William J. Hubbard
Bill stays up late worrying so his clients don’t have to. A business owner’s biggest worry is the unexpected. Whether it is injury to a customer or employee or catastrophic property damage, Bill helps his clients avoid the unexpected. But when the unexpected occurs, he brings predictability to an unpredictable situation and helps his clients through those stressful times.
Sometimes people get hurt. Bill’s product liability litigation practice includes representing businesses in mass tort and class action litigation involving building and other consumer products as well as litigation involving allegations of exposure to chemicals or environmental contamination (including claims of exposure to benzene, carbon monoxide, chromium, mold, PCBs, sulfur dioxide, and vinyl chloride).
Sometimes structures collapse or otherwise fail. In his construction practice, Bill represents owners, contractors, architects, engineers, construction managers, and other construction professionals in various construction disputes, often involving catastrophic damage or significant design or construction failures.
Recently, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Bill has advised clients on evaluating whether they are permitted to remain open as essential businesses under various stay at home and shelter in place orders. Bill has also advised on how to minimize risk relating to the coronavirus as businesses continue operations or re-open.
The last thing a client needs when faced with the unexpected is more uncertainty. As an early adopter of Thompson Hine’s SmartPaTH™ program, which applies project management, value-based pricing, alternative staffing and process efficiency to counseling and litigation, Bill is skilled in providing clients with predictability – both in terms of a litigation strategy and its costs.
Bill regularly writes and presents on green chemistry regulations, the FTC Green Guides, USGBC’s LEED program and other regulations that affect chemical and consumer product manufacturers’ abilities to commercialize their products, maintain compliance and achieve competitive advantage.
Bill has both trial and arbitration experience in numerous jurisdictions throughout the United States, and he has argued before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and Ohio’s Eighth District Court of Appeals.
- Defense of project management consultant in negligent highway design claim relating to violations of the Clean Water Act and Oil Pollution Act.
- Defense of construction manager and construction engineer in litigation involving the wrongful death of a stainless steel factory worker as a result of exposure to carbon monoxide.
- Defense of a civil engineer in professional negligence claim involving the subsurface failure of a green parking lot.
- Achieved dismissal of civil engineer in class action alleging professional negligence in design of storm water management system resulting in flooding.
- Defense of engineer in claims involving negligent design of a school HVAC system resulting in sick building syndrome.
- Lead of rapid response team for global construction and civil engineering company’s construction of 700 MW natural gas power plant.
- Achieved dismissal of utility contractor in case alleging contraction of Legionnaires’ Disease.
- Defense of construction manager as agent in delay claims litigation.
- Defense of civil engineer in claim involving professional negligence in design of Maintenance of Traffic Plan resulting in accident rendering motorcyclist a paraplegic.
- Achieved dismissal of construction manager in claims stemming from the collapse of HVAC ductwork installed in a school cafeteria that resulting in serious injury to students.
- Achieved dismissal of historic preservation consultant in litigation involving electrocution of demolition laborer.
Mass and Toxic Tort
- Defense of chemical manufacturer in class action alleging diminution of property value from alleged exposure to hexavalent chromium.
- Defense of a chemical manufacturer in environmental contamination class action seeking medical monitoring and compensation for alleged diminution of property value as a result of proximity to environmental contamination.
- Defense of chlorine manufacturer in mass tort alleging property diminution of personal injury resulting from exposure to particulates and sulfides.
- Representation of chemical manufacturer in investigation by the National Safety Transportation Board (NTSB) involving chemical leak from ruptured rail car.
- Defense of legacy manufacturer in mass action regarding alleged property diminution and wrongful death involving exposure to trichloroethylene (TCE).
- Defense of chemical manufacturers and trade associations in various state and federal mass and toxic tort suits involving claims of intentional tort, fraud, and civil conspiracy.
- Defense of wall component manufacturer in various suits alleging product liability and breach of warranty claims stemming from the growth of mold in hotels and nursing homes.
- Defense of appliance manufacturer in negligence suits stemming from the growth of mold in plaintiffs’ workplace.
Defense of Product Liability and Negligence Claims
- Defeated class certification in a putative class action alleging consumer warranty, strict product liability, and consumer protection violations concerning the manufacture and marketing of a wood plastic composite decking product.
- Defense of utility company in litigation alleging utility placement resulted in wrongful death.
- Representation of manufacturer of waste heat recovery boilers and pollution control equipment in dispute alleging defective design and manufacture.
- Defense of exercise equipment manufacturer in class action alleging breach of warranty and consumer protection violations.
- Defense of food manufacturer in class action alleging sale of adulterated food and consumer protection violations.
- Defense of manufacturers of valves and supply lines, in subrogation claims alleging product defect resulting in flood damage.
- Defense of installer and supplier of industrial warehouse racking system in breach of contract and product defect dispute.
- Defense of automobile and other consumer product manufacturers in product liability and breach of warranty suits, including consumer class actions.
