Cal R. Burnton: Lawyer with Edwards Wildman Palmer LLP

Cal R. Burnton

Chicago,  IL  U.S.A.

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Practice Areas

  • Complex Litigation
  • Class Action
  • Toxic Tort
  • Product Liability
  • Commercial Litigation
  • Environmental & Regulatory Compliance Litigation
  • Environmental
  • Aviation and Aerospace
  • Consumer Products & Retail
  • Manufacturing
University University of Wisconsin, B.B.A., 1978
Law SchoolMarquette University, J.D., 1981
Admitted1981, Wisconsin; 1983, Illinois; U.S. Supreme Court; U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois (Trial Bar member); U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Wisconsin; U.S. District Court, Western District of Wisconsin; U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit; U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit


Wildman Harrold Professional Standards Committee, 1998-2011
Wildman Harrold Diversity Committee, 2009- 2011
Defense Research Institute
Illinois State Bar Association
International Association of Defense Counsel
Wisconsin State Bar Association
Staff Attorney, United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, 1981-1983
National Institute for Trial Advocacy

BornGreen Bay, Wisconsin, January 21, 1956

Cal Burnton is a partner and co-chair of the Litigation Department of Edwards Wildman. Cal has earned a national reputation for coordinating, managing, and defending mass toxic tort and complex product liability cases with a special emphasis on high-risk matters involving novel legal, scientific, and environmental theories. Over his 25-year career, Cal has litigated and won numerous complex toxic tort and product liability cases for leading manufacturers and sellers of products such as chemicals, health care appliances, medical devices, electrical equipment, firearms, printing presses, industrial machinery, and power tools. Cal is also a trusted counselor to his clients, advising them on issues regarding environmental compliance, product liability, product safety, and related matters. Throughout the years, he has represented corporate clients in both federal and state courts in almost every state across the country. He is also a frequent lecturer at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and has presented seminars on liability issues in Japan and the University of Warwick in England, as well as for an association of heavy equipment manufacturers and for various insurance companies.

Mass Tort
•As lead trial and coordinating counsel, defends chemical manufacturers in numerous lawsuits in both state and federal courts in Mississippi alleging environmental contamination leading to health and property damage. The suits were brought by over 1,400 residents living near a chemical plant.

•Lead trial counsel in mass toxic tort litigation involving over 500 plaintiffs alleging trespass, nuisance and negligence claims, as well as violations of state regulatory laws in Little Rock, Arkansas.

•Represented a chemical company against negligence, nuisance and trespass class action alleging injury and property damage in neighborhood surrounding a plant. Louisiana Supreme Court overturned class certification.

•Lead trial counsel, defending chemical company in toxic tort and personal injury litigation involving over 500 individual plaintiffs in Alexandria, Louisiana. In the first individual plaintiff trial, where plaintiff's counsel asked the jury to return a verdict in for millions of dollars, the jury was out for 90 minutes and returned a defense verdict for our client on all counts.

•Defense counsel in mass tort trial in Charleston, West Virginia, involving neighbors and former workers at a chemical plant.

•Represented chemical company in toxic tort litigation in Texarkana, Texas.

•As lead counsel, defended manufacturer of water tank liner against allegations that the client contaminated water at a community housing facility; case involved claims of personal injury and medical monitoring on behalf of several hundred present and past residents.

•Represents foreign corporation in claims asserting veil piercing theories of liability for environmental toxic tort claims brought against acquired subsidiary company.

•Represents manufacturer of creosote and pentachlorephenal in ongoing national defense coordination for numerous toxic tort matters filed across the country.

•Part of a team defending a regional agricultural cooperative network in five statewide class actions pending in Madison County, Illinois alleging that atrazine, a widely-used agricultural herbicide, caused property damage.

Product Liability
•Provided counseling and training for Japanese manufacturers, conducting seminars in Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto and Niigata on five occasions.

•Advise clients of responsibilities under Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act.

•Lecturer at University of Wisconsin Product Liability Conferences since 1990 on product warnings, hazard analysis and CPSC issues.

•As national counsel for Smith & Wesson, coordinated, managed, and defended numerous product liability cases alleging claims of wrongful death, hearing loss, and shooting injuries. Served as counsel in trials in Seattle, Washington; San Francisco, California; and New Haven, Connecticut.

•As coordinating counsel, represented manufacturers of rifles and shotguns against various product liability claims. Achieved successful defense verdict in trial in Anchorage, Alaska in 2003. Defended other cases in Alabama, Georgia, Texas, Tennessee, and Wisconsin.

•Defended several claims involving hearing loss issues, involving products such as police sirens, firearms, and flares.

•Served as national coordinating and trial counsel for manufacturer of wood cutting equipment, trying cases in Seattle, Washington; Iron Mountain, Michigan; and Fort Smith, Arkansas.

•Defended manufacturers of various types of products in product liability claims in numerous state and federal courts across the country; defended products include excavators, food cooking equipment, paper slitters and rewinders, wood cutting equipment, pharmaceuticals, and police equipment.

•Defended chemical company in multiple wrongful death and personal injury suits brought in New Jersey after a chemical explosion at a manufacturing plant.

