Firm Spotlight: Calwell Luce diTrapano PLLC


Calwell Solidifies Long-Term Growth with Name Change and Continues Developing Litigation Strategies


In January 2014, the nation watched more than 300,000 West Virginia residents cope with an environmental disaster like never before. About 7,500 gallons of crude MCHM (or, 4-methylcyclohexane methanol) leaked from a holding tank (at the now-defunct Freedom Industries site) and escaped into the Elk River one mile upstream from West Virginia American Water Company's drinking water intake and distribution center. The chemical leak affected the water supply of these residents for weeks. Downstream, in the capital city of Charleston, the Elk River flows into the Kanawha River, which then joins the Ohio River at Huntington. As the 60-mile plume of contaminated water snaked its way toward the Ohio River, even the metropolitan area of Louisville, Kentucky, had to close its drinking water intake systems.

Stuart Calwell's entire career has been focused on advocating for people who need help, a voice to lead the charge for truth and justice against those who have caused them harm. What came to be commonly called the "water crisis," is a perfect example of why Calwell began practicing law in 1976.

The Calwell Practice (the name of the firm at the time of the water crisis) immediately took action and filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of the citizens affected. Calwell's firm was named as class counsel. A settlement of $151 million was reached in 2016, and every resident who submitted a claim received a cash payment.

Calwell and his team of distinguished lawyers are well known for fighting the mighty giants of the corporate world. Several years ago, his firm took on Monsanto alleging, and ultimately proving, that the herbicide and defoliant Agent Orange (aka dioxin) produced at its Nitro, West Virginia, plant had contaminated the entire Nitro community. During jury selection, at the start of an expected 6-month trial, the court approved a $93 million settlement that obligated Monsanto to monitor the health of the residents for 30 years and to clean dioxin-contaminated dust from 4,500 homes.

Other lawsuits filed by Calwell's firm have succeeded in getting a dangerous pesticide banned nationally for residential use; obtaining verdicts (after an 8-week trial following 10 years of litigation) for thousands of victims of catastrophic flooding caused by stormwater run-off from strip mines and timber operations; and obtaining numerous other victories against medical and doctor negligence, wrongful deaths, vehicle and truck accidents, birth injuries, and much more.

Following the successful settlement of the water crisis litigation, Calwell found it to be the perfect time to restructure his practice. Beginning January 1, 2019, he expanded the leadership roles of Melissa Luce, a Litigation Counsel of America Fellow, and Dante' diTrapano and renamed the firm Calwell Luce diTrapano PLLC. Calwell's entire team has practiced law with him for between 5 to 36 years. Each of the nine lawyers at the firm recognizes the importance of providing stability and dependability for its clients. After all, it is what the firm's clients deserve and expect.

Besides West Virginia, lawyers at Calwell Luce diTrapano PLLC are admitted to practice in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. The firm is always accepting referrals on myriad issues, including birth injuries, inmate injuries, babies born addicted to opioids, the pesticide Chlorpyrifos, and litigation related to pharmaceuticals, among other complex class action litigation. The firm can be reached online at