Practice Areas            
 
Mass Tort & Class Actions

The Mass Tort and Class Actions Group has decades of experience in litigating a variety of complex mass tort and class action matters. We have been active on a national scale, serving as counsel for many diverse entities. We coordinate discovery, develop overall litigation and settlement strategy, and coordinate the activities of local counsel around the country. Additionally, we perform internal investigations of facts, document review, employee and ex-employee interviews and site/product histories, as well as developing and managing document libraries with comprehensive litigation support, targeting favorable laws, providing regulatory advice, and developing experts.


MASS TORT
Our mass tort practice includes the defense of claims for exposures to asbestos-containing products, silica, benzene, chromated copper arsenate, NORM, mold, mercury, lead, phenylpropanolamine, organic solvents, polyvinyl chloride, as well as a variety of other agents. Our clients include manufacturers, oil and energy related entities, railroads, premise owners, executive officers and distributors. We have extensive experience in state and federal courts litigating cases under state law, general maritime law, Jones Act, FELA and CERCLA.

Our experience in asbestos litigation is particularly extensive. Since the inception of the litigation in Louisiana, we have been at the forefront of the defense effort. We have defended a wide range of asbestos-containing products including insulation, refractory, gaskets, packing, brake and other friction materials, as well as premise owners and executive officers. We have been lead counsel in thousands of lawsuits and tried numerous cases to verdict in Louisiana and in other states, successfully obtaining defense verdicts in pleural, asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma claims. As a result, we have participated in most Louisiana appeals of significance relating to asbestos and other occupational exposures.

Over the years, we have acquired an extensive expert and fact deposition and trial testimony bank. We also have a large library of a variety of literature involving occupational diseases. We maintain product information which encompasses numerous manufacturers and distributors and every major and most minor sites in Louisiana. We also have a library of case law, motions, memoranda, and other pleadings concerning recurrent issues which permits us to present a cost-effective, vigorous defense.

Through our vast experience, we can provide significant cost savings to clients as we have no learning curve in developing defense strategies and we are able to access data bases, medical materials, medical experts, toxicology experts, and industrial hygiene experts. Additionally, due to the representation of numerous clients, we have developed a cost effective strategy with the use of joint representation agreements.


CLASS ACTIONS

The firm has extensive experience in defending corporate clients in class action litigation. We have acted as counsel in numerous class action cases in federal and state courts throughout the country. We are equally adept at opposing class certification to the highest court of appeal and settling class actions to minimize exposure when circumstances warrant. Because the class certification decision generally occurs early on in the case, it is imperative for a class action defendant to gain a competitive advantage over the opponent early on. It is our philosophy to immediately minimize the risks presented by a class action filing by removing to federal court, filing dispositive motions, and/or striking class action allegations. In all cases, we develop a plan of action with the client, and then work to implement the plan of action in all out effort to serve the client‘s best interests.

We have particular expertise in functioning as national coordinating counsel in situations involving duplicative or “copycat“ class action filings in multiple jurisdictions. Our experience with repetitive class action filings and other large class actions has allowed us to acquire and gain technical expertise in case-management technology. We regularly employ top of the line database technology to our class action cases to compile evidence on class members, manage class discovery and pleadings, and minimize administrative expense to the client. The database technology we use is compatible with that used by most clients to maintain records and other law firms that represent co-defendants in class actions cases so that work and case organization is streamlined. We employ several legal assistants with extensive experience in relevant database technology.

Our class action experience includes the following:

Employment and Labor Class Actions
Consumer Class Actions
Products Liability Class Actions
Environmental Contamination Class Actions
Mass Tort Class Actions and Others.

The class action practice area is comprised of an interdisciplinary team of attorneys who have expertise in class action procedure and the substantive areas of law presented by the cases.


REPRESENTATIVE MATTERS

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PUBLICATIONS

In addition to the firm’s practical experience in litigating class actions, we also participate in ABA and other seminars on the topic and have published several papers on class actions. Recent publications include:

Class Action Litigation Crisis: Proactive Management Strategies for Corporate Counsel, BNA,Inc., Vol.5, No.22, p.819, November 26,2004.

Inferiority Complex: Is Regulatory Action Superior to Class Action Litigation, ABA Class Action & Derivative Suits Newsletter, vol. 13, No. 4 (Fall 2003).

Class Litigation Gone Wild: The ‘No-Injury’ Phenomenon, vol. 4, Class Action Litigation, No. 5, p. 390, May 23, 2003.

The Use of the Class Action Device in Agricultural Products Litigation, 6 Drake Agricultural Law Journal 175 (2001).

Some Practical Considerations for Defending and Settling Products Liability and Consumer Class Actions, Volume 74, Tulane Law Review, 2125, (2000).

Federal Court Rejects Novel Legal Attack on Biotech Seeds, 15 Legal Backgrounder 40, a publication of the Washington Legal Foundation (July 28, 2000)

The Rigorous Analysis Test at Work, 1 Class Action Report, 391 (2000), A Bureau of National Affairs Publication.


PRESENTATIONS & SEMINARS

Managing Electronic Discovery. A presentation made by A.J. Krouse of Frilot Partridge and Chris Faiella of GRS Forensics, 2007.

Living and Litigating in Katrina’s Aftermath, Practising Law Institute Seminar, New Orleans, Louisiana, 2006.

Class Action Fairness Act of 2005. National Business Institute Seminar, A Critical Update on the Class Action Fairness Act, New Orleans, Louisiana, March 20,2005.

Defending and Resolving Toxic Tort and Products Liability Class Actions; Ethical Pitfalls in Defending Class Actions National Business Institute Seminar, Litigation the Class Action Lawsuit in Louisiana, New Orleans, Louisiana, January 7, 2005.

Mass Tort Class Actions in LA: Past, Present and Future. Tulane Law School’s CLE by the Hour, New Orleans, Louisiana, December 28, 2004.

REPRESENTATIVE CLIENTS

Shell Oil Co.
Murphy Oil Co.
Nintendo of America
Rheem Manufacturing Co.
CITGO Petroleum Co.
Chevron Co.
Baker Hughes Co.
Monsanto Co.
A.O. Smith Co.
Universal Forest Products, Inc.
Bradford White Co.
Emerson Electric Co.
Ashland, Inc.
Occidental Chemical Corp.

TEAM MEMBERS

Angela M. Bowlin
James H. Brown Jr.
Benjamin M. Castoriano
Lara N. DiCristina
Kelsey A. Eagan
Krystle M. Ferbos
Everett R. Fineran
George A. Frilot III
John J. Hainkel III
A.J. Krouse
J. Dwight LeBlanc III
Kelly Long
Dylan D. Lynch
Patrick J. McShane
Magali A. Puente
Campbell E. Wallace