practice areas

toxic torts/environmental


HDBD's experience defending clients in toxic tort cases is extensive, covering a broad spectrum of products alleged to have caused a wide range of illnesses and injuries under many different circumstances. Our practice is further distinguished by the fact that we have tried toxic tort cases in courtrooms throughout the country.

Two challenging aspects of toxic tort defense are that (1) "invisible" chemicals worry jurors and (2) plaintiff's experts exploit this natural concern. The first step in defending against such an allegation is to thoroughly learn the science and technology involved. Because of our vast experience in product liability matters, our lawyers are skilled in diving into science and technology. We know that we have to be better prepared than the plaintiff's expert in order to dismantle him on cross-examination, and for a Daubert exclusion. The second step is to recognize and assuage the jurors' concerns. Should the matter go to trial, we have the humanity to acknowledge the plaintiff's concerns, and, in a sensitive way, explain why the exposure in question did not cause the problems at issue.

In a recent seven-week trial in Texas, fourteen Teamsters accused our plant of releasing hazardous chemicals into the air from a malfunctioning incinerator. The incinerator was burning materials it was not designed to burn. At the beginning of trial, the defense team acknowledged and conceded eight different instances of negligence. The next seven weeks were spent educating the jury on chemical reactions and air modeling in order to explain why the injuries claimed could not have been caused by our incinerator. The jury agreed 10 to 2.

Mike Terry in our Corpus Christi office has been trying asbestos cases for many years. Although some clients think these are unwinnable, Mike has won over 12 jury verdicts so far. Even better for his clients, these trial wins demonstrate that his clients are unafraid, which drives down settlement costs and defense costs as well.

While our toxic tort practice is uniquely diverse, our aggressive defense of our clients is a common element in all of the cases we have been involved in over the years. Our strong, assertive approach reflects our confidence, which stems from decades of experience defending our clients at every stage of a case, from pre-suit matters through verdict.

Our toxic tort cases include the following products and materials:

  • silica
  • benzene
  • asbestos
  • mtb
  • heavy metals
  • chemicals/solvents
  • mold
  • phthalates