For several decades, K&L Gates has been heavily involved in the defense of toxic tort cases and in the development of national defense strategies in such cases. In addition to defending individual cases, the firm has coordinated national defense efforts on behalf of major industrial clients.
Our work has included the development of medical defenses and product testing reports, coordination of discovery responses, preparation of medical and product expert “state-of-the-art” reports, development of computer animations for trial presentations, and the development of integrated electronic databases to manage both documents and a centralized case docket system. Firm lawyers also have experience as lead and liaison counsel in cases involving large numbers of manufacturing defendants.
The firm has been retained on behalf of manufacturers or sellers of products containing silica, asbestos, manganese, lead pigment, benzene, PCBs, TCE, and other alleged toxins and hazardous substances, as well as pharmaceutical and chemical products and products with allegedly injurious emissions, such as welding fumes, electromagnetic fields, and radioactivity. In addition to its toxic tort product liability practice, the firm represents companies in toxic tort suits alleging injurious exposure to hazardous wastes.
K&L Gates is experienced in litigating the typical issues that have arisen in these tort cases, including proof of causation; statutes of limitations; statutes of repose; state-of-the-art defenses; alternative theories of liability, such as market share, enterprise liability, and concert of action; preemption defenses; sophisticated purchaser defenses; risk/utility analyses and defenses; cognizability of causes of action for medical monitoring, phobias, increased incidence of cancer, or other injury; and contribution among multiple tortfeasors.
Many toxic tort liability cases present similar or repetitive factual and legal issues, particularly in the context of mass torts. Significant strategic and cost advantages can be achieved by computerizing appropriate information for easier access and use in individual cases, and in groups of cases sharing common elements. K&L Gates has used automated litigation support in toxic tort and other types of cases on behalf of numerous clients.