University of South Carolina
Dr. Bennett is the principal investigator for the only state-funded independent pharmaceutical safety program in the nation- the Southern Network on Adverse Reactions (SONAR)/the Doris Levkoff Meddin Center for Pharmaceutical Safety. The program has been funded by over $15 million in support from the National Institutes of Health, the American Cancer Society, the Department of Veterans Administration, a $5 million endowment from the state of South Carolina and the University of South Carolina, and two philanthropists from South Carolina. The program does not accept any funds from the pharmaceutical industry. SONAR evaluates the safety of pharmaceuticals and medical devices with annual sales of $1 billion or greater.
In the past decade, SONAR has identified 43 potentially fatal and previously unrecognized adverse drug or device reactions. The result has been improved safety information on product labels and savings of tens of thousands of lives; most (but not all) of the identified drugs or devices continued to have robust sales; at the same time, their safety profiles have been improved. An important finding in 2006 identified patients who experienced hypersensitivity and allergic reactions to coronary drug eluting stents. The initial finding was based on autopsies of four persons with sudden death, whose hearts were available for cardiac pathologist review. Finally, SONAR has reported in the Archives of Internal Medicine the first empirical data identifying conflicts of interest in pharmaceutical sponsored basic science research- a finding that mirrors that for clinical research.
Class Action Options in the Mass Tort Landscape
AI's 10x Productivity Leap in Mass Torts: Embrace the Tech or Risk Falling Behind
Practicing Law in Puerto Rico in a Tax Compliant Manner
Emerging Tort Landscape
- Going Global
- Mass Arbitrations
- Municipal Cases
- Artificial Intelligence
- Telephone Consumer Privacy Act
- Litigation Financing by Venture Capital/Private Equity, Non-Lawyers Having Equity Positions in Law Firms, Service, Support, Organizational Models, ABS
- New Drug Cases
- Global vs. Inventory Settlements
- Special Master’s Role
- Negotiating and Papering Master Settlement Agreements
- The Allocation Process and Complying with Ethical Rules
- Aggregate Settlements, Ethical Rules and Fee Disgorgement Risk
- Dealing with Private and Governmental Liens
- The Chilling Impact of Intimidating the Judiciary
- Litigation Fatigue on Litigants, Jurors, and Judges
Critical Tools for Navigating Mass Torts (Part 1)
- Multi-Plaintiff Trials
- Bellwether Trials and the Selection Process
- Mock Trials/Focus Groups
- Videotaping Trials for Perpetuation
- Witnesses Appearing Via Satellite Transmission
- Global versus Inventory Settlements
- Federal State Coordination versus Domination
Critical Tools for Navigating Mass Torts (Part 2)
-Pro Hac Admissions
-Key Initial Case Management Orders
-Dealing with Special Masters
-Production and Management of Electronically Stored Information
-Dealing with Social Media Discovery
Evaluating Projects 101 … The analytical process begins with the Science
- Statistical significance
- Clinical Trials
- Label Examination
- Advisory Committee Hearings
- Daubert proof experts
- Signature Injuries
- Dealing with confounders
CEO & Founder
Richard has been recognized as one of America’s 50 Most Influential Trial Lawyers by Trial Lawyer Magazine. He was nominated for the 2015 Trial Lawyer of the Year Award by the Public Justice Foundation and selected as a 2015 member of the Nation’s Top One Percent by the National Association of Distinguished Counsel. In 2014, he was selected by the National Trial Lawyers as the Trial Lawyer of the Year Civil Plaintiff Finalist. He currently serves as Lead Counsel in the Actos MDL where a jury rendered a historic $9 Billion Punitive Damage verdict against Eli Lilly and Takeda. This has been reported as one of the nation’s largest personal injury verdicts. He subsequently served on the team that negotiated a $2.4 Billion settlement which is the largest single mass tort settlement for a drug still on the market. He is also on the Pinnacle MDL Trial Team where a jury rendered a $502 Million verdict against J&J and DePuy. The National Academy of Personal Injury Attorneys selected Richard to receive their Top 10 Attorney Award for the State of Louisiana. The Wall Street Journal has described Richard as having “national notoriety” and as a “big gun” amongst attorneys in competition for leadership roles. BusinessWeek described him as “a Dean of the Louisiana Tort Bar.” The NYTimes has described him as one of the “big players” in the legal community. USA Today featured him as a member of the “Legal Elite,” – a diverse grouping of America’s leading attorneys and the New Orleans Times Picayune has referred to him as “an authority on class actions.” Richard’s commitment to legal excellence is reflected in the years of serving as a faculty member for LSU’s Trial Advocacy program, lecturing at judicial colleges and assuming leadership roles in local as well as national bar associations. Recently, the LA Supreme Court appointed him to serve on the Rules of Professional Conduct Class Action Committee. For over 25 years, Richard has held Martindale Hubbell’s highest rating.
Neblett, Beard & Arsenault
Paul Bland is Executive Director of Public Justice, overseeing its advocacy and litigation of consumer, environmental and civil rights cases, and other operations. He has argued and won more than 40 reported decisions, including at least one case in the U.S. Supreme Court, six of the federal Circuit Courts of Appeal, and ten different state high courts. He has been counsel in cases which have obtained injunctive and/or cash relief of more than $1 billion for consumers. He has received a number of honors, including the “Vern Countryman” Award from the National Consumer Law Center.
Dan Bryson is a founding partner of the firm and is one of the nation’s most respected and experienced attorneys in the country in the area of consumer class actions and mass torts. He also has significant experience working with attorneys, funders and other partners on international litigation projects in the Courts in Amsterdam, the United Kingdom, Belgium, France, Spain and Portugal, among others.
For over 32 years, Mr. Bryson has handled hundreds of insurance related disputes, including first party bad faith insurance cases, and business interruption cases. He has written and taught numerous continuing legal education courses on a variety of insurance related topics. Mr. Bryson and members of his firm are well equipped and dedicated to handling these cases on behalf of all entities who have had improperly denied claims.
He has been named as a member of the Legal Elite and Super Lawyers in North Carolina on numerous occasions. He has been awarded the designation of one of the Top 25 lawyers in Raleigh by Charlotte Magazine for a number of years including 2020.
Dan Bryson is on the Executive Board and President of the Public Justice Foundation Board, a nationwide public interest law firm. He is also an adjunct professor at Campbell Law School in Raleigh, NC where he teaches “Introduction to Class Actions and Multi-district litigation.”
Mr. Bryson is also the current Board Chair of Theatre Raleigh and enjoys running, playing the guitar, and golf in his free time. Each year, Mr. Bryson and members of his firm run a marathon. Last year, they ran in the St. George Marathon in St. George Utah. In 2018, they ran in the New York City Marathon.
Milberg Coleman Bryson Phillips Grossman
Alexander Calfo has devoted his practice to trying high-profile product liability and toxic tort actions, complex business matters and insurance coverage cases. He has been awarded five of the Top 10 winning first-chair trial verdicts in California by The Daily Journal. His verdicts have also been selected Top 5 nationally by LexisNexis, and Courtroom View Network recently named another high-profile national verdict as the “Number One Impressive Defense Victory in the United States.” The Los Angeles Business Journal chose Alex as a 2022 Top 100 Lawyer for his legal skill, achievements, and exemplary leadership. The award also recognized Alex as one of the first partners to join King & Spalding’s Los Angeles office and “has been instrumental in building the firm’s reputation as a west coast trial powerhouse.”
Alex is recognized by Benchmark Litigation as a California Litigation Star and a Tier One National Product Liability Star. Legal 500 U.S. ranks him “Among the Best in Product Liability, Mass Tort and Class Actions in Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Litigation.” In 2020, Courtroom View Network awarded Alex its Number One all-time “must watch” defense verdict for the entire state of California. He was also named “Lawyer of the Year” in the Los Angeles Business Journal for exceptional legal skill and achievement.
Alex is a recipient of the 2022 Best Lawyers Award and was selected by the National Trial Lawyers as a Top 100 Trial Lawyer. He is a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA), an invitation-only group of attorneys who have the required combination of skills, integrity, and trial experience. He has been selected as a California Elite Lawyer, named to the Outstanding Lawyers of America Society and Lawyers of Distinction, and has been cited for more than a decade as a California “Super Lawyer” in Los Angeles Magazine.
King & Spalding
Prior to moving from Houston to New Orleans to open The Cheek Law Firm LLC in 2015, Ms. Cheek obtained extensive motion and trial experience while working for the Harris County District Attorney's Office. She then further enhanced those skills while working for over five years at the Lanier Law Firm in Houston, Texas, a nationally recognized mass-tort Plaintiff's litigation firm. Working in these fast-paced and trial-centric environments has given her the broad and dynamic legal perspective that she continues to hone, and bring to her clients and cases to this day.
Ms. Cheek has extensive jury trial and complex litigation experience representing injured persons/Plaintiffs in Louisiana and around the country. Because of her specialized expertise in mass-tort, asbestos and litigation, she is frequently retained as local counsel by national plaintiff's firms as trial/litigation counsel in Louisiana. Throughout the course of her career, Lindsey has tried numerous cases to verdict, and has recovered over sixty (60) million dollars in settlements on behalf of her clients.
The Cheek Law Firm's main office is in New Orleans, Louisiana, and the firm has recently expanded to include lawyers in Texas. Ms. Cheek has litigated extensively in numerous jurisdictions around the country, including Texas, Mississippi, Florida, California, West Virginia, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Utah, Washington, Illinois, Puerto Rico, and South Carolina.
Ms. Cheek is on the Executive Committee of the Louisiana Association for Justice, and is also on the Board of Governors for the American Association for Justice. She is also an active member of the American Bar Association, Association of Women Attorneys, the State Bar of Texas, the State Bar of Louisiana, the State Bar of Pennsylvania, Texas Trial Lawyers Association, Tulane Inns of Court, Academy of New Orleans Trial Lawyers, Southern Trial Lawyers Association, Women En Mass, Society of Women Trial Lawyers, New Orleans Bar Association, and National Trial Lawyers Association. Ms. Cheek mentors law students, and is on the faculty of Tulane Law School's Trial Advocacy Program. She has been published in numerous prestigious law and bar journals and is frequently asked to speak at national conferences on trial techniques, law firm startup/management, women in the law, asbestos and mesothelioma litigation, and various other topics.
