Toxic Torts and Products Liability

Since the beginning of mass and toxic tort litigation in the 1980s, Kelley Drye litigators have served as trial counsel to some of the world’s largest manufacturers in headline-making lawsuits and class actions involving PCBs, Agent Orange, latex gloves, breast implants, environmental claims, asbestos and the Bhopal, India disaster, to name just a few.

We move swiftly to ensure the most effective course of action to protect a company’s interests and safeguard their brand. Our experience ranges from the defense of single plaintiff claims to representation in complex multiparty claims and class actions involving hundreds of thousands of claimants. We’ve served as national coordinating counsel for clients facing federal multi-district litigation (MDL) nationwide, strategically managing resources and local counsel to provide cost-effective defense.

We have extensive technical knowledge, and our lawyers understand epidemiology, toxicology, engineering and other scientific disciplines crucial to efficient, strategic and successful representation in toxic torts and products liability cases. We have worked with the prominent experts and also have PhD-level skills in-house, providing for technically informed legal advice and strategy. Kelley Drye attorneys have developed a significant track record of successes in Daubert hearings, dispositive motions at trial and on appeal. Our courtroom-tested litigation talents and our more than four decades of experience are why companies across a wide range of commercial, medical, technological and industrial sectors have turned to us to defend them in these complex cases.

Our experience includes both individual claims and large-scale cases involving a wide range of industries and products:

  • Petroleum and petroleum products
  • Medical devices and products
  • Building products and coatings
  • Semiconductor industry chemicals
  • Chemicals and their by-products
  • Herbicides, pesticides and agricultural chemicals
  • Transportation

Additionally, as part of our work with railroads and other transportation clients, the attorneys at Kelley Drye are also called upon to respond to transportation-related accidents involving train derailments, chemical releases and personal injuries. We work directly with engineers and safety-expert witnesses to determine the root causes of accidents and have developed strategies and tools to mitigate the impacts of incidents where possible. Because we assist our clients from the initial phases of accident response and investigation, we are especially well equipped to handle resulting toxic tort claims that may arise from these incidents.

Team Members
  • Baumbach v. ExxonMobil, et al., New York Supreme Court/Spiroff v. ExxonMobil, et al., E.D. New York and New York Supreme Court
    Representing BP Products North America Inc. in a putative federal court class action and 18 state court cases brought by over 600 residents of Greenpoint, Brooklyn, alleging in excess of $1 billion in property damages and personal injuries due to a large oil spill.
  • Cruz-Aponte, et al. v. Caribbean Petroleum Corp., et al., Puerto Rico Federal and State Courts
    Representing Air BP in a series of putative class actions and individual cases arising out of an explosion at a fuel terminal.
  • The Hartz Mountain Corporation v. Hartz Mountain Industries, Private Arbitration
    Successfully represented The Hartz Mountain Corporation in a dispute over the obligation to pay for the remediation of an insecticide formulation factory in Mississippi. The arbitrator found for our client on all issues.
  • Clark v. Dictaphone Corporation, et al., W.D. Missouri
    Represented Dictaphone Corporation in a products liability action for personal injuries arising from the plaintiff’s exposure to hydrogen sulfide gas at a pesticide manufacturing plant in Kansas City, allegedly due to a faulty hydrogen sulfide gas detector manufactured by the client. A favorable settlement was obtained after lengthy discovery and while a summary judgment motion was pending.
  • Smith, et al. v. The Hartz Mountain Corporation, N.D. Ohio
    Obtained a dismissal on the grounds of preemption under the Federal Insecticide Fungicide and Rodenticide Act of product liability claims alleging injuries to the plaintiffs due to exposure to pesticides in animal flea and tick products.
  • O.K. Petroleum, et al. v. West Hempstead Water District, et al., N.Y. Supreme Court, Nassau County
    Represented a former subsidiary of Hess in a case seeking contribution for MTBE allegedly impacting municipal water wells. Obtained a dismissal of the case for our client after motion practice.
  • Representing the state of New Mexico in cutting-edge litigation stemming from the Gold King Mine spill into the Animas River in the Southwestern United States.
  • Representing the District of Columbia related to the Anacostia River and the San Diego Unified Port District in connection with PCB-related contamination in and around San Diego Bay.
  • Representing an oil company in toxic tort litigation involving over 300 plaintiffs claiming cancer, lupus, autoimmune disease and a variety of other respiratory and neurological illnesses. Obtained a complete defense verdict at trial and won various Daubert challenges.
  • Represented a drum storage facility in cases involving worker exposure to solvents and metals. Favorably settled hundreds of claims for less than 10 percent of demand.
  • Obtained dismissal of client from multi-defendant and multi-plaintiff exposure case at a pesticide formulation facility in South Texas.
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