Products, Environmental, and Mass Tort Litigation
Who We Are and What We Do
Our lawyers have spent the last thirty-five years successfully defending clients against product liability, environmental, and mass tort claims in dozens of states and across the federal court system. Clients entrust RSHC lawyers with handling individual lawsuits, class actions, consolidations, and massive, and multi-jurisdictional claims that threaten a company’s reputation and, sometimes, its ability to continue in business.
We are committed to providing our clients the protections that our legal system provides. Their due process rights are inviolable, regardless of the scale or nature of the injuries alleged.
RSHC lawyers handle matters from state Attorney General actions, regulatory and administrative agency actions, to private causes of action in the tort system. Our attorneys have dealt with a full range of diseases and traumatic injuries, including cancer, brain injuries, lung disease, amputations, burns, paralysis, and strangulations. We have defended medical devices, aircraft, heavy equipment, agricultural, automotive, construction, engine, and metal and woodworking gear. We have defended claims related to consumer goods, including children’s car seats, household furniture, table saws, household solvents, window coverings, and even cosmetics. We have defended cases involving radiation, benzene, diacetyl, fertilizers, pesticides, pharmaceuticals, silica, trichloroethylene, methane, wood dust, and asbestos.
Clients seek our counsel at various stages of a product’s life cycle, from research and development to labeling and packaging. We also help them address remedial measures where necessary, including handling recalls with the Consumer Product Safety Commission, subsequent document and information requests, and communications with the public. We understand both the regulatory framework involved and the likely interface with the tort system. We share our clients’ goal of making great products that meet all reasonable expectations for safety.
We have worked at every stage of litigation, from pre-filing negotiated settlements, through discovery, trials, and on to appeals. The appellate work our attorneys have done has resulted in scores of opinions that shape the law on key issues in key jurisdictions. For decades, we have coordinated national defense efforts on behalf of clients who were sued in many jurisdictions. We know how to create teams of local and national counsel – we know how to coordinate, and be coordinated. And we know how to defend our clients anywhere and everywhere they face accusations.
We try cases to juries across the country – and we win.
We offer our clients a serious competitive advantage: we can efficiently resolve their cases, we can try them successfully, and we can handle any appeal when necessary. Our lawyers have extensive experience managing, negotiating, and resolving claims on a national level - - as well as appearing in front of juries and trying cases to verdict. We are equally effective in our appellate practice. We have argued before panels in eight of the 13 federal circuits courts of appeal and in appellate courts in more than a dozen states.
Because we are prepared to defend our clients in court, we offer them the freedom to explore creative settlements. We have long experience negotiating imaginative solutions to resolve cases outside the tort system. Sometimes those involve establishing an independent administrative structure where future claims can be resolved expeditiously.
In addition to litigation and courtroom advocacy, our lawyers are highly-trained negotiators and dealmakers. RSHC engages in proactive education programs on the legal, scientific, and medical issues presented in our cases, as well as negotiation theory, training, and techniques. Our lawyers have been taught by some of the best academics, settlement lawyers, and dealmakers in the business, FBI Crisis Negotiation Team members, and Harvard Law School’s Program on Negotiation.
Our lawyers’ dedication to learning is matched by their commitment to teaching. Several of our attorneys have held adjunct professor positions at law schools educating the next generation of lawyers.
Our Approach and Results
At the beginning of each matter, we establish the outcomes our clients seek, their tolerance for risk, and the costs they can handle. We offer a wide variety of billing arrangements, including hourly fees and many varieties of alternative fee structures. We believe in designing litigation budgets and meeting them. We avoid unwanted surprises. In every matter, we emphasize efficiency and effectiveness.
Product liability, environmental, and mass tort cases require proof of causation and damage. We master the facts of each case and learn the business context in which they arise for our clients. We work with our clients to design a strategy and build a plan to execute it. We manage these cases carefully, seeking always to minimize the disruptions caused by discovery, depositions, and other aspects of our litigation system.
Mass tort cases present particular challenges of case management, consolidation, and strategy. Our lawyers frequently appear in state court consolidations, in federal multi-district litigation (MDL), and in putative class actions. We coordinate efficiently with other defense counsel. And we are guided by a key principle: In mass torts, anything that happens anywhere potentially matters everywhere. That is why a cohesive strategy is indispensable. The dynamic quality of mass torts, however, demands that the strategy be constantly reevaluated to ensure that it meets the current threats to the client.
Our cases often turn on scientific evidence. We have extensive experience mastering the technical nuances of our cases. For us, this is all part of preparing for trial: before we can explain a case to a jury of lay people, we must understand thoroughly the underlying principles and facts ourselves. The fruit of all that technical labor is the ability to speak directly and plainly to the people sitting in judgment of our clients.
We know the plaintiffs’ bar, and they know us. We have credibility with them. They know our word is good, that we do not posture, and that we will not blink under pressure – and we win.
We deliver value to our clients, as they define value, and align our pricing mechanism with our clients’ business needs and expectations. Our lawyers become fully invested in each matter because effective advocacy is a hands-on venture, and we believe that lean litigation teams can deliver great results in a much more cost-effective way.
Our lawyers have participated in the following matters:
- Successfully tried major consolidated trials of dozens of plaintiffs’ cases alleging catastrophic injuries. These cases served as bellwethers for the adjudication of thousands of other claims.
- Successfully resolved environmental contamination dispute between former owners of a manufacturing plant.
- Advise manufacturing clients in communications with regulators and the public regarding alleged environmental contamination.
- Defense of utility and manufacturing clients in lawsuits seeking damages and injunctive relief related to alleged environmental contamination of properties.
- Led a team that successfully resolved thousands of personal injury claims and two significant property damage claims arising from the events of 9/11.
- Successfully defend against class certifications and class allegations.
- Successfully defended against a series of cases alleging a failure properly to instruct and warn about the use of children’s car seats.
- On behalf of a successor company, continued to defend against hundreds of individual asbestos-related injury cases.
- Resolved a nationwide class action with a unique settlement involving special master assessment and determination of product liability claims against a consumer cosmetic manufacturer.
- Successfully defended product liability claims against a food equipment manufacturer alleging inherent defects and failure to warn.
- Successfully defeated novel conspiracy liability theories.
- Successfully excluded broad cancer causation opinions through federal appeal.
- Obtained multiple defense verdicts in jury and bench trials.
- Deborah Bone
- Edward Casmere
- Leslie D. Davis
- Matthew J. Fischer
- Joshua D. Lee
- Shalem A. Massey
- Meghan McMeel
- Jeffrey W. Morof
- Robert H. Riley
- Kate Stimeling
- Brian O'Connor Watson
- Yakov Wiegmann
- Jeffrey R. Williams
- Eric D. Allison
- Joy L. Anderson
- Harry Chipeta Jr.
- Jeffrey W. Gordon
- Matthew E. Lee
- Raymond D. Rushing
- Jennifer Steeve
- Jennifer Kilpatrick
- Joseph J. O'Hara, Jr.
- Dennis Santoni