Home > Services > Environmental Law > Class Actions and Multidistrict Litigation

CLASS ACTIONS AND MULTIDISTRICT LITIGATION

When companies face the daunting task of defending class actions, other complex cases or mass tort filings, they look for a firm with the technical and scientific resources necessary to win the day. More important, they want a firm with a proven record of successful trial experience in many jurisdictions. Thompson Coburn’s Environmental practice has repeatedly demonstrated its skill at handling and trying complex and significant cases.

 

Train Derailment

Thompson Coburn handled a significant case for a major railroad which was originally filed as a class action in St. Clair County, Illinois. The case arose from the derailment of a train with rail cars containing chemicals such as hydrochloric acid, vinyl chloride, and methanol, which resulted in the evacuation of approximately 1,000 individuals from their homes. The plaintiffs alleged that they incurred personal injury, sustained respiratory and dermal exposure to harmful chemicals, incurred medical and related expenses, incurred property damage, and experienced emotional distress. After we successfully obtained transfer of the case to Perry County based on the doctrine of forum non conveniens, a class was certified by the trial court and affirmed by the Fifth District Appellate Court. In a major victory, the Illinois Supreme Court unanimously reversed the Fifth District’s class certification ruling and remanded the case. Thompson Coburn successfully handled and ultimately settled over 450 separate claims following the defeat of the class certification.

MTBE Potable Water Contamination

Our attorneys were actively involved in the methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) litigation cases consolidated in the Southern District of New York under the Multidistrict Litigation Rules. In the first phase of this litigation, the major oil companies in the United States were sued regarding their decisions to add MTBE to gasoline. The plaintiffs alleged that their private wells were contaminated from or threatened by MTBE in the groundwater. The suits sought class treatment in a number of states. We served as lead counsel for one of the major petroleum companies in the first round of this multidistrict litigation and simultaneously served as co-counsel for two other oil companies. We were an integral player in the defense group's successful effort to defeat class certification.

Tashima Morris, et al v. Arcelormittal USA, Inc, et al, Case No. 2:09-CV-108 RM (August 12, 2010)

TC represented a client that was one of several defendants sued in state court in Indiana in 2009. The complaint initially sought class certification for all children in Lake County, Indiana for medical monitoring as a result of an alleged public nuisance created by the defendants' emissions from their smokestacks. By pleading a nuisance claim, the plaintiffs attempted to hold defendants liable irrespective of whether their air emissions comported with their air permits. The defendants successfully removed the case to the federal District Court for the Northern District of Indiana and then moved to dismiss on a number of grounds. After plaintiffs replead their claims, the defendants moved to dismiss the amended complaint. On August 12, 2010, the court granted the motion to dismiss the amended complaint. It was a complete and total victory for the defendants. In addition to the cost of medical monitoring, a loss could have further opened the door to lawsuits around the country against industry on public nuisance grounds, notwithstanding compliance with air emission or other federal or state-issued permits.

Publications

Environmental deregulation under President Trump: Business as usual?

5 tips for environmental due diligence in business transactions

New circuit split raises questions about ‘permit shield’ defense in Clean Water Act cases

EPA reveals first 10 chemicals to be reviewed under a more robust toxic substances act

Missouri Supreme Court resets the rules for collecting leaking underground storage tank cleanup costs in litigation

Do you need a Section 404 permit for your real estate development?

Former head of OSHA discusses workplace injury policies, DOJ enforcement

Missouri municipal entities must follow statutorily-required steps before executing settlement agreements

DOJ shifts enforcement of worker safety violations to Environmental Crimes Section

Chemical Safety Board investigator outlines discoveries from West Fertilizer, Charleston water incidents

Supreme Court overturns EPA’s 'Tailoring Rule,' upholds GHG BACT for 'anyway' sources

Top Region 7 attorney details EPA’s biggest enforcement, compliance priorities

Blog Posts

No-GMOs are a no-go in Oregon and Hawaii

9th Circuit sends herbicide debate back to the EPA

Can the California A.G. limit those incessant Prop 65 lawsuits?

