Representative Matters

  • Defended numerous claims for cleanup costs and property damage brought under federal and state statutes, contracts and tort law arising from subsurface contamination and alleged indoor air contamination. For example, we are defending the former owner of a West Virginia silicone manufacturing facility in federal court in the Northern District of New York against statutory and common-law claims arising from alleged PCB contamination brought by the facility’s current owner.
  • Prepared for trial in five toxic tort cases claiming developmental injuries suffered by a child allegedly as a consequence of lead exposure through drinking water. The cases had been combined as a putative class action in which we successfully argued against class certification.
  • Served as national counsel for Sunoco in all litigation related to the presence of the gasoline additive methyl tertiary-butyl ether (MTBE) in water supplies. To date, this has included more than 140 suits brought by states, municipalities, public water systems, and private well owners, the majority of which we helped our client settle. The damages claimed by the various plaintiffs total in the billions of dollars.
  • Defended a major power company against allegations that byproducts present in the environment from historic power generation operations caused leukemia contracted by adult users of a nearby recreational area, as well as a child in utero, in the District of Columbia Superior Court. Plaintiffs sought $110 million in compensatory damages. The case involved multiple expert disciplines, such as oncology, toxicology, epidemiology, hydrogeology, environmental remediation, historic power plant operations, standards of care in the 19th and 20th centuries, and economics.
  • Served as trial counsel for a major chemical company when it was sued under various product liability and hazardous waste remediation theories related to the sale of a dry cleaning solvent it manufactured. Plaintiffs alleged that over $195 million in groundwater contamination was caused by releases of this solvent from these stores. We tried two jury and three bench-trial phases of the case. After numerous evidentiary hearings in 14 months over five years, we obtained defense verdicts at 43 out of 45 dry cleaning sites and settlement credits for all remaining liability against our client—resulting in our client owing no damages.
  • Defended numerous citizen suits under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). In one of these, 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.
  • Defended the owner of a shopping mall against allegations that gasoline from a service station at the mall contaminated the potable wells and impaired the property value of more than two dozen households, posing a threat of cancer to the more-than-70 plaintiffs. The plaintiffs sought a total of $3 billion in compensatory and punitive damages. The case involved multiple expert disciplines such as oncology, toxicology, hydrogeology, environmental fate and transport, standards of care applicable to shopping mall owners, and land valuation issues.
  • Defended a major utility company against lawsuits alleging damage from ash placement, including assertions of damage from groundwater impacts from ash leachate. One lawsuit was dismissed on summary judgment that was later upheld on appeal.
  • Secured a defense summary judgment on nuisance and toxic tort claims regarding land application at a Pennsylvania farm. Plaintiff appealed the judgment all the way to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, where we prevailed.
  • Defended a toxic tort suit brought against a municipal water agency’s biosolids land application contractor. We secured dismissal of some claims and settled the case with a public statement by plaintiffs disavowing any links between biosolids and illness.
  • Obtained a favorable settlement and full insurance coverage in a suit alleging lead-based paint poisoning, after challenging the plaintiff’s case in discovery.
  • Represented a major oil refiner in a statewide putative class action in Florida alleging damage to boats from ethanol in gasoline. The case settled for a nominal amount after the court denied class certification.
  • Acted as counsel for a national chemical manufacturer in several cases in California state court in which public entities or private well owners have alleged that our client and other manufacturers and distributors of perchloroethylene were responsible for soil and groundwater contamination. In the case brought by the City of Modesto, we secured a favorable outcome after the first two phases of trial, eliminating future compensatory damages and punitive damages against our client at certain sites. We obtained a complete defense victory in the third phase of trial on the remaining sites after a six-month toxic tort jury trial.
  • Defended two large companies in a lawsuit in which the Water Authority of Western Nassau County, New York alleged that our clients were responsible for volatile organic compounds that had migrated into the Water Authority’s well water.
  • Defended a major U.S. corporation in a wrongful death suit alleging that biosolids applied on a farm caused toxic emissions that caused the death of a nearby resident.
  • Defended a major chemical company against claims that an elevator maintenance worker contracted several lung-related diseases through exposure to carbon dust.
  • Won the dismissal of a nationwide class action by a group of water treatment facilities alleging that our client’s herbicide had contaminated their water supplies. 
  • Convinced plaintiffs to dismiss their nationwide class action alleging injury from occupational exposure to a widely used herbicide, after discovery.
  • Won dismissal of a multidistrict, multimillion-dollar class action toxic tort and CERCLA case by summary judgment before answering and before the case was consolidated in plaintiffs’ selected forum. 
  • Won a verdict dismissing an asbestos wrongful death suit brought by the estate of a former shipyard worker diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, a virulent cancer of the lining of the lungs. The jury found that the estate had not proved that the decedent was exposed to asbestos from our client’s products. The verdict was affirmed on appeal.