Our Toxic Tort practice group has earned a national reputation for excellence, representing hundreds of companies in asbestos litigation defense around the country. With our national trial team and extensive national coordinating counsel experience, we have successfully tried or resolved thousands of cases over decades of asbestos litigation, even in some of the most plaintiff-friendly venues in the country. Goldberg Segalla has more than 60 attorneys in our Toxic Tort and Environmental Law practice group. Our on-the-ground teams have diverse experience defending clients in every type of asbestos case. Representative clients include:
- Joint compound manufacturers
- Automotive product manufacturers
- Boiler manufacturers
- Engine manufacturers
- Forklift manufacturers
- Industrial vehicle manufacturers
- Talc product manufacturers and suppliers
- Product distributors
- Insulation contractors
- Oven manufacturers
- Pump and valve manufacturers
- Gasket manufacturers
- Crane manufacturers
- Industrial equipment manufacturers
- Flooring manufacturers
- Aircraft manufacturers
- Industrial premises owners
Stay up to date on the evolving landscape of asbestos litigation with summaries and access to the latest court decisions from across the country with our Asbestos Case Tracker.
Our attorneys have taken thousands of asbestos verdicts, including the first-ever asbestos case to be tried under New Jersey’s Product Liability Act and the first asbestos defense verdict in Connecticut. One of the reasons for our success is the philosophy that drives our defense strategy. We prepare each case as if it were going to trial, which means aggressively investigating each claim, retaining the proper experts, and, where appropriate, making the right motions. But we are also mindful that our asbestos clients are defending many cases in many venues, so we always strive to handle each case as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible. Because we have accomplished, experienced, and respected trial attorneys in each of the main venues where asbestos cases are litigated throughout our footprint, the courts and our adversaries know that we have the ability to try any case for our clients, if necessary. This translates into the opportunity for our clients to reach earlier resolutions and more favorable settlements in their asbestos cases—which, in turn, helps keep a low profile for our client’s products and brand names during and after negotiations.
In both New York and California, we have tried cases in all counties with active asbestos dockets, including a fully remote trial in 2021. We have established strong relationships with the presiding judges where the vast majority of asbestos cases are venued and tried.
NYCAL is perhaps the most dangerous venue in the country. We have proactively worked with our clients to change the dynamic of the litigation in NYCAL, pursuing new and different defense strategies to best position our clients for trial, resolution and appeal. Each member of our NYCAL team knows the plaintiff lawyers, the judges, and the landscape, along with the evolving case law, Special Master rulings, and CMO developments. Each team member is trained to understand each client’s unique defenses in any given case.
We have developed a reputation of being prepared to take cases to trial and verdict, if necessary, on behalf of our clients. We employ a strategic and hands-on approach to litigating each case and are not hesitant to go toe-to-toe with any plaintiff firm. We have also established effective working relationships with these firms that have allowed us to negotiate fair and reasonable resolutions of NYCAL cases, working either directly with counsel or through the administrative asbestos judge and the Special Master. Being trial ready is the most effective settlement strategy.
Subject to strategic decisions made with our clients, our trial teams are engaged early, working to prepare to try the case and proceed to verdict. We are not simply focused on managing the individual cases in NYCAL, but on effecting fundamental changes in the industry that will inure to the benefit of all defendants.
Our West Coast team has handled asbestos cases for defendants across an array of profiles. From peripheral/low exposure postures to sole defendant targets, our team has successfully tried or resolved thousands of cases over our decades of asbestos litigation experience. We partner with our clients in achieving their goals and collaborate with the carrier groups in conjunction with client input, in order to build an effective and efficient tri-partite relationship, which is integral to our success.
We believe in assessing the client’s risk at each milestone in a case. The first assessment is in review of the complaint, where we determine if the pleadings meet legal sufficiency and, in California cases, we assess whether a jurisdictional challenge is appropriate. As opposed to many jurisdictions in the country, the first responsive pleading in California must challenge jurisdiction in the form of a motion to quash or risk waiver of the defense.
The second milestone is usually the plaintiff’s deposition, after which we can more fully assess the claims against our client. At this point, we would discuss the facts as presented in the testimony and then determine strategy going forward, including whether the case is a candidate for summary judgment. Once we have collaborated with the client and carrier and determined our strategy, we can manage the defense efforts going forward. We proceed according to the risk associated with the evidence against the client, with an eye towards reassessment as each further milestone unfolds before trial.
All of the above requires dedicated communications with the decision makers, which we engage in throughout a case.
