Reed Smith has long been a leader in representing clients in mass tort litigation involving environmental and occupational exposure to chemicals and other substances. For decades, our toxic tort team has represented utilities; chromium and other metal processors; chemical, mining and pharmaceutical companies; and other manufacturers in mass tort cases throughout the United States and Europe.
Our team is comprised of trial veterans and attorneys with detailed knowledge of the industries and businesses in which our clients operate, and the scientific issues implicated by toxic tort litigation. We have handled litigation involving a wide range of environmental, industrial and commercial products and contaminants. Additionally, in the course of handling these cases, we have worked extensively with experts in a multitude of scientific disciplines.
We have a wealth of experience in the management and coordination of complex mass tort litigation, and we work closely with clients to handle litigation matters in an efficient and cost-effective manner. Our attorneys have played prominent roles in nationwide and international toxic tort litigation involving occupational and environmental exposure, including serving as national coordinating counsel, national science counsel, national discovery counsel and national expert counsel. We also take cases to trial, and have built an impressive record of trial victories by any standard. At the same time, we understand the business realities that clients face, and have created innovative claims and settlement procedures to resolve matters at the earliest advantageous phase, even before litigation commences.
- Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)—While Reed Smith has built a reputation for obtaining effective results in the courtroom, we also understand the high stakes involved in going to trial—reputational risk, litigation expenses and the potential for large damage awards. We take pride in assessing threats early in the process and fashioning appropriate and cost-effective resolutions. Our experience with ADR in mass torts puts us at the leading edge of law firms utilizing this practice.
- Effective Pre-Trial Management—We have extensive experience in managing national mass tort litigation and class actions, as well as individual and consolidated cases. Our attorneys are well versed in class-action procedure and have experience securing class-action dismissals, resisting certification of inappropriate classes, and structuring proper classes when appropriate in federal and state courts. We have employed innovative procedures and case management programs to cost-effectively resolve large numbers of cases, including bellwether trials, structured discovery, mini-trials and multidistrict litigation. Our lawyers have served as court-appointed liaison counsel and often take the lead in developing case management orders.
- National Counsel Roles—Our clients frequently ask us to serve as their strategic, national coordinating counsel, science counsel and discovery counsel. In these roles, we efficiently oversee and manage the defense of thousands of toxic tort actions (e.g., asbestos, silica, welding rod litigation) while ensuring all cases are being handled consistently and effectively in line with our clients’ overall strategic goals.
- Risk Mitigation—We use our experience in the courtroom to help clients avoid litigation by assessing risks up front and helping to manage risk throughout the product lifecycle. Our litigators assist businesses with proactive risk management initiatives, such as advising on warnings, packaging design and quality assurance systems (field monitoring, product recalls, safety engineering and environmental controls); performing regulatory compliance audits; developing record retention programs; and providing business communications training.
- Insurance Recovery—For more than 35 years, Reed Smith has been one of the leading law firms handling insurance coverage disputes relating to toxic tort litigation. A senior Reed Smith partner served as a principle negotiator of the so-called Wellington Agreement and founder of the Asbestos Claims Facility in 1985. In total, we have more than 70 insurance recovery attorneys in the United States and Europe, with a wide array of experience assisting companies with insurance claims arising from product liability suits.