Experience

Litigation

Guida, Slavich & Flores has a rich history in the field of environmental litigation. Below are brief summaries of our attorneys’ representative environmental cases:

  • Representation of the owner of an industrial property against claims by an adjacent landowner alleging that chlorinated solvents and petroleum-based contaminants had migrated through the groundwater to significantly contaminate its property. After this case was assumed from a large general litigation firm, intensive depositions and subsurface investigation revealed potential sources of contamination on the plaintiff's property. Prior to our involvement, the claimant had maintained a $20 million demand. We eventually settled the case for little more than nuisance value, with the plaintiff accepting responsibility for cleaning up its own property.
  • Representation of a prominent retailer in a property contamination suit against Texas Instruments and Raytheon Corporation. Our client had been damaged by chlorinated solvent contamination emanating from defendants' electronics manufacturing operation. The firm, along with trial co-counsel, achieved a $23 million jury verdict against the defendants.  The case was settled on very favorable terms to our client.
  • Representation of an environmental consulting firm against claims by two shopping center owners for professional negligence. The shopping center owners alleged they had unknowingly purchased properties that were contaminated with chlorinated solvents from prior dry-cleaning operations and that the consulting firm failed to discover and disclose the contamination. Plaintiffs were represented by one of the largest Texas-based firms and asserted a multitude of state and federal claims. After nearly three weeks of jury trial in a Houston, Texas federal court, the jury awarded the plaintiffs almost the exact sum offered by our client in mediation, and less than the plaintiff's legal and expert fees incurred in the case.
  • Representation of East Texas landowners in a property contamination case. After selecting a jury in the Marshall, Texas federal court, we achieved confidential high-dollar settlements for our clients against a multinational forest products company and certain oil and gas operators. Our clients' property had been damaged by saltwater contamination migrating onto our clients' property. The source of the contamination was historic oil and gas operations on the adjacent property owned by the forest products company.
  • Firm attorneys have a great deal of experience representing potentially responsible parties at federal and state “Superfund” sites throughout the nation. We have counseled or represented clients in connection with, among others, the following sites: Lowry Landfill (Colorado), Mosley Road (Oklahoma), Gold Coast Oil (Florida), Bio-Ecology (Texas), Tex-Tin (Texas), Sand Springs (Oklahoma), Petro Products (Alabama), Chemical Recycling, Inc. (Texas), Stringfellow Acid Pits (California), Lackawanna Refuse/Old Forge (Pennsylvania), Eastern Diversified Metals (Pennsylvania), Sheridan (Texas), D.L. Mud (Louisiana), Gulf Coast Vacuum (Louisiana), PAB Oil and Chemical Service, Inc. (Louisiana), Environmental Services, Inc. (Nebraska), Diaz Refinery (Arkansas), Taylor Road Landfill (Florida), Sydney Mine (Florida), Higgins Farm and Higgins Disposal Site (New Jersey).
  • Representation of a plaintiff commercial landowner in a case involving significant chlorinated solvent contamination resulting from the manufacturing and plating activities of the prior landowner, a major multinational electronics firm, more than 25 years earlier. Despite significant proof issues and complex technical and legal questions, the firm achieved a highly favorable settlement with the defendant, including defendant’s purchase of the property in question, at a favorable price, assumption of all remedial obligations, and indemnity against potential third-party claims.
  • Representation of a national environmental consulting firm against a landowner who claimed the Phase I pre-purchase environmental site assessment report was negligently performed when chlorinated solvents were later discovered at its downtown Dallas site. After assuming the defense from the large Texas-based firm that had been handling the case, we achieved eventual dismissal of all claims against our client. We further handled the appeal, and the Dallas Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the trial court in a reported opinion.
  • Firm attorneys served as special environmental counsel to a major agricultural products company in a massive, multi-party array of state and federal regulatory enforcement actions and state-wide toxic tort suits arising out of alleged arsenic contamination at a closed herbicide formulation plant. Among other things, the firm represented the company in negotiating administrative consent orders with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to remediate the plant site and undertake soil replacement activities at over 100 residential tracts neighboring that site. We also assisted the company in settling hundreds of personal injury and property damage suits involving current and past residents. This litigation involved both common law tort claims and federal and state statutory cost recovery and natural resource damage claims.
  • Representation of a North Texas dry cleaner owner against a national environmental consulting firm that had conducted an environmental site assessment on behalf of the shopping center owner. The dry-cleaner owner alleged that it was the negligence of the consulting firm and not the dry-cleaning operations that had resulted in the property being contaminated with chlorinated solvents. The case resulted in a significant recovery for the dry-cleaner owner.
  • Representation of an environmental and geotechnical consultant against a prominent health services corporation. The health services corporation alleged that its major foundation problems were caused by negligent geotechnical work performed by the consultant and would cost several million dollars to repair. On the eve of trial, the trial court granted our second motion for summary judgment and dismissed all claims against our client.
  • Representation of a Dallas landowner (who inherited contaminated property) against the adjacent shopping center where a tenant had released chlorinated solvents. The firm assumed trial responsibilities approximately 30 days before trial. At the time we assumed the case, there had been only nominal settlement offers by the shopping center owner who was represented by the founding partner of one of Texas' most prominent litigation boutiques. At the courthouse, the case was favorably settled for near the full amount of our client's demand.
  • Representation of a developer against numerous landowners alleging that alterations in surface water runoff had damaged their residential and commercial properties. This case is pending.
  • Representation of an explosives/fertilizer producer in a major Clean Water Act/NPDES enforcement action in the northeast. The matter was preceded by a threatened enforcement action by a citizen group under Section 505 of the Clean Water Act. The case was ultimately settled by a consent decree.
  • Representation of the Trustee in Bankruptcy for a petroleum refining and marketing company in the first judicial action in the nation under the corrective action authorities granted to the EPA under the 1984 amendments to the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. That case also involved substantial allegations of regulatory non-compliance. The case was ultimately resolved in two consent decrees.
  • Firm attorneys had a highly significant role representing certain defendants in the Hardage/Criner CERCLA litigation in Oklahoma, U.S. v. Hardage (W.D. Okla). The Hardage case involved a large number of parties and a myriad of complex environmental legal issues. The case received national attention and resulted in published opinions.
  • Representation of various pest control companies in personal injury actions related to the application of pesticides in residential and commercial properties.
  • Representation of manufacturers, premises owners and employers with regard to asbestos litigation.

