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Chemicals and Minerals

DLA Piper has significant litigation experience involving injury caused by chemical and environmental exposure. We have represented defendants in class actions and individual actions alleging personal injury, wrongful death and diminution in property values. Our experience includes lawsuits concerning TCE, TCP, DBCP and many other chemicals. We have extensive experience defending clients in toxic tort and chemical exposure litigation involving such solvents as benzene, formaldehyde, acetone, toluene, mineral spirits, VMP naptha and 1,1,1-trichloroethane and such pesticides as permethrin and organophosphates.

We have represented numerous clients in litigation involving diseases of the lung, such as mesothelioma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, silicosis, asbestosis and other forms of pneumoconiosis. In the area of asbestos liability, we represent petrochemical companies, tool manufacturers, manufacturers of products containing asbestos and manufacturers of motor vehicles and automotive service equipment in thousands of personal injury claims. We are also experienced in defending asbestos personal injury claims involving premises liability issues, as well as claims brought by persons present in buildings during asbestos abatement activities.

In the area of silica liability, we represent a number of sand and gravel companies, as well as manufacturers of sandblasting equipment. We actively engage in studies analyzing silica residue in automotive friction products and alleged related environmental exposures. Our lawyers represent manufacturers of friction products, automotive original equipment, motorcycle original equipment, automotive service equipment and aircraft, railroad and marine equipment. DLA Piper also advises petrochemical companies, as well as companies that manufacture products associated with mining operations worldwide. We also defend environmental tort personal injury claims involving premises liability issues and claims brought by persons present in buildings or downwind during operations or abatement activities.

Specific examples of DLA Piper's recent work for chemical and mineral clients include:

  • Representing the defendants in five putative class actions arising out of the largest fire in the history of the State of Georgia.

  • Advising a number of large multinational firms, including a Japanese software and hardware manufacturer and a US-based specialty chemicals manufacturer, on the requirements on the EU REACH Regulations and providing detailed compliance strategies. This legislation, which provides for the registration, evaluation, authorization and restriction of chemicals, affects not only the chemicals sector but also most other significant manufacturing operations.

  • Representing a national propane supplier in litigation resulting from an explosion and fire that resulted in the death of four people, serious personal injuries to five others and extensive property damage. The claim for damages has been estimated to exceed US $100 million. The matter is being resolved for a fraction of the exposure.

  • Advising a multinational chemical company regarding potential dangers posed by a mixture of different component products and its responsibilities under the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 and the Control of Major Accident Hazards Regulations 1999.

  • Representing an oil corporation liquidating trust in a nationally significant environmental cost recovery case. After an eight-week trial, the court found the trust liable for only 1.72 percent of the US $33 million cleanup, millions less than sought at trial.

  • Providing a large multinational industrial undertaking with a strategy for reducing the effluents from its operations and turning them into useful byproducts rather than waste streams.

  • Acting for one of the largest paint manufacturers in Australia in a claim against the supplier of mineral sands used in texture coating products. Use of the defective product resulted in rectification work to properties in excess of $100 million. DLA Piper issued proceedings against the supplier of the mineral sands and recovered a substantial portion of the damages.

  • Representing a New England utility company that was a Potentially Responsible Person (PRP) at a former manufactured gas plant and coke plant that had operated for more than 80 years in the Boston metropolitan area. Representation included demonstrating the liability of two other PRPs for the majority of site cleanup costs and negotiating a private settlement.

  • Advising a major German chemical company on a potential indemnity for environmental liability to be granted by a regional government. DLA Piper also advised on the impact of recent environmental legislation on the business process.

  • Representing a chemical supplier’s liability insurer in a claim relating to a delivery of chemicals of inferior quality which caused a cooling system to corrode and burst, resulting in massive damage and standstill. DLA Nordic settled the dispute out of court.

  • Representing a Massachusetts client in private cost recovery action against former tenants, following a release of TCE at the client’s property. A jury awarded our client approximately US $800,000, plus prejudgment interest and a US $1.1 million lawyers’ fee award. The case established new law on a number of novel issues.

  • Advising a leading independent refiner and wholesaler of petroleum products on the issue of disclosure to authorities and third parties with regard to incident information sharing between refineries in Germany, Belgium, Switzerland and France.

  • Representing a chemical company in defending toxic tort suits arising from an explosion at one of its plants that resulted in more than US $600 million in property damage alone.

  • Advising leading chemical industries on environmental law issues relating to the remediation of refineries and chemical plants all over Europe. We performed environmental audits which served as a means of determining claims between companies.

  • Representing a major oil company in a multi-party lawsuit by the landlord of an industrial park claiming that our client’s refinery and third-party pipelines and other facilities contaminated the plaintiff’s facility in Los Angeles. The plaintiff claimed US $200 million in cleanup costs and other damages under California law and litigated the action for five years.

  • Advising a German chemical company on 65 environmental liability cases relating to chemical plants producing basic chemical substances. The claims were based on contractual agreements between the client and an outsourcing company. Issues included soil and water contamination, handling of hazardous substances and permits under emissions laws as well as health and safety, emission trading and REACH issues.

  • Advising several chemical companies on bringing a claim against the European Commission regarding its prohibition of phthalates in plastics.

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Note past results are not guarantees of future results. Each matter is individual and will be decided on its own facts.