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Safety, Toxic Tort & Environmental

The Meagher & Geer Safety, Toxic Tort & Environmental Group is anchored by veteran attorneys with unique experience in these critical areas. This team provides their clients with legal and technical experience in a variety of disciplines.

Our primary objective is loss prevention – to avoid occurrences. However, we work with individual companies and industry associations on proposed rules and interpretation of agency policies. As necessary, we work to swiftly resolve enforcement proceedings. We have interacted with federal and state agencies in numerous jurisdictions, including agencies such as:

  • Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
  • Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
  • Department of Justice (ATF, FBI)
  • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Toxic Tort
Meagher & Geer’s Toxic Tort attorneys have extensive defense experience with chemical, physical, infectious, biological (including food contamination), and radioactive hazards. The team assists clients with regulatory issues, labeling, packaging, and product recalls. The cases may be individual actions due to single exposure or mass exposures and nationwide class actions. The agents may range from anhydrous ammonia, hydrofluoric acid, solvents, particulates such as asbestos, silica, etc., to pesticides.

Food Contamination and Food Borne Illness Litigation
Meagher & Geer lawyers have experience defending food-borne illness cases involving E. coli, Salmonella, and Listeria. We have defended matters in the agriculture, contaminated foods, contaminated feed stock, food processing, and pesticide exposure areas. The team has the litigation experience and skill needed to maneuver through the legal system, and the scientific knowledge necessary to defend a food-borne illness outbreak.

Case Experience includes:

  • Defending a manufacturer in response to Salmonella contamination claims, then the largest food-borne illness-related product recall in history. Approximately twelve Meagher & Geer lawyers were involved. The team was led by Mike Hutchens with significant involvement by Lenae Pederson.
  • Defending claims against church members in response to parishioners E. coli claims based on allegedly improperly prepared hamburgers. The defense showed proper food preparation procedures were followed.
  • Representing a national restaurant chain in separating franchise operators whose food preparation procedures were found to be questionable; this done after the E. coli claims against the company in Washington.
  • Representing a national pet food manufacturer in pet food contamination claims involving third-party-supplied rancid food products.
  • Investigating and litigating claims against a large international food company for allegedly selling contaminated feed, after USDA ordered destruction of 33,000 hogs and 7,500 cattle.

The Group’s national experience with traditional environmental matters includes solid waste disposal, hazardous waste disposal/processing, medical waste disposal, air and water pollution, and ground water contamination. We have also handled matters involving cross-contamination of licensed genetic material. Many times the contamination or pollution is the result of accidental fires, explosions, or chemical release. Our Rapid Response Team (Catastrophic Loss Group) is recognized as the premier group responding to hazardous material incidents throughout the Americas. Our team provides technical attorneys and vetted experts to control the incident and minimize potential liability. Utilizing the proper team results in the correct methodology and means applied to the incident. This assists to minimize compliance and enforcement issues with state and federal agencies.

Client Endorsements
"Meagher & Geer has assembled a team that, in my opinion, is the best in the world... a team that helped us save our company."
Steve Quandt
Executive VP, Columbus Chemical Industries

"From underground storage tanks to rollovers and derailments, the Meagher & Geer team's impact is their knowledge in science and the law."
Jim Holland, P.E.
CEO, Pinnacle Engineering

"Our products are used internationally by utilities, manufacturing, and mining operations. The team's expertise in product design, quality control and their relationship with MSHA representatives was invaluable."
Pete Rogers
Corporate Counsel, The Oatey Company

"We have worked chemical releases and mass evacuations with the Meagher & Geer team across the states. As Incident Commander, I have found them to be scientist/engineer attorneys who are certified and qualified to enter the site."
George Malvaney
Vice President, Emergency Operations,
United States Environmental Services

If you want more information about this practice, please contact Rob Graff or Charles Becker.