Overview

Our practice includes many experienced trial lawyers with substantive understanding of business transactions, operations and priorities. We handle cases ranging from complex civil claims to class actions and white-collar criminal matters in courts across the country, as well as international arbitrations.

Our litigation strategy in each matter is built around achieving our client’s objectives, which we understand may be driven by broader business priorities and relationships.

We handle disputes as varied and complex as today’s business world, and our size and breadth benefit clients in virtually every kind of commercial dispute. We have a long history of defending clients against mass and toxic tort claims, litigating every type of real estate case including eminent domain cases, and representing developers and property owners, landlords and tenants in real estate litigation.

We represent major financial institutions and business clients of all kinds in matters ranging from insurance disputes and class actions; disputes between competitors, such as trade secret misappropriation, unfair competition, antitrust and trade practices matters; and disputes between our clients and their suppliers, vendors and customers.

Mass & Toxic Tort

We have a long history of helping clients navigate the complex legal issues accompanying mass and toxic tort claims. But handling mass and toxic tort trials, appeals and claim resolution is just a part of what we do. We also offer preventive counseling for our clients, with the goal of avoiding lawsuits. We review regulatory and compliance issues and conduct audits to help clients identify and correct potential problems – before they occur. We have extensive experience in organizing, preparing and executing all aspects of mass and toxic tort defense, including discovery, pretrial proceedings and trial. We have access to world-renowned experts in fields including environmental consulting, epidemiology, industrial hygiene, oncology, rheumatology, internal medicine, pathology, bacteriology and toxicology. Our group includes lawyers who are members of the American College of Trial Lawyers, the International Association of Defense Counsel, the Defense Research Institute, the International Society of Barristers, the Network of Trial Law Firms, the Federation of Defense & Corporate Counsel, The Force and the United States Law Firm Group.

Eminent Domain

We have litigated every imaginable kind of real estate case, from eminent domain cases to breach of representation/warranty cases, to zoning and building code violation cases. On the subject of eminent domain litigation, we regularly counsel clients through the series of public hearings, private negotiations and mandatory filings involved in such litigation. When litigation actually ensues, we have significant experience resolving the most contentious and high-stakes cases in the courtroom, or by settlement.

Commercial Lease Disputes & Real Estate Litigation

We represent property owners and developers as well as landlords and tenants in all kinds of lease disputes and other types of real estate litigation. We frequently represent retail landlords in the enforcement of tenant leases through litigation and pre-litigation settlements. The disputes involve such issues as fee and tax calculations, continuous operations clauses, exclusivity provisions, relocation clauses, termination agreements, premises liability and security matters.

