Environmental, Toxic Tort, and Insurance Defense

/Environmental, Toxic Tort, and Insurance Defense
Environmental, Toxic Tort, and Insurance Defense 2017-01-02T17:00:44+00:00

Overview

Environmental statutes and regulations govern almost all industries, making it probable that most businesses will face environmental issues, directives or lawsuits that require advice and counsel.  Our Environmental, Toxic Torts, and Insurance Defense practice includes the defense of complex environmental litigation and administrative proceedings, defending petrochemical and pharmaceutical companies, as well as engaging as defense counsel in personal injury and property damage litigation.

Decades of Unparalleled Experience

Nancy Giacumbo heads the firm’s Environmental practice group and co-chairs the Toxic Torts and Insurance Defense group.  For over 30 years, Nancy has defended a wide variety of complex environmental, toxic torts, product liability, and construction defect cases.  She has successfully appealed trial court decisions for several of her clients that resulted in reported decisions from the New Jersey and New York Appellate Division and the New Jersey Supreme Court.  These cases include Matter of Kimber Petroleum, 110 N.J. 69 (1988); Grossman v. Club Med Sales, Inc., et al., 273 N.J. Super. 42 (App. Div. 1994); Kuehm v. Hearnen Air Conditioning, et al., 142 N.J. 574 (1995); Cottle v. Independent Bus Garage Co., 144 N.J. 173 (1996); and Roman v. Turner Colours, Inc., 255 A.D.2d 571, 681 N.Y.S.2d 69 (1998). She has been retained as insurance defense counsel by almost every major insurance company throughout her career and defended their insureds under CGL, pollution, homeowners, errors and omissions, and professional malpractice policies. She was  employed as Staff Counsel by Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company, Environmental Claims Division, where she served on its Legal Services Steering Committee.  She has also served as National Coordinating Counsel for product liability litigation involving one of its insureds. She has arbitration experience at the Morris County Superior Court and is currently the Vice Chair of the New Jersey Supreme Court Committee on the Unauthorized Practice of Law

Bennet Susser co-chairs the Toxic Torts and Insurance Defense practice group.  For almost thirty years, Bennet has been involved with product liability defense, defending clients faced with toxic tort litigation.  By way of example, he has represented a leading manufacturer in the defense of multiple benzene lawsuits in New Jersey and New York, including serving as defense coordinating counsel (acting on behalf of approximately thirty different co-defendant manufacturers) and served as national counsel for another manufacturer involved in asbestos litigation throughout the country.  In both examples, he successfully obtained multiple voluntary dismissals, often at the earliest stages of the litigation, thereby saving his clients attorneys’ fees and costs, and when required, won summary judgment motions obtaining a dismissal of claims against his clients.  Many of Bennet’s product liability and toxic tort clients have been insureds, and he is well versed in the protocols of insurance defense work, which entails regular updates, efficient work, and precise billing protocols.

Broad Range of Litigation Expertise

Our environmental and toxic tort litigation experience spans numerous industries and products, such as chemicals, oil and gas, pesticides, and pharmaceuticals.

Nancy and the firm’s attorneys have represented diverse businesses in environmental proceedings in state and federal court litigation and arbitration, and voluntarily by issuance of a General Notice Letter. In those actions, governmental agencies or private parties seek cost recovery or enforcement for site investigation and remediation based upon claims of air, water and soil contamination, natural resources damages, and hazardous waste pursuant to both state and federal statutes, including CERCLA, New Jersey Spill Compensation and Control Act, New Jersey Water Pollution Control Act, and the Underground Storage Tank Act.  We have also successfully defended and sought cost recovery on behalf of our clients in private contribution claims against responsible parties for such damages.

We also have substantial experience defending corporations, including petrochemical and pharmaceutical companies, in a wide range of product liability and toxic tort litigation alleging exposure to benzene, mercury, lead, silica, asphalt, granite, and asbestos in individual and mass tort actions filed in state court actions and federal (MDL) multi-district litigation.

In addition, we have been engaged as insurance defense counsel in personal injury and property damage litigation on behalf of many industries.  Often, these lawsuits intersect with various environmental and toxic tort issues and may involve counts of trespass, negligence, nuisance, strict liability, and various statutory and regulatory violations.

Another major component of the firm’s Environmental, Toxic Torts, and Insurance Defense practice area is appellate advocacy.  Businesses and corporations turn to Nancy, Bennet, and the firm’s attorneys to argue their cases before New Jersey’s appellate courts, including the New Jersey Supreme Court.

Partner with Us

We have great interest in each of our clients and will learn about your business and industry so that we can best represent your interests.  Whether your goal is pre-litigation settlement, alternate dispute resolution, or trial advocacy, we will partner with you to resolve your legal disputes in an effective and professional manner.  We pride ourselves on surpassing the expectations of those we are privileged to represent as clients.

For more information on the firm’s Environmental, Toxic Tort, and Insurance Defense practice group, please contact Nancy Giacumbo, Esq. (973-845-8620 or nancygiacumbo@jmslawyers.com) and Bennet Susser, Esq. (973-845-7644 or bennet@jmslawyers.com).