On the Pulse…Our Environmental & Toxic Torts Practice Group

Defense Digest, Vol. 24, No. 1, March 2018

By Lila T. Wynne, Esq.*                                                                                                  

Environmental and Toxic Torts actions are not mutually exclusive. At times, the environmental litigation involving a landfill comes first, and the multi-party action involving hundreds of plaintiffs who reside nearby follows. Our Environmental and Toxic Torts Practice Group has the extensive experience and background to handle Superfund actions filed by the federal government or state cost recovery actions filed by the state, while at the same time representing our clients in proposed class actions seeking property damage and personal injury arising from exposure to landfill contaminants. These cases involve extensive motion practice, including opposing class action certification, and they are data and document intensive. Our firm’s technologies allow us to handle these types of cases with our clients’ enjoying the concomitant cost savings. We have the background to identify and lead a team of experts and consultants needed to defend our clients. We work daily with hydrogeologists, metallurgists, LSRPs, toxicologists and epidemiologists. Since 1988, we have represented clients at the following sites in New Jersey: GEMS, Buzby, Picillo Pig Farm; Chemical Control, Higgins Farm; Ciba-Geigy; Chemical Leaman; Combe Fill South; Cinnaminson; CPS/Madison Industries; D’imperio; Global Landfill; Helen Kramer; Kin-Buc; Lightman Drum; PJP Landfill; SCP Carlstadt; Shieldalloy; and Ventron/Velsicol. We have also negotiated settlements for clients in the states of New York, Connecticut, Delaware and New Mexico.

Critical to our strategy is swift identification of issues to determine whether early resolution is possible with the EPA or DEP. We have been successful in negotiating settlements with these agencies. Our strategy includes retention of experts and consultants to assist our clients in determining whether to take on the remediation or to formulate a strategy for litigation, including the development of defenses under CERCLA and the Spill Act. We have represented clients in cost-recovery claims filed by both the government and private parties; natural resource damage claims asserted by both federal and state trustees; environmental enforcement actions; insurance coverage actions; and in claims involving damages resulting from leaking underground storage tanks on former industrial, commercial or residential properties. Our team has also handled complex insurance coverage actions for carriers in state and federal court.

I am chair of our Environmental and Toxic Torts Practice Group. Since joining the firm in 1995, I have focused primarily on litigating environmental and toxic tort cases, including mass tort claims. Additionally, I handle the defense of multi-site, complex insurance coverage cases involving hazardous discharges from former industrial, commercial and landfill sites throughout New Jersey. I also handle environmental subrogation matters for one of the largest insurance carriers in the United States.

Also handling litigation in New Jersey are Sunny Sparano and Kevin Bright. Sunny is a shareholder in our Roseland, New Jersey office with over 13 years’ experience. Kevin, also a shareholder, has been with the firm since 2011, and he works with me in providing outstanding legal counsel to our clients.

In Pennsylvania, shareholders Christian Marquis and Douglas LaSota have significant experience defending environmental and toxic torts litigation matters. Most recently, Christian has been defending matters surrounding fracking related to natural gas drilling. Doug continues to leverage his degree and experience as an Industrial Engineer toward his practice.

*Lila, a shareholder, works in our Mt. Laurel, New Jersey office. She can be reached at 856.414.6026 or ltwynne@mdwcg.com.


Defense Digest, Vol. 24, No. 1, March 2018. Defense Digest is prepared by Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin to provide information on recent legal developments of interest to our readers. This publication is not intended to provide legal advice for a specific situation or to create an attorney-client relationship. ATTORNEY ADVERTISING pursuant to New York RPC 7.1. © 2018 Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin. All Rights Reserved. This article may not be reprinted without the express written permission of our firm. For reprints, contact tamontemuro@mdwcg.com.