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Environmental Litigation and Alternative Dispute Resolution

Thompson & Knight represents a number of Fortune 100 clients in environmental litigation and toxic tort cases. Our attorneys have also represented clients in alternative dispute resolution, such as arbitration and mediation, to resolve conflicts concerning environmental matters among parties to transactions or in the litigation context.

Overview

Environmental tort matters, which are private actions for damages and injunctive relief, often blur the traditional line between toxic tort and environmental litigation and involve allegations of contamination of environmental media such as air, groundwater, and surface water. To handle such matters effectively and efficiently, we draw on expertise from both our environmental and trial practices.

Thompson & Knight is “well respected for its deep environmental expertise” and “boasts a strong litigation bench .” – Chambers USA 2019

Thompson & Knight represents a number of Fortune 100 clients in environmental litigation and toxic tort cases. Issues in this area encompass challenges to the actions of local, state, and federal agencies and personal injury and property damage litigation regarding the impact of releases from exploration and production of oil and gas, crude and product pipeline operations, petroleum refineries, chemical plants, steel mills, and cement plants. Our attorneys have also represented clients in alternative dispute resolution, such as arbitration and mediation, to resolve conflicts concerning environmental matters among parties to transactions or in the litigation context.

Other examples of cases our attorneys have handled include pesticide and herbicide litigation; multi-party toxic exposure cases, including alleged exposure to benzene and other chlorinated solvents; vinyl chloride exposure cases; and groundwater contamination and air emissions cases. Our attorneys have developed expertise in toxicology, epidemiology, neurology, air modeling, hematology, and various other scientific disciplines, and are skilled at debunking junk science claims and handling Daubert issues involving admissible expert testimony.

We have advised clients about liability resulting from the release of other hazardous substances (including those to which the client did not contribute). We tackle the toughest cases, such as securing a jury verdict in favor of our rubber factory client in a major case involving the so-called “chemical soup” theory, and defending class actions brought against a petrochemical company by 800 downwind neighbors.

50

More than 50 years of experience representing clients in environmental legal issues

Received a top national ranking for Environmental Litigation in U.S. News - Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” 2019

Honored among the top firms in the nation for Environment: Litigation and Environment: Regulatory in The Legal 500 US 2018 by Legalease

Experience

  • Obtained summary judgments against more than 200 plaintiffs seeking property damages and personal injuries due to their proximity to a Superfund site
  • Represented an insurance company on a coverage question over alleged personal injury and property damage from a major west Texas chemical plant’s activities
  • Defended a joint venture of two global petroleum companies in four lawsuits (including three class actions) alleging property damage and personal injury from a pipeline break that spilled gasoline into a creek that feeds a major water source of the City of Dallas
  • Defended an inorganic chemical company against threatened litigation by the state of Texas over a closed plant site, negotiating a groundwater investigation and risk assessment
  • Defended an organic chemical and plastics company against a suit by neighborhood residents alleging personal injury and property damage from plant emissions
  • Defended a steel mill in a federal lawsuit alleging hazardous waste law violation
  • Defended a steel mill when an adjacent landowner threatened a lawsuit over the alleged release of heavy metals and the impact on his property and cattle operation
  • Defended a major oil company in litigation alleging property damage and personal injury due to releases from pipeline operations
  • Defended a major oil company against threatened litigation under the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) and Resource Conservation Recovery Act (RCRA)
  • Defended a distribution company against two toxic tort cases in which 150 of a Texas plant’s neighboring landowners alleged water contamination and 200 employees alleged medical conditions because of waste disposal practices
  • Defended several major corporations when another major corporation sought a third party action to involve them in a lawsuit by residents alleging personal injuries caused by releases from a Superfund site; persuaded the corporation to drop its action against our clients
  • Defended a major oil company when several hundred persons living near a major Houston area Superfund site sued for personal injury and property damage
  • Defended a major oil company in a property damage and personal injury lawsuit over alleged hydrocarbon releases from a marketing terminal into the groundwater, coordinating administrative enforcement action and the litigation to settle the case on favorable terms
  • Defended a commercial construction company in an environmental nuisance case involving air emissions and noise, securing summary judgment for our client
  • Defended a major chemical and manufacturing company when a federal cost recovery action over a west Texas Superfund site alleged that its plating operations contaminated groundwater
  • Represented a client in an arbitration over environmental matters that remained unresolved following the closing of an oil and gas transaction