Wheeler Trigg O'Donnell lawyers represent major companies that use and dispose of chemicals and other regulated substances in the production and distribution of their products. We routinely try lawsuits involving alleged breaches of environmental warranties; contamination liabilities and related insurance issues; toxic torts related to pharmaceuticals, asbestos, and oil and gas; and personal injury. We also have extensive experience defending a variety of torts in class action and multidistrict litigation.
As national trial counsel to General Electric, Pfizer, Whirlpool, and other manufacturers, WTO lawyers are very familiar with the medical and causation issues associated with claims of current and historical toxic exposure.
WTO's clients often require legal assistance at the onset of a crisis in anticipation of tort and commercial claims. We are prepared to respond immediately to client emergencies to help avoid or mitigate legal liability. Several of our lawyers have had formal media training and have appeared on numerous local and national news programs.
WTO lawyers know the complex federal and state statutes and regulations at the heart of environmental cases as well as the science associated with regulated substances. We understand the technical aspects of environmental law, can speak in technical terms with engineers and scientists, and have broad experience translating those technical and scientific concepts to lay jurors, judges, and arbitrators.
- Won exclusion via Daubert challenge of a star medical-causation expert—twice—in two living mesothelioma cases in California and North Carolina federal court.
- Won summary judgment for General Electric in a seven-figure mesothelioma case in plaintiff-friendly Ramsay County, Minnesota. The win came less than a month before trial, and marks WTO's second asbestos victory of 2021 in this challenging jurisdiction.
- Represented a brewery owner after an explosion in Virginia caused by methane by-products in a wastewater tank killed two people.
- Won voluntary dismissal in federal court in Colorado for a major gas station company facing federal and state toxic tort claims brought by a real estate developer. The plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed their claims after WTO demonstrated that the gas station's underground gas tanks did not contaminate the plaintiffs' adjacent land and water.
- Texas v. New Mexico & Colorado (U.S.) - Argued before the U.S. Supreme Court in a case involving administration of an interstate water compact governing a river system that provides drinking water and irrigation to over six million people in three U.S. States and Mexico.
- Taylor, et al. v. Michelin North America, Inc., et al. (N.D. Okla. 2017) - Representing Michelin and Goodrich Corp. against claims brought by more than 100 plaintiffs alleging groundwater contamination by benzene and other chemicals from a long-closed tire manufacturing plant in Oklahoma. Claims include nuisance, trespass, unjust enrichment, and RCRA violations.
- New Mexico v. Colorado (U.S.) - Won a complete victory in the U.S. Supreme Court in an interstate pollution case claiming hundreds of millions of dollars in damages. Convinced the U.S. Department of Justice to file a brief supporting the client's position.
- Sawyer v. Foster Wheeler (4th Cir. 2017) - Won for Foster Wheeler in an asbestos failure to warn case involving the government contractor defense. The Fourth Circuit reversed and remanded to the district court following WTO's arguments that evidence set forth by Foster Wheeler was sufficient to demonstrate a colorable defense establishing federal jurisdiction.
- Ripley v. Foster Wheeler (4th Cir. 2016) - Won for Foster Wheeler in an asbestos failure to warn case involving the government contractor defense. The Fourth Circuit reversed and remanded to the district court following WTO's arguments in this matter of first impression.
- Brown v. Whirlpool (N.D. Ohio 2014) - Obtained dismissal of class action allegations and 15 of 17 claims against Whirlpool in an environmental toxic tort case. Plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed their remaining claims after the court's ruling.
- Friedland v. TIC & Geosyntec Consultants, 566 F.3d 1203 (10th Cir. 2009) - Won affirmation of a trial court's summary judgment ruling and exposed "pollution for profit" in protracted CERCLA litigation for our engineering client before the Tenth Circuit.
- Retained as lead trial counsel to defend General Electric against claims brought by more than 100 NATO soldiers for cancer-causing exposure to ionizing radiation from missile systems used during the Cold War. Settled all 40 related cases for what would have amounted to approximately two months' worth of defense costs.
- Won a jury defense verdict for Conoco following a six-week trial involving claims by the town of Castle Rock, Colorado that a leaking Conoco underground storage tank had contaminated the town's municipal drinking water.
- Represented Coors in the settlement of CERCLA litigation brought by the City and County of Denver regarding the Lowry Landfill.
- Defended Conoco against toxic tort litigation brought by an oil refinery and relating to the joint remediation of the two companies' adjacent refineries.
- Headed up Exxon's Underground Storage Tank litigation team, trying one case successfully to verdict and supervising the litigation of approximately 12 other cases.
- Served as lead counsel to Valero in a series of four arbitrations involving cost-sharing disputes over environmental cleanup at a gasoline refinery in Denver, CO.