The Hannon Law Firm, LLC has represented numerous individuals and businesses in landmark cases for both personal injury and property damage resulting from toxic chemicals. The Firm has pioneered groundbreaking approaches to protect and compensate its clients in trial courts and appeals courts. The Firm has 20 years of experience with toxic chemical exposure cases, including those involving: PFOAs and PFCs, lead, cadmium, asbestos, mold, industrial solvents, and above ground and underground storage tanks.
Jackson v. Unocal – Asbestos Contamination Class Action
In 2006, The Hannon Law Firm, LLC, with co-counsel, filed Jackson et al. v. Unocal et al., a lawsuit on behalf of approximately 500 property owners against Unocal Corporation and others for asbestos contamination in the soil in northeast Colorado caused by the removal of a pipeline and salvage operations connected with the pipeline. The class action lawsuit was certified on March 17, 2009. Unocal appealed the class certification. On October 31, 2011, the Supreme Court upheld the class certification and in doing so reaffirmed Colorado law supporting class certification. The negotiated settlement included a $32.5 million payment to the class and additional cleanup and testing requirements. The Final Fairness Hearing was held on January 24, 2013, and settlement was approved.
Orjias v. Louisiana-Pacific – Formaldehyde Air Emissions
In Orjias et al. v. Louisiana-Pacific, the Hannon Law Firm, LLC represented families who lived next to a waferboard facility which emitted formaldehyde, MDI and wood particulates. Several attorneys had rejected the suit before Kevin’s co-counsel agreed to take the case. Kevin’s clients suffered health and property damages and eventually had to move away from the pollution. The three week trial resulted a March 1992 jury verdict for $2.3 million, including $1.8 million in punitive damages. Evidence from that trial was used as part of the basis for action by the federal government against Louisiana-Pacific, which included the largest fine imposed by the U.S. EPA at the time, and criminal charges. The Orjias verdict was upheld in its entirety through the United States Supreme Court.
NWIS and NRRI v. Public Service Company of Colorado – Leaking Natural Gas Storage
In 1998, the Firm won a $1.8 million jury verdict on behalf of an owner of industrial property located next to the Leyden Underground Natural Gas Storage facility in Jefferson County operated by Public Service Company of Colorado. The award, which included $278,000 in punitive damages, proved a total loss in value of this 70 acre property due to the migration of natural gas from the Leyden storage facility. The Leyden Storage facility is the only facility for the underground storage of natural gas in the United States made from an abandoned coal mine. When Public Service then sought to take the client’s property away by condemning the property, the Firm also successfully defeated that action. In January, 2000, the verdict was affirmed in its entirety by the Colorado Court of Appeals. The Colorado Supreme Court refused to hear the request of Public Service to review the Court of Appeals’ decision. As a result of the publicity surrounding that decision, Public Service admitted to the leaks it had not previously disclosed and agreed to drop the operating pressure of the facility to reduce the migration of gas. Public Service eventually decommissioned this dangerous facility because of the publicity surrounding the case.
Doyle v. Fluor and Doe Run – Lead Smelter Class Action
The Hannon Law Firm, LLC has a special interest in protecting those who have been exposed to lead and has served as co-counsel in representing individuals whose properties are damaged by air and soil contamination from the Doe Run Smelter in Herculaneum, Missouri. St. Joe Lead Corporation, Fluor Corporation, and The Doe Run Corporation operated a lead smelting plant in the town of Herculaneum, Missouri. As a result, it poisoned hundreds of children, contaminated over 700 properties and put its workers at risk. Doe Run had violated the national lead standard in every quarter, except one, from 1978 through 2000. In 1993, the Missouri Department of Health concluded that there Ais a long term threat to public health around the Doe Run Smelter. The Hannon Law Firm, LLC filed the original case as Dixon v. Fluor and Doe Run in 1995, a class action for property damage and medical monitoring in Jefferson County. After a December 2000 hearing, a judge denied certification of class.
The Firm refiled the property damage class as Doyle, et al v. Fluor, et al in 2001. The case included Ira Rennert and Renco, Inc., the new Doe Run owner who had a reputation of buying distressed industrial companies. After 19 years of litigation, including four appeals, hundreds of depositions, and dozens of motions, the case settled on the eve of trial as pretrial rulings were issued. The property owners of Herculaneum finally achieved some measure of justice as a result of a $55 million settlement with Doe Run. The Doe Run Smelter ceased operations the last day it could under its settlement agreement with EPA on December 31, 2013. It was the last primary lead smelter in the United States.
Meyer v. Fluor and Doe Run – Medical Monitoring Class Action
The Firm has successfully prosecuted personal injury claims for Herculaneum children as a result of the damage from toxic lead. The Firm’s Meyer, et al. v. Fluor, et al. medical monitoring class action established groundbreaking standards for medical monitoring. The Firm also helped re-establish the law of corporate officer liability in the Missouri Supreme Court.
In addition to the Doyle and other lead smelter-related cases, the Firm has brought personal injury claims for damage arising out of exposure to toxic releases from the lead waste or chat piles in southeastern Missouri created from lead mining and milling. Separately the Firm has prosecuted lead paint exposure cases for individual children.