 

Our trial attorneys also have significant experience in handling a broad range of non-environmental litigation matters. Representation of non-environmental matters previously handled by our trial attorneys include:

  • Representation of a large German manufacturing company against product liability claims brought by an employee of a company who had his arm torn off in the pinch point of a large conveyor belt. Following an almost two-week trial, the Paris, Texas jury rendered a defense verdict.
  • Representation of a family and estate bringing wrongful death claims against the City of Fort Worth arising from a fatal car accident. Following an almost two-week trial, the Fort Worth jury awarded the family of the deceased $5,200,000.
  • Representation of a large general contracting company in a roof failure case in a multimillion dollar construction project. A summary judgment was obtained in favor of our client based on the contractor's statute of repose.
  • Representation of a large American reinsurance carrier asserting employment-related claims against a British competitor. The case involved non-competition and breach of fiduciary claims, among others. Claimed damages exceeded $800,000,000. The case was resolved after we obtained several important pre-trial rulings from the court.
  • Representation of a charitable charter school executive against assault and certain employment-related claims arising from an altercation that arose at an executive meeting. Following limited discovery we were able to obtain a dismissal of all claims based upon statutory immunity. We are presently handling this case while on appeal.
  • Representation of a large charitable organization against very public negligence and gross negligence claims arising from molestations that occurred during an after-school program. Plaintiffs demanded several million dollars in damages. Following more than 100 depositions and six weeks in trial, a Dallas jury awarded plaintiffs only $15,000 from the client.
  • Representation of an international security company against a nurse that claimed that inadequate hospital security negligently failed to protect her from a violent patient who by spitting blood caused her to contract the AIDS virus. Plaintiff was represented by the President of the San Antonio bar. Following more than 40 depositions, and almost three weeks in trial, a San Antonio jury rendered a defense verdict.
  • Representation of the president of a large Dallas-based roofing company who had allegedly publicly defamed the president of another roofing company. The case was favorably settled after more than 40 depositions were taken.
  • Representation of an East Texas manufacturing company against premise liability claims arising from a contractor’s fall through a roof opening and subsequent paralysis from a broken back. Following numerous depositions, a Longview, Texas jury returned a defense verdict.
  • Representation of a trucking company and driver in three wrongful death lawsuits arising from a horrendous accident between a car of teenagers and the client's truck in Athens, Texas. Following extensive discovery, the claims were settled on highly favorable terms.