Mass Tort

Mass tort cases carry the risk of substantial exposure for manufacturers, distributors and retailers. Federal environmental laws such as the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act have been strengthened over the past two decades to facilitate easier enforcement by private citizens. Whether the case arises from hazardous chemical exposure or a mandatory recall, the attorneys at LGWM work with the client and expert consultants to provide a creative, sophisticated, and coordinated response and defense. LGWM prides itself in offering the client creative ideas to assess the claims quickly, reduce litigation expenses and resolve the matter in a way beneficial to the client. Because a mass tort claim can affect not only the financial bottom line of a client, but also their very reputation, LGWM teams with the client to develop a comprehensive defense strategy that considers both the legal merits of the claim and the business ramifications.

Cases of Note

  • We defended an environmental remediation contractor involved in the clean up of a spill of Mercaptan. Over 500 residential Plaintiffs claimed the spill caused contaminants from the site to migrate to groundwater, creating a noxious odor that diminished the value of their property and caused personal injuries. We successfully resolved the case for the environmental contractor by using expert testimony to establish no liability existed.
  • We represented a contractor in regards to carbon monoxide exposure claims brought by seventeen residents of an apartment building.  Plaintiffs alleged the contractor negligently performed maintenance and repairs to an onsite boiler and they suffered in excess of $20 million in extensive personal injuries as a result.
  • We engaged in extensive expert discovery and argued the contractor’s scope of work did not relate to the alleged defective condition and was not responsible for Plaintiffs’ alleged damages.
  • We represented a general contractor in an industrial construction case in which Plaintiff landowners claimed property damages and personal injury damages as a result of the subcontractors’ use of heavy construction equipment during the construction. The case involved extensive property and personal injury damages claimed by Plaintiffs and numerous contractual indemnification claims between various defendants and non-parties.
  • We represented the owner and landlord of an apartment complex in multiple lawsuits involving alleged mold exposure at the apartment.  Plaintiffs claimed out of pocket expenses, lost wages, personal injuries and emotional distress as a result of the alleged exposure.  Through expert testimony, we established that no elevated mold levels existed or that the Plaintiffs had no adverse reaction to the mold.
  • We represented an engineering and construction firm in a multi-Plaintiff case wherein Plaintiffs claimed our client solicited them to participate in cleanup of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, and Plaintiffs’ vessels were contaminated as a result of exposure to oil spill.  We argued our client was entitled to a defense and indemnification from the company that hired our client to solicit volunteers to participate in the cleanup.  We were able to successfully obtain a defense and indemnification on behalf of our client.
  • We represented a Construction Program Management Company in a multi-Plaintiff lawsuit in which Plaintiffs claimed dust from a construction site caused diminution in value of property and personal injury. We argued our client was not responsible for the work that allegedly caused Plaintiffs’ injuries.
  • We represented a contractor in a multi-plaintiff lawsuit in which Plaintiffs alleged the contractor improperly constructed a landfill and negligently deposited coal fly ash at the landfill that contaminated the surrounding property. Plaintiffs claimed personal injury, diminished property value and the loss of enjoyment and use of their homes. We were able to settle the claims for less than the cost of defense.
  • We represented the owner and operator of a regulated water and wastewater system in a multi-plaintiff suit. Plaintiffs alleged our client allowed millions of gallons of raw and untreated sewage to discharge from a sewer treatment facility into a creek running along Plaintiffs’ residences. We argued the statute of limitations barred Plaintiffs’ claims and the discharge was not attributable to our client’s actions.
  • We were able to successfully resolve Plaintiffs’ claims.
  • We represented a producer of synthetic fibers in a class action complaint. Plaintiffs alleged our client polluted farm land, grass lands, and water supplies with perfluorooctanioc acid, perfluorooctane sulfonate, and other perfluorochemicals by contributing these chemicals to waste sludge deposited onto the Plaintiffs’ properties. We argued our client did not owe any duty to Plaintiffs, but even if our client did owe a duty, the chemicals released did not cause the injuries suffered by the Plaintiffs.
  • We represented an environmental action contractor retained to clean up underground petroleum and diesel tank releases in an action brought by multiple nearby land owners. Plaintiffs argued the remedial technology utilized by the contractor volatized dangerous chemicals and allowed them to be dispersed into the air. We filed summary judgment arguing Plaintiff could not prove any increased exposure as a result of the alleged conduct and successfully negotiated a nominal settlement to resolve Plaintiffs’ claims.