Starnes Davis Florie

Toxic Torts

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At the juncture of environmental and product liability litigation, our “toxic tort” practice—which can more specifically be referred to as chemical, biotechnology, and nanotechnology exposure litigation—offers practitioners versed in matters encompassing bodies of science and jurisprudence that are mature (for example, asbestos, isocyanates, diesel fumes); still evolving (benzene and other substances); and cutting edge (biotech and nanotech products).

Toxic tort claims arise from exposure to consumer, agricultural, and industrial products; physical processes and phenomena (for example, radiation or electromagnetism); and even other living things (genetically modified organisms or “GMOs”).  The exposures occur in diverse settings and contexts—indoors and outdoors; in homes, schools, and factories; on ships and in farms; by way of dermal contact with, or breathing or other ingestion of, vapors, particulates, fluids, or organisms; and by exposure to the products or agents themselves or to their residues, wastes, or by-products.  The exposures may be chronic or acute, may produce physical debilitation over time or immediate personal injury, and may result in property damage, or they may not cause any damage or injury at all.  Such exposures have been alleged to result in human and animal illnesses and allergic reactions; “contamination” or cross-pollination of organic crops by GMOs, including genetically modified rice, corn, and alfalfa; chemical or petroleum contamination of land and water; degradation of indoor air quality by vapor intrusion; and degradation of outdoor air quality by insufficiently controlled emissions as well as having harmful effects.

The possible scenarios are virtually limitless given the ubiquity of chemicals and increasing use of biotechnology (in agricultural and aquatic applications) and nanotechnology (in appliances, coatings, electronics and computers, cosmetics, foods and beverages, and in home and garden, automotive, and medical products).  Whatever the scenario, our lawyers have the knowledge and experience necessary to address it, as well as familiarity with and access to the pertinent medical, epidemiological, toxicological, chemical, engineering, or other experts who will be needed to provide scientific testimony to address issues such as general and specific causation, medical diagnosis and prognosis, mitigation, remediation, and damages.

The firm has defended hundreds of such suits involving claims ranging from one individual to in excess of 4,000 plaintiffs.

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