News

Ryan Russell Kemper named to St. Louis Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 list

Congratulations to our 2017 ‘Lawyers of the Year’

Ryan Russell Kemper to head United Way fundraising effort

23 Thompson Coburn attorneys recognized in 2016 Chambers USA

Jason Zeigler joins Thompson Coburn in Washington, D.C., as real estate partner

Eric Boyd hosts discussion with retired EPA official to kick off Clean Air Act seminar

25 Thompson Coburn attorneys recognized in 2015 Chambers USA

Congratulations to our 15 St. Louis ‘Lawyers of the Year’

112 Thompson Coburn attorneys featured in 2015 Best Lawyers list

Real Estate Group retains a top ranking in 2014 Best of the Best Survey

St. Louis Business Journal covers Thompson Coburn’s work on unique Superfund settlement

Chemical Safety Board investigator shares insights from two high-profile environmental incidents

27 Thompson Coburn attorneys recognized in 2014 Chambers USA

Ryan Kemper, Thompson Coburn environmental practice featured in St. Louis Lawyer

EPA, Boys & Girls Club announce $30 million cleanup of Superfund site

Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater St. Louis honors Thompson Coburn for pro bono work on Superfund cleanup site

Eric E. Boyd joins Thompson Coburn's Environmental Group

Thompson Coburn attorneys to collaborate with St. Louis City Counselor’s office on problem properties

Real Estate group supports $51 million apartment complex purchase

19 Thompson Coburn partners named 2013 St. Louis Lawyers of the Year

Paul Sonderegger appointed chair of environmental law committee for St. Louis bar

Thompson Coburn wins Illinois Supreme Court victory for ExxonMobil Coal

Peter Strassner named St. Louis Environmental Lawyer of the Year

Partner
Chicago
312 580 2214

Eric represents clients in litigation, regulatory compliance, and transaction matters with respect to all of the major environmental programs.

Eric represents clients in litigation, regulatory compliance, and transacti...

Eric Boyd
Associate
St. Louis
314 552 6112

Sara defends clients in a variety of environmental litigation and regulatory enforcement matters.

Sara defends clients in a variety of environmental litigation and regulator...

Sara Chamberlain
Partner
St. Louis
314 552 6019

Ed has substantial experience in a wide range of complex lawsuits, most of which involve multi-party environmental litigation.

Ed has substantial experience in a wide range of complex lawsuits, most of ...

Ed Cohen
Associate
St. Louis
314 552 6520

Lisa advocates for clients facing complex product liability and personal injury litigation.

Lisa advocates for clients facing complex product liability and personal in...

Lisa DeBord
Partner
St. Louis
314 552 6166

Joe is an experienced environmental law counselor who provides actionable, common-sense advice to clients on a wide array of regulatory and litigation issues.

Joe is an experienced environmental law counselor who provides actionable, ...

Joe Kellmeyer
Partner
St. Louis
314 552 6321

Ryan provides in-depth advice to clients dealing with environmental issues on both the state and federal level.

Ryan provides in-depth advice to clients dealing with environmental issues ...

Ryan Russell Kemper
Partner
St. Louis
314 552 6168

Crystal has almost 30 years of national environmental experience and leads the transactional area of the firm's environmental practice.

Crystal has almost 30 years of national environmental experience and leads ...

Crystal Kennedy
Sr Advisor, Environment, Health and Safety
St. Louis
314 552 6467

As Thompson Coburn's Senior Advisor, Environment, Health and Safety, Max provides technical support on remediation and groundwater contamination matters, acquisitions, re...

As Thompson Coburn's Senior Advisor, Environment, Health and Safety, Max pr...

Max McCombs
Partner
St. Louis
314 552 6154

Paul is a highly effective litigator and regulatory compliance attorney who has resolved environmental and real estate/construction disputes in state and federal courts a...

Paul is a highly effective litigator and regulatory compliance attorney who...

Paul Sonderegger
Partner
St. Louis
314 552 6109

Peter is a nationally recognized environmental attorney who helps companies respond to major environmental incidents, navigate regulatory actions, and successfully resolv...

Peter is a nationally recognized environmental attorney who helps companies...

Peter Strassner