Environmental pollution


Bates White has provided expert services in numerous matters involving property damage and personal injury claims allegedly stemming from environmental pollution. By combining a sophisticated understanding of statistical models with first-rate damages assessment tools, Bates White experts provide clients with both insightful and unyielding analyses in class action and mass tort litigation. Our experience includes valuing environmental insurance claims and remediation expenses, allocating clean-up costs, and forecasting liability arising from future environmental actions. A representative sample of our work in this area includes the following:

  • Under the Closed Landfill Statute, the State of Minnesota filed a direct action against insurers for the cleanup of more than 100 landfills allegedly polluted by a policyholder. A Bates White expert demonstrated that coverage liability was being exported from the overinsured, urban sites to the underinsured, rural sites and, in turn, showed how to properly attribute coverage to each site. Bates White’s clients settled on significantly better terms than prior insurers who had already settled with the state.
  • In Friedland v. Hartford, Bates White examined EPA’s remediation, at a cost of several hundred million dollars, stemming from a Colorado strip mining operation.  At issue was how insurance settlement coverage corresponded to different pollutant categories. Our analysis demonstrated that, even if the alleged categories were subject to coverage, total losses were below the amount required to reach the policies of excess carriers.  In this matter, Bates White’s client was dismissed without payment from the litigation. 
  • On behalf of Century Indemnity Company, we provided expert testimony on the manner in which Nuodex’s historical losses for environmental contamination at two New Jersey locations should be allocated to the available insurance coverage line. 
  • Bates White provided settlement support in a matter involving a company allegedly responsible for groundwater contamination attributed to its use of MTBE. We valued pending and future claims after undertaking a state-by-state analysis of historical MTBE claims. We also conducted a scenario analysis that improved the clients understanding of possible outcomes and assisted the client in settlement negotiations.
  • On behalf of NL Industries, Inc., we testified in the matter Carlis Fay Brown v. NL Industries, Inc., a mass tort of over 1,000 individual personal-injury claims for exposure to lead stemming from a smelter it operated during the 1960s and ’70s. Demonstrated that the plaintiffs’ damages calculations associated with the alleged exposure were inaccurate and unreliable. The claims were dismissed without payment.
  • Bates White testified in Frontier Oil Corp. v. Holly Corp., a merger-related dispute in the energy industry. Testimony involved the valuation of a potential environmental liability/toxic tort that arose from alleged, disproportionately high cancer incidence rates that allegedly resulted from certain oil and gas operations. Our analyses showed that the allegedly high incidence rates were actually within the standard norms of statistically valid sampling ranges.