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Toxic/Mass Tort & EnvironmentalView Practice as PDF

BSCR brings a streamlined litigation approach and an in-depth understanding of numerous technical, medical and regulatory issues to toxic tort, mass tort and environmental issues.  We have years of experience managing hundreds of cases on behalf of clients facing claims of alleged injury or misuse of industry substances and chemicals. We have extensive knowledge of the maze of federal and state regulations that govern the business practices of our industrial clients.  Our attorneys are active in leadership positions within defense organizations focused on toxic tort issues, mass tort and environmental issues. We are particularly sensitive and responsive to the importance our clients place on their reputations and use the utmost discretion in handling high-profile litigation.

Toxic Tort & Mass Tort

Our attorneys have extensive experience in complex toxic tort and mass tort litigation, including multiparty and consolidated proceedings and class actions.  We have handled cases on behalf of companies that manufacture a range of products, including: industrial equipment and materials; chemicals; underground storage tanks; breast implants; building products; consumer items; packaged foods; and, commercial products.  We have been retained to coordinate national and regional defense efforts on behalf of major clients, bringing uniformity, consistency and efficiency to the defense and overall management of these claims. We have acted as national and regional counsel supervising mass tort litigation. BSCR uses efficient litigation management strategies to handle individual cases or a large volume of cases, including the coordination of discovery responses. Strategically, our lawyers have developed innovative approaches to the use of expert opinions and literature. We are skilled in the use of the alternate causation defense as well as Daubert/Frye evidentiary arguments. Drawing on our extensive experience representing industry clients, we have also developed innovative approaches to analyzing and developing product literature warnings and product testing reports, preparing product and medical expert reports, and, analyzing and developing product literature and warnings. Our experience includes handling claims involving toxins, hazardous wastes and injurious emissions. We represent companies that handle the following chemicals:

  • Asbestos
  • Benzene
  • Beryllium
  • Dioxin
  • Isocyanates
  • Industrial chemicals
  • Insecticides
  • Mold
  • PCBs
  • Pesticides
  • Petro Chemicals
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Plastics
  • PVCs
  • Silicone
  • Solvents
  • Talc
  • TCE
  • Termiticides
  • Toluene
  • Toluol

Our attorneys have defended a variety of injury claims including those in which serious medical conditions are alleged. In addition to being well versed in the science of chemicals, we are knowledgeable about medical issues and have medical professionals on our staff well versed in the following topics:
  • Alternate causation
  • Analysis
  • Biochemistry
  • Chemistry
  • Daubert/Frey issues
  • Differential diagnosis
  • Epidemiology
  • Hydrology
  • Misuse of scientific studies
  • Regulatory standards
  • Statistics
  • Toxicology


BSCR attorneys have extensive experience handling environmental and natural resources matters on behalf of commercial and industrial clients in a number of forums, including before the Environmental Protection Agency, state environmental and natural resource agencies, and state and federal courts. Our environmental litigators are as prepared defending clients in the courtroom as they are handling complex settlement negotiations or discussions of litigation strategy.  We have successfully represented clients in civil and administrative environmental proceedings, including government enforcement actions, CERCLA (Superfund), RCRA claims, insurance coverage disputes, contract and indemnity claims, and property damage and loss of use actions. We defend clients in litigation involving abatement and remediation, improper storage, solid and hazardous waste management, wastewater and air permitting, rulemaking, standard-setting, environmental site investigation and cleanup, underground storage tanks, release reporting, and compliance auditing. In addition, we are up to date on state and federal regulations and statutes, and advise clients about how best to understand and operate within the regulatory framework. 

For more information about our Toxic Tort & Environmental practice contact Tom Rice or Tom Seigfreid in Kansas City at 816.471.2121. In St. Louis, Contact Mike Hunter or Nate Leming at 314.345.5000.

News & Events

Greg Odom Speaks on Asbestos Litigation Panel

11.22.19 | speaking on issues related to asbestos litigation in December.

Baker Sterchi Adds Jennifer Maloney in St. Louis

10.29.19 | Jennifer Maloney has joined the St. Louis office of the law firm of Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice LLC as a Member. Maloney's practice is focused on civil litigation defense, primarily in the areas of premises liability, product liability, personal injury and transportation.

