Environmental and Toxic Torts
News from this practice
- 18 Lawyers from Lightfoot listed in the “Best Lawyers in America” 2017
- William Cox and Sara Ford Chosen as Best Lawyer of the Year
- Lightfoot Ranked by US News as a 2014 “Best Law Firm”
- Fifteen Partners Recognized in 2014 Best Lawyers in America
- Olson Named Chair of 2014 DRI Toxic Torts and Environmental Law Seminar
- Lightfoot Recognized with DuPont Challenge Award
- Kevin Clark Published in DRI’s For the Defense
- Lightfoot Attorneys Appointed Leadership Roles in DRI
- Adam Peck and William King Awarded Best of the Bar in the Birmingham Business Journal
- Kevin Clark and Lana Alcorn Appointed to Leadership Positions for the 2008 DRI Toxic Torts and Environmental Seminar
Environmental and toxic tort litigation presents significant issues for the financial performance of many companies across the country. In such a climate, leading manufacturers in a broad range of industries have turned to Lightfoot for their litigation needs. Our lawyers have consistently served as lead trial counsel in some of the region’s most high-profile cases, including a nineteen-month jury trial for Solutia Inc. and Pharmacia Corporation involving PCB contamination.
Lightfoot has the experience and depth to manage all aspects of complex environmental and toxic tort matters. The range of our experience is extensive, and runs the gamut from single-plaintiff toxic tort cases to class actions and mass joinders involving tens of thousands of plaintiffs. Our lawyers have the knowledge and ability to tackle the toughest scientific and technical issues, and we have worked closely with many of the country’s leading medical, scientific and technical experts in defending such claims.
Lightfoot’s attorneys have also assisted clients in a variety of compliance matters and enforcement actions involving state and federal agencies, including matters under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (“RCRA”), Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (“CERCLA”), Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (“FIFRA”), Toxic Substances Control Act (“TSCA”), Clean Water Act (“CWA”) and Clean Air Act (“CAA”). We have tried CERCLA cost-recovery actions and natural-resource damage claims, as well as assisted clients with environmental permitting and compliance work.
Lightfoot can handle the day-to-day litigation needs of its environmental and toxic tort clients at a local, regional or national level. Whether it is managing complex document discovery, taking expert depositions or presenting the case to a jury, our environmental and toxic tort litigators have the experience and resources to handle any environmental or toxic tort matter. For example:
- Lightfoot has represented a number of manufacturers in mass tort actions alleging injuries from exposure to various chemicals, including isocyanates, formaldehyde, creosote, dixoin, and metalworking fluids.
- Lightfoot has represented numerous clients in asbestos cases alleging that exposure to various products (including friction products, gaskets, packing, and external insulation) caused mesothelioma and other malignancies, including winning numerous cases on summary judgment and successfully defending the results on appeal to the Alabama Supreme Court.
- Lightfoot has represented the State of Alabama in water-related litigation and negotiations with the United States Army Corps of Engineers and the states of Georgia and Florida for more than 15 years. This has involved working closely with Alabama’s Department of Economic and Community Affairs, Department of Environmental Management, Governor’s office, and Attorney General’s office.
- Lightfoot represented a number of manufacturers in the paper industry in a series of claims alleging dioxin contamination of major Alabama waterways. This involved individual litigation as well as class action claims.
- Lightfoot represented a major pigment manufacturer in a series of air contamination cases in Mississippi and has handled a number of smaller claims of air contamination.
- Lightfoot has handled many cases involving alleged pesticide contamination in Alabama and other Southeastern states. These cases have ranged from crop-damage cases to home-exposure cases to a massive fish kill in an Alabama reservoir related to an insecticide release.
- In the area of environmental crime, Lightfoot has represented clients in a variety of enforcement and grand jury proceedings brought by federal and state law-enforcement officials.
- Lightfoot was one of the first firms in the country to try a Benlate fungicide case to a defense verdict.
- In recent years, Lightfoot has been involved in mass tort environmental litigation across the Southeast involving underground contamination in the petroleum industry, the wood-treating industry, the equipment-manufacturing industry, and the fertilizer industry.
- Lightfoot represented a group of Potentially Responsible Parties in a CERCLA cost-recovery action involving an abandoned lead-smelting facility that was listed on the National Priorities List.
- Lightfoot represented the defendants in a series of toxic tort cases involving PCB contamination in Anniston, Alabama, which spawned two different downstream lake class actions, numerous consolidated mass tort actions and resulted in the largest and longest-running trial in Alabama history. That trial involved more than 3,500 plaintiffs, many claiming both personal injury and property damage. That case went before the Alabama Supreme Court on three separate occasions before and during trial, and the jury trial lasted more than 19 months in the Circuit Court of Calhoun County. More than 500 separate verdicts were returned during the course of the trial, and the trial included jury and non-jury claims. The case settled for an amount significantly less than the plaintiffs’ pretrial demand of more than $1 billion. There were approximately 30,000 additional cases brought by individuals and businesses alleging injuries from PCB contamination in Anniston, Alabama. One case involving three individuals alleging exposure to PCBs caused specific personal injuries was tried to a defense verdict in Federal Court. Another case involving five individuals alleging exposure to PCBs caused their diabetes was tried to a defense verdict in Alabama State Court. Lightfoot continues to represent the current owner of the manufacturing facility in fulfilling its obligations under a federal consent order governing the remediation of portions of the Anniston area under the federal Superfund law.
- Lightfoot has represented several textile manufacturers in environmental litigation involving discharges of treated wastewater.
- Lightfoot has represented municipalities in environmental permitting and compliance matters involving wastewater treatment systems and solid-waste management facilities.
- Lightfoot was retained after two textile manufacturers were hit with a $52,000,000 verdict in a waterway contamination matter. After extensive post-trial proceedings and two appeals to the Alabama Supreme Court, the judgement was reversed and rendered in favor of the defendants.