Ms. Cheek is the oldest of five siblings, has a black belt in karate, and is a former marathon runner and ironman competitor.
The Cheek Law Firm, LLC
Goldstein & Russell, P.C.
Mediator & Arbitrator
Greg Coleman is a Senior Partner of Milberg with over 30 years of trial and appellate experience. Mr. Coleman’s practice focuses on class actions, products liability, medical practice, personal injury, complex multi-district litigation, litigation, toxic torts, premises liability, ERISA, ERISA class actions, drug and medical device litigation, and workers’ compensation.
Mr. Coleman received his B.A. with highest honors and distinction from Jacksonville State University in 1986. He attended The University of Tennessee College of Law, graduating in 1989. In addition to distinguishing himself academically, Mr. Coleman was a member of the National Trial Moot Court Team, was the recipient of the American Jurisprudence Award for National Trial Team, and was listed in Who’s Who Among Rising Young Americans. In addition, the College of Law bestowed upon him the honor of inclusion into the National Order of Barristers for outstanding oral advocacy and trial skills.
Milberg Coleman Bryson Phillips Grossman, LLC
Amy Collins is the founder and owner of Amy L. Collins, PC, a firm that provides independent third-party services for common benefit consulting and auditing in multidistrict litigation and state court coordinated proceedings nationwide. Amy is an attorney with more than a decade of litigation experience, the vast majority of which was spent as a litigator focused solely on mass tort litigation.
Amy L. Collins, PC
Jayne Conroy is a named shareholder at Simmons Hanly Conroy and oversees practice areas in the Complex Litigation Department. Under her leadership, the firm has become one of the country’s largest plaintiff law firms dedicated to helping those injured by corporate wrongdoing.
With a legal career spanning more than three decades, Jayne has earned a superb national reputation as an elite trial lawyer, skilled strategist and decisive negotiator. She has consistently helped secure billions of dollars in verdicts and settlements for thousands of individuals, families and communities in numerous courtrooms nationwide.
Simmons Hanly Conroy
Mildred Conroy joined the Lanier Law Firm’s New York office as an associate in 2018 and practices in the areas of toxic torts, pharmaceutical litigation, mass torts and product liability.
Ms. Conroy proudly fights for injured clients and their families who have been harmed by defective products and corporate negligence. Prior to joining the Lanier Law Firm, Ms. Conroy was a legal assistant with the Madison County District Attorney’s Office, where she worked primarily in the felony division.
Ms. Conroy is from Massachusetts and received her Bachelor of Arts in History from Washington College in Chestertown, MD. She then went on to attend Roger Williams University School of Law in Bristol Rhode Island, where she focused on Maritime law.
Ms. Conroy is a member of the American Association for Justice, American Bar Association and the Missouri Bar Association.
When she is not passionately advocating for her clients, Ms. Conroy enjoys competitive sailboat racing, skiing and spending time with her family.
Simmons, Hanly, Conroy
Mass tort litigator licensed in Texas and Missouri. Represents injured individuals nationwide.Currently focused on issues involving women's healthcare and litigation involving drugs and devices specifically for women. Appointed Co-Lead of the Paragard (birth control product) MDL pending in Atlanta, GA. Previously served on Plaintiffs' Executive Committee in the Essure (birth control product) JCCP pending in Alameda County, California. Helped to facilitate a 1.6B settlement on behalf of nearly 30k Plaintiffs who claimed injury by the Essure device. Other appointments include: Plaintiffs' Executive Committee in the Uloric consolidated action pending in Illinois; Plaintiffs' Steering Committee in the Onglyza MDL pending in Kentucky; Plaintiffs' Steering Committee in all Transvaginal Mesh MDLs pending in West Virginia and Plaintiffs' Steering Committee/State-Federal Liaison in Pradaxa MDL in Illinois.
Fibich Leebron Copeland & Briggs
Diandra “Fu” Debrosse Zimmermann is Managing Partner of DiCello Levitt’s Birmingham office, and Co-Chair of the firm’s Mass Tort division. Fu is also a member of the firm’s Public Client, Environmental, Personal Injury, Civil Rights, and Trial practice groups.
Widely known for her relentless client advocacy, Fu represents individuals and public entities injured by wrongful conduct, whether from defective medical devices or drugs, environmental contamination, corporate misconduct, or civil rights abuse. Nationally-recognized as a powerhouse in mass torts, class actions, products liability, discrimination, and sexual assault claims, Fu has secured hundreds of millions of dollars in client damages.
Fu holds prominent leadership positions for several multidistrict litigations, including Co-Lead Counsel of In re: Abbott Laboratories, et al., Preterm Infant Nutrition Products Liability Litigation (MDL No. 3026); Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee for In re: Paraquat Products Liability Litigation (MDL No. 3004); Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee for In re: Social Media Adolescent Addiction/ Personal Injury Products Liability Litigation (MDL No. 3047); Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee for In re: Smith & Nephew Birmingham Hip Resurfacing Hip Implant Liability Litigation (MDL No. 2775); municipalities in both In re: National Prescription Opiate Litigation (MDL No. 2804) and In re: McKinsey & Company Inc., National Prescription Opiate Consultant Litigation (MDL No. 2996); and counsel in In re: Proton Pump Inhibitor Litigation (MDL No. 2789). Fu also held a seat on the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee for In re: Higher One Account Marketing and Sales Practices Litigation (MDL No. 2407) and has represented plaintiffs in multiple additional multidistrict litigations. Fu also leads many systematic civil rights and sexual assault cases and represents states and municipalities in litigation.
Fu was recognized in 2022 as a Litigation Trailblazer by The National Law Journal, and as one of the 500 Leading Consumer Lawyers by Lawdragon 2022-2023. Chambers USA 2022 ranked the firm’s Litigation: Mainly Plaintiffs team among the top five in Alabama. The Birmingham Business Journal honored Fu with a Best of the Bar Award and Who’s Who in the Law recognitions in 2021 and 2022. She is repeatedly named as an Alabama Super Lawyer, among other recognitions and awards.
Fu is a founding member of Shades of Mass, an organization dedicated to encouraging the appointment of attorneys of color in national mass tort actions. She is a board member of Public Justice, the Southern Trial Lawyers Association, and an executive member of the Birmingham Bar Foundation. Fu is currently on the faculty of Duke Law’s Bolch Judicial Institute’s Mass Tort MDL Certificate. The course faculty includes leading judges, practitioners, and professors in the field of complex litigation, Fu previously served as a hearing officer for the Alabama State Bar, and held leadership roles in the American Association for Justice, the Alabama Access to Justice Commission, and was an Alabama State Bar vice president and commissioner. She also served as the president of the Magic City Bar Association, the legislative liaison to the Alabama Lawyers Association, and is a former member of the Birmingham Bar Association Executive Committee.
Fu is fluent in French and Haitian Creole and functional in Spanish. Her steadfast pursuit of justice is motivated in large part by her experience as a mother of two young girls.
DiCello Levitt LLC
Sharon is a partner at Winston & Strawn and a frequent writer and speaker on trial strategy and case management. She previously served on the trial team representing a pharmacy chain in litigation related to prescription opioids, described by the Washington Post as “the most complex civil lawsuit in U.S. history.” Sharon has extensive experience working with and examining witnesses, as well as in leading joint defense groups and managing complex matters.
Winston & Strawn LLP
Robert J. Drakulich is a trial lawyer and partner at THE DRAKULICH FIRM, APLC, with offices in San Diego, California and Reno, Nevada. Mr. Drakulich’s primary practice is in the areas of product liability, personal injury, wrongful death, and medical device/ pharmaceutical drug mass torts, class actions, nursing home abuse, airplane/helicopter crash, business litigation, and mesothelioma/asbestos cases. Mr. Drakulich is licensed to practice law in California, Nevada, Minnesota, and Washington D.C. and is admitted to practice before the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.
Mr. Drakulich has actively participated as a member of the trial team on several multi-million-dollar cases. Together with his father, Mr. Drakulich has helped attain hundreds of millions of dollars for the firm’s mass tort clients. In addition to his work on the firm’s mass tort practice, Mr. Drakulich has also helped secure substantial verdicts and settlements on behalf of the firm’s single event cases.
Mr. Drakulich was honored to be appointed to the Plaintiff Steering Committee (PSC) in In re: Elmiron (Pentosan Polysulfate Sodium) Products Liability Litigation, MDL No. 2973, by the Hon. Brian R. Martinotti of the United States District Court, District of New Jersey and has been a key team member re: the depositions in the case as well as the science and efficacy of the drug.
Mr. Drakulich has extensively worked in Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) settings in nationally prominent Multi-District Litigations (MDL’s) against the world’s largest pharmaceutical and medical device corporations. In addition to In re: Elmiron, Mr. Drakulich has worked at the direction and request of lead counsel in other MDL cases, including In Re: Actos (Pioglitazone) Products Liability Litigation, MDL No. 11- 2299 (United States District Court, Western District of Louisiana) and In Re: Incretin Mimetics Product Liability Litigation, MDL No. 2452, (United States District Court, Southern District of California). Mr. Drakulich has also worked on various state court coordinated proceedings, including cases in St. Louis, Missouri and the California Judicial Council Coordination Proceedings (JCCP).
Mr. Drakulich is thankful to be an invited speaker at over twenty legal seminars across the country, including for years at the prestigious Annual Class Action / Complex Litigation Symposium held in New Orleans, Louisiana regarding the topics of federal preemption, the intersection of science and law, and the new standards for personal jurisdiction. Mr. Drakulich has also been an invited speaker at numerous HarrisMartin MDL Conferences, including in Chicago, Los Angeles, Napa, New York, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, St. Louis, Tucson, and Washington, D.C., speaking on emerging tort litigation and other specialized topics in complex litigation.
Mr. Drakulich is grateful for the awards and distinctions that he has received throughout his career, including: the National Trial Lawyers Top 100 Civil Plaintiff Lawyers in California as well as previously Top 40 under 40 by the National Trial Lawyers, Super Lawyers Rising Star in both California and Nevada, AVVO’s highest rating of “Superb” (10.0 out of 10), and the Top 100 Attorneys in the State of Nevada by America’s Top 100 Attorneys.
