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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Nov 18, 2020
RPWB is a US News 2021 Best Law Firm
CHARLESTON, S.C. – U.S. News & World Report has named Richardson, Patrick, Westbrook & Brickman as a 2021 Best Law Firm for its work in personal injury, product liability, mass torts, medical malpractice, securities litigation, healthcare law and railroad law. The announcement by U.S. News followed RPWB’s inclusion on the 2021 Best Lawyers in America […]READ MORE
Sep 09, 2020
The chase of PPP fraud is on
When the federal government raced to release more than $2.2 trillion in coronavirus aid earlier this year, it did so knowing that some of that money would go to fraudulent claims. With the money needed immediately by struggling businesses and workers, the government could not efficiently control fraud on the front end, so it was […]READ MORE
Aug 25, 2020
Top-Listed Firm for Personal Injury, Product Liability and Mass Torts
RPWB is the top-listed plaintiff law firm in South Carolina for personal injury, product liability and mass tort litigation in the 2021 edition of The Best Lawyers in America®. In all, 14 RPWB attorneys were named Best Lawyers in their respective practice areas. Two other RPWB lawyers were named “Ones to Watch,” a designation for […]READ MORE
Mar 02, 2020
How are Mesothelioma Lawsuits Paid Out?
By Ken Wilson Some of the most frequent questions we get about mesothelioma lawsuits concern how they are ultimately paid out to clients and how long it will all take. To address those questions, let me give you a little bit of context about how mesothelioma lawsuits work. When a person is diagnosed with mesothelioma, […]READ MORE
Feb 02, 2020
$1.5 Billion Syngenta Corn Farmer Settlement Finalized
Corn Farmer Settlement Checks Are On The Way This week we received some very good news for corn farmers nationwide who suffered price losses associated with the botched launch of genetically-modified corn seed by Syngenta in 2013. On January 3, 2020, the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas in Kansas City approved a […]READ MORE
Feb 01, 2020
RPWB is a 2020 U.S. News & World Report Best Law Firm
CHARLESTON, S.C. – U.S. News & World Report has named Richardson, Patrick, Westbrook & Brickman as a 2020 Best Law Firm for the firm’s work in personal injury, mass torts and class actions, product liability, medical malpractice, securities litigation, healthcare law and railroad law. U.S. News’ announcement came on the heels of the 2020 Best […]READ MORE
Jan 31, 2020
16 RPWB Lawyers Selected For Best Lawyers List
CHARLESTON – RPWB was once again the top-listed plaintiff law firm in South Carolina for product liability cases as well as mass tort and class action lawsuits in the 2020 edition of The Best Lawyers in America®, which was released in August 2019. In total, 16 RPWB attorneys were designated as 2020 Best Lawyers, including […]READ MORE
Jan 30, 2020
Asbestos causes mesothelioma, and now scientists know why
It is no secret that exposure to asbestos causes cancer. However, while scientists definitively established this link decades ago, the exact mechanism was still a mystery. A recent study apparently demonstrates just how asbestos causes mesothelioma, which at some point in the future could possibly be helpful to doctors in South Carolina who treat patients […]READ MORE
Jan 22, 2020
Study confirms link between cosmetic products and mesothelioma
Wearing makeup and using other cosmetic products is quite common in South Carolina. Unfortunately, just because something is common does not mean it is safe. For example, asbestos contamination is shockingly common in the cosmetics industry. A recent study established a definite link between the deadly cancer mesothelioma and asbestos found in many cosmetic products. […]READ MORE
Jan 18, 2020
FDA pushes for more testing amid asbestos exposure concern
Current asbestos testing standards for industries that use talc are fairly loose. As recent reports have shown that many products contain this toxic substance, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is pushing for new testing standards. If implemented, it could possibly lower the risk of asbestos exposure for people in South Carolina and across the […]READ MORE
Jan 17, 2020
Is diagnosing mesothelioma difficult?
If you’ve worked in a job that exposed you to asbestos, you may already know the risk for mesothelioma. But when the disease takes years to show up, how do doctors know whether or not you have it? Mesothelioma is a rare disease. And many different illnesses have similar symptoms. To diagnose patients, doctors must […]READ MORE
Jan 15, 2020
How can I find clinical trials for mesothelioma?
If you have mesothelioma from asbestos exposure, you know that only limited treatment exists. However, science is always searching for new ways to treat or cure the disease. If you have exhausted your options for treatment, a clinical trial can test out a new way to fight your mesothelioma. Your doctor may be aware of […]READ MORE
Jan 08, 2020
Asbestos litigation: Johnson & Johnson faces another lawsuit
South Carolina consumers should feel confident that they are making safe purchases, but this is unfortunately more difficult than it seems. Companies are frequently more concerned with their own bottom lines than they are with the health and safety of their customers. Concerned over citizens’ safety, one state is engaging in asbestos litigation against Valeant […]READ MORE
Dec 31, 2019
Construction workers learn of asbestos exposure months later
There is a very good reason that asbestos abatement is tightly regulated in South Carolina. When mishandled, asbestos fibers are released into the air. Those airborne fibers are easily inhaled. For those who do not quite understand just how serious this is, it is important to know that asbestos exposure can lead to a number […]READ MORE
Dec 23, 2019
Miners, construction workers at higher risk for mesothelioma
Asbestos has not disappeared from South Carolina. Whether from old buildings and products or in new uses, asbestos can still be found in many — all over and even in the workplace. Almost anyone could be at risk for exposure, but there are some who face an even greater risk than others. Here are some […]READ MORE