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Mass Torts and Toxic Torts Group

Martin & Seibert, L.C. has represented numerous corporations and insurance companies throughout West Virginia regarding toxic torts claims and related claims such as medical monitoring.  The targets of these lawsuits face the potential of skyrocketing costs and  substantial exposure even out of coverage periods.  Martin & Seibert recognizes the magnitude of exposure within West Virginia and the complexity of liability and coverage issues involved in these cases.  Our litigation team has the knowledge and experience to vigorously defend clients’ positions, while pursuing effective cost-containment strategies.  We focus not only in the defense of the tort litigation but also the affirmative prosecution of contribution and indemnification claims as well as the use of joint defense agreements when appropriate to secure proper allocation of costs where liability may rest with several defendants.
Our firm’s breadth of capabilities and geographic footprint in West Virginia, through our offices in Martinsburg and Charleston, provide our clients with coverage in all federal and state jurisdictions.  Martin & Seibert has defended a wide variety of cases involving substances manufactured, distributed, sold or insured by our clients, including:

  • Asbestos
  • Silica
  • Benzene
  • Pesticides
  • Herbicides
  • Mold
  • Chemicals, paints and coatings
  • Cleaners and degreasers
  • Petroleum products

Martin & Seibert works closely with our clients’ in-house legal and technical staffs as well as outside consultants to provide goal-oriented, efficient legal representation.  Our lawyers will also search for alternative approaches and settlement strategies aimed at litigation avoidance and risk management for our clients.    
 We have actively defended claims involving:

  • multi-plaintiff silicosis  
  • respirator manufacturers
  • toxic tort exposures
  • asbestos premises liability
  • ground water contamination
  • chemical spills and remediation
  • radon exposure and defective radon mitigation systems
  • coal mine explosions and collapse
  • gas explosions
  • water and soil contamination by picloram, lead, chromium, PCB’s and other petroleum-based distillates
  • silicosis and occupational pneumoconiosis
  • creosote, coal tar, coal tar pitch, and coal tar pitch volatiles poisoning
  • recycling and salvage yard soil contamination
  • Brownfield remediation and related civil litigation
  • carbon black and coal ash pollution
  • nuisance claims
  • medical monitoring claims


We have also leveraged our experience with insurance coverage and the defense of “bad faith” actions to defend insurers who have been directly sued by insureds seeking contractual defense and indemnity.  These cases typically evolve into the active participation by the insurer in the defense and/or settlement of the individual or mass claims.  The firm has defended insurers who have been directly sued by Plaintiffs based upon claims founded upon the knowledge of the industry and challenges to risk management activities.  We have defended cut-through or direct actions by Plaintiffs against excess and reinsurance carriers that seek both payment and declarations of coverage for actual and potential exposure arising out of mass torts and environmentally-based class actions.

We recognize the exposure created by numerous claimants and the expenses associated with the defense of mass torts and class actions.  The firm’s aggressive e-discovery team and our experience with massive data and our access to leading experts has allowed us to develop litigation plans and budgets that can favorably compete with larger firms or complement national coordinating counsel in a joint effort to obtain successful results within a realistic budget.

Our keen insight into the jurisdiction also grants our clients an additional advantage so that we can bring other forces to bear that positively impact upon the litigation such as our experience in the administrative arena that often complements the civil litigation. We likewise have a deep understanding of the industries that are targeted by mass and toxic tort litigation and can provide risk management advice even pre-suit to avoid some of the more costly issues that often drive settlement values or verdicts.

For further assistance in mass torts/toxic torts defense, please contact Managing Shareholder Walter M. Jones, III at 304.262.3210 or at [email protected]


Matthew R. Whitler


Copyright 2010 Martin & Seibert, L.C.