Mass tort litigation poses risks to many types of businesses, whether resulting from large-scale disasters or complex, changing regulations. We combine a comprehensive understanding of these intricate issues with insightful counsel to develop effective legal strategies that protect our clients’ vital interests.
We assist clients in a wide range of tort litigation. Because these actions are complex—often involving multiple private and governmental parties—we draw on our experience in other areas, including regulatory investigations and criminal defense, to develop a comprehensive strategy ensuring that our clients have every advantage. At all times, we move aggressively but prudently to give our clients the best chance of resolution at every stage. If informal resolution proves elusive, we draw on our deep bench of seasoned litigators to take the case to trial, achieving victories for the defendants and plaintiffs we represent.
Clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to governmental entities entrust us with their most significant and challenging matters due to our strategic, creative approach to litigation and problem-solving. In every matter, we gain a thorough knowledge of our clients’ organizations to understand their priorities and develop a legal strategy that makes business sense. At the same time, we pride ourselves on our ability to leverage out-of-the-box thinking that disrupts our opponents’ litigation strategy and recovery expectations.
Won “landmark” opioid trial for Endo Pharmaceuticals in a $50 billion public nuisance action. Three of the most populous counties in California and the City of Oakland brought suit against opioid manufacturers alleging public nuisance, false advertising and unfair competition. The jurisdictions claimed that manufacturers’ alleged false and misleading marketing caused a $50 billion public nuisance. The win was hailed as “giv[ing] drug companies their first major victory in the litigation brought by cities and counties across the country over the opioid crisis,” American Lawyer. (See “How Hueston Hennigan Notched A Landmark Opioid Trial Win,” Law360; “Opioid Makers Win Major Victory in California Trial,” New York Times; “Drug Makers Handed First Win Out of Thousands of National Opioid Crisis Lawsuits,” Newsweek).
Defending Epic Games against numerous lawsuits in multiple jurisdictions related to alleged “video game addiction.” Plaintiffs claim that Epic and other video game manufacturers and distributors designed their games to be addictive—using sophisticated data, research, and tactics to keep minor users playing longer and spending more money on in-game purchases. Plaintiffs assert novel claims for product liability, negligence, fraud, infliction of emotional distress, and violations of state deceptive trade practices law, among others.
Defending Amazon and Twitch against multiple lawsuits arising out of the tragic May 2022 mass shooting at a grocery store in Buffalo, NY. Plaintiffs claim that Amazon, Twitch, and other social media services incentivized the shooter to commit his horrific crimes by, among other things, providing him with the ability to livestream his attack. Plaintiffs’ claims, which include product liability, negligence, and other torts, raise significant issues relating to the First Amendment and the scope of immunity for social media services under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.
Representing the State of Hawaii and advising the Governor and Attorney General concerning the state’s enormous responsibilities in the wake of the 2023 Maui fire, one of the ‘largest natural disasters’ in state’s history with over 100 confirmed deaths. Lead counsel in the design and creation of a uniquely tailored $175 million fund for families of the wildfire victims. Organized various defendants to participate in the Fund, which will provide quick and certain relief to wrongful death and personal injury plaintiffs who choose to opt in. We are currently developing a follow-on Fund to resolve the property and lost income claims. Separately, we are working closely with the Governor and his team to develop legislation in response to the wildfires. Our role also includes supervision and involvement in all investigations, which have included representation of the State’s witnesses who testified at the Congressional hearings investigating the cause of the catastrophic Maui wildfires.
Won defense verdict following a five-week bellwether jury trial in a mass tort environmental action brought against Fortune 100 client. This result led to a similarly favorable global settlement of all related cases for less than 5% of plaintiffs’ demands.
Secured $10 million settlement on multibillion dollar claims in MDL action representing Endo Pharmaceuticals in action arising out of national opioid crisis; serving as trial counsel for Endo in a California opioid action brought by local governments. The claims asserted include nuisance, false advertising, and unfair competition.
Defending Southern California Edison and Edison International in litigation arising out of the 2017 Thomas Fire and 2018 Montecito mudslides. The fire, the largest in California history, allegedly caused over two dozen deaths, destroyed over 1,000 structures, damaged over 250 structures, and burned over 280,000 acres. Our roles include defense of all civil litigation and consultation and engagement with regulatory and investigatory agencies.
Successfully represented Endo Pharmaceuticals in litigation related to opioid abuse in the U.S. District Court in San Francisco. Following extensive fact and expert development that strengthened Endo’s position, the case favorably settled on the eve of trial for a small fraction of claimed damages. (See “Endo Reaches $10M Deal With SF Ahead Of Opioid Trial,” Law360).
Defending PacifiCorp against numerous lawsuits in multiple jurisdictions across Oregon and California arising out of the 2020 Labor Day Fires. The fires burned over 500,000 acres across at least five counties in Oregon and California and allegedly destroyed over 2,000 structures and multiple deaths. Our roles include defense of all civil litigation and consultation and engagement with regulatory and investigatory agencies.
Defending Chevron in national litigation against claims that the herbicide paraquat causes Parkinson’s Disease. Defense work includes identification of trial narratives, mediation and settlement strategies.
Defending Ecobat, the world leader in battery recycling and lead production, and related entities and individuals against lawsuits alleging claims for negligence, fraud, nuisance, and wrongful death. Plaintiffs, seeking substantial damages, generally allege that the defendants allowed their battery-recycling plant to emit toxic chemicals, which in turn harmed nearby residents.
Secured a $5.15 billion settlement after trial for the Tronox Trust against Anadarko Petroleum Company and Kerr McGee Corporation for claims including wrongful death and fraudulent transfer of massive environmental, tort, retiree, and other liabilities. (See “Tronox Trust Wins Up to $14B in Kerr-McGee Spinoff Row,” Law360; “Anadarko, Kerr-McGee liable for Tronox cleanup costs,” Reuters).
Successfully moved to dismiss and established new law that limited the reach of the Alien Tort Statute in defending Royal Dutch Shell in two mass tort cases: Wiwa v. Royal Dutch Petroleum and Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum. Both alleged that Shell was complicit in human rights abuses against human rights activists in Nigeria. The plaintiffs asserted claims under the Alien Tort Statute and the Torture Victims Protection Act, alleging that Royal Dutch Shell aided and abetted the Nigerian government in committing numerous human rights violations.
Represented Quanta Services, the largest provider of infrastructure services for electric power, pipeline, industrial and communications industries in the United States. Advising regarding mass tort defenses and potential company collateral duties, responsibilities and issues.