Experience
Representative Experience
Mass & Toxic Tort
  • Defending the world’s largest coatings manufacturer against claims of personal injury and diminution of property values due to alleged exposure to solvents allegedly emanating from a former Kentucky facility.
  • Defending the world’s second-largest coatings manufacturer in a putative class action involving potentially 28,000 residences and 38,000 residents. The plaintiffs seek medical monitoring and damages for diminution of property values due to the alleged presence of hexavalent chrome allegedly emanating from the manufacturer’s former operations in New Jersey.
  • Defeating class certification on behalf of a number of chemical suppliers in an action brought by former employees of a PVC production facility seeking medical monitoring damages. The denial of certification was upheld on appeal to the New Jersey Supreme Court.
  • Defending a putative class action alleging injury due to exposure to diisocyanates.
  • Defeating a proposed national class action regarding Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act-registered acaricide.
  • Providing defense and obtaining settlement in a federal court class action involving persistent chlorinated hydrocarbon contaminating 20 miles of a nearby stream.
  • Serving as national counsel for a major materials building company in tens of thousands of personal injury asbestos cases and more than 100 property damage cases. Cases include national class actions, statewide class actions and jury trials.
  • Serving as national counsel for many of the largest chemical companies and the industry trade association in a significant number of wrongful death, class action, personal injury and industry-wide conspiracy claims involving vinyl chloride exposure.
  • Obtaining reduction in size and scope of class and eventual settlement of property damage claims arising from offsite migration of chlorinated hydrocarbon.
  • Obtaining a full defense verdict in a complex breach of contract case brought by an asbestos abatement and demolition contractor against the owner of a PCB- and asbestos-contaminated site for damages in excess of $1.3 million.
  • Representing a coatings manufacturer in a mass action in Lexington, Kentucky regarding claims of Parkinson’s Disease and parkinsonism as a result of occupational solvent exposure.
  • Defending numerous maritime and industrial clients in cases involving benzene exposure.
  • Serving as consulting counsel to other firms on defense of benzene cases.
  • Serving as Ohio counsel in approximately 600 cases for an international flavors company in defense of claims alleging lung injury due to exposure to butter flavoring.
  • Serving as Ohio counsel to a former lead pigment manufacturer in cases brought by the Ohio attorney general and nine municipalities alleging public nuisance and seeking abatement and compensating damages.
  • Serving as counsel for a major U.S. manufacturer in the defense of hundreds of claims alleging injury to welders and welders’ helpers due to exposure to welding rod fumes.
  • Serving as Ohio counsel in more than 1,800 silica cases and as co-counsel in other jurisdictions.
  • Acting as a member of the core group of firms leading the defense strategy in Ohio, one of the most active jurisdictions for silica-related litigation.
  • Developing experts in the fields of epidemiology, endocrinology, pathology, oncology, molecular biology, obstetrics and gynecology, neuropathology, neurology, radiology, cardiology, reproductive endocrinology and pulmonology, as well as in the areas of breast surgery, environmental health sciences and public health sciences.
Eminent Domain
  • Representing the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority in a five-week bench trial in an eminent domain action to acquire 14 commercial properties for the largest downtown Cleveland real estate redevelopment project in over 30 years, involving a $400 million mixed-use housing, office and retail project on the east bank of the Cuyahoga River. After five weeks of trial, all property owners agreed to settle and transfer all property to the project.
  • Winning a defense verdict in state court in the largest-ever commercial eminent domain trial in Ohio history, enabling the city of Cleveland to expand Cleveland Hopkins International Airport. The defense verdict prevented the neighboring city of Brook Park from taking Cleveland’s property by eminent domain for its economic development purposes. Because the 180-acre tract was the only reasonable location for planned and necessary airport expansion, including a new international runway, building an entirely new airport at a greenfield site was not an option, and Cleveland stood to incur billions of dollars in economic development damages.
  • Representing a utility in the reconstruction of 40 miles of electric transmission lines stretched across vacant land, commercial properties and private residences. The diverse landscape created more than 60 eminent domain cases covering a range of issues, including the impact of electromagnetic fields upon nearby property value, assignment of proceeds from the sale of timber cut for the right-of-way, the usefulness of a severed portion of property and constitutional challenges. A minimal number of courtroom trials were resolved pre-verdict, while many matters were settled by our challenge of property owners’ appraisers and their methodology.
  • Representing a property owner in its fight against the appropriation of the largest remaining underdeveloped parcel of land in Cuyahoga County, Ohio. The landowner challenged both the right to take and the valuation by Norfolk Southern Railroad of land to be used for parking truck trailers at a new intermodal facility. The railroad prevailed on the taking but we secured a jury verdict awarding compensation in an amount more than six times higher than the railroad’s initial offer.
  • Representing a private property owner in Ohio in one of the largest eminent domain cases, resulting in a verdict in favor of our client for almost 50 percent more than the amount the U.S. government argued the property was worth.
  • Representing the owner of an office tower in an inverse condemnation suit against a city and county in a matter involving the demolition by the city of a connecting skyway while it was razing its major league ballpark. We won a decision establishing that our client had compensable property rights for the seizure and destruction of its walkway.
Commercial Lease Disputes & Real Estate Litigation

We represent property owners and developers as well as landlords and tenants in lease disputes and other types of real estate litigation. We frequently represent retail landlords in the enforcement of tenant leases through litigation and pre-litigation settlements. The disputes involve such issues as fee and tax calculations, continuous operations clauses, exclusivity provisions, relocation clauses, termination agreements, premises liability and security matters. Our work has included:

  • Obtaining a nearly $1 million settlement for a grocer client after its landlord secretly decided to knock the shopping center down to make way for a home improvement store.
  • Representing a leading U.S. retailer in a multimillion-dollar commercial lease dispute. The responsibility for paying the award was shared by the landlord and multiple third parties we brought into the case.
  • Representing a large manufacturing client who was the tenant in a commercial landlord/tenant dispute over defects in construction.
  • Representing a national real estate development and property management company in various commercial tenant disputes.
  • Terminating a 99-year lease after the mortgage in a sale-leaseback transaction had been paid.