Federal Court Rules in Favor of Defendants in Key Toxic Tort Lawsuit

Share Article

Smith, Gambrell & Russell environmental attorneys Andy Thompson and Steve O’Day achieved a major victory in a large toxic tort lawsuit last week. On October 21st, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit affirmed a federal district court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of SGR’s client Alcoa and other defendants. The ruling will have lasting impact on lawsuits claiming illness from exposure to beryllium and other toxic chemicals.

SGR Environmental Group Leads Defense.

Smith, Gambrell & Russell environmental attorneys Andy Thompson and Steve O’Day achieved a major victory in a large toxic tort lawsuit last week. On October 21st, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit affirmed a federal district court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of SGR’s client Alcoa and other defendants. The ruling will have lasting impact on lawsuits claiming illness from exposure to beryllium and other toxic chemicals.

First filed in 2004, the case was narrowed to twelve plaintiffs, after the defense team defeated plaintiffs’ efforts at class action certification. Plaintiffs alleged that they had developed beryllium sensitization and/or chronic beryllium disease as a result of alleged exposures during the manufacture of military aircraft. They claimed their illnesses were caused by the defendants’ alleged breach of duty to warn them of the dangers of beryllium usage.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit concluded that the plaintiffs’ claims were barred by the “learned intermediary” doctrine because the plaintiffs’ employer was a sophisticated user of beryllium and had sufficient knowledge of the dangers of beryllium use. The Court also affirmed the district court’s exclusion of the plaintiffs’ causation expert because the expert’s opinions were scientifically unreliable under the prevailing standard for admissibility of expert testimony.

Smith, Gambrell & Russell is a full service, international law firm that advises regional, national and global businesses on a wide range of legal matters. The firm’s 175-plus attorneys provide legal counsel in practice areas including corporate transactions, litigation, intellectual property, aviation, banking, construction, employment and environmental law. Founded in 1893, SGR has offices in Atlanta, Jacksonville, New York, Stamford, Washington, DC and Frankfurt, Germany. Please visit http://www.sgrlaw.com for more information.

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit No. 10-14703; U.S. District Court for Northern District of Georgia 10-14741

###

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Kate Frost
Visit website