Toxic Torts

Latham & Watkins helps clients facing claims for alleged exposure to chemicals and hazardous substances to mitigate their liability, whether through negotiated settlement, dispositive motions practice or taking the case to trial.

Toxic Torts
Broad Experience on “Bet the Company” Matters

Latham Toxic Torts lawyers represent clients in high-stakes litigation involving a broad spectrum of substances and chemicals. Latham’s experience includes US state and federal enforcement actions under CERCLA, RCRA, the Clean Air Act and other statues, private party cost recovery actions, and multi-plaintiff toxic tort suits.

Providing Technical Expertise

The Toxic Torts Practice includes legal experts in all elements of risk assessment. Latham’s attorneys understand the technical issues at the heart of toxic tort matters, such as exposure analysis, behavior patterns impacting the “dose” received and the “fate” of hazardous substances in the environment. 

Lawyers in the practice include engineers and scientists who use their in-depth knowledge of epidemiology, chemicals, toxicology, risk assessment, hydrogeology, groundwater and air dispersion modeling and other disciplines to litigate the most cutting-edge and technical issues in toxic tort cases. As a result, Latham’s lawyers work seamlessly with retained experts and effectively cross-examine opposing experts. Latham’s lawyers also write extensively on medical causation issues and work regularly with the most prestigious medical and scientific experts in the field. The firm’s lawyers have enjoyed repeated success in challenging "junk science" expert testimony on alleged exposure to a defendant's products.

Latham’s attorneys regularly bring their expertise to bear at trial. Latham’s team has extensive experience trying difficult and high-profile lawsuits in every region of the US. 

Record of Success

As part of one of the largest environmental practices in the world, lawyers in Latham’s Toxic Torts Practice have achieved success in some of the most complex and highest-stakes matters:

  • Represented a DDT producer in dozens of cases involving product liability and toxic tort claims, including one with more than 4,000 plaintiffs. All cases were dismissed or settled for nominal amounts before or during trial.
  • Secured a dismissal on behalf of a major global energy company in a putative class action before the US District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee, relating to historic operations of a nuclear fuel processing plant in Texas. The plaintiffs alleged personal injury and property damage from alleged nuclear and other contamination.
  • Represented a utility company in resolving more than 4,000 claims for alleged exposure to hexavalent chromium in air and groundwater. 
  • Reached a favorable settlement on behalf of pipeline company in 400-plaintiff litigation involving alleged drinking water contamination from an accidental pipeline release. 
  • Obtained grant of summary judgment for a transformer manufacturer. A Mississippi municipality had asserted claims for sediment, groundwater, and surface water contamination and remediation and diminution in property value allegedly arising from PCBs, 1,4 dioxane and 1, 1 dichlorethene. 
  • Represented a car manufacturer in litigation filed by nearly 700 plaintiffs alleging personal injuries and property damages from alleged exposure to contaminants at Superfund site. Plaintiffs sought damages exceeding US$2 billion. Obtained a favorable settlement.
 
 
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