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Environmental Contamination Litigation

Environmental contamination occurs when large companies fail to follow the law regarding waste disposal and the management of toxic emissions. It can cause severe and deadly health conditions for families and future generations and drastically impair property values. The environmental lawyers at The Lanier Law Firm are committed to holding these companies accountable and requiring them to clean up their mess.

Environmental law protects the public from harm through regulations that preserve natural resources and prevent pollution. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is the primary regulatory authority that monitors and enforces environmental policy. It includes oversight of the following:

  • Air quality
  • Water quality
  • Waste management and disposal
  • Toxic substances
  • Pesticides
  • Land and cleanup
  • Environmental emergencies

Violations of this policy can result in serious harm to the general public. Unfortunately, large companies frequently disregard public policy in favor of their own profitability.

Alex Brown, managing attorney of The Lanier Law Firm’s commercial litigation section, comments, “The civil servants at the EPA are often understaffed and overwhelmed. It has been our experience that companies take advantage of this and count on the fact that they will simply be overlooked by the EPA.

“Thankfully, our justice system permits law firms like ours to bring lawsuits to hold polluters accountable, even if they have evaded consequences for their actions from the EPA or other regulators.”

The Lanier Law Firm is a Leading Toxic Tort Law Firm

The Lanier Law Firm has held large companies accountable for harming individuals for more than 30 years. These large companies used to think they could get away with illegal and injurious conduct due to their vast financial resources, but our law firm has taught them that they can no longer hide the truth behind their wealth.

Detailed Preparation

Our law firm performs thorough investigations into all our cases, utilizing private investigators when necessary to dig up public and private documents that bring out the truth in a manner that will satisfy the standards of evidence in a court of law.

Proven Litigation Skills

We are skilled litigators with a national reputation for courtroom success that has won our law firm the prestigious designation of Most Feared Plaintiffs’ Firms by Law360. Our reputation increases the likelihood that our clients will be offered a fair and reasonable settlement. If not, our clients can be confident that our law firm knows how to win in court.

Our Approach to Legal Care

Our work ethic and compassion for our clients play an essential role in our cases. We spend significant time with each client so we can understand the extent of their losses. We genuinely care for each client and pursue maximized compensation in every case.

Our Results

Our approach to legal care has helped us attain remarkable results against large companies that harmed our clients. Below are a few examples of how we achieved successful outcomes for cases involving toxic substances:

  • $4.69 billion verdict against Johnson & Johnson on behalf of 22 women in the first case linking asbestos in baby powder to ovarian cancer, which was upheld on appeal with a final total of $2.1 billion
  • $115 million verdict on behalf of 21 steelworkers in Alabama who contracted an asbestos-related disease on the job
  • A successful verdict against an industrial manufacturer on behalf of a retired pipefitter who contracted mesothelioma after using asbestos-laden products

Making a Difference

Our firm takes pride in making a difference in our clients’ lives by standing up to large companies on their behalf. Our goal is to help our clients access quality medical care and restore their lives to the fullest extent possible.

We are also proud of our role in reshaping business-as-usual so that these companies will stop harming the public. According to Brown:

“Holding polluters accountable by making them pay to clean up their mess and compensate the victims does have a positive impact on their environmental policies going forward. These companies think in terms of dollars and cents, so when a jury hits them with a big verdict for the damages they have caused, they are forced to consider improving the way they operate.”

Our Active Environmental Cases

The Lanier Law Firm is active in numerous environmental litigation matters, and we accept clients throughout the United States who have been harmed by environmental contamination.

Union Pacific

“While Union Pacific is paying a small price to clean up its own property, thousands of people have paid the price for decades of neglect, cover-ups and corporate disregard for basic health and safety,” says Mark Lanier of the Lanier Law Firm, part of the legal team bringing the claims against Union Pacific. “The company knew or should have known that dumping its hazardous waste was going to damage their own property and affect others nearby, but Union Pacific simply didn’t care.”

“Because this pollution has been hidden for so long, it’s difficult to estimate the number of people potentially affected at this time,” says the Lanier Law Firm’s Ryan Ellis. “It’s likely there are residents who have lived in this neighborhood and raised children and grandchildren while these chemicals were seeping onto their properties. We won’t know the true extent of the problems until we have conducted discovery as part of the legal process.”

