Edwin B. Palmer

Edwin B. Palmer is a Member of Burns White, focusing his practice on the defense of personal injury claims involving complex medical and scientific issues relating to occupational and/or environmental exposures to solvents, diesel fumes, and other substances, repetitive stress injury claims, occupational noise induced hearing loss matters and environmental nuisance claims. Mr. Palmer also has represented railroad clients in the defense of multiple grade crossing and third party trespasser injury claims. Mr. Palmer handles the defense of OSHA citations, notices of violation, and any ensuing litigation.

Mr. Palmer has represented numerous companies, including chemical manufacturers and distributors and railroads in environmental, occupational, and regulatory compliance matters. His trial experience includes the successful defense of clients against multiple claims of toxic solvent encephalopathy, traumatic brain injury, various cancers, Parkinson’s disease and hearing loss.

Mr. Palmer has successfully defended multiple class action claims, including securing the dismissal on summary judgment of a 1,000 member putative class action arising from a derailment and subsequent chemical release. Mr. Palmer also obtained the exclusion of Plaintiff’s liability expert pursuant to Daubert in a putative environmental noise nuisance class action, which led to the dismissal of the case.

In addition to his toxic tort practice, Mr. Palmer has advised and represented clients in claims involving whole body vibration, musculoskeletal disorders, occupational hearing loss, products liability, workers’ compensation litigation, risk assessment, and Social Security disability matters. Mr. Palmer also consults with clients on contractual matters, including contract drafting, and risk management and risk avoidance techniques. Mr. Palmer has been involved in the defense of several OSHA matters and writes and presents about OSHA-related matters including OSHA guidance and requirements with respect to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mr. Palmer is admitted in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, the Supreme Court of West Virginia, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia. Mr. Palmer is a member of the West Virginia State Bar Association.

Mr. Palmer has been an invited speaker at railroad and insurance industry conferences, Mealey’s, and the Pennsylvania Bar Institute.

Mr. Palmer received his B.A. magna cum laude in Government and International Studies from the University of Notre Dame in 1994 and graduated magna cum laude from the University of Notre Dame Law School in 1997.

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Areas of Law

  • Transportation
  • Toxic Torts
  • Occupational Illness Litigation
  • OSHA Regulation
  • Environmental
  • Business


  • University of Notre Dame (J.D. 1997, B.A. 1994)

Bar and Court Admissions

  • Pennsylvania
  • West Virginia
  • Pennsylvania Supreme Court
  • The Supreme Court of West Virginia
  • United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania
  • United States District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia


  • National Association of Railroad Trial Counsel
  • National Association of Chemical Distributors
  • Allegheny County Bar Association
  • West Virginia Bar Association
  • “OSHA’S New Tracking of Injuries & Illness Final Rule: What You Need to Know” ChemEdge, August 2016
  • Co-Author, “The Light at the End of the Tunnel? A Discussion of the Legal and Practical Effects of Requiring Employees to be Vaccinated Against COVID-19,” ASLRRA Views and News, January 2021
  • “Can You Keep A Secret?  Trade Secret Challenges Under Act 13” PIOGA Press, April 2018
  • “Where Do We Stand 22 Months After the Enactment of the FSMA?” Chemical Distributor, December 2012
  • “Dealing with Uninvited Company:  A Brief Guide to Preparing for and Surviving a Government Inspection” PIOGA Press, March 2012
  • “What Do They See When They Knock On Your Door?  Ensuring Your Facility is Safe and Secure” Chemical Distributor, May 2011
  • “Genuine Science or Unscientific Speculation Offered by a Genuine Scientist?” Burns White Insights, January 2008
  • “Could the Natural Gas Industry Drown in Lawsuits if Access to Wastewater Treatment is Denied?” Burns White Insights
  • “Catch-22: The Erosion of OSHA’s Privilege” Burns White Insights
  • Obtained a summary judgment for a Class I railroad in a case brought by multiple plaintiffs seeking certification of a class action on behalf of residents of Hyndman, Pennsylvania who were evacuated following a 2017 derailment.
  • Obtained defense verdict on behalf of a Fortune 100 railroad client after a two-week long jury trial in Erie County, Ohio. Plaintiff was a 51-year old machinist claiming that exposure to noise from retarders in a large classification yard led to his development of hearing loss and unbearable tinnitus, or ringing in his ears.
  • Following a jury trial in the Court of Common Pleas for Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, a defense verdict was obtained in favor of two railroad clients. Plaintiff had filed suit under the Federal Employers’ Liability Act (“FELA”) against his former railroad employers alleging that he developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma as a result of occupational exposures to diesel exhaust, asbestos, benzene, and creosote. After a one week trial, the Jury returned a defense verdict for both railroad employer clients, finding that the railroads were not negligent, and that they had provided the plaintiff with a reasonably safe place to work.


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Burns White Center
48 26th Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15222