Our clients say that it is our personal/team-based approach that distinguishes us from other firms. Our client base is broad, ranging from small/family-owned businesses to some of the largest and most prominent corporations in America. They are manufacturers, distributors, contractors and premises owners. Aside from our work as National Counsel, we have handled cases from Canada to the Mexican border. By practicing in such diverse locales, we have developed a unique perspective that we bring to the defense of our clients. For example, our national work has also given us significant experience in the very jurisdictions that are “hot spots” in asbestos litigation. From trying cases around the country, we have developed insights that we bring to bear in recommending successful strategies for our clients. We think this experience makes us better counselors and better advocates.
Much more than a last line of defense, Goldberg Segalla appellate attorneys are key partners from the initial stages of litigation, bringing a unique skill set, trial assistance, formidable writing talents, and a global perspective to every matter. Whether accepting a referral of a difficult, high-stakes appeal, or assisting with defense strategy and motion practice during the course of litigation, our work is comprehensive and seamlessly integrated.
As an example of our appellate capabilities in asbestos litigation, Goldberg Segalla prevailed in staying in extremis trials, as well as reversing NYCAL Coordinating Justices on key issues, including the lack of personal jurisdiction.
We have drafted numerous briefs in both federal and state appellate courts on a wide variety of projects, representing appellants, respondents, amici curiae, writ petitioners, and writ respondents. As part of this effort, we work closely with trial counsel to construct comprehensive appellate approaches specific to each case, developing personalized strategies with each appellant, and their carriers and decision makers, to ensure that their goals on appeal are efficiently and effectively pursued. We have an intentionally team-oriented approach to solving difficult legal questions, which has the additional bonus of developing strong personal relationships within our appellate team.
We also regularly draft the full range of trial-court motions, including motions to quash, demurrers, motions for judgment on the pleadings, motions for summary judgment and summary adjudication, motions for new trial, motions for judgment notwithstanding the verdict, and motions to stay enforcement of judgment.
Our team has achieved victory at every stage of a case, from successfully challenging personal jurisdiction against a client at the very outset of a lawsuit to achieving a dismissal on appeal after negative verdicts.
We understand the science, semantics and law of causation in asbestos litigation. In each case, we fight to put verifiable facts, tested scientific principles, and the law back in their rightful place as the determining factors of liability.
We navigate and dissect all aspects of basic science from exposure benchmarking to causation standards, and powerfully approach our trial and motion strategy, demonstrating when critical scientific evidence lacks merit. We routinely monitor scientific controversies that bring into question the validity of certain types of studies as scientific evidence in litigation.
We have successfully precluded plaintiff experts around the country under Daubert and Frye. We understand how to navigate Daubert and examine whether sufficient facts or data, and the science behind an expert witness’ testimony, go beyond the generally accepted standard, are testable, peer-reviewed and have a known potential error rate.
Our team leadership includes lawyers with educational backgrounds in epidemiology, chemistry, biology, and genetics, which gives us deeper insight and a competitive edge when litigating against our opponents. Our team distinguishes itself in our mastery of the complex medical and scientific issues related to asbestos exposure.
Our depth of scientific understanding, coupled with long-standing relationships with prominent experts, positions us well to defend the interests of our clients.
We have served as national science counsel and vetted hundreds of scientific and medical experts in connection with mass toxic tort litigation, both in federal and state courts.
Goldberg Segalla acts as National Coordinating Counsel for Fortune 500 companies and has developed highly effective strategies for internal review of documents, establishment of corporate witnesses and experts, and managing national trials.
Our client base is broad, ranging from small/family-owned businesses to some of the largest and most prominent corporations in America. They are manufacturers, distributors, contractors and premises owners. We bring a team-based approach to cases we have handled from Canada to the Mexican border. By practicing in such diverse locales, we have developed a unique perspective that we bring to the defense of our clients. For example, our national work has also given us significant experience in the very jurisdictions that are “hot spots” in asbestos litigation. From trying cases around the country, we have developed insights that we bring to bear in recommending successful strategies for our clients. This experience makes us better counselors and better advocates.
Our commitment to keeping abreast of national developments in real time is unmatched by any firm in the country. Through our award-winning blog, Asbestos Case Tracker, we provide real-time court decisions and other information in asbestos litigation. ACT earned a spot in the American Bar Association Blawg 100 ranking (2016, 2018) and has been named the best litigation blog in the country in The Expert Institute’s Best Legal Blog Contest. It was also awarded one of the Top 25 Asbestos blogs and made the ABA Journal’s top 100 blogs listing (out of over 5,000).
