The firm’s practice includes representation in environmental and toxic exposure cases ranging from asbestos defense to welding rod litigation.  The firm represents major clients that include Shell Oil Company.

Environmental & Toxics – Representative Cases


Oliver v. Oakland Housing Authority – This two-month trial involved the complaints of 56 residents for alleged unlawful evictions, retaliation and habitability violations including violence and crime.  The jury returned defense verdicts on all claims after five hours of deliberation. Defense verdict – jury trial.

Miller v. City of Oakland – After a landslide in the Oakland Hills, thirteen Plaintiffs claimed their houses were damaged by a faulty city road.  Lafayette & Kumagai, counsel for the City of Oakland, was designated as lead defense counsel by the Court.  As lead defense counsel, the firm successfully obtained a defense verdict for the City of Oakland and for the co-defendant, East Bay Municipal Utility District.

Meskunas v. San Francisco Housing Authority – Lafayette & Kumagai successfully represented the San Francisco Housing Authority in an action by residents who sought to prevent the construction of new low income housing in the Western Addition.  The residents claimed that the City violated the California Environmental Quality Act by improperly issuing construction, demolition and conditional-use permits to the Housing Authority.  Lafayette & Kumagai prevailed at trial and successfully opposed emergency writs to the Court of Appeal and California Supreme Court.  The firm then successfully argued the matter on appeal.

Other Cases:

Welding Rod Litigation (King v. Shell Oil Company, et al.) – In a series of lawsuits brought against Shell Oil Company and other premises Defendants, Plaintiffs alleged injuries resulting from the use of welding rods containing manganese.  The firm successfully defended Shell in the initial case by producing facts demonstrating that Shell had historically taken precautions to protect against the foreseeable risk of harm. Subsequently Shell has been routinely dismissed from all such actions.

Homeowners Association of Seaview Community, et al. v. City of Vallejo – Lafayette & Kumagai defended the City of Vallejo in an action brought by 60 homeowners who claimed the City of Vallejo was responsible for landslides that severely damaged not only their homes, but the values of their properties.