- Defense of property owners in premises liability litigation, including oral argument before the 8th Appellate District of Ohio in which summary judgment was affirmed.
Product Warranty and Labelling Counseling
- Advising consumer product manufacturer on warning label compliance with ANSI standards.
- Drafting warranty language and terms and conditions for lighting manufacturer.
- Advising coatings manufacturer on Material Safety Data Sheet language.
- “Ohio Provides Qualified Liability Shield From COVID-19 Claims,” Thompson Hine COVID-19 Update, September 2020
- “Virginia First State to Enact COVID-19 Workplace Safety Standard,” Thompson Hine COVID-19 Update, July 2020
- “Best Practices for Critical Workers Traveling to and from “Hot Spot” States,” Thompson Hine COVID-19 Update, July 16, 2020
- “Ohio Launches ‘Responsible RestartOhio’ Plan,” Thompson Hine COVID-19 Update, April 2020
- “Ohio’s Amended Stay-at-Home Order,” Thompson Hine COVID-19 Update, April 2020
- “Ohio Issues Stay at Home Order,” Thompson Hine COVID-19 Update, March 2020
- “Be Careful What You Wish For: Revised TSCA Process Slower Than Industry Hoped,” Thompson Hine Product Liability Litigation Update
- “TSCA Overhaul Will Have Major Impact on Chemical Manufacture & Use,” Thompson Hine Environmental Update
- “California DTSC Finalizes Green Chemistry Playbook,” Thompson Hine Green Products Update
- “Suit Urges EPA to Regulate Nanosilver, Remove Products from Shelves,” Thompson Hine Product Liability Update
- "Goooaaal," The Whisper, DRI - The Voice of the Defense Bar
- Ohio Construction Law Manual (Baldwin's Ohio Practice), Eds. Welin, et al.; Chapter 5 Delay, Acceleration, Disruption and the Right to Finish Early; Chapter 10 Subcontracting
- Pandora’s Box: Protecting Your Offices and Manufacturing Facilities by Ensuring a Safe Environment in a COVID-19 World,” DRI
- “Regulatory Update: TSCA/Prop 65/ Product Compliance,” Adhesive and Sealant Council
- “Pandora’s Box: Protecting Your Business by Ensuring a Safe Environment for Employees and Customers”
- “Accident Investigations: Bring the Predictable to the Unpredictable,” Ohio Chemistry Technology Council
- “Accident Investigations: Bring the Predictable to the Unpredictable,” Society of Chemical Manufacturers and Affiliates.
- “Navigating Protective Construction Contracts,” Construction Management Association of America Ohio Chapter
- “In the Crosshairs: the Targeting of Building Products by California’s Green Chemistry Initiative and Other Regulations Focusing on Environmental Exposure to Toxins,” The Adhesive and Sealant Council, Ohio Chemistry Technology Council
- “Discoverability of Social Media and its Use as Trial Evidence,” The Network of Trial Law Firms
- “It’s All About Protecting the Children: Endocrine Disruptors and Continuing Developments in Causation, Dose, and Epidemiology,” ACI’s Chemical Products Liability & Environmental Litigation
- “Defending the Unintended Claim: Beyond Workers’ Compensation,” ACI’s Chemical Products Liability & Environmental Litigation
- “Regulatory Update: TSCA, REACH, IRIS, and the States,” ACI’s Chemical Products Liability & Environmental Litigation
- “Going Green Safely: Reaping the benefits and avoiding the legal risks of greening your products and services”
- “Regulatory Update: Protecting the Company and Mitigating Risk in the Battle Between EPA, Congress, and the States to Regulate Chemicals”
- “The ‘Master’s Institute’ on Ohio Construction Law ... Tools for Success; Negligence and the Economic Loss Doctrine”
- “Risks and Rewards in Green Products and Green Buildings”
- Panelist, “Certified Sustainable Products Forum”
- “Building Information Modeling (BIM): Implications in Defending a Building Product,” Defense Research Institute
- “BIM: Legal Pitfalls for Building Product Manufacturers,” Construction Specifications Institute’s Building Product Manufacturers Alliance
- “Is the Grass Really Greener? Managing the Risks of Greening Your Products”
- “Construction Industry Hot Topics Update: Green Building Risks”
- Listed as a Litigation Star by Benchmark Litigation, 2022
- Selected as an Ohio Super Lawyer Rising Star by Ohio Super Lawyers magazine, 2010 to 2015
- Firm liaison to the Society of Chemical Manufacturers and Affiliates (SOCMA)
- Ohio Chemistry Technology Council, member
- International Association of Defense Counsel
- Defense Research Institute: Chair, Toxic Tort and Environmental Law Committee; Building Products Specialized Litigation Group; Construction Law and Product Liability Law Committees
- Manos Inn of Court
- American Bar Association: Litigation Section, Construction Forum
- Ohio State Bar Association
- Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association
- Cleveland Restoration Society, Board Secretary and Trustee
- Cleveland Bridge Builders, Class of 2007