Franklin, Indiana Water Contamination

In 2019, the EPA publicly announced that toxic chemicals had been dumped in the Franklin, Indiana community for decades without the public’s knowledge. These chemicals impacted the environment, groundwater, and sewer system, causing devastating illnesses.

Our law firm is involved in a class action lawsuit against the large companies that are responsible for this contamination:

  • Honeywell International, Inc.
  • Amphenol Corporation
  • BorgWarner, Inc.
  • 400 Forsythe, Inc.
  • Indiana-American Water Company

The predecessor companies for Honeywell International, Inc. and Amphenol Corporation, which operated the site when the toxic chemicals were released into the community, are also named defendants in the case.

Brown states, “The team led by The Lanier Law Firm has uncovered troves of documents through the discovery process, some dating back decades, which confirm the existence and extent of the toxic contamination from the site in Franklin. Documents also indicate that the defendants tried to keep the contamination a secret from homeowners to avoid bad publicity and lawsuits.”

The plaintiffs in our class action lawsuit are a group of homeowners whose properties were contaminated by carcinogenic chemicals. “By bringing this suit, The Lanier Law Firm seeks to hold the polluters accountable, force them to remediate the properties they have contaminated and pay compensation to homeowners whose home values have been decimated,” Brown comments.

We are also representing plaintiffs outside the class action lawsuit. These are families who have had children die of cancer or family members battle cancer that they developed from the contamination.

Los Angeles Contaminated Groundwater in Canoga Park and Winnetka

Litton Industries was the nation’s largest surface combat ship manufacturer and a supplier of military electronics and information systems until December 2000, when Northrop Grumman agreed to purchase the company. Northrop Grumman is a large aerospace company and defense contractor.

Litton Industries disposed of carcinogenic chemicals improperly, resulting in groundwater contamination beneath Canoga Park and Winnetka. The contaminating chemicals include trichloroethylene (TCE) and tetrachloroethylene (PCE).

According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), exposure to TCE and PCE has been linked to numerous health issues, including:

  • Various cancers
  • Non-Hodgkin lymphoma
  • Leukemia
  • End-stage renal disease
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Congenital disabilities
  • Miscarriage
  • Impaired immune system function
  • Neurological effects

The innocent people living, working, and raising families in this community have experienced irreparable harm through no fault of their own, and they should not have to bear the costs of these injuries. Our firm is dedicated to holding this company accountable.

Radioactive Waste in Central Florida

The Lanier Law Firm is the lead counsel in the case against the Mosaic Mining Company and two real estate developers. The entities failed to disclose to homebuyers that the properties they were purchasing were located in areas contaminated with radioactive waste as a byproduct of phosphate mining operations.

Health effects from exposure to these radioactive materials include the following:

  • Lung cancer
  • Lymphoma
  • Bone cancer
  • Leukemia

Contamination of Land in Florida

In 2017, residents of the Grassland and Oakbridge communities in Lakeland, Florida filed a lawsuit against Drummond Co. for not disclosing the radiation risks from having their properties built on reclaimed phosphate-mined land.

The Drummond Co. bought the land in 1978 and mined it until 1982 when they decided to develop it for housing instead.

The lawsuit alleges that Drummond Co. knew as early as 1978 that the land was composed of radioactive and hazardous substances that could threaten the community but took minimal efforts to disclose the information and still chose to develop.

The Lanier Law Firm leads the lawsuit. “The case against Drummond is set for an important class certification hearing on October 7, 2022,” Brown confirms.

Smelter Fallout in Carteret, New Jersey

In 2016, Carteret, New Jersey residents discovered their air and soil were contaminated with numerous toxic materials, such as arsenic, lead, selenium, and zinc.

In September 2023, The Lanier Law Firm won a $42 million settlement in this environmental pollution case against U.S. Metals Refining Company, its parent company Freeport-McMoRan Inc., and Amax Realty Development Inc. About a thousand Carteret property owners will receive compensation for the harm caused by the toxic materials.

This contamination occurred due to the companies’ mishandling of the toxic smelting byproducts emitted from their smokestack. As early as 2009, a judge noted U.S. Metal’s poor contamination controls, yet the company delayed testing and notifying homeowners for seven years.

According to the EPA, prolonged exposure to these chemicals has been linked to the following health effects:

  • Damage to the immune system
  • Neurological damage
  • Reproductive effects
  • Developmental issues
  • Respiratory issues
  • Irritation of the skin and mucous membranes
  • Lung cancer
  • Kidney damage

U.S. Metals Refining Company has already agreed to participate in cleanup efforts, but it falls short of compensating the homeowners who were wrongfully exposed to these health hazards without their knowledge and through no fault of their own.

