Product Liability & Toxic Tort

Claims of product liability or mass torts can have a significant impact on a business’ financial well-being. Prompt consultation with experienced counsel can be crucial to managing public and employee relations, developing litigation strategy and moving swiftly to a successful resolution of contentious demands.

The Product Liability and Toxic Tort Group at Chiesa Shahinian & Giantomasi prides itself on aggressively defending claims brought against manufacturers, sellers, designers, distributors and others. We have extensive experience in matters involving alleged breach of warranty, manufacturing defects, design defects, failure to warn, medical monitoring and intentionally wrongful acts. These claims involve a broad range of products, including:

  • Asbestos-containing insulation materials
  • Chemicals and coatings
  • Electrical and plumbing equipment
  • Consumer appliances and products
  • Industrial machinery
  • Construction materials
  • Medical devices and implants
  • Food products
  • Cleaning supplies

The experience of our Product Liability and Toxic Tort attorneys is further exemplified by our extensive involvement in individual and class actions concerning toxic exposures, environmental illness, chemical sensitivity, asbestos, mold, MTBE, water contamination and other mass tort claims arising from the accidental releases of chemicals, industrial accidents and ubiquitous exposures.

Chiesa Shahinian & Giantomasi also represents clients in regulatory enforcement actions by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC); in subrogation claims brought by carriers of contractors, homeowners or other users of clients’ products; in civil litigations in state and federal courts in New York and New Jersey; and as pro hac vice counsel in numerous state and federal jurisdictions.

Attorneys in Chiesa Shahinian & Giantomasi’s Product Liability and Toxic Tort Group obtain successful outcomes for clients in a wide range of cases. A sample of our attorneys’ experience includes:

Jury Trials

  • Represented a defendant in a personal injury action involving a Harvester truck pull bar that released from the truck body when the plaintiff attempted to enter into the truck cab
  • Represented a defendant chemical manufacturer in a toxic tort claim involving the release of phosphorus oxychloride, a respiratory toxicant
  • Represented a manufacturer of a wood coating containing isocyanates and acrylates in exposure claims brought by exposed workers
  • Represented a manufacturer of paint and solvents in a personal injury action brought by an independent contractor exposed during site work
  • Represented a manufacturer of ultraviolet activated sealant in a breach of warranty claim that the product discolored thousands of cabinets installed in a military facility in Guam
  • Represent a medical machinery distributor in a design defects and failure to warn case involving the death of an employee who placed his head in the rotating pill coating machine

Favorable Dispositive Motions

  • Represented the manufacturer of a commercial gas-fired water heater in a matter involving claims by multiple plaintiffs for personal injuries resulting from alleged long-term low-dose exposure to carbon monoxide. Summary judgment was granted in favor of the manufacturer on all counts of the complaint
  • Part of a joint defense group that defeated class certification in a matter involving a municipal drinking water supply well contaminated with TCE, PCE and mercury. This matter is currently pending before the Appellate Division on appeal
  • Won summary judgment for a manufacturer of an industrial chemical in a personal injury action based on lack of an alternative safer design
  • Won summary judgment for a coatings manufacturer in a failure to warn personal injury and death claim as a result of arguing federal preemption and labeling compliance under the Federal Hazardous Substances Act

Settlements

  • Ongoing representation of the largest retail seller of home heating fuel oil in the Northeast in numerous asbestos defense cases involving claims of asbestosis and other asbestos-created lung conditions
  • Represented a manufacturer of acoustical equipment alleged to contain asbestos. Negotiated nuisance value early settlement with asbestosis plaintiff by presenting extensive information about product components and plaintiff’s lack of potential exposure
  • Represented a commercial tenant in a retail/commercial building on Fifth Avenue that suffered a pipe rupture during the 4th of July holiday resulting in extensive water damage to four floors of office space and the NBA Retail Store on the street level. Negotiated a settlement among the landlord, general contractor, architect, HV/AC subcontractor and testing contractor
  • Subrogation claim brought by a property owner claiming a malfunction of a low water cut-off control for a steam boiler caused the boiler to overheat and crack. Arranged for inspection and testing of controls in order to demonstrate that the incident did not result from product defect
  • Represented a trucking company in connection with an action to recover damages for personal injuries sustained by independent driver during the offloading of formic acid
  • Represented municipal defendants in connection with an action to recover damages for personal injuries sustained as a result of exposure to a chlorine gas cloud that formed during the offloading of chlorine at a water treatment plant
  • Negotiated a nuisance value settlement on behalf of potato processor in an action brought to recover damages due to alleged emotional distress related to a consumer finding a steel blade in a product
  • Represented a large meat packer and processor in an action by one of its customers seeking compensatory, consequential and economic damages based upon allegations that the processor caused its customer to lose a significant contract with a third party as a result of an alleged breach of contract, breach of implied and express warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular use, breach of duty to inspect and negligence