Baker Sterchi Enhances Illinois Presence with Addition of Greg Odom and Meghan Kane

10.29.19 | Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice LLC has enhanced its Belleville, Illinois presence with the addition of Greg Odom and Meghan Kane.

Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice Adds Beasley as Member in Belleville, IL Office

05.06.19 | Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice LLC, has added Laura K. Beasley to the firm's Belleville, Illinois office. Beasley, who joined the firm as a Member, practices in the areas of civil litigation defense, general liability, class action/mass torts, insurance coverage, personal injury, and product liability

Baker Sterchi Cowden and Rice Welcomes Julie Simaytis in St. Louis

04.25.19 | Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice is pleased to welcome Julie Simaytis to the firm's St. Louis office. Simaytis joins the firm as Of Counsel. Having practiced exclusively in litigation for over fifteen years, her practice is focused on...


BSCR Obtains Unanimous Jury Verdict for Retail Gas Station Client

Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice obtained a defense verdict against the Missouri Department of Natural Resources and the Missouri Office of the Attorney General after a two-week jury trial in Jackson County, Missouri at Kansas City.

Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice Wins Defense Verdict in Asbestos-Related Matter

After a week-long trial in a St. Louis area court,Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice won a defense verdict for a flooring subcontractor client in an asbestos-related case in which our client was sued by its general contractor for $1.2 million in damages...

Dismissal entered in favor or Client in Asbestos Matter

We obtained dismissal for our client, a general contractor, in an asbestos action filed in Madison County, Illinois. Plaintiff alleged the general contractor either manufactured products with asbestos or exposed plaintiff to asbestos fibers during his employment.. . .

Jury Verdict Obtained for Client in Crop Damage Case

BSCR obtained a jury verdict in favor of our client, Northwest Fertilizer, Inc. after a week-long trial. The case involved a misapplication of an herbicide on corn crops that damaged a portion of plaintiffs' corn crop. Plaintiffs claimed that damage from the herbicide was widespread throughout a substantial portion of the farm while Northwest Fertilizer claimed the damage was isolated and any remaining damage was the result of other causes for which it was not responsible. . .

BSCR Obtains Complete Dismissal of Cases Against Pharmaceutical Client

In 2007, Plaintiffs began filing lawsuits against four pharmaceutical manufacturers and sponsors of gadolinium based contrast agents ("GBCAs") alleging that the GBCAs caused or contributed to cause a rare disease now known as nephrogenic systemic fibrosis ("NSF"). Close to 1000 cases were filed in various state and federal courts over a period of four years. . .

Blog Posts

United States Supreme Court Holds Counterclaim Defendants May Not Remove Diverse Lawsuits

07.25.19 | The U.S. Supreme Court holds that a third-party defendant is not entitled to remove because neither the General Removal Statute nor the Class Action Fairness Act permits a third-party counterclaim defendant to do so.

Second Update: Hopping On The Missouri Bandwagon? Not So Fast Out Of State Litigants.

07.16.19 | SECOND UPDATE: Missouri Governor Mike Parson signs Senate Bill 7, which amends venue and joinder laws, to prevent out of state plaintiffs from litigating their cases in an inappropriate venue.

Illinois Counties Remain Top Jurisdictions for Asbestos Litigation in 2018

07.08.19 | Even with asbestos litigation on the slow decline, Madison County and St. Clair County, Illinois remain the top venues for asbestos litigation.

Update: Hopping on the Missouri Bandwagon? Not so Fast Out-of-State Litigants.

05.20.19 | UPDATE: House Passes Senate Bill 7, in which the Missouri legislature seeks to amend venue and joinder laws, to prevent out of state plaintiffs from litigating their cases in an inappropriate venue.

In a case of first impression, the Appellate Court of Illinois allows counsel to withdraw previously disclosed testifying expert

04.12.19 | The Illinois Appellate Court, First District, held that a party may timely withdraw a previously disclosed testifying expert and redesignate said expert as a Rule 201(b)(3) consultant entitled to the consultant's privilege against disclosure absent exceptional circumstances.

Hopping on the Missouri Bandwagon? Not so Fast Out-of-State Litigants.

03.18.19 | In Senate Bill 7, the Missouri legislature seeks to amend venue and joinder laws, to prevent out of state plaintiffs from litigating their cases in an inappropriate venue.

