Street
Richmond, VA 23219-3916

T: +1 804 775 4772
F: +1 804 698 2034
vCard
Margaret Bowman Margaret A. Bowman
Associate
Gateway Plaza
800 East Canal Street
Richmond, VA 23219-3916

T: +1 804 775 1288
F: +1 804 698 2314
vCard
Brady_Michael Michael H. Brady
Counsel
Gateway Plaza
800 East Canal Street
Richmond, VA 23219-3916

T: +1 804 775 4327
F: +1 804 698 2302
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
Gateway Plaza
800 East Canal Street
Richmond, VA 23219-3916

T: +1 804 775 4378
F: +1 804 698 2024
vCard
Scott S Cairns Scott S. Cairns
Partner
Bank of America Tower
50 North Laura Street
Suite 3300
Jacksonville, FL 32202-3661

T: +1 904 798 3223
F: +1 904 798 3261
vCard
Tennille J Checkovich Tennille J. Checkovich
Partner
Gateway Plaza
800 East Canal Street
Richmond, VA 23219-3916

T: +1 804 775 4758
F: +1 804 440 7770
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
Tracey DeMarco Tracy S. DeMarco
Associate
434 Fayetteville Street
Suite 2600
Raleigh, NC 27601

T: +1 919 755 6682
F: +1 919 755 6596
vCard
Matthew D Fender Matthew D. Fender
Associate
Gateway Plaza
800 East Canal Street
Richmond, VA 23219-3916

T: +1 804 775 1076
F: +1 804 698 2209
vCard
Diane Flannery Diane Flannery
Partner
Gateway Plaza
800 East Canal Street
Richmond, VA 23219-3916

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
Gateway Plaza
800 East Canal Street
Richmond, VA 23219-3916

T: +1 804 775 4341
F: +1 804 698 2056
vCard
Duncan Getchell E. Duncan Getchell Jr.
Partner
Gateway Plaza
800 East Canal Street
Richmond, VA 23219-3916

T: +1 804 775 4388
F: +1 804 698 2252
vCard
Travis Gunn Travis C. Gunn
Associate
Gateway Plaza
800 East Canal Street
Richmond, VA 23219-3916

T: +1 804 775 7622
F: +1 804 698 2039
vCard
John Henderson John R. Henderson
Partner
2000 McKinney Avenue
Suite 1400
Dallas, TX 75201

T: +1 469 372 3927
F: +1 214 273 7472
vCard
Christian E Henneke Christian E. Henneke
Senior Counsel
Gateway Plaza
800 East Canal Street
Richmond, VA 23219-3916

T: +1 804 775 1050
F: +1 804 698 2136
vCard
Justin D Howard Justin D. Howard
Partner
434 Fayetteville Street
Suite 2600
Raleigh, NC 27601

T: +1 919 755 6685
F: +1 919 755 6586
vCard
Results 1-20 of 41
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Speaking Engagement

2017 ATA Forum for Motor Carrier General Counsel

July 16-19, 2017
Beaver Creek, CO
Speaking Engagement

Energy & Mineral Law Foundation Thirty-Eighth Annual Institute

May 21-23, 2017
Colonial Williamsburg, VA
Speaking Engagement

Transportation Megaconference XIII: Trucking and Motor Carrier Litigation

March 8-10, 2017
New Orleans, LA
Event

2017 Food and Beverage Industry Outlook

Parts 1 & 2

February 24 & 27, 2017
Complimentary Webinar Series
Speaking Engagement

Food Law and Regulation Boot Camp

November 16, 2016
Chicago, IL
Speaking Engagement

Fall 2016 Environmental Roundtable

November 9-10, 2016
Orlando, FL
Event

Food and Beverage M&A and Private Equity Update

October 26, 2016
Dallas, TX
Event

Food and Beverage M&A and Private Equity Update

October 20, 2016
Los Angeles, CA
Speaking Engagement

Do Criminal Prosecutions Make Food Safer? The Problem With Regulating Food Safety Through Criminalization

October 12, 2016
Washington Legal Foundation Web Seminar Series
Event

Food Safety Challenges in an Era of Change

September 21, 2016
New York, NY
Event

Food and Beverage M&A and Private Equity Update

May 10, 2016
Atlanta, GA
Event

Food Safety Crisis & Risk Management

March 3, 2016
Complimentary Webinar
Speaking Engagement

Virginia CLE

March 5, 2015
Event

Healthcare Litigation Conference

August 14, 2014
Raleigh, NC
Speaking Engagement

2014 IWLA Warehouse Legal Practice Symposium

June 18-19, 2014
Rosemont, IL
Speaking Engagement

Challenges Facing the Food and Beverage Industries in Complex Consumer Litigations

Tuesday, April 8, 2014
Chicago, IL
Speaking Engagement

7th National Forum on Food Borne Illness Litigation

January 29, 2014
San Francisco, CA
Speaking Engagement

Toxic Tort Issues Related to Spray Polyurethane

November 26, 2013
International Association of Defense Counsel Webinar
Results 1-20 of 41
Results 1-20 of 112
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Publication

Food Safety Law

Law Journal Press
2017
Legal Alert

The WannaCry Cyberattack: Steps Businesses Must Take Now

Password Protected
May 15, 2017
Article

Hot Topics Facing the Food and Beverage Industry

A smorgasbord of questions is laid out and waiting

Metropolitan Corporate Counsel
April 2017
Legal Alert

Dakota Access Pipeline: Down but Not Out

December 6, 2016
Publication

Food Safety Law

Law Journal Press
2016
Results 1-20 of 112