A “toxic tort” is a case where property or a person is damaged or injured by a toxic or hazardous substance. Many of the cases that Tim has handled involve contamination of property by a spill of gasoline or diesel or other hazardous substance. Some representative cases include:
A large fuel tanker hauling unleaded gasoline turned over next to Flathead Lake, spilling thousands of gallons of gasoline that contaminated the properties of several landowners. The Bechtold Law Firm represents the landowners to help them restore their properties and recover their damages due to the fuel release
Johansen v. Rio Tinto/Intalco & Noranda (Idaho)
A mining tailings dam failed and caused thousands of cubic meters of mine waste to flash flood a mountain valley, eventually inundating the Johansens’ property with mine waste. The mining companies quickly settled the case with the Johansens prior to litigation being filed.
Schmidt v. Johnson, DV-10-1120 (Missoula County)
A teenager backed into a gasoline dispenser at a Missoula gas station in the middle of the night, causing several thousand gallons of gasoline to be released when the automatic shutdown mechanisms failed. Tim represented the gas station owner in arranging the remediation of the spill and in litigation over the shutdown mechanism. The case settled prior to trial.
Redden v. Agri-Systems, DV-03-08 (Bighorn County)
A manure pumping coupling at a hog operation failed in the middle of a winter night and almost 500,000 gallons of pig manure flowed across the Reddens’ ranch, almost reaching the Little Bighorn River before the manure flow was halted. The ammonia in the manure poisoned the Reddens’ ranch fields and caused numerous respiratory issues. The case settled prior to trial.
Rieger v. Farstad Oil, DV-2011-6 (Fallon County)
A semi carrying dyed diesel drove off the road near Plevna, Montana, crashed, and released thousands of gallons of dyed diesel into a creek on the Riegers’ ranch next to the road. After several years of ineffective remediation efforts, the case settled on the eve of trial.
Gressinger v. Farstad Oil, DV-11-92 (Carbon County)
A semi loaded with fuel crashed and burned on the Gressingers’ property near Belfry, Montana. The Gressingers’ property was contaminated by the fuel released, and damaged by the fuel-fed fire after the crash. The case settled prior to trial.
Graham v. Maasch Construction, DV 13-62 (Roosevelt County)
A truck loaded with production water from a well in the Bakken oil field turned over and dumped its load of production water onto the Grahams’ ranch near Froid, Montana. The production water, which was highly saline and mineralized, contaminated an area of the Grahams’ ranch and flowed into a stock pond, contaminating that as well. The Grahams’ property was remediated and the case settled prior to trial for a fair amount.
While it operated the Troy Mine, ASARCO employees had disposed of barrels of mine waste by dumping the barrels into the tailings impoundment. ASARCO vehemently denied any knowledge of any such activity, however ASARCO’s employees revealed in deposition testimony under oath that such dumping had taken place. Before the case could proceed to trial, ASARCO declared bankruptcy, and the case settled in bankruptcy proceedings.