Mr. Drakulich graduated (cum laude) from the University of San Diego School of Law. Before entering law school, Mr. Drakulich was a high school teacher and working artist. He graduated (cum laude) with a B.A. degree from the College of Creative Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Mr. Drakulich endeavors to employ his creative skills and teaching background in law. Much like art, when handling a client’s case, Mr. Drakulich looks at it from every angle, reduces it to the simplest form and tries to think of the most compelling method to convey it to an audience.
The Drakulich Firm
John J. Driscoll founded The Driscoll Firm, LLC, in October 2008. John is licensed to practice law in Illinois, Missouri, and Minnesota. In addition, he is admitted to practice in the United States District Courts for the Eastern District of Missouri, the Southern District of Illinois, and the District of Minnesota.
After graduation from Loyola University of Chicago, John attended Saint Louis University School of Law. Before starting law school, he accepted an appointment to serve as the Jury Commissioner for the Twentieth Judicial Circuit Court of Illinois (St. Clair County). Then with a wife and two young children, John selected petit and grand juries by day and attended law school at night. Upon his graduation, John began the practice of law as an Illinois Assistant Public Defender, trying countless misdemeanor and felony criminal cases to verdict. After leaving the Public Defender’s Office, he spent several years serving two Illinois Appellate Court Justices as an in-chambers law clerk before joining a St. Louis-area law firm, where he spent over five years developing and managing a growing pharmaceutical product liability litigation practice.
The Driscoll Firm, LLC
Sandra L. Duggan is a native of St. Louis and she graduated from Washington University with Phi Beta Kappa. Having earned a J.D. degree from Columbia University School of Law, Ms. Duggan was admitted to the bar in 1986. Since moving to Philadelphia in 1989, Ms. Duggan has focused her practice on class action and multi-district litigation.
She has served as a member of the Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee in the national asbestos property damage class action, Prince George Center, Inc. v. U.S. Gypsum, et al. (C.C.P. Phila.), and she is counsel for class plaintiffs in the Title IX discrimination suit, Cohen v. Brown University, et al., (D.R.I.). Ms. Duggan has worked on In re School Asbestos Litig., (E.D. Pa.); Asbestos Claimants Committees in Celotex and National Gypsum Chapter 11 bankruptcies; In re Orthopedic Bone Screw Prods. Liab. Litig., MDL 1014 (E.D. Pa.); Diet Drugs Litigation, MDL 1203 (E.D. Pa.); In re EXXON VALDEZ; In re Chinese-Manufactured Drywall Prods. Liab. Litig., MDL 2047 (E.D. La.); In re VIOXX Prods. Liab. Litig., MDL 1657 (E.D. La.), and other securities fraud, shareholder and property damage class actions in federal and state courts. She assisted Co-Lead Counsel and Subclass Counsel with negotiating the class settlement in In re National Football League Players’ Concussion Litig., MDL No. 2323 (E.D. Pa.).
In 2015, Ms. Duggan was appointed by the Honorable Carl J. Barbier to serve as Special Counsel to the Plaintiffs’ Fee and Cost Committee in the BP Oil Spill Litigation, In re Oil Spill by the Oil Rig “Deepwater Horizon” in the Gulf of Mexico, on April 20, 2010, MDL 2179 (E.D. La.).
In 2019, Ms. Duggan negotiated a global class settlement with the Chinese manufacturers in the Chinese Drywall Litigation. See In re Chinese-Manufactured Drywall Prods. Liab. Litig., MDL 2047, 424 F. Supp. 3d 456 (E.D. La. 2020). She was appointed by the Honorable Eldon E. Fallon to serve as Class Counsel for Plaintiffs in the Global Settlement, and she also served as Chair of the Fee Allocation Committee in that case.
Ms. Duggan served as a class action expert in In re “Non-Filing” Insurance Fee Litig., MDL 1130 (M.D. Ala.). She was a contributing author and editor of the Third Edition of Herbert Newberg, Newberg On Class Actions, (3d ed. 1992) and she earned a Public Justice Achievement Award in July, 1999 from Public Justice for her work on the Brown University Title IX Litigation.
Ms. Duggan is Mexican American. She is fluent in Spanish.
Levin Sedran & Berman
Randi earned her bachelor’s degree in 1994 and went on to obtain her law degree from Louisiana State University in 1997. Randi also attended the Harvard Law School Program on Negotiation. She is licensed to practice law in Louisiana and Texas.
Randi worked in private practice for over 12 years before opening her own firm in 2016. Randi specializes in assisting the parties in resolving complex civil disputes. As an intermediary, Randi brings the parties together and facilitates alternatives to litigation. Randi’s experience and skills combine to bring about mutual agreements between the parties.
Randi S. Ellis LLC
Paul Farrell leads the vanguard of the next generation of mass tort lawyers. A West Virginia native, he filed the first transvaginal mesh (TVM) cases in the country resulting in the formation of MDL2807 styled In re Pelvic Repairs System Product Liability Litigation in Charleston, West Virginia. Paul served as Plaintiffs’ Liaison for some 80,000 cases from across the country and trial counsel for the bellwethers. Since 2016, his practice has focused on the opioid litigation after filing some of the first public nuisance cases on behalf of political subdivisions from the Ohio River Valley. Paul was appointed Co-Lead Counsel of MDL 2804 styled In re National Prescription Opiate Litigation which has been described as the most complex mass tort in American jurisprudence. Paul is considered one of the architects of the case against the distributors of prescription opioids and served as lead trial counsel in the first bellwether trial brought on behalf of his hometown in Huntington, Cabell County, West Virginia. Paul is a co-founder of Farrell & Fuller, LLC, formed in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and recently designed and filed the first anti-trust cases against Google and Facebook on behalf of newspapers from across the country. Paul is married to his law school sweetheart, Jacqueline Farrell, and they are the proud parents of Connor, Cahley and Casey.
Farrell & Fuller Law
Brian Fitzpatrick's research at Vanderbilt focuses on class action litigation, federal courts, judicial selection and constitutional law. Professor Fitzpatrick joined Vanderbilt's law faculty in 2007 after serving as the John M. Olin Fellow at New York University School of Law. He graduated first in his class from Harvard Law School and went on to clerk for Judge Diarmuid O'Scannlain on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and Justice Antonin Scalia on the U.S. Supreme Court. After his clerkships, Professor Fitzpatrick practiced commercial and appellate litigation for several years at Sidley Austin in Washington, D.C., and served as Special Counsel for Supreme Court Nominations to U.S. Senator John Cornyn. Before earning his law degree, Fitzpatrick graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor's of science in chemical engineering from the University of Notre Dame. He has received the Hall-Hartman Outstanding Professor Award, which recognizes excellence in classroom teaching, for his Civil Procedure course.
Yvonne M. Flaherty focuses her practice on the representation of injured parties in complex litigation against pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers, as well as class actions involving a variety of consumer and product defect claims. She has been appointed to serve as Lead Counsel in consolidated claims against national medical device manufacturers and serves on several Plaintiff Steering Committees on behalf of thousands of claimants in Multi District Litigation throughout the United States. Ms. Flaherty has also served on trial teams in two national class actions, both of which were tried to verdict. In Peterson v. BASF Corp., Ms. Flaherty was a member of the trial team who secured a substantial jury verdict for a nation-wide class of farmers seeking redress for violation of consumer protection statutes. She is a frequent speaker at national conferences concerning medical device and pharmaceutical litigation, including topics concerning mass tort litigation, preemption, electronic discovery, and the Learned Intermediary Doctrine.
Yvonne M. Flaherty is a member of the American Association for Justice (“AAJ”) formerly ATLA, numerous AAJ committees, co-chairs the Electronic Discovery Committee, and is the past Chair of the Women’s Trial Lawyers Caucus. She also serves on the Minnesota Association for Justice Board of Governors and Executive Committee and is a member of the Minnesota State, Hennepin County and Federal Bar Associations.
Lockridge Grindal Nauen
Elizabeth M. Fraley joined the faculty of the Baylor Law as a full-time professor in Fall 2015. Professor Fraley, a prominent Dallas trial lawyer, teaches in Baylor’s renowned Practice Court Program. According to Dean Brad Toben, “Professor Fraley is an accomplished trial lawyer and is an outstanding addition to our Practice Court faculty.”
Professor Fraley teaches Practice Court III at Baylor Law. This mandatory course focuses on trial and post-trial procedure, summary judgments, and jury selection. During this course, students plead, discover, and try a lawsuit from start to finish. Additionally, she assists Professor Gerald Powell, Director of the Practice Court program, in Practice Court II, which focuses on trial evidence, procedure, and advocacy. She teaches trial advocacy skills, including witness examination, opening statements, and closing arguments.
While serving full-time at Baylor Law, Professor Fraley also maintains a trial practice and actively tries cases. Periodically, her students have the opportunity to observe her in trial and are able to watch the techniques taught in her classroom put into practice in the courtroom.
Former Governor of PR, Attorney
Alejandro Garcia-Padilla, LLC
Paul Geller, managing partner of Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP’s Boca Raton, Florida office, is a founding partner of the Firm, a member of its Executive and Management Committees, and head of the Firm’s Consumer Practice Group. Paul’s 27 years of litigation experience is broad, and he has handled cases in each of the Firm’s practice areas. Notably, before devoting his practice to the representation of consumers and investors, he defended companies in high-stakes class action litigation, providing him an invaluable perspective. Paul has tried bench and jury trials on both the plaintiffs’ and defendants’ sides, and has argued before numerous state, federal, and appellate courts throughout the country.
Paul was recently selected to serve in a leadership position on behalf of governmental entities and other plaintiffs in the sprawling litigation concerning the nationwide prescription opioid epidemic. In reporting on the selection of the lawyers to lead the case, The National Law Journal reported that “[t]he team reads like a ‘Who’s Who’ in mass torts.” Paul was also part of the leadership team representing consumers in the massive Volkswagen “Clean Diesel” Emissions case. The San Francisco legal newspaper The Recorder labeled the group that was appointed in that case, which settled for more than $17 billion, a “class action dream team.”
Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP
Mini Bio Description:
Manuel Gonzalez-Brito, D.O. was born in Miami, Florida and is a graduate of the University of Florida. He obtained his medical degree at Nova Southeastern University in Davie, Florida. His General Pediatric residency and Pediatric Critical Care Medicine fellowship were completed at the University of Miami School of Medicine/Jackson Memorial Hospital (UHealth). Dr. Brito was a professor of Pediatric Critical Care Medicine at the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Hospital who cared for critically ill children due to trauma, infection, organ failure/transplant, cardiac critical care, burns and all other illness related to pediatric critical care. This included being a part of the pediatric sedation program designed especially for children with complex medical conditions. During his professorship, Dr. Brito had extensive experience in training medical students as well as Pediatric residents and fellows. In addition, Dr. Brito’s professorship at the University of Miami included basic science and clinical research with publications in Traumatic Brain Injury, Spinal Cord Injury and Peripheral Nerve Injury. This included being selected to the Pediatric Scientist Development Program (PSDP). As a physician-scientist, Dr. Brito conducted research that included collaborations with physicians and scientists at the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis and the UHealth Batchelor Childrens Research Institute.
After his professorship at the University of Miami, Dr. Brito spent an additional 10years as the co-director of the Palm Beach Childrens Hospital Pediatric Critical Care Unit and director of the Palm Beach Childrens Pediatric Concussion Center as part of Kidzmedical Services (KMS is a pediatric physician group based in Miami, FL). During this time Dr. Brito cared for critically ill children due to trauma, cardiac-illness, infection, respiratory illnesses, neurologic/neurosurgical conditions, and complex orthopedic conditions. In addition, Dr. Brito participated in the Palm Beach Childrens Pediatric Sedation service. As part of his tenure with KMS, Dr. Brito also provided Pediatric and Pediatric Critical Care Medicine service to Naples Community Hospital North, Bethesda, and Del Ray Medical Center Hospitals. Dr. Brito is a board-certified physician by the American Board of Pediatrics in General Pediatrics and Pediatric Critical Care Medicine.
1989-1993 Bachelor of Science, Psychology. University of Florida, Gainesville, FL.
1993-1997 Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine, NSUCOM, Ft Lauderdale-Davie, FL.
1997-1998 1yr Rotating Internship, Palmetto General Hospital, Miami, FL.
1998-2001 Pediatric Residency Program, University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Hospital, Miami, FL.
2001-2005 Pediatric Critical Care Fellowship, University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Hospital, Miami, FL.
MSP Recovery Law Firm
Robin Greenwald manages Weitz & Luxenberg’s Environmental Torts and Consumer Class Action Unit. She has litigated environmental cases for the entirety of her 34-year law practice. She has served in lead counsel capacities as a federal environmental civil enforcement attorney and criminal prosecutor, and since entering private practice she has held many lead and plaintiffs’ steering committee positions.
Robin started her career with the Department of Justice for 16 years, first as Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York and then as Assistant Chief of the Environmental Crimes Section, followed by appointment as General Counsel for the Inspector General, U.S. Department of the Interior. In each position, she engaged in complex environmental litigation.
After 18 years in public service, Robin became the Executive Director of Waterkeeper Alliance, a not-for-profit water protection organization with hundreds of member programs around the world. Subsequently, she was a Clinical Professor of Law at Rutgers Law School.
Robin joined Weitz & Luxenberg in 2005. Currently she is co-lead counsel in the Roundup’ MDL in San Francisco, as well as litigating thousands of cases in Missouri state courts. She is scheduled to begin trial in a 15 plaintiff Roundup case in St. Louis City in October 2019. She is also currently on the executive committee of the JCCP in Los Angeles concerning the methane gas well blow in Porter Ranch, a community in Los Angeles County. In addition, she has served leadership roles in several and non-environmental consolidated cases, including the BP Oil Spill Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee in New Orleans, the Volkswagen Defeat Device Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee in San Francisco, and co-lead of the MDL against the oil industry for contaminating the nation’s groundwater with a gasoline additive MTBE.
Weitz & Luxenberg
Marc D. Grossman is a Senior Partner at Milberg Coleman Bryson Phillips Grossman, LLC with decades of experience representing large groups of plaintiffs against major corporate defendants, including in the areas of environmental torts, medical claims, class actions and mass torts, both domestically and globally. Mr. Grossman has also produced five Broadway shows, and is co-owner of the Puerto Rican professional basketball team Mets de Guaynabo.
Milberg Coleman Bryson Phillips Grossman, LLC
As a member of Winston & Strawn’s Litigation practice group, my practice includes multi-jurisdictional litigation in federal and state courts involving pharmaceutical litigation, product liability claims, toxic torts, and other general civil litigation matters. I have proven success in all aspects of case management and emphasize developing strategies to resolve cases in clients' best interests.
Winston & Strawn LLP
Hill Harper is a humanitarian, an award-winning actor, best-selling author, and entrepreneur.
Currently, Harper stars in ABC’s #1 television drama, The Good Doctor, and has starred in
numerous television and film projects including CSI:NY, He Got Game and Lackawanna Blues.
Harper is the Founder and Chairman of The Black Wall Street App and Digital Wallet, is on the
Board of Directors, National Black Bank Fund, named Honorary National Co-Chair of the
Redevelopment of Black Wall Street, Greenwood Chamber of Commerce, and served on the
President's Cancer Panel having been appointed by President Obama in 2011.
Additionally, Harper has authored four New York Times bestsellers: Letters to a Young Brother,
Letters to a Young Sister, Letters to an Incarcerated Brother, The Conversation and his award-
winning book, The Wealth Cure. that addresses ways to solve the racial wealth gap. Letters to a
Young Brother also won several awards and was named “Best Book for Young Adults” by the
American Library Association in 2007. Harper has been recognized with seven NAACP Image
Awards, four of them for his writing. He is the founder of the Manifest Your Destiny
Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to empowering underserved youth through mentorship,
scholarship and grant programs; and has established The Pierce and Hill Harper Arts Foundation.
Harper graduated magna cum laude from Brown University with a Bachelor of Arts degree and
was named Valedictorian of his department. Harper then graduated with a J.D. (cum laude) from
Harvard Law School, as well as with a Master’s Degree in Public Administration, with honors,
from the Kennedy School of Government. He holds honorary doctoral degrees from Howard
University, Winston-Salem State University, Cheyney University, Le-Moyne Owen College,
Westfield State College, Dillard University, Philander Smith College and Tougaloo College.
As an investor and business owner, Harper owns a successful coffee franchise in downtown
Detroit called The Roasting Plant, is co-owner of A-Frame Brands and the award-winning New
Orleans hotel, International House, and will be opening The Harper (Arts Museum) in Detroit in
2023. Harper owns several commercial and residential rental properties in Los Angeles and
Newark, NJ. His passion for business, financial literacy, and social & economic justice keeps
him on the forefront and in-demand as a speaker worldwide. In 2004 and 2014, People
Magazine named him one of their Sexiest Men Alive...he anticipates being named again in
Actor, Author and Entrepreneur
As a partner at Milberg, Drew Hathaway focuses on representing consumers in complex litigation. His primary focus is on product liability and consumer protection class actions both in the United States and internationally throughout Europe. Drew is experienced in creating foundations and international corporations necessary to pursue collective redress abroad while navigating complex tax issues. Drew has extensive experience working with attorneys, funders and partners on international litigation projects in the Courts of Amsterdam, the United Kingdom, Belgium, France, Germany and Portugal.
Milberg Coleman Bryson Phillips Grossman
David R. Herndon, District Judge in the District Court for the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois from 1998 until his retirement in 2019; prior to which he was a state court judge in Madison County, Illinois for 7 years. During his tenure on the bench he handled large numbers of mass tort cases brought through MDLs, Mass Actions and Class Actions. Since his retirement he has served as a Special Master, Arbitrator and Trustee. He currently serves as Special Master in the 3M CAE MDL, as an arbiter on the Opioid MDL fee panel with fellow MTPR panelists Randi Ellis and David Cohen and as Trustee of the DII Personal Injury Asbestos Trust.
Special Master, Arbitrator and Trustee
Herndon Resolution LLC
Taking on American and international corporate giants, Eric Holland’s litigation results are measured not only in the billions and billions of dollars recovered for his clients but also in measurable societal good like getting unsafe firearms off the streets, triggering governmental investigations, and fighting against court secrecy. His work has been featured in Reuters, Bloomberg, the New York Times, NPR, CBS, the L.A. Times, and CNBC, to name just a few. In just the last three years, he has been described to the media as a “legal mastermind” by his corporate opponents, received a Lifetime Achievement Award, and been inducted into the Verdict Hall of Fame by the National Law Journal.
Based in St. Louis, Eric has handled cases across the United States and obtained a host of record-setting jury verdicts and settlements. He obtained over 25 multi-million-dollar results in single injury cases in the first 20 years of his law practice involving railroad, product liability, and trucking matters. Over the last fifteen years, Eric has developed his firm’s complex litigation practice in to one of the country’s leaders and been instrumental in obtaining several eight-, nine-, and ten-figure verdicts and settlements, many of which have been litigated in courts in and around St. Louis.
Holland Law Firm
Brad Honnold has more than 30 years of experience trying lawsuits and managing high stake litigation throughout the country. Brad has been recognized by his peers and clients for his outstanding work ethic and everlasting advocacy on behalf of his clients. When he takes on a case, Brad’s clients acquire the benefit of his seasoned legal experience, and extensive knowledge of the law, as well as his ready sense of humor.
After graduating from the University of Iowa – College of Law, and before starting his own law firm, Brad was a partner at a large nationally known firm. He was a defense attorney from 1989 to 2004, representing hospitals, pharmaceutical manufacturers, and physicians in product liability and medical negligence litigation.
In 2005 Brad made the switch to representing plaintiffs. He, along with his friend and law partner Kirk Goza, started Goza & Honnold, LLC. After working as a defense lawyer, Brad wanted to use his expertise to represent clients who had experienced an injury caused by medical malpractice. Because of his experience as a defense lawyer, Brad brings a different perspective to cases, and he felt a calling to do something different – something that would help people in their time of need.
