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Toxic Tort

Walsworth’s toxic tort lawyers have extensive experience litigating cases involving every major toxin at issue in the last twenty years. We have represented a variety of clients, including manufacturers, distributors, retailers, material suppliers, property owners, end-users and public utilities, to name a few.

We have handled cases involving anywhere from one to tens of thousands of claimants, brought either as class actions, aggregate actions, or separately filed lawsuits spanning multiple jurisdictions. Cases we have handled include matters filed or removed to federal court, under diversity principles and under the federal Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA), as well as those placed in the federal multidistrict litigation program.

Our philosophy is to work closely with our clients to develop a defense strategy unique to each client and each case in order to obtain the client’s stated objectives in the most cost-effective way. Our case-ending approach to litigation has resulted in numerous early dismissals, successful rulings on motions for summary judgments, defense verdicts at trial and favorable settlements, all with as little impact to our clients’ bottom line as possible.

Not only are our toxic tort lawyers well-versed in all aspects of litigation discovery and pretrial fact investigation, but we have developed relationships with many of the premier defense experts in the field and have gained a comprehensive understanding of the complex science and medicine involved in defending these claims.

Our reputation as a defense firm with skilled litigators at the forefront of the latest developments in toxic tort litigation has also resulted in invitations to speak and share our knowledge with clients and at industry conferences.

The chemicals at issue in cases we handle are extensive and include:

  • Benzene and other petroleum hydrocarbons including gasoline, diesel and jet fuel
  • Volatile organic compounds and organic solvents
  • Pesticides
  • Formaldehyde
  • Styrene
  • Diacetyl
  • Paint
  • Mold
  • Lead
  • Silica
  • Welding Fumes
  • Carbon Monoxide
  • Carbide
  • Tungsten
  • Asbestos

Representative Successes

  • Harkin v. Refinery Labor Company – Successfully secured a defense verdict for a refinery labor company in a personal injury mesothelioma case alleging exposure to asbestos during work at a San Francisco Bay area refinery. Following four weeks of trial, the jury found that no asbestos exposure was attributable to the defendant company.
  • Desimone v. Select 1 Realty – Represented owners and managers of a leased residential property where the plaintiffs/tenants claimed that a four-month-old baby died as the result of exposure to mold, allegedly caused by water leaks in the home. Following the retention and review of the case by our expert, the defense position was that the baby died as the result of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). The plaintiffs ultimately accepted an extremely low value settlement.
  • LaMonica v. Consumer Products Company – Secured a defense verdict for a worldwide consumer products company in a personal injury mesothelioma case alleging exposure from a personal care product allegedly tainted with asbestos and asbestos-containing joint compound products used on the job. After more than three months of trial, the jury returned a resounding 12-0 decision for our client.
  • DePree v. Wholesale Distributor – Secured a non-suit during trial for a wholesale distributor of talc that was used in the manufacture of other products in a case involving a maintenance man who developed mesothelioma.
  • Gutierres v. Balch Petroleum, et al. – Obtained a defense verdict for a general engineering contractor after a 5-week jury trial involving claims of exposure to carbon monoxide and other exhaust fumes.
  • Graves v. Meredith – Summary judgment granted in favor of a building owner based on the statute of limitations for injuries allegedly related to its “sick building.” The court of appeal upheld the judgment and awarded costs.
  • Lee v. ITW Food Equipment Group LLC – Summary judgment granted in favor of a refrigeration equipment maintenance company based on no duty of care. Multiple plaintiffs claimed personal injuries as a result of prolonged exposure to carbon monoxide in the workplace.
  • Maxton v. Precision Specialty Metals, Inc., et al. – Demurrer granted without leave to amend based on the application of the Component Parts Doctrine to a manufacturer of metals that were incorporated into products manufactured by the plaintiff’s employer. The ruling was ultimately upheld on appeal.
  • Cervantes v. Bortz Products, Inc., et al. – Obtained a dismissal on behalf of a chemical manufacturer and distributor in a personal injury case involving alleged exposure to products containing benzene or benzene derivatives after meeting and conferring with plaintiff’s counsel regarding the client’s anticipated motion for summary judgment based on the statute of limitations.
  • Dismissal of manufacturer following hearing on a motion to quash for lack of personal jurisdiction in claim brought by a plaintiff relating to the distribution of stone products to his employer.