Environmental & Natural Resource Damage
The lawyers of Richardson, Patrick, Westbrook & Brickman have extensive experience investigating and litigating instances of water contamination and environmental degradation, often on behalf of governmental entities.
RPWB has served lead roles in successfully litigating dozens of natural resource damage cases on behalf of the State of New Jersey, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and United States Virgin Islands. The majority of these cases involved groundwater and/or surface water contamination from industrial facilities, plants, factories, oil refineries and gas stations. RPWB lawyers worked extensively with experts in the fields of hydrogeology, chemistry, resource valuation, and economics to fully evaluate the extent and damage caused by contamination of valuable water resources. RPWB’s representation resulted in the recoveries of millions of dollars to compensate the various governmental agencies and to assist in cleanup and preservation efforts.
This included bringing justice to the residents and government of the U.S. Virgin Islands for contamination of the primary aquifer used by St. Croix to supply the island’s drinking water and surface pollution to sites surrounding an oil refinery and alumina refinery. In total, RPWB attorneys recovered financial compensation and environmental remediation efforts between $166.5 million and $189.5 million against large and powerful corporate interests.
In May 2014, Commissioner Department of Planning & Natural Resources v. Century Alumina Company settled for an estimated $140-$160 million, an amount that varies based on the cost of environmental remediation. In the settlement, responsible parties associated with the two refineries – Hess Oil Virgin Islands, Hovensa and Lockheed Martin – agreed to make cash payments of $67.25 million and clean up damage to the aquifer and contaminants still present on the site surrounding the refineries.
Two years prior, in 2012, three other defendants who had ownership stakes in the alumina refinery at various points over its 30 years of operations settled, agreeing to address long-standing environmental contamination on the island by embarking on a comprehensive project with government oversight to cover red mud contamination and plant vegetation to curtail erosion. That work was estimated to cost between $26.5 million and $29.5 million.
RPWB is recognized by The Legal 500 as one of the top toxic tort firms in the country. In addition, we are a U.S. News & World Report 2019 Best Law Firm and are the top-listed class action and mass tort law firm in the Best Lawyers in America.
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Jun 10, 2019
When Personal Vaporizers Explode: An Entire Industry Designed Around the Wrong Battery
By Chris Moore Since the mid-2000s, we have become more reliant on lithium-ion batteries and the devices they power. The batteries are extremely useful and serve an important function. Just a decade ago, it would have been inconceivable for a laptop computer or a smartphone to be used for an entire day on just one […]READ MORE
May 23, 2019
RPWB Named To Leadership of 3M Combat Arms Ear Plug MDL
RPWB member attorney Elizabeth Middleton Burke was named to the leadership of the 3M Combat Arms Ear Plug multidistrict litigation. Federal lawsuits filed against 3M for producing faulty military ear plugs have been consolidated in the Northern District of Florida. Burke was named as co-chair of the Plaintiff Steering Committee, which builds the national product […]READ MORE
May 20, 2019
Richardson is a Top 25 Lawyer (Again!)
