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Environmental Threats

Hausfeld represents communities, families, and workers, both in the U.S. and abroad, who have been exposed to hazardous chemicals in neighborhoods, workplaces, or in food and water supplies. These toxic exposures can result from silent underground leaking or from catastrophic events such as a refinery explosion. In either case, the health of community members is often at risk. Additionally, these environmental hazards can result in economic harm such as diminution of property values, remediation costs, or loss of use and enjoyment damages. Hausfeld lawyers have also achieved notable success in similar cases involving health, scientific, and medical monitoring issues representing clients injured by exposure to toxic chemicals, as well as unsafe drugs and faulty medical devices. For more information, please visit here

Litigating the environmental problems of today requires expertise in complex scientific issues and medical causation. Hausfeld lawyers have worked closely with leading independent scientists including environmental health physicians, toxicologists, and epidemiologists in preparing and trying environmental health threat cases. Our highly skilled attorneys have prevailed in matters involving lead poisoning, chemical poisoning, contamination from genetically modified crops, and air and groundwater pollution.

Hausfeld recently concluded a massive settlement in South Africa to recover compensation for tens of thousands of South African goldminers who suffered occupational lung disease.  The settlement is on behalf of a class of goldminers going back 50 plus years to 1965 against the entire goldmining industry in South Africa.  Bongani Nkala and 69 others v. Harmony Gold Mining Co., Ltd., et al., In the High Court of South Africa, Johannesburg (May 13, 2016).  

Hausfeld also represents one of the largest public water suppliers in the country, the Suffolk County Water Authority, in two water contamination cases, Suffolk County Water Authority v. The Dow Chemical Company et al., 17-6980 (E.D.N.Y.) and In Re Aqueous Film-Forming Foams (AFFF) Products Liability Litigation, MDL No. 2873 (D.S.C.). The cases are filed against the manufacturers of toxic chemicals that have polluted the Authority’s public supply wells. Both complaints allege that the defendants, who knew or should have known of the environmental risks of their defectively-designed products, must bear responsibility for the costs of treating the contaminated water and protecting the public from harm. Hausfeld also currently represents residents in a California community in the Porter Ranch Gas Leak cases, who suffered chronic exposures to methane from a gas line leak, and seek compensation for injuries to property, business losses, and personal injury.

Hausfeld's successes have also led to our work on behalf of foreign plaintiffs in public health litigation, including international environmental litigation regarding chemical contamination in Bhopal, India and property contamination claims in Barbados. 

Hausfeld has also been a leader in the fight for global action to reverse the imminent threat of climate change, integrating environmental science and law with international human rights. On September 23, 2019, sixteen young people from around the world, represented by Hausfeld and Earthjustice, submitted a groundbreaking legal complaint to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child (“CRC”) against five of the world’s largest economies – Argentina, Brazil, France, Germany, and Turkey – in a case designed to establish the human rights obligations of nation states in combatting climate change. The claim is supported by an amicus filing by the present and past UN rapporteurs on the environment and human rights. For more information on this case please visit here. The petitioners’ follow up to the CRC’s response can be found here, and correspondence with Norway on behalf of the firm and the petitioners on this issue can be found here.

Led by Rich Lewis, our Environmental Threats practice group is capable of handling complex cases anywhere around the globe.

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