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Toxic Torts

Effectively defending against complex toxic tort and environmental litigation takes more than deft motions and courtroom maneuvering. Our deep bench of environmental litigators bring a wealth of litigation experience in every aspect of federal and state environmental and toxic tort law — including hazardous substances and toxic wastes, chemicals and pesticides, Superfund and NRD liability, contaminated property, and citizen suits. We combine trial and appellate experience with deep regulatory know-how that comes from extensive experience with state and federal regulatory proceedings and prior senior-level government positions to achieve results for our clients. Because our practice is renowned for the sophisticated nature of our work, including in high-profile toxic tort class actions, significant enforcement actions, and novel cases involving climate change and public nuisance issues, clients turn to us for our experience, acumen, and record of results in complex and high-stakes toxic tort litigation.

  • National Counsel: We bring a deep bench of lawyers who have an established reputation serving as lead or national counsel in complex toxic tort litigations for industry-leading companies.

  • Class Action Defense: Our team, known for developing innovative ways to defeat class actions in federal and state cases, has prevailed in cases seeking medical monitoring, property damage, and other claims by thousands of plaintiffs.

  • Chemicals Expertise: We have litigated cases involving a broad spectrum of chemicals, including chromium, lead, PCBs, TCE, dioxins, uranium, NORM, HAPs, PFOA, and other PFAS, among others.

Experience Highlights

  • Honeywell in defending against RCRA citizen lawsuits involving approximately three million tons of COPR used as fill at the Terminal, and also secured the dismissal of personal injury claims related to exposure to chromium ore processing residue.
  • Mosaic in a putative class action on behalf of residents of two communities in Florida alleging property damages and an increased risk of disease from purportedly elevated levels of naturally occurring radiation on reclaimed mining lands.
  • Pfizer in defending claims by a municipal utility that the company contributed to PCB contamination of the sewer system in Milwaukee.
  • Wolverine World Wide Inc. in three federal putative class action tort lawsuits and more than 200 individual personal injury and property damage lawsuits arising from the alleged presence of PFAS in drinking water in the vicinity of Rockford, Michigan.
  • BP in 20 novel climate change lawsuits filed by state and local governments in California, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, South Carolina, and Washington, and by a fishermen's trade association, alleging that greenhouse gas-driven sea-level rise is currently damaging their coastal communities and civil infrastructures.
  • Atlantic Richfield Company since 1991 in nationwide governmental and private plaintiff litigation asserting public nuisance, class action, economic injury, property damage, and personal injury claims arising from long-ago production of lead pigments formerly used in paints. Won all four cases that have gone to trial, disposed of hundreds more by motion and successfully defended these victories in several federal courts of appeal and highest state courts.
  • Honeywell, as lead toxic tort litigation counsel, in defending a consolidated class action and ≈52 individual toxic tort suits arising out of the presence of PFOA in the groundwater and municipal water supply of Hoosick Falls, New York.
  • BP and ARCO as lead counsel for numerous cases originating on the West Coast involving the gasoline additive MTBE and as co-national coordinating counsel in ongoing national MDL proceedings involving MTBE. The proceedings involved nearly 100 lawsuits and hundreds of parties complaining of groundwater contamination from MTBE. Since 1999, we have successfully resolved all of the West Coast MTBE naming BP or ARCO as a defendant and, during MDL proceedings, we participated actively in developing strategic and tactical priorities for the joint-defense group as a whole.
  • Honeywell in successful defense of a putative toxic tort class action seeking medical monitoring and property damage claims related to ≈135 sites in Jersey City, NJ, allegedly contaminated by chromium.
  • Whirlpool Corporation, as lead counsel, in two mass tort alleged "cancer cluster" cases involving several dozen of the company's plants. These actions included wrongful death claims for allegedly causing multiple cases of childhood cancers in the communities as well as property damage claims. The cases were dismissed with prejudice.

Key Contacts

Michael D. Daneker
Michael D. Daneker
Washington, D.C.
+1 202.942.5177
Brian D. Israel
Brian D. Israel
Washington, D.C.;
Los Angeles
+1 202.942.6546 +1 213.243.4005
Elissa J. Preheim
Elissa J. Preheim
Washington, D.C.
+1 202.942.5503
See All Related Professionals

Related Services


  • The Legal 500 US
    Environment: Litigation (2022)
    Product Liability, Mass Tort and Class Action: Toxic Tort—Defense (2022)
  • Chambers USA
    Environment (Nationwide, DC, California) (2021–2022)
    Shortlist—Awards for Excellence in Environment (including Climate Change) (2019)