Toxic and Environmental Tort

Toxic and environmental tort cases are costly to defend and threaten a company’s business reputation and financial health.  Such cases are governed by a complex web of federal and state laws and regulations, not to mention the procedural rules and jurisprudence of the particular jurisdiction.  In this age of social media, corporate defendants in toxic tort litigation often fall victim to negative publicity and are tried and convicted in the court of public opinion.  The financial impact could be catastrophic.  Corporate defendants need adept trial counsel to protect their brand, minimize the business impact, and aggressively defend the company throughout the arduous litigation process. 

For nearly 50 years, Porzio has defended manufacturers and distributors in personal injury and wrongful death claims arising from alleged exposure to a myriad of toxic chemicals and minerals.  We have successfully developed and executed defense strategies as lead counsel, co-counsel, and local counsel in class actions, multi-plaintiff and single-plaintiff cases.  Experienced, innovative, practical, end-result focused – this is the Porzio Advantage. 

We Partner with Our Clients

At the outset of a new matter, we partner with our clients to: 

  • Identify business concerns threatened by the lawsuit.
  • Understand the scientific, sales, and regulatory history of the product.
  • Assess Plaintiffs’ claims.
  • Define what constitutes a “win” for our clients. 
  • Devise initial defense themes.
  • Design an initial discovery plan.
  • Evaluate staffing strategies and develop an initial budget. 

Through early case assessment, we avoid “scorched earth” discovery tactics and do what is necessary to develop evidence to support defense themes at trial.  We aggressively prepare cases for trial while respecting our clients’ bottom line. 

We understand that some clients wish to avoid the expense and negative publicity attendant to long, complex trials.  Not all cases should be tried.  When our clients desire an expedited resolution, we will design and execute a defense strategy that will build a record for summary judgment while strengthening our clients’ settlement position. 

We Have Knowledge and Experience

For nearly 50 years, the Porzio Team has defended Fortune companies and small businesses in toxic tort and environmental litigation by leveraging our knowledge and experience in the following areas: 


We represent manufacturers and distributors, often in collaboration with their insurance carriers and third-party administrators, in litigation arising from alleged environmental contamination or human exposure to scores of chemicals, including the following:

  • Aromatic Amines
  • Benzene and other solvents
  • Cyanide
  • Insecticides
  • Lacquers and sealers
  • MTBE
  • Paint
  • Perchloroethylene (“PCE”)
  • PFCs
  • Resins
  • Solvents, Paints and Thinners
  • X-ray developers and fixers 

Our lawyers have the experience and tested ability to defend manufacturers and distributors against liability claims based on manufacturing, design, and warning defects.  We utilize state-of-the-art technology and project-management tactics to investigate ancient corporate documents and interview current and former employees in order to reconstruct a product’s history – from its developmental phase to its market introduction to the present day.  We are well-versed in the regulatory and industry standards for product warnings that existed both before and after the enactment of OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard (“HazCom”), and we have extensive experience litigating the interpretation and application of various HazCom regulations to our clients’ product labeling and Material Safety Data Sheets. 

We routinely work with physicians and scientists to develop expert proofs on exposure, dose-response relationship, general and specific medical causation, and damages in cases related to a wide-variety of alleged injuries, including: 

  • Acute Myeloid Leukemia
  • Bladder cancer
  • Kidney cancer
  • Liver cancer
  • Lung cancer
  • non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
  • Prostate cancer

Our approach to expert discovery is strategic and surgical, always with an eye towards disqualifying plaintiffs’ experts through Daubert-type challenges – including Rubanick/Kemp challenges in New Jersey.  We have successfully litigated such challenges through complex admissibility hearings in New Jersey state court. 

Asbestos, Silica and Talc

Since the mid-1970s, the Porzio team has been at the cutting edge of asbestos and silica litigation in New Jersey and across the country.  For 25 years, we served as national counsel to a major asbestos mining company at the trial and appellate levels and successfully navigated our client through the legal morass that destroyed other major manufacturers.  Today, we continue to serve as national counsel and as New Jersey and New York counsel for major manufacturers in product and premises liability claims involving employee, contractor and household exposure to asbestos, silica and talc.  Our lawyers utilize discovery to develop facts to support liability, product identification and exposure defenses, with an eye towards summary judgment or securing a voluntary dismissal for our clients.

Class Actions

Plaintiffs’ lawyers attempt to utilize the class actions to aggregate large numbers of people with small or non-existent injuries who ultimately seek long-term medical monitoring.  We have particular experience in defending class actions claims arising from alleged environmental contamination brought under Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (“RCRA”), as well as theories of strict liability, public and private nuisance, and trespass.

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