Emergency Response Team
When emergencies and catastrophic events occur they are generally unexpected and require a quick response from numerous internal and external parties. With offices in Greenville, Columbia, and Charleston, South Carolina and Charlotte, North Carolina, Gallivan, White & Boyd, P.A.’s Emergency Response Team is well-positioned to respond to emergencies and catastrophic events occurring anywhere in the Carolinas. As an experienced emergency response law firm, GWB attorneys bring a vast amount of experience in all phases of catastrophic event preparation and response. From the management of risks as a result of detailed preparation, to the initial response to the scene, to the post-accident investigation and the evidence preservation issues that arise after the event, to the defense and litigation of claims that ultimately occur.
Providing appropriate legal advice during an emergency or catastrophic event will undoubtedly present significant challenges. Some of these challenges include:
- What legal procedures need to be followed?
- Are there judicial options that need to be considered?
- What is the liability potential?
Appropriate personnel with knowledge of specialized areas of the law, support staff, and judicial resources, need to be assembled. GWB attorneys have the years of experience needed to address these challenges.
Members of the Emergency Response Team are called upon at all hours of the night and day and stand ready to assist the firm’s clients in the event of an emergency or catastrophic event. The team provides its clients with an emergency response contact sheet which contains the work, home and cellular telephone numbers of each team member and a dedicated 24/7 Emergency phone number in order to better serve GWB’s clients. With the availability of portable computers, P.D.A.s, cell phones, and office-based technology, all client communications can be instantaneous during the critical and stressful phases of emergency response situations.
Emergency Response Plan Consultations
The value of an Emergency Response Plan (ERP) when a catastrophic event occurs is immeasurable. A competently constructed ERP provides advantages to all involved. These advantages include:
- Promotes safety awareness and shows the organization’s commitment to the safety of all individuals.
- A fast and organized response.
- Prevents fatalities and injuries.
- Reduces damage to buildings, stock, and equipment.
- Protects the environment and the community.
- Mitigates the number of claims and litigation following the event.
- Accelerates the resumption of normal operations.
The lack of an emergency plan could lead to severe losses such as multiple casualties and the possible financial collapse of the organization.The attorneys at GWB have a long history of preparing and reviewing ERPs as well as being called upon to investigate numerous catastrophic events for a myriad of industries to provide on-scene advice and information to clients and their insurers. The firm maintains a roster of emergency contact information so that its lawyers will have immediate access to emergency personnel, governmental and regulatory authorities, health care providers, investigators, environmental experts, and the like so that a team of qualified professionals can be assembled on short notice to respond to any kind of emergency a client may face. The firm has assisted in a number of emergencies and accidents including but not limited to:
- Catastrophic Injuries
- Commercial Transportation Accidents
- Construction Site Accidents
- Death Cases
- Environmental Cases
- Flammability and Fire Cases
- Industrial Accidents
- Medical Device Torts
- Pharmaceutical Torts
- Product Related Emergencies
- Railroad Derailment & Incidents
- Trucking Accident
- Workplace Accidents
Emergency Response Case Studies
GRANITEVILLE TRAIN DERAILMENT
GWB served as lead counsel in the emergency response, post-accident investigation, and claims handling of the Graniteville train derailment. GWB attorneys were on-site within hours of the derailment and chlorine release. The firm was involved in advising the client and directing significant aspects of the emergency response. In Graniteville more than 6000 people were evacuated, over 550 hospitalized and 9 died due to the chlorine release after the derailment.
GWB served as defense class counsel in two personal injury class action settlements arising from the train derailment and subsequent release of chlorine. The class settlements addressed evacuation claims, property damage, business interruption, minor personal injury, and serious personal and psychological injury claims. GWB was also co-counsel in the largest property damage and business interruption claim in the history of South Carolina arising out of the Graniteville derailment. The matter was tried for a month in 2008 before settling. Finally, GWB was lead counsel in all opt out cases, which totaled more than 500 lawsuits including 9 death cases, dealing with every type of issue and health condition that arises from chlorine exposure.
INDUSTRIAL BOILER EXPLOSION
GWB served as lead counsel in the emergency response, post-accident investigation, and claims handling of a massive boiler explosion that resulted in catastrophic personal injury and property damage. Team members were on-site within hours of the explosion and were involved in advising the client and directing aspects of the emergency response. The firm’s attorney knew the importance of collecting information and evidence as soon as possible following an incident and quickly acted on behalf of the client. The team also had provided the client with an emergency response contact sheet, which contains the work, home, and cellular telephone numbers of each team member. This contact sheet assured an even faster response time.
TANKER TRUCK AMMONIA LEAK
A tanker truck from a major transportation carrier delivered ammonia to a distribution facility in Swansea, SC. During the delivery, a leak occurred which allowed ammonia to escape and cover most of the distribution facility’s property and adjacent homes. A woman who was driving on a local highway next to the facility drove through the cloud of ammonia and died from exposure. Hundreds of local residents claimed injuries and property damage from the ammonia release.
GWB was retained within 24 hours to represent the distribution facility and assist them in responding to the release, investigate its cause, respond to local, state and federal authorities requesting information and negotiate the settlement of various injury and property damage claims. Only one lawsuit was actually filed over the course of the next 3 years and it was settled for a nominal amount. Multiple mediations were conducted for both personal injury claims and property damage. All case were settled favorably for GWB’s client.
Past results and testimonials from clients are not to be taken as a representation that the same or similar results can be obtained by the firm in the future.
Emergency Response to Catastrophic Trucking Accidents
The old proverb “hope for the best, prepare for the worst” is certainly true when it comes to the legal defense of a catastrophic trucking accident. The initial emergency response to the accident is crucial to ensuring that a case has a solid foundation for a proper defense.
Court Awards Record Sanction In Business Dispute
GWB represented an international manufacturer of industrial transformers in a business tort dispute with a steel manufacturer.
GWB Chosen As National Trial Counsel In Chinese Drywall Litigation
GWB attorneys defended a large South Carolina building-supply company in over 30 lawsuits brought by its largest customer.
GWB Defeats Certification Of Class Action In SC Multi-Vitamin Litigation
GWB attorneys defended a healthcare company in a class action case seeking damages alleging false and misleading marketing of the company’s multi-vitamins.
GWB Defends Largest Property Damage Claim in South Carolina History
One of the most significant cases undertaken by the Business and Commercial Litigation Team was Avondale Mills v. Norfolk Southern Railway Company.
Products Liability Wrongful Death Case Dismissed Following Summary Judgment Motion
Daniel B. White and Kyle J. White recently obtained the dismissal of a product liability case against an industrial machinery manufacturer.