October 24, 2020

Volume X, Number 298

James B. Slaughter

Jimmy Slaughter has a national practice in environmental, toxic tort, and constitutional litigation.

Named a Runner-Up for American Lawyer’s Litigator of the Week three times in 2019 and 2020, Jimmy’s recent accomplishments include securing preemption of a major city’s air ordinance, defeating at hearing a $5 million enforcement order, and winning a complete dismissal of a putative nuisance class action against a landfill. Jimmy also recently scored a rare equitable estoppel ruling against a major local government, allowing his client to challenge numerous provisions of a conditional use permit. Chiquita Canyon LLC v. Los Angeles County, 2019 WL 6122160 (L.A. Co. Super. Ct. 2019).

Other achievements include securing a unanimous win in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court defeating toxic tort claims, Gilbert v. Synagro Central, 131 A.3d 1 (Pa. 2015) and a plaintiffs judgment after a two week trial on constitutional challenges to a voter initiative banning land application of biosolids, City of Los Angeles v. Kern County, 2017 WL 1292822 (Tulare Co. Cal. Super. Ct. 2017). Jimmy also scored three wins on preemption claims in 2013 and 2014 before the California Court of Appeal and the Washington Court of Appeals involving solid waste issues. Jimmy has tried numerous jury and bench trials and argued cases before many federal and state appellate and trial courts across the country, including the California, District of Columbia, Pennsylvania, and Virginia supreme courts. See, e.g., Cormier v. D.C. WASA, 2011 WL 4543680, 84 A.3d 492 (D.C. 2013) (trial win and appellate affirmance, defeating tort claims of corrosive drinking water).

Jimmy is recognized as a leader in mass tort, class action and preemption litigation involving solid waste, drinking water, wastewater, and biosolids. His representation of waste and recycling companies, cities, farms, contractors, and trade associations spans toxic tort, enforcement defense, and complex constitutional and administrative law issues regarding competing federal, state, and local authority. Jimmy speaks regularly at meetings of the American Bar Association, the National Waste and Recycling Association, the Water Environment Federation, its state affiliates, and the National Association of Clean Water Agencies. He works with the country’s top scientists and engineers to defend his clients in the courts and before government agencies.

Toxic tort defense is a major part of Jimmy's practice, including defense of wrongful death, serious personal injury, and nuisance claims. He has handled the country’s most significant cases involving alleged public health impacts from land application of biosolids and from allegations of lead in drinking water. Jimmy regularly and successfully challenges plaintiffs’ medical and causation experts under Daubert and Frye.

Jimmy is nationally recognized for his success in preemption and commerce clause challenges to discriminatory and burdensome local legislation. He led a coalition of electronics trade groups and manufacturers in challenging the constitutionality of New York City's recycling and product-take back mandates. After Jimmy filed a motion for preliminary injunction, the City agreed to stay implementation of the law. He also led the successful efforts of the City of Los Angeles to overturn a local ban on the City’s use of its biosolids on California farmland as a fertilizer on Commerce Clause and other constitutional grounds.

Articles in the National Law Review database by James B. Slaughter

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