With the most extensive class actions experience of any Australian law firm, our lawyers are best positioned to advise clients on the unique impact of a toxic tort class action, and the specialised legal strategies required to deal effectively with class actions claims.
We have experience in advising on a broad range of hazardous materials, including pesticides, radiation, solvents, diesel, asbestos, heavy metals including nickel/silica, cobalt, lead, zinc, cadium, arsenic, and gases including cyanide, carbon disulphide and ammonia. We also regularly provide risk management advice in relation to potential exposures to these materials.
We also have specific experience in complex property and environmental litigation stemming from the impact of hazardous and toxic substances. Our experience includes acting in litigation involving agricultural products, environmental pollution, contaminated land and microbiological pest control.
The broad range of our experience also enables us to advise clients on their potential exposure to future liabilities, and to develop legal strategies to reduce those risks.
The diverse environmental, health and safety issues involved in these matters often requires input and evidence from scientific experts, and we have developed and maintain close relationships with Australian and international experts in fields including neuroscience, clinical toxicology, psychopharmacology, immunology and pathology. Our experience working with scientific experts in litigation matters gives our clients access to the most comprehensive and effective expert advice available.
We provide clients with advice on:
- pre-emptive risk management strategies and implementation (including internal and external communications strategies on legal risk issues)
- investigations, prosecutions and penalties
- the preparation of complex forensic scientific evidence related to novel causation issues
- insurance issues relating to claims
- compliance issues and working with regulatory bodies
- defending class actions and personal injury claims
- due diligence, risk allocation and disclosure of environmental assessments in property transactions
International automotive manufacturer: We are acting in relation to a number of cases across various jurisdictions involving mesothelioma and asbestosis claims caused by materials in automotive parts and machinery. These matters involve extensive analysis of complex and cutting-edge toxicological and industrial hygiene issues, along with emerging theories of liability in negligence, particular with respect to mesothelioma. These claims frequently involve multiple parties with numerous potential workplace exposures, and require a sophisticated assessment of broader strategic commercial and litigation considerations.
Mining industry: We have advised a mining company on its future liability where workers may have been exposed to a carcinogen in the workplace; many carcinogens don't have a noticeable impact for 20 to 40 years after exposure, requiring careful assessment to determine future potential liability. We have also provided advice to mining companies on numerous other liability issues, including acid rock drainage and the use of arsenic in mining operations.
Contaminated Land: We regularly advise our clients in respect of potential legal liabilities arising out of potential human health risk issues associated with historically contaminated sites which have subsequently been redeveloped for residential or mixed uses.
Environmental prosecutions: We have defended numerous EPA and council prosecutions on behalf of clients across a wide range of industries. Our experience includes advising on numerous contaminated land disputes, liaising extensively with the Department of Environment and Climate Change and assisting clients engaged in disputes with regulatory agencies regarding the Protection of the Environment Operations Act, Environmental Planning and Assessment Act and the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.
International constructor of petroleum refineries: We act for a major company in multiparty litigation alleging that asbestos exposure during construction of a number of refineries caused lung cancer. Assessment of whether our client may have contributed to causing the lung cancer required not only a comparative investigation of the level and nature of asbestos exposure at the various workplaces but also examination of the likely causal contribution of the plaintiff's heavy smoking history.
Power company: We advised the company on the scientific and legal issues relating to exposure to electromagnetic fields as part of that company's due diligence procedures. This included an analysis and audit of the current body of scientific knowledge regarding the potential for electromagnetics to cause cancer.
Major insulation manufacture and supplier: We advised on safety and liability issues relating to inhalational exposure to fibreglass by workers and consumers.
Agricultural industry: We defended a cross-claim in a class action related to the alleged contamination of livestock due to the use of a chemical spray. Our practice is also experienced in matters related to the use of diesel, particularly in the transportation sector.
Multiple Chemical Sensitivity: In addition to the specific matters above, we continue to be involved in defending actions and providing advice to numerous major Australian and international corporations in relation to claims of multiple chemical sensitivity due to exposure to toxic substances in the workplace.
Dust Diseases: We have advised clients across a broad range of industries in dust diseases claims. This experience enables us to efficiently advise clients on the strategic and technical legal issues involved in defending such claims, and we are able to advise clients on numerous alternative dispute resolution methods in order to achieve our clients' commercial objectives without the risk of litigation.