“I really just felt a calling to do something different,” he said. “There’s something very different about dealing with a person who has been injured or harmed in some way.”
As a partner of Goza & Honnold, LLC, Brad focuses on medical negligence, pharmaceutical and prescription drugs, medical devices, and general personal injury cases. Since partnering and working on national litigations, Kirk and Brad have represented thousands of clients, including Vioxx, Bextra/Celebrex, Fleets Phospho Soda, Trans Vaginal Mesh, DePuy ASR, Zimmer Durom, Pradaxa, Fosamax, Actos, and Power Morcellator.
Brad is a member of the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association, The Kansas Bar, The Missouri Bar, the U.S. District Court – District of Kansas, the U.S. District Court, Western District of Missouri, and The Missouri Association of Trial Lawyers.
Gonza Honnold Trial Lawyers
I am the Managing Attorney of the New York office of The Lanier Law Firm. I have significant experience representing clients in complex commercial litigation, pharmaceutical mass tort litigation, antitrust and class-action litigation, and representing employees in discrimination and whistleblower actions.My work has involved significant appeals, legal motions and oral arguments that have supported trial verdicts in excess of $450 million, in addition to achieving numerous multi-million-dollar settlements. In 2013, I was honored to be named a New York "SuperLawyer" and I am honored to have been listed as one of the Top 100 trial lawyers in New York by the National Trial Lawyers Association (2010-2013). I am a 1998 graduate of Yeshiva University, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, where I was a member of the Law Review and President of the Student Bar Association. I received my undergraduate degree summa cum laude in 1995 from the University of Connecticut where I was the President of the Student Government Association at the Stamford campus. Prior to joining The Lanier Law Firm, I practiced law at the firms of Weitz & Luxenberg and Jenkens & Gilchrist Parker Chapin.I am licensed to practice law in New York and Connecticut, and I am admitted to practice in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, Southern District of New York, Eastern District of New York, District of Connecticut, Eastern District of Michigan, Northern District of Illinois, Eastern District of Texas, and the Eastern and Western Districts of Arkansas. I have also been granted pro hac vice admission to the District of New Jersey, the New Jersey Appellate Division, and the New Jersey Superior Court.Specialties: Plaintiff's Attorney focusing on Complex Commercial Litigation, Class Action Litigation, Employment Litigation involving Whistleblower and Discrimination Claims, and Mass Tort Litigation.
The Lanier Law Firm
Mr. Katz joined Burg Simpson in September 2005 after six years with the New York law firm of Seeger Weiss LLP, in which he was a partner. Mr. Katz focuses his practice primarily in the areas of complex, pharmaceutical mass tort, and class action litigation including consumer protection, securities fraud, products liability, and commercial litigation. In addition to his varied professional experience, Mr. Katz is a frequent speaker on electronic discovery, class actions, and pharmaceutical litigation. Additionally, Mr. Katz has spoken on New York state franchise law and class action litigation at the invitation of the Greater New York Automobile Dealers Association.
Mr. Katz’s current practice involves primarily complex and class action litigation on behalf of aggrieved consumers, corporate shareholders, and property owners, and pharmaceutical mass tort litigation on behalf of those injured as a result of their ingestion of prescription medications and the implantation of medical devices.
Attorney & Shareholder
Burg Simpson Eldredge Hersh & Jardine, P.C.
Dr. Wendy Ketner is the Senior Vice President of Medical Affairs, helping attorneys understand the narratives behind their malpractice, personal injury and mass tort cases, and informing better case decisions based on solid interpretation of the medical facts and literature. Dr. Ketner completed her internship and residency at Beth Israel Medical Center in NYC, participating in all aspects of general surgery, including routine hernia repairs, cholecystectomies, and appendectomies. Her research was in post-mastectomy reconstruction and the surgical treatment of gastric cancer, on which she co-authored a textbook chapter. Dr. Ketner has spoken at numerous conferences including American Association of Justice's Annual Convention, GW Law Mass Tort Flash Points, and Women En Mass
SVP, Medical Affairs
Robert is a Kansas City Lawyer and one of the founding partners of the Krause & Kinsman Law Firm, and has committed his practice to protecting the rights of people and their loved ones. He was born and raised in the Kansas City area. Although his family members have been dedicated to careers that concentrate on enriching the lives of everyday people, Robert is a first generation attorney. Throughout his life, Robert has not only enjoyed interacting with the people of his community, but he has been devoted to being a voice for others when they need it most. The heart of his practice consists of advocating for people when they have been wronged.
Robert’s practice focuses on areas of personal injury, mass torts, employment discrimination, and business litigation. As a litigation and trial attorney, Robert dedicates his time to making sure his client’s interests are properly represented. He is zealous in providing his clients with the necessary strategy to succeed and regain the quality of life that they enjoyed before they were harmed. He enjoys building lifelong relationships with his clients and their families.
Robert earned his law degree from the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law with an emphasis in trial practice and litigation. Prior to law school, Robert studied Political Science and Business Administration at Pittsburg State University. He is currently an active member of the Missouri Bar, Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association, Missouri Association of Trial Attorneys, and serves on KCMBA’s Young Lawyers Section. In his spare time, Robert spends time with his family and friends, while enjoying all the unique activities Kansas City has to offer.
Krause and Kinsman
Gary Klinger is one of the most well-known and respected data privacy attorneys in the United States, settling more than thirty class actions involving privacy violations as lead or co-lead counsel. In addition, Mr. Klinger is well-versed in both sides of class action litigation. Working with several big firms, serving as defense for Fortune 100 clients, he eventually discovered he wanted to join the plaintiff’s side of the practice.
His privacy practice includes: data breaches, ransomware attacks, unlawful collection and/or disclosure of personal information, and violations of privacy statuses and/or laws, such as the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act, Illinois Genetic Information Privacy Act, California Consumer Privacy Act, California Medical Information Act, Telephone Consumer Protection Act, and General Data Protection Regulation. Mr. Klinger has won hundreds of millions of dollars for his clients.
Mr. Klinger also represents consumers in class actions and mass arbitration for claims involving false advertising, defective products, consumer fraud, violations of the antitrust laws, and other torts.
Currently, Gary is pursuing his Masters of Laws (LLM) in Data Privacy and Cybersecurity from the University of Southern California Gould School of Law.
Outside the office, Gary enjoys cheering on the Chicago White Sox and playing golf. He and his wife, Lina, and their two sons, Liam and Noah, live in Chicago, Illinois.
Milberg Coleman Bryson Phillips Grossman
Adam Krause is a Kansas City Attorney and one of the founding partners of the Krause & Kinsman Law Firm. He was born and raised in the Kansas City area. He earned his law degree from the University of Missouri Kansas City School of Law with an emphasis in trial practice and litigation.
Before law school Adam studied human biology at the University of Kansas. Adam still uses the knowledge he acquired while at the University of Kansas when reviewing medical records, consulting with doctors and other expert witnesses and talking with clients about their injuries.
Adam also worked for a large pharmaceutical company selling antipsychotic medications. Working inside one of the biggest pharmaceutical companies allowed Adam to learn the inner workings of the pharma industry, which he now uses in his mass tort litigation practice.
Adam has learned from some of the best trial lawyer’s in the entire country. For three weeks Adam attended the Gerry Spence Trial Lawyer’s College in Wyoming where he worked vigorously on learning how to try cases from Gerry Spence-who is considered one of the best trial lawyers of all time.
Adam focuses mainly on personal injury, mass torts, business litigation and employment discrimination cases. He takes pride in taking very complex cases and boiling them down to their simple components in order for a jury to understand them. He also takes pride in the life long relationships he develops with his clients.
When Adam is not at the office he enjoys spending time with his family at lake Okoboji, Iowa. He loves to fish, camp, and anything else that involves the outdoors.
Krause and Kinsman
Ari Kresch is the founder of 1-800-LAW-FIRM and has been on the national radar during most of his 45 years practicing law. His visionary approach to the business of law has set him apart by being the first national advertiser, the first intake center run by trained paralegals, the first law firm to use artificial intelligence to qualify prospective clients, the first law firm to brand itself using a toll-free vanity number, the first transplanted law firm from the mainland to choreograph class action lawsuits in Puerto Rico and the second mass-tort law firm to move to Puerto Rico. His progressive approach to legal partnerships has allowed him and his partner firms to aggregate the highest quality dockets in the industry, in addition to designing unique and creative causes of action to protect our sacred environment and go after those who contaminate and destroy it in the name of profits.
Founder Chief Visionary Officer
Mark Lanier is consistently recognized as one of the top civil trial lawyers in America. Best known as a zealous advocate for individuals in personal injury and product liability claims against major corporations, Mark brings passion, creativity and an unparalleled ability to connect with juries in courtrooms across the nation.
During the past 30 years, Mark has taken on some of the biggest challenges in the legal field. In doing so, he has achieved some of the largest verdicts in history, accomplishments that have changed business practices to protect the public and have gained justice for the victims of dangerous drugs, medical devices, and other consumer products. In addition, he has successfully represented a select number of clients in claims involving fraud, breach of contract and other forms of business litigation.
Attorney & Founder
Lanier Law Firm
The Lanier Group
Ms. Lipsen was named Chief Executive Officer of the American Association for Justice (AAJ), formerly known as the Association of Trial Lawyers of America (ATLA), in April 2010. She joined the organization in 1993 to direct AAJ’s Public Affairs department.
Ms. Lipsen has led the trial lawyers’ highly regarded Washington lobby team and successfully fought back efforts that would limit access to America’s courts and make it impossible for the victims of negligence or willful wrongdoing to be fairly compensated for harm. She has directed countless legislative campaigns on behalf of a host of issues including
patient, worker, and investor protections. Ms. Lipsen has received prominent recognition and numerous awards for her advocacy on behalf of injured Americans, including, among others, the “Senator Paul Wellstone Award” from U.S. Action, the “Esther S. Weissman Eternal Optimism Award” from Workers’ Injury Law & Advocacy Group (WILG), and the Marie Lambert Award.
