Litigator of the Week: Andrea Neuman of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher

, The Litigation Daily


Neuman made a name for herself exposing fraud on the part of plaintiffs lawyers suing Dole over its pesticide use in Latin America. This week, she finished off nearly all the remaining cases in a more old-fashioned way, winning a ruling that Dole's opponents waited too long to sue.

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What's being said

  • Scott Hendler, Attorney in Charge for Plaintiffs

    An important point was omitted from the article that further undermines Ms. Neuman‘s claim that, "[Hendler] was basically throwing things up against the wall and seeing what sticks." After the Plaintiffs filed suit in Louisiana federal court for the reasons explained in the article, the Louisiana Supreme Court agreed to consider two class action tolling related cases, either of which could have resulted in rejection of the class action tolling doctrine in Louisiana (and in fact, one ultimately did which formed the principal basis for the Fifth Circuit‘s per curiam opinion affirming the dismissal of the cases in Louisiana). Anticipating the risk of that ruling coming to pass, like any responsible lawyer, I took steps to protect and preserve my clients‘ interests to seek a hearing on the merits by filing my clients‘ cases in Delaware, a forum that had previously concluded that the claims had been preserved by the class action tolling doctrine and that a hearing on the merits was overdue. Unfortunately, the judge that originally rejected Dole‘s argument, Jerome Herlihy, the most senior and one of the most highly regarded of Delaware‘s Superior Court, retired. The majority of the Plaintiffs filed in federal court in Delaware, rather than state court, because the financial burden of filing a large number of plaintiffs in Delaware state court was prohibitive. Judge Andrews found reasons to dismiss the cases on various procedural grounds which are on appeal to the Third Circuit. The latest dismissal on limitations grounds by Judge Andrews represented a reversal of his view of that issue to Dole‘s benefit and directly conflicts with Judge Herlihy‘s ruling on the identical issue. Ms. Neuman is a true believer in her corporate clients‘ causes and a committed advocate for their interests but her characterization of the Plaintiffs counsel‘s motives for their strategic decisions is nothing more than defense lawyer propaganda to further impugn the character of the plaintiffs‘ lawyers and their clients‘ claims, but it should not be mistaken for having any relationship to the truth of the matter. Nor should it be overlooked that the underlying issue in the case is that Dole knowingly exposed thousands of Central and South American workers to a chemical fumigant after the EPA banned its use in the United Sates, resulting in the poisoning of thousands. That courts continue to find procedural reasons for denying these Plaintiffs a hearing on the merits of their claims is disillusioning and a sad comment on the judicial system.

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