Defendants' Summary Judgment Motions Denied in Toxic Tort Action on Behalf of Alabama Coal Miners

Defendants' Summary Judgment Motions Denied in Toxic Tort Action on Behalf of Alabama Coal Miners

On May 21, 2009, summary judgment motions brought by all the remaining defendants were denied in an action in Alabama circuit court, Tuscaloosa County, in which Kasowitz represents over 1,300 Alabama coal miners suffering permanent respiratory injuries as a result of their exposure to isocyanate-based products used in the mines.  The defendants, which include Dow, BASF and Bayer, are manufacturers, suppliers and/or distributors of these products.  Plaintiffs have claimed that defendants failed to warn of their products' hazards, and engaged in an industry-wide conspiracy extending over several decades to conceal and misrepresent those hazards to the mine owners, the miners' union, government regulators and the miners themselves.  After hundreds of pages of briefing and summary judgment hearings that extended over nine days, the court found triable issues of fact as to almost all of plaintiffs' claims, including their claims for fraud.  The Kasowitz team is led by partners Dan Benson, Andrew Davenport, Jack Atkin, and David Abrams, special counsel Howard Bressler. Donald W. Stewart is Alabama-based counsel, with whom Kasowitz has long worked closely.