She is regularly recognized in leading Capitol Hill and legal publications such as The National Law Journal as one of Washington’s most influential women lawyers, The Hill as a top lobbyist in recognition of her outstanding professional achievement, and Roll Call as one of Washington’s most effective lobbyists.
Following the tragedy of September 11th, she led the fight for enactment of a compensation program for the victims of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. The September 11th Victims Compensation Fund established by Congress allowed thousands of families to recover compensation for the loss of their loved ones. Following enactment of the Fund, Ms. Lipsen’s leadership helped ATLA establish, Trial Lawyers Care, the nation’s largest-ever pro-bono legal representation program.
Prior to joining AAJ, Ms. Lipsen directed the legislative advocacy program for Consumers Union, the publisher of Consumer Reports. In that capacity, she represented consumers on Capitol Hill on a host of issues including antitrust, insurance reform and health care. Ms. Lipsen earned her B.A. from the University of Wisconsin and her J.D. from the Antioch School of Law.
Chief Executive Officer
American Association for Justice (AAJ)
Patrick Luff is a nationally recognized litigator who has obtained a number of significant victories for his clients, including a $15.4 million wrongful death judgment and a precedent-setting federal appeal. Patrick has served as Co-Liaison (Lead) Counsel in Texas MDL No. 2021-41903, In re: Winter Storm Uri Litigation, and on the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee in MDL No. 2974, In re: Paragard IUD Products Liability Litigation. In March 2021, Patrick also filed the initial motion to transfer in MDL No. 3004, In re: Paraquat Products Liability Litigation, and continues to play a leading role in the paraquat litigation nationally.
Prior to entering practice, Patrick spent several years as a professor of law. While at the University of Oklahoma, Arizona State University, and Washington and Lee University, he taught courses on legislation and statutory interpretation, civil procedure, and administrative law.
He also spent time as a visiting scholar at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law in Heidelberg, Germany. During this time, Patrick established himself as a national authority on mass torts, with scholarship appearing in the Connecticut Law Review, the Utah Law Review, and the Arizona State Law Review, among others. Between law school and teaching, he did doctoral work at the University of Oxford on the regulatory role of litigation.
Luff Law Firm
Vicki's plan to become a lawyer started in third grade when she decided to confront the class bully. That tenacity for taking on big dogs for underdogs never stopped. It was only natural that her practice led to focusing on plaintiffs' pharma and environmental litigation. One of the original founders of Mass Tort Med School, Vicki is proud to see the program mature and grow into one of the "go to" events of the year, even better teamed with Trial Lawyers of Puerto Rico. Vicki spends her free time triathlon training and watching her son Alex, now a junior in high school, play baseball. Her dream is to one day own a brewery.
Partner Milberg Coleman Bryson Phillips and Grossman LLC
During the past two decades, Todd Mathews has secured numerous multi-million dollar trial verdicts and settlements on behalf of his clients, successfully representing plaintiffs nationwide across product liability, personal injury, employment, sexual abuse, class action, mass tort, and whistleblower cases.
Todd serves as the co-lead counsel for the Talc Creditors Committee in the LTL/J&J bankruptcy which is pending in New Jersey, and where they have dumped more than 38,000 pending cases stemming from asbestos contamination of talc products cases that are now currently stayed.
His courtroom efforts have not gone unnoticed. Todd is a member of the National Trial Lawyers Top 100, an invitation-only organization composed of premier trial lawyers from each state or region, and is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, one of the most prestigious groups of trial lawyers in America.
A partner in Bailey Glasser’s St. Louis office, Todd joined the firm in September 2021.
Todd serves on the plaintiff’s executive committee of both the Atrium Hernia Mesh Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) in New Hampshire and the Smith and Nephew Hips MDL in Maryland. He also holds leadership committee positions on the Bard Hernia Mesh Coordinated Cases, Mirena PTC MDL, and Taxotere MDL. He serves the Missouri Association of Trial Lawyers as a representative to the American Association of Justice’s board of governors.
A regular organizer of and speaker at legal symposiums worldwide, Todd designs events that facilitate leadership roles, reflect organizational structure, and encourage coordinated litigation efforts. His conferences have featured hundreds of U.S. law firms.
Todd holds a J.D. from Nova Southeastern University School of Law, as well as a bachelor’s degree from Southern Illinois University.
Bailey Glasser, LLP
Peter Mougey is a shareholder and the Chair of Levin Papantonio’s Securities and Business Litigation department. He concentrates his practice in the areas of complex litigation, financial services, and securities litigation, and whistleblower or qui tam litigation. Mr. Mougey has been recognized as one of Florida’s top 100 trial lawyers and a Florida Super Lawyer and has dedicated his career to championing individuals’ rights against the world’s largest companies.Mr. Mougey has represented over 1,500 state, municipal, and institutional entities, as well as tribal sovereign nations, in litigation and arbitration around the globe. In addition, he has represented more than 3,000 individual fraud victims in state and federal court and arbitrations. Most recently, in the National Prescription Opiate Litigation MDL, he was selected to serve as Co-Lead of the Distributor case and serves on the Plaintiff’s Executive Committee in what has been called “the largest and most complex case in the history of jurisprudence” by the Washington Post. Mr. Mougey has been recognized as a transformational leader in and out of the courtroom and is often called up to simplify the country’s most complex cases.
Mr. Napoli brings more than 31 years of legal experience to his primary areas of practice, including governmental affairs, environmental law and mass tort litigation. He is widely recognized as one of the country’s top litigators, having successfully led numerous high-profile cases such as the World Trade Center litigation, the Flint Water Crisis and claims brought on behalf of local cities and states involving the Opioid Epidemic.
Well-known for his ability to oversee large-scale complex cases involving large multi-billion corporations, Paul’s wins run the gamut of issues from defective pharmaceutical drugs, such as the diet drug Phen-fen, to environmental contamination caused by ExxonMobil petroleum additive leaks.
He is annually selected to the invitation-only Super Lawyers® list and is recommended as a leading lawyer by Best Lawyers in America, Lawyers of Distinction and Legal 500 US. Additionally, he was named to Law360’s 2020 Editorial Boards in the Environmental Category and was chosen as a recipient of Law360’s 2020 MVP Awards: Environmental.
Paul is a founding board member and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Trial Lawyers of Puerto Rico (TLPR), a trade association bringing together top trial lawyers to share expertise, build partnerships, and to add value to the local Puerto Rico community.
Mr. Napoli also serves on the Board of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, sits on the Fordham University President Council and is on the St. John’s University School of Law Dean’s Advisory Counsel.
Founding Member, Partner
Napoli Shkolnik Law
U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts
Glenn A. Norton is Of Counsel with the Firm. His practice focuses on the areas of mediation, arbitration and special master appointments. He has extensive experience in the courtroom, with hundreds of jury and non-jury trials, and has been assigned by The Supreme Court to cases involving complex litigation and felony matters. As a retired judge, Glenn Norton is particularly well-suited to preside over arbitration hearings on any type of matter. Judge Norton is certified by the University of Missouri School of Law as a mediator.
Judge Norton was appointed Judge for the Missouri Court of Appeals in 2002. He served as Chief Judge of the Court and presided over the settlement docket until he left the Court in 2015. He has also previously served as Chief Legal Counsel to Governor Bob Holden, where he oversaw the legal departments for all 15 state agencies and reviewed judicial appointments, death penalty cases, budget issues, clemency applications and legislation.
Judge Norton practiced law in the former Briscoe and Norton Law firm in 1985, where he was responsible for murder trials and other high-profile felonies, and he was elected to serve as Associate Circuit Judge for Ralls County. He was re-elected to this position in 1998. Within the Judicial Branch, Judge Norton served on the Executive Council, the Legislative Steering Committee and as Chair of the Associate Circuit Judge Section.
Missouri Court of Appeals
Leigh O’Dell practices in Beasley Allen Law Firm’s Mass Torts Section, where she is helping lead litigation related to talcum powder products. Much of Leigh’s recent work has involved women’s health-related issues including work on transvaginal mesh and Gardasil litigation.
She is proud to have an impact on the lives of women who were or are professionals, wives, mothers, daughters, sisters, friends and who deserve so much more than the pain, suffering and even death sentences often handed to them because of the reckless actions of certain pharmaceutical and other corporate actors.
Beasley Allen Law Firm
Sara Papantonio is an associate attorney at Levin Papantonio and focuses her practice on mass torts. She graduated from the University of North Carolina with a Bachelor of Science in Political Science and Journalism. Ms. Papantonio then received her Juris Doctorate from Stetson University College of Law in 2020, graduating cum laude.
While in law school, Ms. Papantonio was a member of Stetson’s #1 nationally ranked Trial Team, competing in three regional, and four national competitions. In 2019, she was a Regional Champion and a National Finalist at the National Trial Competition. The following year, Ms. Papantonio was a Regional Champion at the National Trial Competition. Additionally, she excelled at the Tournament of Champions and Top Gun trial competition.
Ms. Papantonio also served as a Senior Associate of Stetson’s Law Review. While serving on Law Review, Ms. Papantonio composed an article discussing the complexities of the litigation against opioid manufacturers and distributors and each party’s role in the opioid epidemic.
During law school Ms. Papantonio received the highest grade possible in both Torts and evidence. Upon graduation, Ms. Papantonio was honored by the faculty and staff of the law school nominating her to be inducted into the Order of Barristers, a national organization that provides recognition for individuals who have excelled in advocacy and service at their respective schools. Additionally, Ms. Papantonio received the Richard Harris Ferrell Competition award which is awarded to “the student advocate who has best demonstrated excellence through his or her performance in intercollegiate competitions.”
In her free time, Ms. Papantonio loves to travel, boat, and spend time with family and friends.
Levin Papantonio Rafferty
For more than 25 years, Gale Pearson has represented thousands of plaintiffs in a range of complex litigation, from environmental law to pharmaceutical litigation to Qui Tam prosecution. Before receiving her Juris Doctor from Loyola Law School, Gale attended California State University, where she studied laboratory medicine, physics, and chemistry. She spent years working in the Los Angeles County/USC Medical Center and is a nationally recognized clinical laboratory scientist. As such, Gale plays a substantial role in Nachawati Law Group’s representation of those harmed by environmental polluters, as well as the bad acts of the pharmaceutical and medical device industries.
