Below is a sample of B&D's litigation experience:
- PCB Contamination. After a six-week trial, a federal jury decided that our client, a global manufacturer and one of 18 defendants, had no liability for the $12 million cleanup of PCBs that were discharged into a Boston waterway. In 2019, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit upheld the decision, affirming the jury’s verdict and the trial court’s judgment in all respects.
- High-profile Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) Citizen Suit Defense. We successfully represented the City of Newark, NJ in defense of a federal citizen suit under the SDWA (and the associated Lead and Copper Rule) brought by NRDC after Newark allegedly exceeded the federal lead action limit on lead in drinking water in 2017. This precedent-setting settlement will shape future interpretation of the federal Lead and Copper Rule and likely ends environmental group efforts to duplicate throughout the country the legal claims brought to bear in Flint, MI. The American Lawyer recognized the B&D team as “Litigators of the Week” for this outcome.
- Odor Nuisance Class and Mass Action Defense. B&D litigators obtained reversals from New York’s Appellate Division, which resulted in the dismissal of proposed class actions against the operator of upstate landfills (and recognition as runner-up for "Litigator of the Week"). The proposed classes of property owners who live near the landfills brought the public nuisance and negligence claims, alleging that odors interfered with the owners' use and enjoyment of property and diminished their property values. We also defeated remand motions of 600 mass action plaintiffs and four putative class actions in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, defeated class certification in an odor nuisance suit in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, and obtained dismissal of two additional putative class actions alleging nuisance odors before class certification practice.
- Multi-District Groundwater Contamination and Product Liability Litigation. We serve as national counsel to a petroleum manufacturer in ongoing product liability litigation—likely the largest collection of groundwater contamination cases in the U.S.—related to the gasoline additive MTBE. Comprised of over 140 suits brought by states, municipalities, public water systems, and private well owners, including putative class action claims, B&D helped our client and the industry settle the majority of these matters. The damages claimed by the various plaintiffs total billions of dollars.
- Multi-plaintiff Ethylene Oxide Toxic Tort Litigation. We defend two of the country’s largest chemical manufacturers in two separate toxic tort actions, each brought by plaintiffs who allege cancer caused by exposure to ethylene oxide (EO) emissions from our clients’ EO manufacturing plants.
- Superfund Mega-Site Defense. We serve as the co-chair in ADR proceedings for the largest Superfund site west of the Mississippi. The site involves about 250 parties, ongoing cleanup work and negotiations, federal litigation, natural resource damages claims, and a nearly 100-party non-judicial allocation process. We lead the group in developing defenses and negotiating with the EPA over an aquatic sediments cleanup estimated to cost over $2 billion.
- Novel CWA Citizen Suit Theory. We defended a freight railroad in a case in which Plaintiffs sought to expand the reach of the Clean Water Act (CWA) to fugitive coal dust from rail cars. In this case of first impression, Plaintiffs sought to limit the rail transportation of coal by seeking CWA penalties for alleged fugitive coal dust from all rail cars and trains. The statutory maximum penalty under the CWA for the allegations in the complaints would have been in excess of $4 trillion. The trial began in November 2016, but we reached a settlement roughly one week later for $1 million, a non-binding coal car study, and no admission of liability.
- Victory for City of Los Angeles in First Trial Focused on the Benefits and Safety of Recycling Biosolids. Following a two-week bench trial prosecuted by B&D, we secured a trial win for a major California city, striking down a neighboring county’s biosolids ban on constitutional grounds. B&D previously had secured a preliminary injunction against the ban, affirmed on an interlocutory appeal that allowed the farm to continue to use biosolids to grow crops. At trial, we presented numerous fact witnesses and scientific experts to establish the environmental benefits of applying biosolids to farmland.
- First-Impression Injection Well Litigation. We won the dismissal of a Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) citizen suit involving allegations that injection of oil and gas production wastewater in wells causes earthquakes.
- Pipeline Right-of-Way Upheld by Supreme Court. We successfully represented an amici coalition of over 20 trade associations in a U.S. Supreme Court appeal upholding the authority of the U.S. Forest Service to issue an oil and gas pipeline right-of-way beneath the Appalachian Trail.
- Pesticide Litigation and Arbitrations. We represent the world’s largest chemical and crop protection companies on high-stakes litigation and rulemaking, including arbitrations to compel generic pesticide companies to pay their share of environmental and health data mandated by federal pesticide law. We have obtained judgments for clients totaling over $100 million.
- Successful Settlement in Alleged Vapor Exposure Case. We represented a major utility in litigation in the District of Columbia Superior Court alleging that vapors from buried manufactured gas plant waste caused multiple adult plaintiffs, who had used a nearby recreational area, to contract leukemia. Plaintiffs alleged $110 million in damages. We achieved a highly favorable settlement for our client early in discovery after we deposed the lead plaintiff and prepared rebuttal expert opinions.
- NEPA Litigation for Major Drinking Water Project. We won approval of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for a $200 million state water supply project, including resolution of novel issues relating to the NEPA process.
- Insurance Coverage Litigation. We obtained a favorable settlement for an electronics manufacturer from its professional liability insurer for costs incurred in defending a claim by the State of New York relating to implementation of a statewide wireless network for emergency communications.
- Dismissal of Perchlorate Contamination Citizen Suits/Putative Class Action. We prevailed on a motion to dismiss on primary jurisdiction grounds in a putative class action brought by approximately 100 property owners alleging perchlorate contamination of drinking water.