Camp LeJeune Water Contamination

Military personnel and their families who lived at Camp Lejeune and employees who worked at the base camp between August 1953 and December 1987 were subjected to high levels of toxic substances in their drinking water without their knowledge.

As a result of the water contamination, victims have experienced the following devastating health effects:

  • Several types of cancer
  • Severe congenital disabilities
  • Childhood leukemia
  • Miscarriage
  • Premature death, including the death of children
  • Neurological impairments
  • Organ damage

Due to the North Carolina 10-year statute of repose, victims could not file a civil action for damages because the contamination was not made known until after the statute of repose had expired. This was finally remedied with the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022, which replaced the statute of repose with a two-year statute of limitations from the date the act became law.

This time limit may be shorter in some cases, so it is important to contact our environmental attorneys as soon as possible if the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune has impacted you or a loved one.

How much compensation is available for my
environmental case?

The amount of compensation available varies based on your jurisdiction, type of case, facts of your case, and severity of your injuries. In addition to harming the planet, environmental pollution causes several kinds of damage to individuals and families, including the following:

  • Severe long-term health effects
  • Miscarriages and congenital disabilities
  • Premature death
  • Reduced property values
  • The inability of homeowners to freely enjoy their homes
  • Emotional anguish

If you have suffered any of these effects, you may be eligible for substantial compensation, including economic, non-economic, and punitive damages.

Economic Damages

Economic damages are the documented monetary losses you have suffered as a result of environmental contamination. This could include the following:

  • Medical expenses for you and your family
  • Lost wages as a result of your injuries
  • Moving or lodging costs stemming from the contamination
  • Loss of property value stemming from the pollution or contamination

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages are the subjective damages related to the injury’s effect on your quality of life. These damages may include the following:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of normal life
  • Loss of society
  • Loss of consortium

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are not always available. When available, they are considered non-compensatory damages only awarded in cases where the injurious conduct has been proven grossly negligent, blatantly reckless, deliberate, or fraudulent. The purpose is to punish and deter the defendant from engaging in similar behavior in the future.

Injunctive Relief

Injunctive relief, also known as an injunction, is a non-monetary remedy in which a party is ordered to stop engaging in an activity or required to act a certain way. Examples of injunctions in environmental law include the following:

  • Ordering a polluter to stop activities that are causing the pollution
  • Ordering a polluter to perform cleanup on a contaminated site

Compensation in Class Action Cases

Compensation awarded in class action cases is awarded to the class and split between the members.

What if my loved one passed away because
of environmental contamination?

In the tragic loss of a loved one due to environmental contamination, the estate or family of the deceased has the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit. It provides similar compensation, with the potential for the following:

  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Pecuniary losses, such as income the deceased would have earned had they survived
  • Loss of guidance, companionship, or other relationship benefits
  • Pain and suffering of the deceased
  • Some jurisdictions allow compensation for grief or pain and suffering of the family

Proceeds in a wrongful death lawsuit are awarded to the estate and divided among the family members as specified by state law.

When should I contact an environmental attorney?

Every jurisdiction has deadlines for when cases can be filed, called the statute of limitations. In some jurisdictions, this is as short as one year.

An effective environmental attorney invests significant time and resources to investigate and prepare a case before filing. For this reason, it is imperative that you contact an attorney as soon as possible to allow time to prepare the most robust case.

How much does it cost to hire an
environmental attorney?

The Lanier Law Firm offers a contingency fee agreement, which means you pay nothing upfront. After we recover compensation for you, you pay us a percentage of the recovery, which will be fully disclosed to you. If we fail to win, you pay nothing.

How can The Lanier Law Firm help
with my environmental case?

The Lanier Law Firm is passionate about correcting the wrongdoings of large corporations that have harmed the environment and individuals.

Brown remarks, “The Lanier Law Firm is always on the lookout for opportunities to bring its skills and resources to bear to vindicate the rights of individuals and families who have been harmed by the recklessness of big polluters. If you, your loved ones, or your property have been harmed by environmental contamination, please contact us for a case evaluation.

If you are a lawyer whose clients have been harmed by environmental contamination, please contact us.”

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