Throughout her career, Gale has played a pivotal role in several MDL litigations, serving on science committees or, as in the case of a Certified Class Action against Phillip Morris, Co., and its parent company, as lead counsel. In United States Absher v. Momence Meadows Nursing Center Inc., she served as co-lead counsel and helped achieve a substantial verdict for her clients. In addition, she was asked to serve as Plaintiff’s liaison counsel in the Minnesota State Medtronic Cases and was appointed to the same position in the Minnesota State Guidant Cases.
A member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, Gale’s legal success has earned her peer recognition across the country. In 2003, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer presented her with the Outstanding Pro Bono Service Award for her work with the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. In 2005, she was recognized by Forbes Magazine as among America’s top attorneys, and she has been named to the Minnesota Super Lawyers list by Thomson Reuters from 2015-2019. Gale is frequently invited to speak on scientific issues related to pharmaceuticals, as well as complex interstate civil procedures.
Nachawati Law Group
R. Glenn Phillips’ knows what it’s like to face seemingly insurmountable obstacles. He had a humble upbringing, and as a teenager, had to pitch in to earn money for his family. He had to fight to get into college and law school. Those experiences helped form the philosophy that drives Phillips Law Firm – a philosophy that no matter what obstacles we face, we must overcome them and fight as aggressively and as ethically as we can for the best interests of our clients.
Attorney Glenn Phillips has been practicing law since 1984. Early on in his career he realized that the playing field was not level, and that very few people are equipped to defend their own rights. It became his mission to offer regular people a chance for justice and closure to wrongs that were inflicted upon them.
He has tried more than 100 civil jury cases and settled numerous million and multi-million dollar claims.
He is actively involved in the firm’s defective drugs and devices practice, with an inventory of over 4,000 cases in his mass tort practice.
He and his firm are recognized as leaders in pharmaceutical litigation and have been appointed to positions of leadership on associated steering committees, science/discovery committees, and JCCP’s.
Attorney Glenn Phillips is a frequent speaker before such national groups as the National Trial Lawyers, American Association for Justice, Mass Torts Made Perfect, as well as state trial lawyer groups.
Milberg Coleman Bryson Phillips Grossman, LLC
William pintas leads one of the largest partnering personal injury firms in North America representing tens of thousands of clients in mass torts, nursing home maltreatment, asbestos claims, institutional sex abuse and environmental disasters. The firm is at the forefront of technology, marketing and law firm partnership strategies. Attorney Pintas is also chief legal strategist for famed civil rights attorney Ben Crump.
Founding Member, Partner
Pintas & Mullins Law
Attorney Justin Presnal is a shareholder in the Complex Litigation Department at Simmons Hanly Conroy, based in College Station, Texas. Justin’s cases involve dangerous drugs, medical devices, and other complex litigation matters.
Justin has practiced law since 1993, working on a wide array of cases. He has represented individuals and businesses in trial and appellate courts throughout the country, often involving complicated jurisdictional and choice of law issues.
“The Complex Litigation Department at Simmons Hanly Conroy is on the cutting edge of high stakes litigation, constantly looking at novel legal theories to help the clients we represent,” Justin said. “No case is too complicated or difficult for us to handle, and we have the experience and resources needed to creatively and strategically win hard cases.”
Simmons Hanly Conroy LLC
Pulaski Kherkher, PLLC
Dalimonte Rueb Stoller
Corporate Legal Times reported that national defense counsel and legal scholars described Joe as one of the nation's “five most feared and respected plaintiffs’ lawyers in corporate America.” As the article notes, "For all his talents as a shrewd negotiator ... Rice has earned most of his respect from playing fair and remaining humble.”
Joe was recognized by some of the nation’s best-regarded defense lawyers as being “the smartest dealmaker they ever sat across the table from,” Thomson Reuters has reported. Professor Samuel Issacharoff of the New York University School of Law, a well-known professor and expert in class actions and complex litigation, has commented that he is “the best strategic thinker on the end stages of litigation that I’ve ever seen.”
Since beginning to practice law in 1979, Joe has continued to reinforce his reputation as a skillful negotiator, including through his involvement structuring some of the most significant resolutions of asbestos liabilities on behalf of those injured by asbestos‐related products. He negotiates for the firm's clients at all levels, including securities and consumer fraud, anti-terrorism, human rights, environmental, medical drugs and devices, as well as catastrophic injury and wrongful death cases.
Motley Rice, LLC
Joseph H. Saunders: born in Montgomery, Alabama, January 31, 1953. Admitted to the California State Bar in 1981 and the Florida State Bar in 1982. Also admitted to practice in the United States District Court, Middle District of Florida and the United States Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit.
Lone Mountain College (BS in music 1975); University of San Francisco (JD 1981); University of San Francisco Law Review.
Assistant Pinellas County Attorney and counsel for the Pinellas County Emergency Medical Services Authority 1982 through 1988; Board Certified Civil Trial Lawyer by the Florida Bar Board of Legal Specialization and Education; sustaining member of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America; Eagles Member of the Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers; member of the United States Maritime Law Association; member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum as the result of a $5.5 million jury verdict obtained for a client in 1996.
Mr. Saunders won his first jury trial in 1980 while still in law school as a Special Deputy Public Defender with the San Francisco California Public Defender’s Office. While in California he also worked for the Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County, California, representing farm workers in their struggle for fair housing rights, and published an article in the University of San Francisco Law Review on strategies for bringing claims against local governments for fair housing rights.
As counsel for Pinellas County, he litigated clams in federal courts, challenging the constitutional validity of various county ordinances and anti-trust clams brought against the county by environmental polluters. He advised the County and litigated cases concerning medical standards of care for the emergency medical services system and advised and represented the Sheriff concerning liability claims. He also advised the Community Development Dept. for Pinellas County on and drafted human rights ordinances to prevent discrimination.
From 1993 to present, he has been an active board member and is currently president of Alpha “A Beginning”, Inc., a non-profit residential program for homeless women who are pregnant or have small children. Alpha provides a residential facility and community outreach program to assist women in gaining parenting and employment skills. Recently, Mr. Saunders was elected Secretary of the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors of Operation PAR, a county-wide substance abuse treatment and prevention program for both adults and children.
The founding and development of Saunders & Walker, P.A. fulfills a personal philosophic goal of Mr. Saunders to provide aggressive, quality representation and seek fair compensation for individuals and their families who have suffered injury or death at the hands of insurance companies, large corporations, medical providers or governmental entities.
Saunders & Walker P.A.
Jonathan M. Sedgh is a Mass Tort Product Liability Partner in Morgan & Morgan's New York City office. Over the course of more than a decade practicing law, he has played an instrumental role in various lawsuits against the makers of dangerous and defective pharmaceuticals and medical devices. He also helps survivors of sex trafficking and childhood sexual abuse pursue justice against their perpetrators.Mr. Sedgh has been a key figure in more than a dozen multi-district litigations and state-court coordinated actions where he managed and litigated thousands of cases from inception to settlement or trial.In 2014, Mr. Sedgh helped recover a $9 billion verdict in a three-month trial for his client who developed bladder cancer after taking Actos, an anti-diabetic medication. The drug, manufactured by Takeda and marketed in the U.S. by Eli Lilly, had been linked to an increased risk for the condition. The civil verdict, delivered by a jury of eight, is one of the largest jury awards in history.In November 2021, Mr. Sedgh was part of the trial team where a federal jury held the 3M company liable for an Army Sergeant's hearing loss from faulty combat earplugs. A Tallahassee jury awarded the U.S. Army Sergeant $816,395 in compensatory damages and $12.245 million in punitive damages, marking it the largest win at that time for the roughly 250,000 plaintiffs in the litigation.In September 2022, Mr. Sedgh was one of 12 attorneys appointed to the Plaintiffs’ Leadership Committee in the Abbott Infant Formula Recall Litigation. This committee was selected to represent the national interest of thousands of children across the country who were injured following their ingestion of contaminated baby formula stemming from a production facility in Michigan. Mr. Sedgh was named a Top-Rated Products Liability Attorney in New York City and a Rising Star by Super Lawyers magazine. The National Trial Lawyers designated him as a Top 40 Under 40 Trial Attorney. Mr. Sedgh has been awarded each of these prestigious honors consecutively from 2015-2021. The National Trial Lawyers selected Mr. Sedgh as one of their Top 100 Lawyers in 2022 given his accomplishments and fight for advocacy both inside and outside the courtroom. Mr. Sedgh has been both a speaker and panelist at mass-tort product liability seminars around the United States. In 2011, the New York City bar association hand-selected him as one of 25 attorneys to serve on its product liability committee, an exclusive group that includes the in-house counsel of major pharmaceutical and medical device companies.
Morgan & Morgan, P.A.
A founding partner of Seeger Weiss, Chris is widely recognized as a highly innovative and accomplished plaintiff attorney. Chiefly known for multidistrict mass torts and class actions involving drug injury, toxic injury and personal injury, Chris’s versatile practice also includes product liability, property damage, antitrust, third-party payer litigation, as well as consumer, insurance, and securities fraud.
Chris has led some of the most complex, groundbreaking, and high-profile litigations in the U.S., at both the state and federal level, including In re National Football League Players’ Concussion Injury Litigation, In re Volkswagen “Clean Diesel” Marketing, Sales Practices and Products Liability Litigation, and In re Syngenta AG MIR 162 Corn Litigation. Often selected by the courts to serve as Lead Counsel, Co-Lead Counsel, Liaison Counsel, or member of the Plaintiffs’ Executive and/or Steering Committee in dozens of proceedings, Chris received the most multidistrict litigation (MDL) appointments of any lawyer between 2016 and 2019 according to a 2020 ALM study. More recently, he has served on the Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee in In re: National Prescription Opiate Litigation, and co-lead counsel in In re 3M Combat Arms Earplug Products Liability Litigation, In re Proton-Pump Inhibitor Products Liability Litigation, In re Philips Recalled CPAP, Bi-Level Pap, and Mechanical Ventilator Products Litigation, and In re: Social Media Adolescent Addiction/Personal Injury Products Liability Litigation. His unique experience makes him a knowledgeable and capable litigator and highly regarded among his colleagues.
