Chemicals, Asbestos and Toxic Torts

Rumberger, Kirk & Caldwell represents major corporate clients in this distinct specialty involving pest control, agricultural, other chemical products, and products once manufactured with asbestos.  We defend claims of direct and indirect exposure to chemical products, asbestos, and mold.  Plaintiffs often claim resulting psychological and physical harm, including fatalities.  RKC has wide ranging experience deposing experts who customarily testify for plaintiffs in these types of cases.

Asbestos Litigation

RKC’s asbestos team has years of experience defending clients in state and federal courts throughout the Southeast United States.  We have successfully tried cases in Florida, Louisiana, Texas, Georgia, and Virginia, and favorably resolved thousands of others.  The firm’s extensive experience includes managing and defending manufacturers of gaskets, packing, friction products, grinding products, insulation, floor tiles, boilers, and paint products, among others.  We also have a significant statewide presence and is well equipped to handle multiple cases through verdict and appeal in an efficient, uniform and cost-effective manner. Our team develops a methodical and systematic understanding of their clients’ products, witnesses and industry.  We work with corporate employee witnesses as well as industry experts nationwide, including industrial hygienists, epidemiologists, and pulmonologists.  RKC also knows its opponents well, and has vast experience working with plaintiffs’ counsel and the expert witnesses they typically rely on, throughout the country.
 

Representative Work

  • Kenneth Fisher v. A.W. Chesterton and Anchor Packing (Miami-Dade) – jury verdict for Plaintiff of $1,120,000 reduced by setoffs to $365,000 – reversed on appeal and settled for $25,000.
     
  • George Harriman v. Garlock (Miami-Dade) – plaintiff’s verdict in damages-only trial reversed on appeal.
  • Luthi v. Anchor Packing (Broward County) – successful resolution of case during jury deliberations.
  • Coons v. Garlock (Miami-Dade) – damages-only trial jury, verdict vacated on appeal.
  • Rucker v. Garlock (Miami-Dade) – defense verdict in damages-only trial affirmed on appeal.
  • Bolin v. Garlock (Baton Rouge LA) – Garlock’s Motion for directed verdict granted.
Our attorneys keep abreast of the changing scope of Florida law regarding asbestos and silica claims.  RKC has implemented several case management orders in jurisdictions such as Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach and Hillsborough counties.  We are also thoroughly familiar with the requirements of the Asbestos and Silica Compensation Fairness Act (§ 774.201, et seq.), which became effective on July 1, 2005.  The Act gives priority to true victims of asbestos and silica impairments, enhances the judicial system’s ability to handle the litigation, and conserves the limited resources of the defendants.

Pesticides and Pest Control

Rumberger, Kirk & Caldwell represents one of the leading companies in the pest control industry. Industry leaders and their counsel resolve the overwhelming majority of pest-related issues to the satisfaction of customers, making lawsuits unnecessary.  However, some customers make protracted litigation unavoidable.Consumers and commercial entities at times buy less expensive termite contracts that do not provide for damage repair. To overcome contractual limitations, consumers will sue in tort, alleging fraud, racketeering, and other nefarious claims in an attempt to obtain leverage in settlement negotiations. 

RKC attorneys are well versed in defending against these tactics. In our experience, plaintiffs will often exaggerate the amount of termite damage in hopes of obtaining a larger settlement or jury verdict than warranted. We work with experts in construction, forensic structural engineering, and entomology to present accurate and truthful damage evidence to jurors, courts, and arbitrators. Our attorneys have gained enormous experience in defending pest control companies against attempts to sue as class actions.

Aside from substantial trial experience, our attorneys have won significant appellate victories, which have changed the way these cases are litigated and the damages litigants may recover under certain legal theories.We handle matters for the pest control industry before the Florida Department of Agriculture and Attorney General, and help leading pest control companies revise their customer contracts for compliance with the Department of Agriculture's latest regulatory changes.  We also represent chemical manufacturers and pest control companies in toxic tort casualty cases.