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Successful Appeals

The law of toxic torts is not as developed as the law of negligence and products liability.  Lacking a fully developed body of law to help them decide issues that arise in toxic tort cases, trial court judges sometimes make erroneous decisions and dismiss meritorious toxic tort cases.  When this happens, an appeal is necessary.  The Metzger Law Group has developed a substantial appellate practice in California toxic tort litigation.  Indeed, many of the important published cases in this field are appeals that were successfully litigated by the Metzger Law Group.    Following are some of the successful appeals litigated by the Metzger Law Group.


Bockrath v. Aldrich Chemical Co. (1999)

21 Cal. 4th 71, 86 Cal. Rptr. 2d 846, 980 P.2d 398.   This appeal established the pleading requirements in California toxic tort cases and also established that the plaintiff in a toxic injury case need not plead the mechanism of toxic injury.


Hernandez v. Superior Court (2003)  Hernandez.pdf

112 Cal. App. 4th 285, 4 Cal. Rptr. 3d 883.  This appeal established that trial courts may not stay discovery by a toxic tort plaintiff until after the plaintiff has proved a “prima facie” case of medical causation, that the proof of medical causation requires expert medical opinion, which is protected from disclosure under the attorney work product doctrine prior to expert designation and deposition, that toxic tort plaintiffs cannot be treated differently from other plaintiffs who are entitled to obtain discovery and evidence to prove their case, and that trial courts cannot deprive toxic tort plaintiffs of such rights merely because their cases involve complex issues and are often brought against many defendants.


Tellez-Cordova v. Campbell-Hausfeld (2004)  Tellez-Cordova.pdf

129 Cal.App.4th 577, 28 Cal.Rptr. 3d 744.  This decision is important because it established that the manufacturer of a machine that is used with toxic chemicals and whose design creates the exposure to such toxic chemicals is liable for resulting toxic injuries just as is the manufacturer of the toxic chemicals that cause the injury.


Arnold v. The Dow Chemical Company (2001)  Arnold.pdf

91 Cal. App. 4th 698, 110 Cal. Rptr. 2d 722. In this case, the California Court of Appeal held that the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) does not preempt state law claims for design defect strict liability and breach of implied warranties, that a plaintiff’s claim that a pesticide did not perform as safely as a consumer would reasonably expect is viable under California’s “consumer expectations” test of design defect strict liability, and that a plaintiff need not purchase the product that caused his or her injury in order to sue the manufacturer for breach of implied warranties of fitness and safety. Ascon Properties, Inc. v. Mobil Oil Corp. (9th Cir. 1989) 866 F.2d 1149. 

This appeal established the pleading requirements in the Ninth Circuit for private cost recovery actions under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA).


Tanoh v. Dow Chemical Company (9th Cir. 2009)  Tanoh.pdf

561 F.3d 945.  This appeal established that toxic tort attorneys may segregate similar claims of several hundred plaintiffs into separate cases of less than 100 plaintiffs each and thereby avoid removal to federal court under the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA) provided that counsel does not propose a joint trial of more than 100 plaintiffs.