RPWB Founding Member Terry Richardson has been named as one of the top 25 lawyers in South Carolina by Super Lawyers, one of the nation’s premiere attorney rating services. This marks Richardson’s ninth time appearing on the list. For three consecutive years, he was ranked as one of the top 10 attorneys in the state. […]READ MORE
Apr 24, 2019
RPWB named to leadership of firefighting foam MDL
CHARLESTON, S.C. – RPWB has been named to the leadership of litigation to help the nation’s water utilities filter out harmful chemicals left behind by firefighting foam manufactured by 3M and Tyco. RPWB member Christiaan Marcum sits on the Plaintiff Executive Committee of the Aqueous Film-Forming Foam (AFFF) Multi-District Litigation, which has been consolidated in […]READ MORE
Mar 25, 2019
Supreme Court ruling will help asbestos victims
By Dave Butler The United States Supreme Court delivered an unexpectedly good opinion for asbestos victims last week. For years, equipment makers (including those who make pumps, valves, turbines and boilers) have argued that they only make and sell metal products and cannot be held responsible for asbestos products made by third parties and later […]READ MORE
Jan 18, 2019
RPWB welcomes a new member
Richardson, Patrick, Westbrook & Brickman is proud to announce that Aaron Dias has been named the firm’s newest member. Dias has spent the entirety of his legal career with RPWB, beginning as a clerk during law school. In 2005, he became an associate attorney at the firm. His practice focuses primarily on pharmaceutical and other […]READ MORE
Dec 03, 2018
Parties agree to settle SC nuclear plant class action
SCANA and SCE&G settle class action lawsuit with Attorney General and Plaintiffs Related to V.C. Summer Nuclear Costs Plaintiffs Richard Lightsey, LeBrian Cleckley, and Phillip Cooper have reached an agreement with SCANA Corporation and South Carolina Electric & Gas Company to settle a lawsuit filed in the state Court of Common Pleas in Hampton County on […]READ MORE
Nov 02, 2018
RPWB is a 2019 U.S. News Best Law Firm
CHARLESTON, S.C. – Richardson, Patrick, Westbrook & Brickman was named a 2019 Best Law Firm by U.S. News & World Report, recognizing the plaintiff firm for its work on mass torts and class actions, product liability, securities, healthcare law, medical malpractice and personal injury lawsuits. With 16 lawyers listed on the underlying Best Lawyers in […]READ MORE
Oct 24, 2018
The Role of the Whistleblower: A look at qui tam litigation
By Chuck Dukes Qui tam litigation allows private citizens, like you, to join in the battle against government fraud. Every year, many of our public institutions—from the military to Medicare—are plagued by fraud. Astonishingly, it’s estimated that nearly 10% of all federal spending, or $350–$400B per year, is lost due to fraud. And by and […]READ MORE
Sep 18, 2018
Families of two smokers hooked by free samples awarded $113 million
The families of a pair of deceased smokers from the United States Virgin Islands were awarded $113 million by two juries last month. In a consolidated trial, the juries found that the maker of Newport cigarettes (previously Lorillard, now R.J. Reynolds) engaged in a program to hook young people, including children, on cigarettes. The program […]READ MORE
Aug 14, 2018
16 RPWB attorneys named to Best Lawyers List
CHARLESTON – Richardson, Patrick, Westbrook & Brickman was again recognized as South Carolina’s top-listed plaintiff law firm for product liability cases and mass tort/class actions by The Best Lawyers in America® in their 2019 edition released in August 2018. In all, 16 RPWB attorneys were named 2019 Best Lawyers, including four new additions to the […]READ MORE
Aug 14, 2018
Richardson on mass torts win: “Unrelenting pressure is essential.”
RPWB founding attorney Terry Richardson has worked on many mass tort cases throughout his four decades practicing law, but the 2005 Graniteville train crash stands out due to its size, scope and complexity. His experience with the case recently featured by the website drugwatcher.org in the article “11 of America’s Top Trial Lawyers Share Their […]READ MORE
Aug 14, 2018
RPWB accepting DePuy Elbow Implant cases
RPWB attorneys are representing patients who had to replace their faulty DePuy Synthes elbow implant, a defective medical device that was pulled from the market years ago yet it still causing problems. In late 2016, the DePuy Synthes elbow implant was recalled after people who received the devices reported problems with radial stem loosening at […]READ MORE
Aug 14, 2018
First three Abilify gambling cases settle
In April, the makers of Abilify settled the first three bellwether cases that were scheduled to go to trial this past June. Judge M. Casey Rodgers also ordered both sides to begin work on the framework for a global settlement for the nearly 2,000 other Abilify cases pending in the Northern District of Florida. The […]READ MORE
Aug 14, 2018
Wells Fargo Under Fire For 401(k) Rollover Practices
RPWB attorneys are investigating claims that Wells Fargo may have advised people rolling over their 401(k) retirement plans to invest in alternative investments in order to earn higher fees and commissions. These 401(k) rollovers have caught the attention of federal regulators with the Department of Justice, Department of Labor and the Securities Exchange Commission, who […]READ MORE