Williams & Connolly lawyers have extensive experience representing corporations in civil litigation involving allegations of personal injury, property damage, or economic loss due to environmental exposure to industrial or other chemicals. In these cases, the firm has represented clients in a wide range of industries, including chemical manufacturing, oil and gas, transportation, industrial equipment, and medical and consumer products. The cases have involved situations where the client site was the source of the chemical releases at issue as well as cases where the releases were the result of downstream parties’ use or misuse of the client’s product.
The firm also has extensive experience defending corporations and executives in criminal investigations involving the Clean Water Act (“CWA”), the Clean Air Act (“CAA”), the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (“RCRA”), and the Toxic Substances and Control Act (“TSCA”), as well as various state environmental statutes. The firm has represented entities and individuals in the manufacturing, refining, shipping, airline and agricultural industries, among others.
Some of the firm’s representations include:
- Serving as lead and national counsel for Tyco Fire Products in federal MDL alleging personal injuries and economic damages relating to the use of aqueous film-forming foams (AFFF) at military bases and other facilities to extinguish fuel-based fires.
- Representing Pfizer in litigation alleging that a former manufacturing site, which produced various medications, discharged chemicals that contained per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (“PFAS”) into a nearby local water supply, causing economic and other damages.
- Represented Atlantic Richfield Co. before the U.S. Supreme Court and secured a ruling holding that Superfund site landowners cannot sue defendants to implement an alternative cleanup plan that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has not approved (Atlantic Richfield Co. v. Christian, 590 U.S. ___ (2020)).
- Represented a large international steel manufacturer in litigation alleging that air and dust emissions from a steel manufacturing plant contained toxic chemicals that caused cancers, other serious personal injuries, and property damage to dozens of plaintiffs in the surrounding neighborhood.
- Represented Bayer CropScience in connection with a putative nationwide class action alleging that a pesticide caused harm to honeybee populations as well as other economic damages.
- Represented a large medical device company in connection with multiple lawsuits filed in the U.S. and Costa Rica alleging that a radiation unit used to treat cancer patients malfunctioned and caused serious personal injury to over a hundred patients.
- Represented a chemical manufacturing company against landowners alleging groundwater contamination following a jury trial. Claims for damages and remediation costs were in excess of $100 million.
- Represented an energy company in a six-year litigation before the Delaware Superior Court involving 50 plaintiffs alleging a link between environmental exposure to airborne coal ash dust and birth defects.
- Represented a manufacturer in lawsuits across the country involving claims for personal injury, property damage, and/or other harms allegedly caused by release of chemicals from the client’s manufacturing facilities or customer sites. The firm also defended the same client against tort and Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (“CERCLA”) claims brought by municipal water suppliers concerning the discharge of chemicals into a river.
- Represented British Petroleum in connection with a medical benefits class settlement agreement covering certain claims related to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
- Represented CSX Transportation in the settlement and class action fairness hearing in a Louisiana class action (of approximately 10,000 class members) involving a tank car leak of allegedly hazardous materials and a subsequent fire.