Toxic Tort

  • Represented one of Louisiana’s largest private landowners in New Orleans state court in the defense of putative class action litigation involving claims by hundreds of  homeowners who alleged that they were exposed to Normally Occurring Radioactive Material (“NORM”) from decades of oil production pipe cleaning activity.  The Louisiana appeals court affirmed the trial court’s denial of class certification.
  • Obtained summary judgment in Bronx County, New York on behalf of an acrylic plastic manufacturer in the Happy Land Social Club Fire Litigation, in which 87 people lost their lives in an arson fire at an illegal social club.  
  • Tried a toxic tort case in federal court in Biloxi, Mississippi defending a chemical manufacturer in which community residents asserted fear of cancer and increased risk of disease claims as a result of soil and air contamination. 
  • Defended trash-to-energy agency in mass tort claim arising from suspected release of methane gas from a Connecticut landfill facility which resulted in the forced evacuation and relocation of the surrounding community.

Food, Drugs, & Medical Devices

  • Successful defense of New York consumer class litigation involving androstenedione and norandrostenedione supplements  in which plaintiffs alleged that prohormone supplements marketed by the defendant falsely claimed that the product was effective in building lean muscle mass. 
  • Coordinated the national defense of pharmaceutical products liability cases involving an oral anti-diabetic drug banned by the FDA as an “imminent hazard” to public health and safety
  • Obtained summary judgment in federal court in Bridgeport, Connecticut in a pharmaceutical product liability case, Swoverland v. GlaxoSmithKline, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 127753 (D. Conn.)  in which plaintiff alleged that the combination of a prescription sleep aid and anti-depressant medication triggered a severe depression and attempted murder/suicide of himself and his daughter.

Environmental

  • Lead trial counsel for plaintiff in Reichhold, Inc. v. United States Metals, et al., 655 F.Supp.2d 400, a CERCLA private cost recovery litigation, which  resulted in a judgment for plaintiff following a ten week bench trial in 2009 in federal district court in Newark, New Jersey. The case, which was brought pursuant to CERCLA and the New Jersey Spill Act, addressed claims relating to the cleanup of plaintiff’s former chemical plant in Carteret, N.J., along the Arthur Kill tidal strait, which separates New Jersey and Staten Island. In ruling on behalf of Reichhold, the court found that plaintiff had successfully demonstrated that the damages caused by the defendant were “divisible” and that defendant’s manufacturing and disposal activity was solely responsible for widespread metals contamination on plaintiff’s property and adjoining waterway.
  • Lead trial counsel for plaintiff in Reichhold Chems. v. Textron, 157 F.R.D. 522 (N.D.Fla), a CERCLA private cost recovery litigation, which resulted in plaintiff recovering significant cleanup contributions from prior chemical plant owners and adjacent landowners. The case is particularly noteworthy because the court prevented disclosure of plaintiff’s sensitive documents in discovery on the ground that they were protected by the privilege of self-critical analysis, the first time any federal district court had applied the self-evaluative privilege in an environmental audit context.  
  • Successful defense of CERCLA cost recovery, contractual and corporate veil piercing claims in federal district court in Milwaukee, Wisconsin arising from the discharge of toxic metal waste at the Oak Creek Facility in Oak Creek, Wisconsin.
  • Tried to verdict two environmental contamination cases in federal courts in New York brought pursuant to the Navigation Law, New York’s spill act, on behalf of a major oil company. In one of those cases, CDR-Wantagh, et. al v. Shell Oil, et. al., 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 28007, tried in the Eastern District of New York, plaintiffs alleged that their commercial development of a bank building at a former service station site was significantly delayed due to defendants’ alleged failure to timely complete remediation on the property and obtain a “no further action” letter from NYDEC, a requirement under the terms of the service station lease. After a bench trial, the court entered judgment for defendants and awarded attorneys’ fees on their counter-claim as the “prevailing party” under the terms of the service station lease.

Environmental ADR

Bill was a pioneer in using alternative dispute resolution to craft creative solutions to resolve bitterly contested multi-party homeowner diminution of property value claims in the wake of serious environmental events. He adopted mediation tactics developed by the Harvard Negotiation Project to develop Value Assurance Programs to successfully address these types of claims.  At its essence, a Value Assurance Program is a voluntary agreement between a corporation and residents of affected communities negotiated pursuant to principled negotiation concepts. The agreement guarantees that a homeowner’s home equity will not be jeopardized should the homeowner sell his/her home during an ongoing environmental remediation. Bill published an article concerning this unique use of alternative dispute resolution in a Law Review article titled, “The Use of Principled Negotiation in Resolving Environmental Disputes”, which was published in the American Journal of Trial Advocacy (1993).

In the 1990’s, Bill assisted a major oil pipeline company in creating a Value Assurance Program to address over 1,000 diminution of property value claims in the Weaver Woodlands Allotment of Franklin Township, Ohio, arising from benzene contamination in private wells caused by a leaking petroleum products pipeline.

Bill employed these principled negotiation concepts in assisting a consortium of energy companies during the planning of an oil pipeline that today extends from land-locked Baku in Azerbaijan, through the former Soviet Republic of Georgia, and north to the Turkish port of Ceyhan. In that matter, Bill assisted the oil pipeline consortium in resolving an environmental stigma claim brought by a Georgian natural water bottling company, whose water was sourced from a groundwater aquifer situated along the pipeline’s intended route.

After replacing embattled prior defense counsel, Bill resolved through mediation 42 homeowner toxic tort cases, alleging that air contamination from a polymer manufacturing facility in their rural Connecticut neighborhood had caused widespread personal injuries and property damage, on behalf of a corporate client that then Attorney General Richard Blumenthal famously labelled the “worst polluter in the history of Connecticut”.

Between 2015-2017, Bill settled through mediation, on behalf of an agricultural chemical client, who had publicly admitted responsibility, multiple seven-figure claims brought by golf course owners in New York, Connecticut, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, which alleged that a contaminant contained in the client’s fungicide had destroyed the greens on the courses.