Cohen Milstein’s Complex Tort Litigation practice is a nationally recognized, premier trial practice, representing individuals who have suffered catastrophic injuries and environmental harm due to unsafe products, toxic substances, medical negligence, or other forms of injury and abuse.
Our primary objectives are to ensure injured victims receive just restitution through the court system and to hold responsible parties accountable. Some of our cases have set legal precedent, while others have influenced government investigations, new legislation, or regulatory change – all to mitigate future wrongdoing and injury.
We pursue complex torts often involving national interests and crises related to industry or government negligence. Many of our cases are closely watched by the media and regulators alike.
We have the unique honor and distinction of being court appointed Lead Trial Counsel or Lead/Co-lead Counsel in several of the largest complex class and environmental toxic tort mass actions in recent U.S. history, including:
- Flint, Michigan Water Crisis Litigation: On July 26, 2017, Cohen Milstein was court-appointed as Co-Lead Counsel in this high-profile class action involving the blatant failure of Michigan state and city officials, including the Governor of Michigan, to provide 100,000 citizens and business with safe drinking water, instead providing them with poisonous, lead-tainted water, as reported in The Detroit News, Detroit Free Press, Law360 and other national publications.
- DuPont/Chemours Cape Fear River Water Contamination Litigation: On January 4, 2018, Cohen Milstein was court-appointed Interim Co-Lead Class Counsel in this significant putative toxic tort class action against DuPont and Chemours, which, since 1980, have knowingly dumped toxic chemical by-products into the Cape Fear River, affecting potentially more than 770,000 residents in North Carolina, and lied to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and state regulators, as reported in Associated Press, The Washington Post, and Triangle Business Journal.
Our individual cases frequently involve issues of national significance and allow us to effect change not only through the courts, but through advocacy efforts before state and federal legislatures, and regulators, as demonstrated below:
- Lindsay X-LITE Guardrails: As reported by The TODAY Show, CBS This Morning, in June 2017 Cohen Milstein filed a series of individual wrongful death lawsuits against the Lindsay Corporation, alleging that the Lindsay X-LITE guardrail system, installed on roadways in 29 states across the United States, is defective, contributing to such deaths. Since that time, additional cases involving wrongful death and catastrophic injury have been filed against Lindsay Corporation. We have also met with federal and state transportation and highway officials and legislators to discuss Lindsay X-LITE safety concerns.
- Repeal of Florida Statute of Limitations: In 2010, the Florida House and Senate passed a bill (HB 525), repealing the state’s statute of limitations that prevented victims of sexual abuse from pursuing criminal or civil lawsuits after a certain period of time. Michael Dolce, the leader of our Sexual Abuse, Sex Trafficking, and Domestic Violence team, led a grassroots effort of some 200 survivors and supporters in a six-year crusade, overcoming powerful and well-financed opposition, to obtain this legislation.
Results of our lawsuits have had far-reaching consequences:
- Managed Care: The American Association for Justice lists Chipps v. Humana as one of the most influential cases in recent U.S. history, for its mitigation of corruption in the healthcare and managed care industries. This landmark lawsuit, involving the discontinued care of a severely disabled child with cerebral palsy, uncovered widespread fraud at Humana, including the payment of bonuses to physicians and nurses based on the number of medical claims they denied each month.
- Takata Airbags: As reported in the New York Times and Reuters, our discovery efforts in Mincey v. Takata furthered the U.S. Department of Justice investigations into Takata Corporation and its subsequent recall efforts of Takata airbags – one of the largest recalls in U.S. history.
We are nationally recognized trial lawyers, class and mass action leaders in complex tort litigation. Our lawyers are also highly regarded for their subject-matter expertise. For instance:
- Theodore J. Leopold, Co-Chair of the Complex Tort Litigation practice, is court appointed Co-Lead Counsel on two of most high-profile environmental toxic tort mass actions in the U.S. today—the Flint, Michigan Water Crisis Litigation and the DuPont/Chemours Cape Fear River Water Contamination Litigation. He is also a former President of Public Justice Foundation, the United States’ foremost non-profit plaintiffs’ bar organization, which leads social advocacy and corporate reform through precedent-setting class actions and trials.
- Leslie M. Kroeger, Co-Chair of the Complex Tort Litigation practice, is a highly accomplished trial attorney who started her career as an assistant public defender and then an assistant Florida state attorney. She is the President-Elect of the Florida Justice Association, Florida’s premier plaintiffs’ bar trial association, and was named a 2018 Distinguished Leader by the Daily Business Review.
- Stephan A. LeClainche, head of the firm’s Medical Malpractice team with over 30 years experience in this area of law, is a Florida Board Certified Civil Trial Lawyer and Fellow in the prestigious American College of Trial Lawyers.
- Michael Dolce, head of the firm’s Sexual Abuse, Sex Crimes & Domestic Violence team, is nationally regarded for his expertise in sexual abuse litigation and social advocacy efforts to repeal Florida’s statute of limitations for civil and criminal prosecution of child sexual abuse.
Our team also includes former civil defense attorneys and criminal prosecutors and defense attorneys, as well as former judicial clerks, adding to the legal and strategic perspective we bring to our client representations in court and in settlement negotiations. Our team is complemented by subject matter experts and professionals, such as accident reconstructionists, engineers, physicians, and economists. We represent clients in state and federal courts across the country. We also co-counsel with local attorneys, nationwide.
We respect the courage and strength of our clients to come forward and pursue litigation. We pursue our clients’ claims aggressively, if need be, all the way to a jury trial and through the appeal. Through all steps of the litigation process, we work with our clients and keep their interests and goals central to our focus and strategy.
Complex tort claims often require intensive investigation to determine the way in which a product, substance, professional or other individual caused harm, injury, or death. Such investigation is particularly important to uncover negligent, fraudulent, or deceptive conduct taken to conceal harmful products, substances, or other abuses. During these investigations, we work closely with subject matter experts, and/or medical professionals who are focused on accident, crime scene, and forensic analysis, to present the most compelling case to the court.
Through our diligence, we have been able to uncover patterns of corporate and institutional negligence, fraud, and abuse. Through the court system, we have helped clients receive just compensation and have stopped defendants from continuing to put harmful products on the marketplace or continuing to engage in abusive, unethical behavior at the expense of the public.