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Environmental and product liability litigation often involves critical public policy issues related to products, public safety, and the environment that have a wide-ranging impact on all sectors of industry, the government, and the courts. Bates White’s Environmental and Product Liability Practice helps corporations, trade associations, insurers, government agencies, and court systems navigate this intersection of law, business, and policy by offering in-depth economic analysis, strategic advice, and innovative solutions to address current policy issues head-on and to proactively plan for the future.

Our experts have provided written and oral testimony for high-level state and federal legislative efforts. They regularly author reports and white papers and present on such topics as legislative and judicial developments in mass torts and bankruptcies, filing and verdict trends in asbestos and other mass tort litigation, and the economic impact and application of events in the civil justice system. Many of these reports and studies have been cited by courts and legislatures and publicized by prominent national publications such as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and Forbes. Our experts also actively monitor and evaluate emerging litigation topics with potential policy issues such as concussion lawsuits, hydraulic fracturing, pharmaceuticals and medical devices, and engage on topics of interest to state and federal legislators, corporate counsel, the judiciary, and the press.

Recent experience:

  • Testified before the US House of Representatives Judiciary Committee regarding the Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency (FACT) Act, a bill designed to mandate quarterly claim reporting requirements for bankruptcy trusts. Testimony conveyed that the bill will serve as a cost-effective step toward bridging the transparency gap between the asbestos bankruptcy trusts and the civil tort system, as well as provide a level of public accountability. Additional testimony was provided on state-level trust transparency bills in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Wisconsin regarding asbestos trust transparency legislation in those states.
  • Presented a more rigorous bankruptcy estimation methodology, which was adopted by the court, and provided expert reports and trial testimony on behalf of the Debtors in In re Garlock Sealing Technologies, LLC, No. 10-BK-31607 (Bankr. W.D.N.C.). Analyzed large, complex data sets and developed robust random samples that were used to assess the value of pending and future asbestos-related personal-injury claims. The resulting database constructed in this matter was described by the federal bankruptcy judge as “. . . the most extensive database about asbestos claims and claimants that has been produced to date.” See the press release.
  • Presented findings to the US Civil Justice Group on how consolidating cases in the New York City Asbestos Litigation (NYCAL) affects verdicts, juries, and constitutional due process. Analysis showed that consolidation creates a jury bias against defendants in the NYCAL court and produces outcomes that are not in line with NYCAL cases that are tried individually or with national verdict trends. The findings have been included on the record in NYCAL and cited in recent efforts to establish a new case management order. 
  • Testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the economic viability of the Trust Fund proposed under S.852, the Fairness in Asbestos Injury Resolution (FAIR) Act. Testimony clarified Bates White’s independent analysis on the estimate of potential entitlements created by the administrative no-fault trust fund that would have used medical criteria for claims-filing eligibility. The accompanying report found that the proposed $140 billion federal trust fund and payment criteria did not properly account for the number of lung and other cancer claimants that would have qualified for trust compensation. 
  • Provided data, insight, and statistical information to the RAND Institute of Civil Justice (RAND) on the billion dollar asbestos bankruptcy trust system. These data were featured in several recent RAND reports on the interaction of the bankruptcy trust system with the asbestos civil tort system. 
  • Provided data, insight, and statistical information to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) for its 2011 report on asbestos bankruptcy trusts. The data and other trust-related information were cited and utilized in the GAO report. 
  • Performed impact analyses of evidentiary and procedural rules and exposure allocations for jurisdictions throughout the nation, working with corporate insurance companies and counsel to assess the economic incentives, impact in courts, and future economic activity. 
  • Authored white papers examining the intersection of the asbestos bankruptcy system with the asbestos civil tort system and its impact on the courts and solvent tort litigants. The white papers (published from 2007 to 2014) have been cited in state and federal court cases and featured by the press in stories covering the trust transparency issue. The studies were published in LexisNexis Mealey’s Asbestos Bankruptcy and Asbestos Litigation reports. 
  • Presented on hydraulic fracturing regulations and potential litigation at industry events and in-house Continuing Legal Education (CLE) programs regarding current litigation risks and potential public policy issues. 
  • Presented on public policy issues regarding sport-related concussion injuries and the potential for litigation, regulation, and damages.

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