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May 2016

Gordon & Rees Partner to Speak at Toxic Tort Seminar

On Wednesday, May 18, Don Willenburg will speak at the Toxic Torts 2016 seminar, “Defending Toxic Tort and Products Liability in our Current Legal Reality," sponsored by the Association of Defense Counsel of Northern California and Nevada (ADC-NCN). Willenburg will address recent and pending cases in California appellate courts on such topics as:

  • secondary or take-home exposure, where the sick individual did not work with defendant’s product but was a family member of someone who did;
  • whether an expert witness may testify that any exposure is a substantial factor in causing disease, no matter how small it is or how large the alternative exposures;
  • the recent extension of strict product liability to building subcontractors who operate under “time and materials” contracts;
  • jurisdiction; and
  • the “bulk materials” and “component parts” defenses.

Willenburg chairs Gordon & Rees's Appellate Practice Group from our Oakland and San Francisco offices. He is a member of the firm's Environmental and Toxic Tort Practice Group and an editor of the group’s blog,, which posts many decisions to be discussed at the seminar. He is past chair of the Appellate Practice Section of the Bar Association of San Francisco, and presently chairs the ADC-NCN’s amicus briefs committee. Willenburg has extensive experience in appeals and writs, as well as dispositive trial court motions, in a variety of substantive areas of the law, including product liability, employment, and construction.

The Toxic Tort 2016 seminar will include two evenings of presentations, May 18 and 25, with different speakers and topics. Other seminar speakers include experienced lawyers and a scientist addressing a variety of topics including industrial hygiene, interstitial fibrosis and “reptile theory” tactics employed by plaintiffs’ counsel. Click here for the seminar brochure, and here for an online registration form.

Don Willenburg