Passaic River Litigation

New Jersey

In 2008, New Jersey filed a lawsuit against multiple industrial defendants for alleged dioxin contamination of the state's Passaic River.  In turn, those direct defendants sued more than 300 third-party defendants for contribution.  Shook, Hardy & Bacon was retained as common counsel for about 120 of those third-party defendants in the state court action. 

In December 2013, the court approved a settlement including Shook's clients and other third-party defendants for a total of $35.4 million, or less than one-tenth of the $355.4-million total the state would receive by the December 2014 conclusion of the litigation. Shook took a leading role in negotiating the complex settlement and went on to represent a subset of the same companies in matters concerning the EPA lead investigation and cleanup of the river. NJDEP v. Occidental Chem. Corp. et al.

(“Passaic River Litigation”), No. ESX-L-9868-05 (N.J. Law Div., Essex Cnty. Sept. 5, 2008).