•Defended corporations in cases involving licensing and trademark issues, including cases in Florida, West Virginia, and Illinois.

•Represent Fortune 500 pharmaceutical company in dispute involving prescription drug benefits.

•Counsels clients on national and international product safety issues, warning issues, FIFRA compliance, and drafting Material Safety Data Sheets.

Reported Decisions
Price, et al v. Roy O Martin Lumber, et al, ___ So. 2nd ___ (LA 2011)

Collins v. Koppers Inc., 59 So. 3d 582 (Miss. 2011)

Angle v. Koppers Inc., 42 So. 3d 1 (Miss. 2010)

Barnes v. Koppers Inc., 534 F.3d 357 (5th Cir. 2008)

Hill v. Koppers, 2010 WL 323380

Hill v. Koppers, 2009 WL 3246630

Hill v. Koppers, 2009 WL 3418558

Hill v. Koppers, 2009 WL 4908836

Beck v. Koppers, 2009 WL 230036

Beck v. Koppers, et al. 2006 WL 2432092, 5441384, 2228917, 2228916, 2228914, 2228911, 2228910, 2228878, 717488, 5441388, 2033879, 230036, 1423616, 230036, 924040, 5441387, 288350, 270260

Beck v. Koppers, et al. 2005 WL 2715910

Koppers v. Crowder, 2005 Miss. Lexis 376 (2005)

Stephen Whaley v. Sturm Ruger & Company, Inc., Superior Court for the State of Alaska, No. 97-03022

Camden County Bd. v. Berretta, 273 F.3d 536 (3d Cir. 2001)

Young v. Bryco Arms, 327 Ill. App.3d 948 (1st Dist. Ill. 2001)

White v. Smith & Wesson, 97 F. Supp. 2d 816 (N.D. Ohio 2000)

Copier v. Smith & Wesson Corp., 138 F.3d 833 (10th Cir. 1998)

Treadway v. Smith & Wesson Corp., 950 F.Supp. 1326 (E.D. Mich 1996)

Hamilton v. Accu-Tek, 935 F. Supp 1307 (E.D. N.Y. 1996)

Arellano v. SGL Abrasives, 617 N.E.2d 130 (1993)

McCormick v. McCormick, 180 Ill. App 3d 184, 536 N.E. 2d 419 (1988)

Donato v. Merrill Lynch, 663 F. Supp. 669 (N. D. Ill. 1987)

Riordan v. Int. Armament, 132 Ill. App. 3d 642 (1983)

Linton v. Smith & Wesson, 127 Ill. App. 3d 676 (1983)


Besides Edwards Wildman

Cal resides in Arlington Heights, Illinois with his wife and four children. He is a native of Green Bay, Wisconsin and is a proud owner of the Green Bay Packers.

Complimentary Seminar: Insights for In-House Counsel
June 12, 2014 event
Edwards Wildman's Cal Burnton Writes Article on Implications of CTS Corp. v. Waldburger in the Westlaw Environmental Journal
March 20, 2014
DRI Annual Meeting
October 16-20, 2013 event
Football's Headache: The Concussion Litigation
August 2013
The Life of an Accident and How to Handle It
January 9-11, 2013 event
Danger Ahead, Contamination, Or Other... Damages
April 1, 2011
CERCLA's Toxic Tort Discovery Rule: It's Not as Clear as It Reads
July 15, 2010
Much-Needed Guidance For Product Safety Manuals
October 16, 2008
New Standard Helps Manufacturers Meet Duty to Warn in Product Manuals
October 16, 2008
Danger Ahead - Caution Needed When Defending Company Witnesses
October 2008

Edwards Wildman's Cal Burnton Analyzes Supreme Court Decision on Pollution Suits in Law360
June 10, 2014
Edwards Wildman's Cal Burnton Analyzes High Court's CERCLA Reading in Law360
April 22, 2014
Edwards Wildman's Cal Burnton Analyzes How the High Court is Primed To Limit CERCLA Preemption in Law360
January 17, 2014
Edwards Wildman's Cal Burnton Tells Law360 that RICO is Effective For Companies Facing Tort Trickery
October 23, 2013
Edwards Wildman's Cal Burnton Weighs in on NFL Settlement in JD Journal
October 1, 2013
Edwards Wildman's Cal Burnton Examines How Concussion Lawsuits are Advancing in Concussion Litigation Reporter
August 13, 2013
Edwards Wildman's Cal Burnton Analyzes Judge's Order in NFL Concussion Case in SportsBusiness Journal
July 17, 2013
Edwards Wildman's Cal Burnton Analyzes Ramifications of Engle Ruling in Law360
March 18, 2013
Edwards Wildman's Cal Burnton Tells Concussion Policy & the Law that Seau Discovery is a Potentially Serious Threat to Football
January 17, 2013
Edwards Wildman's Cal Burnton Comments on Brain-Pad Litigation in Concussion Policy & The Law
October 12, 2012


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Office Information

Cal R. Burnton

225 West Wacker Drive, Suite 3000
ChicagoIL 60606


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