Environmental Law & Toxic Tort

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Environmental Law & Toxic Tort

We have assembled an interdisciplinary team of experienced attorneys specializing in product liability, toxic tort, regulatory compliance and health sciences. We have been particularly effective in successfully litigating complex corporate successor issues to extricate our clients from litigation. While we keep an eye open for reasonable settlement opportunities, if litigation is the client’s best alternative, our experienced trial lawyers employ an aggressive, strategic approach to achieve the best possible results for our clients.

  • California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) Litigation
  • Toxic Tort Litigation
  • Trace Benzene Litigation
  • Regulatory Compliance
  • Asbestos Litigation
  • Environmental Law & Toxic Tort Successes

Haight understands that builders and public entities face enormous challenges in developing projects. One of the biggest obstacles is when opponents turn to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) to stall or even stop projects. Opponents have a variety of tools at their disposal to challenge nearly every aspect of a project, from design to mitigation measures, and nearly everything in between. Haight understands these challenges and works closely with its clients to make these projects a reality instead of just a picture on a drawing board.

Our toxic tort practice is founded on the fundamental strengths of our experienced attorneys in the areas of:

  • coordination of multi-party/mass tort litigation
  • assessment of complex scientific and medical issues which are often involved in such cases
  • cost-effective use of often-scarce litigation resources to achieve maximum impact
  • law and motion
  • trial practice
  • appellate practice to address unusual legal theories or positions advanced by plaintiffs

Our attorneys have extensive litigation experience involving claims arising from benzene exposure. We were counsel for the Beverly Hills Unified School District in a trace benzene case involving 1,000 plaintiffs. The case involves numerous cancers including; non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, thyroid, breast, and testicular cancer, melanoma, and basal cell carcinoma. Our attorneys have also defended numerous benzene cases brought by ARCO refinery workers who claimed occupational exposure. We have monitored ARCO’s benzene related litigation in six western states. From our experience in these, and other trace benzene cases, including a recent pipeline exposure case involving 1,400 plaintiffs claiming benzene exposure, we are familiar with leading experts in the field, as well as the toxicological and epidemiological theories brought by plaintiffs in these types of cases. We have also used this knowledge to create an extensive “benzene database” that contains scientific, medical and exposure articles as well as epidemiological studies about benzene.

We represent clients in responding to notices of violation from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other federal and state regulatory agencies.

As plaintiffs have identified and asserted novel theories of recovery against different types of asbestos defendants, the firm’s asbestos litigation practice has expanded to meet that challenge. We represent manufacturers, distributors, and suppliers sued on strict product liability theories. Our clients include manufacturers of:

  • electrical components
  • locomotive cranes
  • industrial process and piping equipment and valves
  • chemical components used in the aerospace industry
  • specialized wire
  • tile-setting materials
  • respiratory protection equipment
  • flooring products

We also represent manufacturers of household appliances and equipment which allegedly contained asbestos-containing insulation or wiring. Our attorneys represent premises liability defendants sued for alleged asbestos exposure on property they have owned or controlled, as well as manufacturers sued for asbestos-containing friction products installed on their vehicles and equipment.

We have a long and distinguished history representing defendants in complex asbestos litigation in California. The firm represented Johns-Manville in Southern California from 1979 until its bankruptcy in 1982. Shortly before the Johns-Manville bankruptcy, Haight Brown & Bonesteel received defense verdicts in six asbestos jury trials. From 1988 to 2001, we represented the Center for Claims Resolution, a consortium of asbestos product manufacturers, producers, and distributors. The CCR defendants’ product lines included insulation, construction materials, underground cement pipe, gaskets, automotive friction materials, flooring products and raw asbestos fiber.


Kleen v. Flowserve US, Inc.
Plaintiff’s decedent died from mesothelioma, allegedly as a result of being exposed to asbestos in and around valves made by the defendant while decedent served aboard a U.S. warship in the early 1950s. Defendant decided to make this a test case and was the only remaining defendant at the time of trial. After a 4 1/2 week trial, after which the jury deliberated for a day and a half, the jury returned a complete defense verdict on all three causes of action.


Chan v. Northrop Grumman
Plaintiff alleges that he developed liver damage and requires a liver transplant (or he will expire) as a result of exposure to a number of chemicals, including lead solder, which was manufactured by our client. There are over 30 defendants involved in the case.

Lerner v. Archstone
Plaintiffs allege that their son was born with serious birth defects – no stomach, missing fingers, vision and hearing loss and brain damage – as a result of the mother’s exposure to Formaldehyde allegedly being off-gassed from a laminate wood floor. Haight represents the floor manufacturer.

Diamond v. Konica Minolta Medical Imaging
Decedent was a chiropractor who developed x-rays in his office in Beverly Hills. Plaintiffs allege that their husband/father developed leukemia and died from exposure to Hydroquinone, Glutaraldehyde and ionizing radiation. Haight represents Konica Minolta, the manufacturer of the x-ray processing machine.

Gentry v. Shaw
Plaintiffs allege that they developed serious physical injuries as a result of exposure to Toluene which is a chemical used in manufacturing carpeting and adhesives. Haight represents the manufacturer of the carpeting. Plaintiffs also claim damage for the loss of their home, which is in foreclosure, because they would not live in it nor pay the mortgage.

Moss v. Venoco, et al.
Over 1,000 plaintiffs alleged that they developed forms of cancer, and other ailments, as a result of exposure to Benzene, PCBs, Chromium 6 and other chemicals emanating from an oil well located on the Beverly Hills High School Campus and a heating and cooling plant located next to the campus. We represent the Beverly Hills Unified School District and prevailed after filing motions for summary judgment based on medical causation and government immunity.

Tennant v. TrimSpa and related cases
TrimSpa manufactures weight loss supplements. Plaintiffs claimed they developed serious physical injuries from several chemical compounds in Trimspa’s weight loss supplement. The cases settled for a nominal sum while our summary judgment motion was pending.