Additionally, Goldberg Segalla’s complimentary Toxic Tort and Environmental Law Webinar Series explores what you need to know to manage risk, navigate high-stakes litigation and regulatory actions, and protect your interests and reputation. Our webinars focus on the latest trends in asbestos litigation, the hard science behind alternative causation, and proposed legislation, to name a few. They also focus on how court decisions shape the ever-evolving world of toxic tort and environmental litigation. Each webinar has a 20- to 30-minute presentation, followed by an interactive Q&A session, and is conducted by an attorney in our Toxic Tort and Environmental Law practice group.
What sets us apart from other firms is identifying the client’s concerns and needs at the outset and then tailoring our legal services to meet them. It is our firm’s philosophy to aggressively defend our clients in asbestos litigation and aggressively pursue early dismissals and settlement.
Goldberg Segalla has highly skilled and experienced lawyers who handle asbestos litigation throughout the country. The lawyers on our team are trained and approved to appear at depositions for all of our clients. This provides our team with greater flexibility, particularly when it pertains to deposition coverage, providing highly efficient case management.
From peripheral/low exposure postures to sole defendant targets, our team has successfully tried or resolved thousands of cases over our decades of asbestos litigation experience. We partner with our clients in their goals and collaborate with the carrier groups in conjunction with client input, in order to build an effective and efficient tri-partite relationship that is integral to our success.
We believe in assessing the client’s risk at each milestone in a case. The first assessment is in review of the complaint, where we determine if the pleadings meet legal sufficiency and assess whether a jurisdictional challenge is appropriate.
The second milestone is usually the plaintiff’s deposition, after which we can more fully assess the claims against our client. At this point, we would discuss the facts as presented in the testimony and then determine strategy going forward including whether the case is a candidate for summary judgment. Once we have collaborated with carrier and client and have our strategy in place, we can manage the defense efforts going forward. We proceed according to the risk associated with the evidence against the client, with an eye towards reassessment as each further milestone unfolds before trial.
- Plaintiff was a career drywaller who had died from mesothelioma prior to trial. We established that exposure to our client’s joint compound was a de minimus, low dose chrysotile exposure at best, and that the Consumer Product Safety Commission, as well as medical and scientific literature, had not made any pronouncement that working with joint compound was potentially hazardous. Although the plaintiff asked for $10 million, the jury returned a verdict of $600,000 and held our client 20% liable.
- The jury returned a defense verdict in a mesothelioma case involving a 60-year old plaintiff who claimed years of exposure to cosmetic talcum powder products allegedly contaminated with asbestos. In a case of first impression under New Jersey’s Product Liability Act, we were able to establish that our client did not sell a talc product that was unreasonably safe because it lacked a warning or was defectively designed. The jury also found the plaintiff was not exposed to any defective talc products sold by the defendants nor that her use of the product was a substantial cause of her mesothelioma.
- In the Eighth Judicial District, we obtained a ruling that plaintiffs are required to provide to all defendants all trial exhibits they intend to use at trial during the discovery phase of the litigation. This will allow defendants access to exhibits to be used against other defendants who may settle prior to trial. Obtaining these exhibits early will allow our clients to serve notices to admit the authenticity of those documents, which can then be used at trial without having to subpoena settled co-defendants.
- In a bifurcated hearing/bench trial in San Francisco County, GS attorneys argued to exclude the causation testimony of the plaintiffs’ expert. After several days of testimony, closing oral argument and supplemental written argument, the judge granted our motion under California Evidence Code section 402 to exclude the expert’s opinion, and agreed that the plaintiffs failed to demonstrate under a preponderance of the evidence standard that asbestos could actually cause multiple myeloma.
- After two months of trial in a living mesothelioma case, and while a motion was pending to exclude the opinion of plaintiffs’ causation expert as concerning the client, the case was resolved at a fraction of the last demand given before trial. Ultimately, the jury returned a $7 million verdict. However, there was no assignment of fault to our client.
- Through a coordinated effort with appellate counsel, summary judgment was granted in favor of our client in Alameda Superior Court. In this living mesothelioma case with a seven-figure demand, plaintiff admitted during his deposition that he was hired as an independent contractor to repair HVAC and refrigeration systems at premises owned by our client. This admission led to the trial court agreeing that the Privette line of cases applied instead of the “dangerous equipment” cases that are often used to defeat summary judgment.