Stuart Smith and Michael Stag began working together in 1997 and established the law firm of Smith Stag, LLC to focus on plaintiff-oriented environmental and complex litigation. Smith Stag’s practice has grown to include maritime, personal injury, toxic torts, mineral royalties, and defective pharmaceutical/medical device litigation.
Stuart Smith and Michael Stag pioneered the field of Technologically Enhanced Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials (TENORM) oilfield waste litigation. Also referred to as NORM (Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials), these by-products of oil and gas exploration and production are radioactive, highly toxic, and extremely harmful to human health. Radium 226 is one of the most toxic substances known to man, with a half-life of 1,600 years.
In 1992, Stuart Smith was the first attorney to take an oil company to trial for damages caused from NORM/TENORM. The Street case concerned a pipe yard located in Mississippi, which was contaminated with radiation. Chevron vigorously defended the case during six months of trial, the longest jury trial in Mississippi history. The case ultimately settled.
In 2001, Stuart Smith and Michael Stag jointly prosecuted the widely publicized case, Grefer v. ExxonMobil. A jury returned a verdict of $1.056 billion dollars against Exxon/Mobil Corporation, the world’s largest oil company, in favor of the firm’s client after a six-week trial. The landmark verdict was listed in Lawyers Weekly, USA as the second largest verdict in the United States for 2001. It remains the largest verdict of its kind for a family of landowners.
The stories of these legal battles are told in Stuart’s book Crude Justice: How I Fought Big Oil and Won, and What You Should Know About the New Environmental Attack on America. In 2015, Stuart Smith retired from the practice of the law but remains a valued advisor to the firm.
In addition to the successful prosecution of TENORM cases, our firm has represented thousands of clients injured by toxic chemicals or defective products over the years. We have helped individuals and their families recover compensation for personal injuries arising from commercial vessel and offshore accidents. The firm also has experience in complex business litigation, helping landowners recover unjustly withheld royalty payments.
Our firm, based in New Orleans, Louisiana, litigates nationwide, from New York to California and many places in between.
Smith Stag remains steadfast in its founding commitment to seek justice for our clients, no matter how great or small. When you need legal help to hold parties responsible for damage they caused, call our office at 504-593-9600 or contact us online.