City of St. Louis - Still A Judicial Hellhole

12.26.18 | Defense attorneys beware. The 2018-2019 American Tort Reform Foundation's (ATRF) Judicial Hellholes Report is out, and the City of St. Louis landed fourth on this list because of its massive verdicts, forum shopping, and legislative failures.

ANTI-FORUM SHOPPING: Limitation on Joinder in Missouri on the Horizon

06.18.18 | The Missouri Legislature introduced bills during its most recent legislative session to curtail forum shopping of class action plaintiffs in Missouri. This anti-forum shopping legislation, while not ultimately enacted into law, would have limited out-of-state plaintiffs from joining lawsuits involving local claims against out-of-state defendants.

North Carolina Court Finds Employer's Negligence to Be Superseding, Sole Proximate Cause of Asbestos Plaintiff's Injuries

02.07.18 | The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit upholds judgment in favor of a vendor of asbestos products. Although the vendor was found to be negligent and this negligence was found to be an initial proximate cause of plaintiff's injuries, under North Carolina law the...

Missouri Upholds Pollution Exclusion to Relieve Insurance Company from Duty to Defend Toxic Tort Claims Arising from Industrial Pollution

11.27.17 | In a recent decision, the Missouri Supreme Court for the first time considered the meaning and application of a pollution exclusion in a commercial general liability policy, landing unanimously on the side of the insurance company in favor of denying coverage to the insured.

You've Got Mail - Service of Process by Mail is Satisfactory under the Hague Service Convention

05.30.17 | The United States Supreme Court ruled on May 22, 2017, that the Hague Convention, on the service of judicial documents abroad, permits service by mail if the receiving country has not objected to service by mail and service by mail is authorized under otherwise-applicable law.

Court Muzzles Counsel: Says Defendants Cannot Ask Plaintiffs if Their Attorneys Referred Them to Treating Physicians

04.27.17 | The Florida Supreme Court recently ruled that the attorney-client privilege protects a party from being required to disclose that her attorney referred her to treating doctors.

The Daubert Standard - Coming Soon to a Missouri Court Near You

03.31.17 | Earlier this week, Governor Eric Greitens signed Missouri HB 153 into law. HB 153, which supplants Missouri's existing expert witness standard with that set forth in Federal Rules of Evidence 702, 703, 704 and 705, effectively submits expert testimony in most civil and criminal case to the analysis set forth in Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 509 U.S. 579 (1993).

Federal Judges Blow Their Stacks Over Boilerplate Objections

03.27.17 | Within a two-week period, two federal judges issued strongly worded orders denouncing the common practice of asserting boilerplate objections to written discovery.

Reports of the Death of Litigation Tourism in Missouri Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

03.01.17 | A recent Missouri Supreme Court decision is good news for out-of-state defendants, rejecting the theory that appointing a registered agent in the state to accept service of process equated to consent to personal jurisdiction, and explicitly adopting Daimler and Goodyear. The decision probably creates more turmoil than it resolves on the “general jurisdiction” front, however, and does not directly stamp out the multi-plaintiff litigation tourism that is presently bedeviling the state.

Mere Designation of an Expert Witness Does Not Waive the Work Product Doctrine Protections

11.02.16 | A Missouri plaintiff did not irrevocably waive the protections of the work product doctrine simply by designating an expert witness and then withdrawing the designation without disclosing the expert’s analysis or conclusions.

The Supreme Court's Jurisdictional Stretch in Resolving the Evidence Needed to Support a CAFA Removal

01.06.15 | A defendant removing a case to federal court under the Class Action Fairness Act need not provide evidence proving the jurisdictional amount in controversy in the notice of removal. A "short and plain statement of the grounds for removal" is sufficient.

Frying the Frye Test and Increasing the Caps: New Amendments to Kansas Civil Actions and Civil Procedure

07.11.14 | K.S.A. 60-19a02 has been amended, increasing Kansas's long-standing cap on non-economic damages (pain and suffering) recoverable in personal injury. K.S.A. 60-456(b) has also been amended to mirror the requirements for the admissibility of expert testimony set forth in Fed. R. Evid. 702.

Legislative Changes Coming to Missouri's Workers' Compensation Law on January 1, 2014

01.01.14 | Some major changes are coming soon to Missouri's Workers' Compensation Law. Earlier this year, the Missouri General Assembly passed what began as a legislative effort to address issues in the coverage of occupational diseases created by the switch in 2005 to strict construction of the Law. In the end, this effort resulted in…