Practice/Industry Group Overview
GrayRobinson's Environmental and Toxic Tort Practice Group handles a broad spectrum of environmental and toxic tort matters including compliance, litigation, and transaction advice. It has a long history of representation in toxic tort and environmental cases, as well as insurance coverage issues relating to these areas. The firm's Chairman of this practice group has formerly served as the chairman of the Toxic and Hazardous Substances and Environmental Law committee of the Tort and Insurance Practice Section of the American Bar Association. This committee consisted of more than 3,000 lawyers nationwide who specialized in products liability, toxic tort and environmental law matters.
The firm began handling mass tort cases almost 30 years ago when asbestos claims began to be filed. We represented the Wellington Group of Defendants, also known as the Asbestos Claims Facility, until it disbanded in the late 1980s. In doing so, we handled trials in Central Florida, managed appellate work for the entire state and coordinated a trial calendar for claims through the southeastern United States. During the past several years, we have handled selected premises liability and "friction" cases for several asbestos clients.
Our next major involvement with mass tort litigation involved the Dupont Plaza fire litigation in San Juan, Puerto Rico on behalf of a consortium of insurance carriers. Along with approximately 17 other firms nationally, we coordinated one major phase of discovery. At the time, it was the largest mass tort case ever filed.
Over the years, the firm has been involved in numerous other mass tort cases involving products such as tobacco, breast implants, latex gloves, medical devices, pesticides and pharmaceutical products.
In addition to mass tort cases, the firm has also been involved in a number of environmental cases, including governmental and private actions under CERCLA, indoor air pollution claims and diminution of property value (stigma) claims. The firm has also handled insurance coverage issues involving both mass tort and environmental claims.
Furthermore, being conversant with substantive and procedural issues, the firm's expertise in multi-party litigation has enabled us to approach these cases in an extremely cost effective manner. We know how to properly organize and staff a multi-party case. Also, due to our experience in these practice areas, we have developed a significant group of expert witnesses to address almost any aspect of a toxic tort or environmental law case.
Indoor Air Quality
The firm has considerable experience in such specialized areas of construction law as Indoor Air Quality (IAQ), including cases involving "sick building syndrome" and "building-related illness" issues. The firm counsels clients on IAQ risk management issues relating to new construction, as well as the operation and maintenance of, and improvements to, existing facilities. The firm also counsels clients on IAQ issues relating to business transactions, such as real property sales and commercial leasing. We continue to counsel more clients on the ever-increasing amount of IAQ compliance issues, such as the initiatives at both the federal and state levels to promulgate new IAQ regulations. We also work to develop strategies for avoiding IAQ litigation. The firm has considerable experience in IAQ litigation. For example, the firm successfully defended two clients who were sued in the Martin County Courthouse IAQ litigation which involved claims in excess of $25 million. Of the numerous persons and entities sued, our two clients were the only ones whose defense proved successful. As with our other areas of practice, we have represented a broad spectrum of clients in IAQ matters, including public and private owners and developers, architects and engineers and contractors. Our team stresses client involvement and results-oriented, cost-effective litigation.
Our maritime attorneys have handled all manner of marine pollution incidents including oil pollution (under OPA 90, FWPCA, and CWA), hazardous materials under CERCLA, and a wide variety of claims under The Rivers and Harbors Act. They are also well-versed in all facets of marine natural resources damages and have litigated numerous seagrass and reef damage claims under the Park Systems Resource Protection Act, the National Marine Sanctuaries Act, and the Rivers and Harbors Act. Of particular significance is our attorneys' experience in having handled environmental claims on behalf of both insurers and their insureds and the U.S. government.
Our land use group offers proven ability and experience in dealing with all aspects of local, state and federal land use and environmental rules and regulations, including development-of-regional-impact proceedings. The firm is recognized throughout the state for its experience and ability in representing both public and private clients in all manner of land use, DRI, zoning, comprehensive planning and environmental proceedings involving new development. We have experience in assisting our clients in lobbying local, state and federal officials to protect their interests. Furthermore, the firm's Tallahassee office includes attorneys who are experienced practitioners in state environmental and administrative law.
Development And Environmental Permitting Experience
Our lawyers have practiced before every major federal, state and local permitting authority in Central Florida, and indeed many throughout the state. We not only have represented landowners and developers before the agencies, but also acted as counsel to counties, cities and special districts throughout Florida in their permitting processes. We have assisted in the conversion, location, permitting, operations and closure of sites for manufacturing plants, utility plants, landfills and other facilities in Florida.
Commitment to Quality
GrayRobinson incorporates the latest technological advances to ensure our legal services are delivered in the most cost-effective, timely and convenient manner to the client. We have developed and utilize a computerized document control system to manage complex litigation. This technology enables us to save our clients time and money in research and engage in on-line document sharing, communication and other information exchange via E-mail.
We are also familiar with and abide by defense counsel guidelines. We employ an automated status report system which ensures the client is advised of the status of a case at least every 30 days or as often as requested.
Our lawyers are admitted to practice at every level of the state and federal court system in Florida. If a case is referred to the appellate level, our attorneys are experienced in representing clients as both appellees and appellants.