SUCCESSFUL DEFENSE OF TOXIC TORT CLAIMS
Several years ago, Barron Grier defended Amphenol Corporation and Allied Signal in numerous lawsuits brought against them alleging contaminated ground water due to TCE and other toxic waste chemicals. The entire neighborhood was involved, and the alleged damages exceeded one-half billion dollars. When Barron was retained, these cases were billed as "unwinnable" cases due to the large amount of adverse publicity against the companies and the fact that the companies had lost the first three lawsuits using a different law firm and different theories of defense.
When Barron took over the defense, he successfully refocused the case and ultimately, won a defense verdict after a three-week trial. The Plaintiffs appealed to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, but he successfully sustained that verdict. Quinn v. Amphenol Corp., 69 F.3d 533, 1995 WL 501356 (4th Cir. 1995) (Table).
Meanwhile, the Honorable Judge Merighe was assigned to clean up the rest of the cases and he consolidated fourteen cases for trial at one time. Those cases were tried all the way to a jury verdict and again resulted in defense verdicts. These were also sustained by the Fourth Circuit. In re: Wildewood Litigation, 52 F.3d 499 (4th Cir. 1995).
While pollution is unpopular and polluters are not sympathetic defendants, Barron was able to show that the levels of TCE, although exceeding EPA recommendations, were not hazardous to human health. He was able to convince the juries that the adverse publicity, not the TCE, had caused the diminution in value to property. He used what could be termed the "world’s experts" on toxic waste, and the trial judge commented after trial that the experts used were probably the best that he had ever seen in many years in the courtroom.
Construction litigation has evolved into a large portion of the Firm's defense practice. This ranges from coverage disputes to defending general contractors, design professionals, architects, engineers, roofers, plumbers and manufacturers of building products.
SUCCESSFUL DEFENSE OF PRODUCTS LIABILITY CLAIMS
Over the past fifteen years, Barron defended several automobile-manufacturing cases alleging faulty seat belts, which resulted in severe and devastating injuries to the passengers. He also defended motorcycle cases involving alleged defects in the motorcycles. Because of the significant and catastrophic injuries involved in these type cases, experts were retained from all over the country, each having their specialty in biomechanics, risk assessment, etc. While some of these cases were settled, Barron won the two cases tried, involving brain-dead and paraplegic plaintiffs.
SUCCESSFUL DEFENSE IN PROFESSIONAL DISCIPLINARY ACTIONS
Barron has defended physicians, dentists, nurses, attorneys and other professionals in disciplinary actions brought by the various state licensing boards. Under the current system, the professional Boards have a huge amount of power and virtually no accountability on review of their decisions. The professionals that stand accused of matters ranging from poor record keeping to sexual improprieties with patients are afforded fewer rights than criminal defendants. At two levels – trying to gain basic due process rights for the accused professional and trying to defend them on the merits. In most cases, Barron has been able to resolve the merits to the satisfaction of the clients with probations and fines. In other cases, he has been successful in obtaining due process rights through appeals to the Administrative Judges and declaratory actions in the circuit courts.
INSURANCE COVERAGE OPINIONS AND LITIGATION
The Firm has carved out a niche practice in the area of insurance coverage. Work in this area has included in-depth research on questions of coverage under comprehensive general liability, automobile and garage liability, and homeowner’s policies. In addition to providing coverage opinion letters, work in this area includes declaratory judgment actions and any resulting appeals. For examples see: State Auto Property & Cas. Ins. Co. v. Gibbs, 314 S.C. 345, 444 S.E.2d 504 (1994); General Accident Ins. Co. v. Safeco Ins. Co., 314 S.C. 63, 443 S.E.2d 813 (Ct. App. 1994); Greenville County v. Insurance Reserve Fund, 311 S.C. 169, 427 S.E.2d 913 (Ct. App. 1993, on cert., 313 S.C. 546, 443 S.E.2d 552 (Sup. Ct. 1994).
MEDIATION AND ARBITRATION
Barron Grier has acted as a certified mediator in a number of cases, both in State and Federal Courts, and has one of the best success rates in the State. He handles cases throughout the State. Areas of emphases for mediation are: Personal injury, medical negligence, contracts, wrongful death, products liability, insurance coverage disputes, nursing homes, defamation, and dissolution of professional partnerships.