If you are up against a significant environmental tort claim, contact Kristin M. Lausten to discuss your case. Kristin is experienced in handling environmental contamination and toxic exposure cases for individuals and companies of all sizes. She is well-versed in federal and state environmental laws and regulations as well as the laws addressing environmentally linked tort claims.
Kristin will conduct an in-depth review of the claims and work with industry experts to build your case. She believes in being trial-ready at all times, even if your goal is to avoid lengthy litigation. Such an organized, aggressive approach from the outset, with the goal of pursuing the best possible outcome of the class action or mass tort claim results in more favorable outcomes.
Toxic Tort Claims
Toxic tort claims are a type of personal injury or wrongful death claim in which a plaintiff argues that exposure to a dangerous substance caused their injury or the death of a relative. Toxic torts are rarely singular lawsuits between one plaintiff and a company, though they can be. Toxic torts are often brought as a class action or mass tort claims.
A class action includes a group of plaintiffs, known as a class, which is represented by one individual, the class representative. In defending against class actions, a toxic tort defense attorney is going up against one or more firms that are working on behalf of the class representative and the rest of the class. All—or most—of the allegedly injured individuals are represented. Some individuals may elect to not be part of the class and may file a separate toxic tort claim.
However, more often with toxic tort claims, corporations and their insurers must defend against mass torts, which include a group of allegedly injured individuals each filing their own lawsuits. Because there are a significant number of related lawsuits, the courts consolidate the suits into one court system. Occasionally, the court will consolidate the claims into a small handful of cases. In mass tort claims, corporations and their insurers must defend against each individual lawsuit, and each suit may have a unique outcome.
Industries Targeted With Toxic Tort Claims
Almost any industry can be hit with an environmental claim; however, some are targeted more often than others. Kristin often represents people with claims in the following industries:
- Food and Beverage Industry
- Oil and Natural Gas
- Software & Electronics
Common Toxic Tort Claims
Toxic tort claims often arise out of one of three scenarios. One of the most common is a workplace or occupational exposure. Many toxic tort claims are brought by workers who were allegedly routinely exposed to a toxic substance such as asbestos, benzene, or silica over time. Another common scenario is environmental exposure, such as air pollution or groundwater contamination. In this situation, the individuals within the class or the plaintiffs are often from a specific geographic area. A third common scenario is a drug, which despite Food and Drug Administration approval, has allegedly caused a group of people with a similar medical condition or harm.
Some of the most common toxic tort claims involve:
- Lead Paint
- Pharmaceutical Drugs
- Consumer Products
- Toxic Mold
- Toxic Waste
- Hazardous Premises
Toxic tort claims may involve federal environmental regulations including:
Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA)
This statute, also known as Superfund, was passed in 1980 in response to hazardous waste practices. A focus of the law is to identify and clean up waste disposal sites that may be a threat to the environment or public health. These sites are known as Superfund Sites. The other focus of the law is to identify the parties responsible for Superfund Sites and to either require those parties to clean up the site or pursue environmental remediation or to require those parties to pay some of the cost associated with cleaning up the site. Additionally, CERCLA is responsible for up-to-date underground storage tank protocols and guidelines.
Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA)
This law, enacted in 1976, gave the EPA the power to establish management protocols for hazardous and non-hazardous solid waste. The law plays an important part in managing municipal and industrial waste and underground storage tanks. It gives the EPA the power to control hazardous waste management from “cradle to grave”—or generation through its disposal. The law applies to all hazardous waste generators, which means any business creating hazardous waste that must be moved, treated, stored, and disposed of, although the regulations treat the three classes of waste generators slightly differently.
Toxic Tort Defense
Toxic Torts defense is related to both mass torts and environmental litigation in that it often involves claims of environmental contamination and toxic exposure issues, such as, litigation arising out of asbestos.
Kristin M. Lausten has experience practicing in mass torts and environmental litigation, especially when it comes to defense of class actions. Kristin’s clients represent a variety of industries, ranging from food and beverage, to oil and gas, as well as agricultural, chemical, pharmaceutical, construction, energy, software, mining, and more. This also includes companies that possess secured interests in and/or insure companies and property alleged to be contaminated. Kristin has also represented clients that were manufacturers of pharmaceutical drugs, chemicals, pesticides, and other products.
Kristin has also defended companies and private parties against injury and wrongful death claims brought in conjunction with toxic exposure claims, specifically those involving asbestos, lead paint, herbicides, benzene and other products. Many of these defense claims involve the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).
- Multi-defendant toxic tort actions involving claims of on-site exposure to toxic chemicals;
- Premises liability claims/defendants;
- Class actions brought in state and federal court with hundreds of plaintiffs claiming they suffered due to exposure to chemicals on-site;
- Asbestos cases alleging exposure causing mesothelioma;
- Representing various major oil companies in actions brought under CERCLA and/or RCRA; and
- Representing companies in reaching settlements in groundwater contamination and/or nuisance and property damage claims;
Panel Counsel and Major Claims Counsel
The course of litigation and litigation strategy involved in resolving toxic tort disputes is highly factual and made in consultation with the client and their desired objectives. When looking for an attorney, you want to ensure that you work with someone who understands that toxic tort disputes can sometimes jeopardize an entire business’ reputation and profitability.
Kristin M. Lausten provides panel counsel and major claims counsel services for insurers and TPAs handling work throughout Louisiana and elsewhere in the Gulf States.
Aggressive Toxic Tort Representation
If you may be involved in a toxic tort lawsuit in regard to an environmental matter or allegedly defective product, Kristin is here to help. Whether you are an international pharmaceutical manufacturer, major tech company, individual who has been harmed, or local landowner, you need an experienced and aggressive toxic tort attorney to represent you. Kristin is experienced in handling complex environmental and product liability claims, including litigation involving multiple parties. She will thoroughly investigate the circumstances surrounding the claim, analyze the available evidence, and provide a candid recommendation for the best next steps. While Kristin believes in always being trial-ready, she understands your goal may not be to pursue litigation. Instead, Kristin may develop a strategy focused on obtaining an advantageous settlement.