Bowles Rice Prevails in One of West Virginia’s Largest Class Actions

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Attorneys from Bowles Rice represented an international chemical company in one of West Virginia’s largest toxic tort class actions and ensuing class action settlement. Litigation included the successful defense of a challenge by objectors to the fairness of the settlement, both before the West Virginia state courts and on petition to the United States Supreme Court.

A class action lawsuit was filed on behalf of thousands of residents living near a facility once operated by the chemical company. The complaint  alleged that unlawful burning practices and the release of the chemical by--product dioxin from the plant site into the air caused  property contamination and warranted medical monitoring for an array of health concerns.  In addition, there were almost 200 individual claims by residents and former residents  who alleged that they had cancer as a result of dioxin exposure from these releases. Through effective discovery, defense experts and motion practice, including Daubert challenges, Bowles Rice attorneys were able to position the company for a favorable settlement which reduced the alleged class area and significantly shrank the number of properties eligible for the negotiated clean-up and the number of individuals eligible to participate in medical monitoring.  Bowles Rice attorneys were also able to successfully resolve the personal injury cases without the expense of a trial.

In the end, the aggregate settlement was a fraction of the amount sought by Class Counsel and considered a successful resolution by the company.