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Benzene, benomyl, isocyanate, tungsten carbide, cobalt, PCBs, silica, lead paints — the list goes on. The long-term health and environmental effects of past use of those common substances, now known to be hazardous, can return to haunt unwary companies. Corporations that acquire established manufacturing or supply companies may be liable for slowly emerging, creeping diseases caused by their predecessors. Plaintiffs lawyers, who have largely exhausted opportunities to recover money from big-name defendants, are increasingly digging into the past of smaller to mid-sized companies that currently have nothing to do with the manufacture, sale or use of any toxic substances. Toxic tort litigation is an unwanted “skeleton in the closet” that can haunt a company for years. Traditionally in Pennsylvania, a successor company was not responsible for the debts and liabilities of the predecessor simply by virtue of acquiring the predecessor’s real or personal property. There were five traditional exceptions to this general rule:

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