Accidents, Explosions & Other Disasters

Latham & Watkins helps clients in the immediate aftermath of an event to assemble the right team of legal and technical experts, make quick decisions, and implement a path to recovery and resolution.

Why Latham

Providing Essential Counsel at the Decisive Moment

Latham provides clients in the throes of an accident or disaster situation with immediate support, crisis management advice, and strategic guidance.

Latham can assemble a cohesive team of experienced legal advisors, as well as outside PR and technical consultants as needed, to help clients make key decisions about engagement with government regulators and investigators, site security, evidence collection, and public relations that will impact decision-making in the longer term.

Orchestrating Recovery

The firm also coordinates the many overlapping legal, regulatory, and business issues that clients face in the months and years after an accident or disaster.

Latham assists with internal and external investigations, insurance coverage issues, litigation and potential enforcement actions, any necessary remediation, as well as investor relations.

The practice leverages the firm’s global platform and colleagues with particular relevant experience, as well as the insights of former senior government regulators, and strong working relationships with staff at key government agencies. Latham provides formidable negotiators and trial litigators to resolve litigation and limit a client’s exposure to facilitate the client’s ongoing operations and long-term recovery.

Drawing on Success

Latham has provided this type of sophisticated concierge service to address catastrophic situations for clients involved in a range of industries, including:

  • Automotive manufacturing
  • Chemical manufacturing
  • Energy, power, utilities
  • Mining
  • Oil & Gas

Latham lawyers have helped clients manage potentially brand-damaging crises, recovery operations, and business considerations in the following matters:

  • Represented dispersant manufacturer in the Gulf Oil Spill litigation. Won dismissal of numerous class actions as well as individual personal injury, property damage, and economic loss claims.
  • Successfully represented a major automotive manufacturer against nine-figure subrogation claims and insurance coverage disputes arising from a catastrophic factory power plant boiler explosion.
  • Representing a utility in responding to actions related to a major natural gas leak. The accident, one of the largest of its type resulted in an emergency declaration and overlapping enforcement and regulatory actions by more than 15 local, state and federal agencies.
  • Represented a utility facing federal criminal charges and potentially more than US$1 billion in fines after a pipeline explosion. Won a motion to dismiss nearly half of the fines, then during jury deliberations, successfully moved to prevent a bifurcated trial on the remaining potential fine. Following a seven-week trial, the jury returned a mixed verdict and a maximum statutory fine of only US$3 million.
  • Represented a Colorado-based mining company in successful arbitration regarding an accidental mercury spill in Peru. Approximately 1000 residents filed a lawsuit in Colorado seeking damages for personal injuries. The parties agreed to arbitration, and after a four-week trial, the parties settled, resolving all of the claims.

Our Experience

Sources advise, “You want [Latham’s team] in high-stakes matters for their experience, good judgment and deep bench.” 

Chambers USA 2020