Mass & Toxic Torts

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Practice Leaders

Reed Smith has earned a national reputation for successfully representing leading global manufacturers and clients in a wide range of industries in high profile complex litigation in mass and toxic torts and in other types of environmental litigation. Our team has represented clients in their “bet-the-company” litigation of cases involving various consumer and safety products, pharmaceutical drugs, asbestos, benzene, volatile organic compounds, and numerous other chemicals. We are not only recognized for our courtroom trial successes in multiple jurisdictions, but we are also recognized for our experience in the national counsel role, advising clients on how to successfully manage and navigate mass and toxic torts wherever they are filed. Our mass tort litigators understand the business realities that clients face. For example, we have created innovative claims and settlement procedures to resolve matters at the earliest advantageous phase, even before litigation commences.

Our Approach

We have a wealth of experience in managing and coordinating 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.

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 mass or toxic tort actions while ensuring all cases are being handled consistently and effectively in line with our clients’ overall strategic goals.

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.

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 in 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.

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.

Environmental Litigation

Reed Smith is also a leader in litigating complex environmental claims in multiple jurisdictions across the United States. In addition to their toxic tort experience, Reed Smith partners are recognized for their successful representation of clients ranging from large multinational companies to small businesses in a wide variety of industries in matters involving, for example, CERCLA, RCRA, OSHA, climate change, water rights, endangered species and environmental state law statutes.

Insurance Recovery

For more than 40 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 was a founder of the Asbestos Claims Facility in 1985. In total, we have more than 80 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.