Mass torts involving chemical and other toxins can result in years of litigation and adverse publicity. In these cases, successful defense requires a strong combination of legal experience and scientific knowledge.

WSHB has decades of experience handling lawsuits involving allegations of personal injury and wrongful death from exposure to chemicals, mixed dusts and particles, biological contaminants and other hazardous materials. We quickly and thoroughly ascertain the nature of alleged injuries, applicable legal theories, the validity of underlying science, and whether the case is filed as a class action or on behalf of a single plaintiff.

We focus on issues such as evidence of exposure and product identification to avoid costly expert witness discovery. In addition, our experience as trial lawyers helps persuade juries on critical issues such as causation.

We handle a wide range of toxic tort issues, including:

  • Risk avoidance and transfer
  • Litigation of claims involving any alleged toxic exposure
  • Regulatory compliance
  • Employment issues relating to hazardous materials in the workplace
  • Special practice groups for asbestos, products liability and environmental issues


  • Plaintiffs alleged that occupational exposure to numerous benzene-containing solvents and other industrial products had caused their husband and father to develop leukemia, ultimately resulting in his death. We methodically deposed the decedent’s co-workers and supervisors, determining that there was no evidence of exposure to our client’s product. The court granted our motion for summary judgment, finding that plaintiffs could not link decedent’s death to our client or its products.
  • In a case in which we substituted in as defense counsel shortly before trial, two construction workers alleged that they were exposed to dust containing Coccidioides immitis, a naturally occurring organism that causes a serious pulmonary disease. After almost five weeks of trial, the jury returned a complete defense verdict finding a lack of evidence of exposure and causation, a decision affirmed by the Court of Appeal.
  • While working at a military base, decedent allegedly developed a specific type of skin cancer from exposure to our client’s industrial cleaning products. We outlined the scientific evidence supporting our case and demanded that plaintiffs’ counsel dismiss the case or face a motion requesting payment of our attorneys’ fees. The case was dismissed for a waiver of costs.

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