Toxic Exposure Defense

Toxic exposure cases pose a unique challenge. Counsel must prepare to understand a highly technical defense that will typically involve multiple experts and consultants. Defending exposure claims requires an attorney that is educated and experienced in these type cases, and is familiar with the myriad of environmental laws, including the Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, as well as the regulations promulgated by the United States Environmental Protection Agency and state environmental enforcement agencies pursuant to federal environmental laws.

The Environmental Practice Group at LGWM is highly skilled and experienced in defending toxic exposure cases. Our attorneys have defended claims related to exposure to mold, benzene, petroleum products, asbestos, coal products and dust, chemicals, manufacturing substances and products and various other hazardous materials.

Cases of Note

  • We defended an environmental remediation company against claims related to alleged exposure to noxious fumes, odors and hazardous particulates emitted from cleanup activity on the company’s premises. Plaintiff’s claims arose from the company’s facility being used as a filtration site for oily water collected after the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion and oil spill. We were able to successfully negotiate a voluntary dismissal of the claims against our client on the basis there was no evidence the alleged fumes could be traced back to defendant’s premises.
  • We defended a muriatic acid manufacturer against claims asserted by a Plaintiff who allegedly sustained burns when the acid leaked from its packaging.  Plaintiff claimed the manufacturer failed to properly package the product and failed to attach proper warnings.  We were able to negotiate a nominal settlement of Plaintiff’s claims after establishing the package contained more than adequate warnings and any problems with packaging were the result of mishandling by the retailer.
  • We defended an environmental remediation company against claims the Plaintiff was exposed to chemicals used during asbestos abatement at Plaintiff’s residence. We diligently asserted the defense that Plaintiff could not prove the existence of an injury resulting from the exposure and successfully resolved the case for less than the costs of defense.
  • We defended a specialty contractor in a lawsuit arising from an anhydrous ammonia leak at an Alabama power generation facility.  Plaintiff was a forklift operator at the facility where the leak occurred and died due to cerebral edema caused by the exposure.  We successfully argued the contractor was not responsible for the leak and negotiated a voluntary dismissal of the claims.
  • We represented a contractor in a lawsuit arising out of the owner’s alleged exposure to thermal and moisture protection chemicals used during construction. Plaintiff claimed lost wages, personal injuries and emotional distress as a result of the alleged exposure. We argued the alleged injury pre-dated the exposure and, even if they did not, the claims were barred by the Statute of Limitations.
  • We represented a manufacturer in a lawsuit arising out of a purchasers’ alleged exposure to formaldehyde contained in flooring products. Plaintiffs alleged lost income, compensatory damages for clean-up and removal of the allegedly defective product, personal injuries and mental anguish. We argued there is no evidence the products contained formaldehyde when sold and the source of the chemical was from other products in the residence.
  • We represented a supplier in a case involving an alleged exposure to dangerous chemicals at a paper mill.  Plaintiff alleged the supplier’s failure to warn against exposure to the chemicals resulted in permanent injury. We argued there was no duty to warn Plaintiff of the risks, because the purchaser was a sophisticated user with a warning system already in place. We were able to resolve the case for a nominal amount.
  • We represented a synthetic fuel facility against claims that coal dust residue was allowed to migrate off-site, causing property damage and personal injury, including lung cancer, which resulted in the Plaintiff’s death during litigation. We successfully argued there was no evidence Defendant allowed coal dust to migrate off-site and no evidence Plaintiffs’ injuries were a result of exposure to coal dust. After establishing these facts, we were able to negotiate a reasonable settlement and dismissal of all claims against Defendant.
  • We represented a colorant manufacturer in claims it failed to warn Plaintiffs of dangers associated with exposure to its product. Plaintiffs claimed the colorant used in colored gardening mulch was hazardous and caused respiratory injuries. We argued any hazards associated with the colorant had been properly disclosed on the Manufacturer’s Safety Data Sheet included with the colorant and Defendant could not legally be held responsible for the third-party’s failure to include the warning on its mulch packing. The Court agreed and granted a motion for summary judgment.
  • We defended a valve distributor regarding claims its product was improperly calibrated and dangerous chemicals leaked as a result. We successfully established the damages sought were excessive and the leak was actually the result of a defective process design. We were able to negotiate a reasonable settlement based on these arguments.