Hoery v. U.S. Air Force – Solvent Gas Contamination
In 2003, The Hannon Law Firm, LLC obtained a landmark decision from the Colorado Supreme Court, en banc, establishing the law of continuing trespass in toxic chemical cases. The case arises out of the Firm’s commitment to represent a individual homeowner for the groundwater contamination in the East Montclair Neighborhood coming from the Lowry Air Force Base. In Hoery v. USA, on referral from the United States 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, the Colorado Supreme Court stated:
“… the ongoing presence and continued migration of toxic chemicals on the plaintiff’s property, allegedly caused by toxic chemicals released by the United States, each constitutes a continuing trespass and nuisance. … [T]he tortious conduct of the United States is not limited to its initial release of those chemicals into the ground, but also includes its failure to remove the toxic chemicals and to abate the spread of toxic pollution onto the plaintiff’s property.”
This decision protects those who are initially misled by the polluter and government agencies that the contamination is of no concern and that they will take steps to clean it up, to their detriment, allowing the statute of limitations to pass. This new law is consistent with interpretation of the law the Firm developed ten years before.
Escamilla v. Asarco – Cadmium Smelter Contamination Class Action
The Hannon Law Firm, LLC was trial counsel in Escamilla et al. v. Asarco, one of the largest verdicts in Colorado in an environmental damage case at the time of verdict. In Escamilla, the Firm represented the Denver community of Globeville in a class action suit for contamination of its air and soil by cadmium and arsenic. The six-week trial resulted in a jury verdict and the court entering judgment for $28.1 million. This case was the first jury trial in Colorado to award the cost of cleaning up the contamination as part of the damage award, and was pioneering nationally for that remedy. The settlement reached after trial provided for remediation of the Globeville community, and payment of money damages to the residents. The Firm was part of the team that oversaw implementation and completion of the five year soil cleanup.
Brown v. Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Corporation – Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA) Groundwater Contamination Class Action
The Firm currently serves as co-counsel representing the communities of Merrimack and Litchfield, New Hampshire against Saint-Gobain in a property damage and medical monitoring class action for contamination of ground water wells by PFOAs.
Eagle County School District v. Paramount Communications – Mine Waste Contamination
In 1996, the Firm served as co-counsel in claims on behalf of the Eagle County School District against Paramount Communications which owned the environmental liabilities at the Eagle Mine in Minturn, Colorado. The School District operated a middle school which was located directly adjacent to mine tailings piles. The case resulted in a payment of $1.5 million and indemnification for environmental liabilities to the school district. In 1995, the Firm obtained a $1.1 million dollar payment, six year clean-up plan, and penalties for non-compliance with the plan, in settlement of a case arising out of groundwater contamination from an above-ground storage tank farm operated by a subsidiary of Amoco Oil.
Fortner v. Public Service
In 1994, the Firm represented the owners of the historic Denver Gas and Electric Building in downtown Denver in an action against Public Service Company for PCB contamination of the Building. The case resulted in a $5.325 million settlement for the owners.
Wilks v. Inspiration – Mine Waste Contamination Class Action
The Firm has served as lead counsel in environmental class actions outside the state of Colorado. For example, the Firm led Wilks v. Inspiration, a case for groundwater contamination for property and well owners impacted by mining waste in Globe, Arizona against Cyprus, Magma, and Inspiration mining companies. Five years of litigation resulted in a settlement which included replacement drinking water wells, a cash payment to the class, and establishment of a rarely achieved medical monitoring program for those using the contaminated water in October, 2000.
Allen v. Burlington Northern – Locomotive Diesel Groundwater Contamination Class Action
The Firm successfully obtained certification of a class action in La Crosse, Wisconsin for a community of over 200 homes for property damage and remediation of groundwater contamination caused by a Burlington Northern Railroad locomotive facility. That case was settled resulting in a significant damage award to the class.
Crawford v. Hamilton Sunstrand – Underground Storage Tank Groundwater Contamination
The Hannon Law Firm, LLC has successfully tried and settled underground storage tank leakage cases against Hamilton Sundstrand Corporation, and against Bradley Petroleum Company, and other gas station operators representing both businesses and homeowners; a soil contamination case against Coastal Petroleum in Fort Morgan; and a case involving an anhydrous ammonia spill against Arkansas Valley Co-op. The Law Firm has represented and continues to represent businesses and individuals for personal injury and property damage from mold, heavy metals, pesticides, petroleum products, and other substances, indoor air contamination and noise.
Kramer v. Wyco Pipeline – Above Ground Storage Tank Contamination
In 1995, the Firm completed a case representing groundwater contamination from an above-ground storage tank farm operated by a subsidiary of Amoco Oil. The tanks were overfilled on a number of occasions, causing the spillage of jet fuel, kerosene, gasoline and other fuels. Our clients had suffered property and crop damage from the resulting groundwater contamination. We obtained a $1.1 million payment, a six year clean-up plan which including additional monitoring wells, penalties for non-compliance with the clean-up plan, and other benefits.