Chris is regularly quoted in the press as the plaintiff counsel in nationally and internationally prominent cases, including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, Bloomberg, CBS, CNBC, USA Today, ESPN, and HBO Sports.
Chris started his career as a corporate defense lawyer representing the interests of big business. Struck by the imbalance of power between corporations and the individuals harmed by them, he left to become a plaintiff attorney. The son of a union carpenter who worked his way through school, Chris is a former amateur boxer and a current Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt. Now, whether working on a class action involving thousands of people against a multinational conglomerate or an individual case protecting one client’s rights, he fights with the same passion and conviction.
Seeger Weiss, LLP
John solves problems. He helps clients sort through the inevitable complexities that pervade big ticket litigation. Becoming ensnared in a class action, an MDL or a mass tort case can pose a financial—and even an existential—threat to a corporate defendant. Based on his decades of experience in complex litigation, John offers innovative strategic advice designed to chart a path to success.
John is mindful that success can come in many forms. It depends on the particularities of the case and the preferences of the client. On some occasions, success can be winning a dispositive motion or achieving a favorable class certification ruling or persuading a jury to rule in your favor. On other occasions, success can be an all-encompassing settlement which terminates the litigation, avoids litigation costs and gives the client peace of mind. John works with his clients to steer the litigation toward the most advantageous and economical outcome possible.
Over the course of his three-decades-long career, John has represented a wide array of clients in high-stakes litigation, including Union Pacific, Bayer Animal Health, Hallmark/Crayola, Bayer, Philip Morris, Lorillard Tobacco Company, DuPont, the Tennessee Valley Authority, Peabody Energy, Home Depot and General Motors, among others. These varied engagements have given John a depth of understanding about how to handle difficult and costly matters for large corporate clients.
While John has taken a hands-on approach to high-profile tasks, like authoring important briefs, preparing company executives for their testimony and arguing significant motions, he has also remained sensitive to client concerns. These include staying within budget, giving timely updates, overseeing company document collections, crafting alternative fee arrangements and continually assessing the client’s best options in an ever-changing litigation landscape. At the end of the day, the foremost objective is to prevail, but it is also important that the overall defense effort reflect favorably on the in-house team that is managing it.
Shook, Hardy & Bacon L.L.P.
Ms. Shkolnik is an associate with the firm’s Product Liability, Pharmaceutical Department. Prior to joining the Pharmaceutical Department, she focused on premise liability, products liability, labor law, intentional torts as well as civil suits involving victims of sexual assault and/or battery.
Napoli Shkolnik Law
Mr. Shkolnik holds numerous leadership appointments in multi-district litigations and currently serves as Co-Liaison Counsel in the Flint Water litigation, where he helped negotiate the landmark $641.2 million settlement. He was also a primary attorney in settling the first federal opioid trial in Ohio for $320 million and is a member of the Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee for the National Prescription Opiate litigation, and was a lead trial attorney in the monumental win in the New York Opioid Trial. Recently, Mr. Shkolnik was named to the Law360 Product Liability Editorial Board.
Founding Member, Partner
Napoli Shkolnik Law
As Senior Counsel at Milberg, Melissa Sims maintains her own practice in Illinois with offices in Chicago and downstate. She represents communities nationally, helping them seek redress for public nuisance, using her vast experience as a municipal trial lawyer.
Ms. Sims was born and raised in a small town in North Central Illinois. After graduating from college at Illinois State University and while attending law school, she worked as a part time employee at the Bureau County Sheriff’s Department and as a legal advocate for the local domestic violence sexual assault shelter, Freedom House. She received an appointment from the Illinois Supreme Court and volunteered license to practice law while in law school, prosecuting traffics and misdemeanor cases to gain experience in the courtroom.
After graduating from Northern Illinois University College of Law in DeKalb, Ms. Sims joined the Wimbiscus Law Firm in Spring Valley, Illinois. There, she represented units of local government including sheriffs, counties, cities, villages, school districts, zoning boards, and townships.
Ms. Sims has been engaged in the general practice of law for more than twenty years. Her representation of clients has encompassed every possible facet of law: banking, hospitals, corporate, not-for-profit, tax, divorce, child support, probate/estate, trust, real estate, probate, civil rights, patent infringement, criminal, and municipal law. She has drafted municipal legislation and has represented units of local government in trial, appellate, and federal courts. She once argued a precedent setting probate case before the Illinois Supreme Court.
Ms. Sims prosecuted hundreds of municipal ordinance violations for the towns she represented. The late William J. Wimbiscus, Jr., began practicing municipal law in 1950; Ms. Sims learned from his vast experience in her municipal practice. As a tenacious municipal prosecutor, Ms. Sims utilized a local ordinance against Exxon, CBS and Viacom for a Superfund site for one of her municipal clients. In that case, she set national precedent before the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals on whether a non-home rule unit of local government could exercise its nuisance powers during the course of a Superfund cleanup. Following this case, Ms. Sims represented the Village of Roxana, Illinois, against Shell and Conoco Phillips using her DePue precedent and fined the polluters for every lot, street, and alley which contained benzene from the refinery. Both cases settled.
Ms. Sims has served for ten years on the board of directors of Freedom House, also having been its President. She volunteers for local not-for-profits and religious organizations. She also serves as a director on the board of a local bank.
She is licensed in Illinois.
Milberg Coleman Bryson Phillips Grossman, PLLC
Gerald Singleton began his legal career as a trial attorney at Federal Defenders of San Diego, where he represented federal criminal defendants in the Southern District of California and before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. He left Federal Defenders in 2003 to start his own practice, which has grown from a sole proprietorship to a national firm with over 100 employees.
Gerald focuses on complex civil litigation and catastrophic personal injury/wrongful death cases and is a nationally recognized expert in utility-caused fires.
Over the past two decades, he and his team have represented more victims of utility-caused fires than any other California firm, and he is one of the state’s leading experts on utility-fire litigation. He has represented over 12,000 victims of utility fires in California and Oregon, including the 2007 San Diego Fires, the 2013 Powerhouse Fire, the 2015 Butte Fire, the 2017 North Bay Fires, the 2017 Thomas Fire, the 2018 Camp Fire, the 2018 Woolsey Fire, the 2019 Kincade Fire, the 2020 Zogg, Slater, Mountain View, Archie Creek, Holiday Farm and Echo Fires, and the 2021 Dixie Fire.
He has served as liaison counsel and in other positions of leadership in complex civil cases all over the state of California. He currently serves as liaison counsel in the Kincade, Zogg and Bobcat Fire cases, which are being litigated in San Francisco and Los Angeles.
Gerald has tried over 20 cases and settled thousands more, including over 250 cases for $1 million or more and dozens of cases for $10 million or more. In the past decade, he and his team have recovered over $2 billion for their clients.
Throughout his career, Gerald has maintained a substantial pro bono and civil rights practice and has always championed the cause of the individual against the government and corporate abuses.
Gerald graduated with High Honors from Dartmouth College, where he won the departmental prize in Government for his senior honors thesis. He graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law in 2000 and was admitted to practice law in California that same year. He is licensed to practice in California, Oregon, Ohio, Washington, Texas, Missouri, and Minnesota, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and the United States Supreme Court.
Joseph ("JoJo") Tann, Esq. was born and raised in Flowood, Mississippi. He comes from a long line of attorneys as his only uncle and both grandfathers were all lawyers.
He attended the University of Mississippi on an athletic scholarship and was a member of the 2006 SEC Championship baseball team. In 2008, JoJo was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa and graduated Summa Cum Laude as an Honors Scholar from the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College. He finished with a 4.0 overall GPA and was the only Psychology graduate to receive the University's highest academic honor, the Marcus Elvis Taylor Memorial Medal, which is awarded to less than 1% of the student body.
JoJo earned a Doctorate of Jurisprudence (J.D.) from Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law at Arizona State University in 2010. During law school, he was a Pedrick Scholar, Marshall-Brennan Fellow, and served as President of the ASU Environmental Law Society.
While working as in-house counsel for a national health care management firm, he earned a Master's degree in Business Administration (M.B.A.) with a certificate in Finance from W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University.
In 2021, JoJo earned his fourth degree, a Master's degree in Accountancy (M.Acc.) from the University of West Florida. Committed to lifelong learning, during the pandemic JoJo completed Harvard Law School's Program on Negotiation, Harvard Business School's Negotiation Mastery course, and also earned the Mass Tort MDL Certificate from Duke Law School's Bolch Judicial Institute.
JoJo and his wife, Jessica, have one son, Joseph, Jr. When he is not working or traveling, JoJo can usually be found reading, spending time outdoors, or exercising. JoJo is a two-time IRONMAN triathlon finisher.
Law Office of Joseph C. Tann, PLLC
Caroline Taylor is a Partner at Milberg and focuses on international collective redress. She currently resides in Amsterdam and serves as a liaison between Milberg’s various European offices and the United States. Ms. Taylor puts her knowledge of US class action and mass tort procedure to use with the continuously developing and complex landscape of European collective redress. She helps manage the European offices, pushing current cases, strategies, and developing new and innovative case ideas while working with the global Milberg team.
As part of her work in Europe she assisted with the startup and staffing of both the Amsterdam and Munich offices. She works daily with these offices, along with those in London, Peterborough, and Lisbon, to push common initiatives and goals.
Prior to moving to Europe, Ms. Taylor focused on class actions, mass torts, personal injury, and general civil litigation. She takes pride in representing individuals when they are harmed, either physically or financially, through no fault of their own. She enthusiastically brings her love for her clients into her work in Europe, striving each day to bring access to justice to those across the globe.
Ms. Taylor received her bachelor’s degree from Western Kentucky University, where she graduated summa cum laude with a degree in Corporate and Organizational Communication with a minor in Marketing. She then graduated magna cum laude from the University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law, where she completed her law degree in just two and a half years. Following law school, she joined Whitfield Bryson & Mason LLP where she worked on numerous high value personal injury cases. She was part of the WBM trial team that obtained a $681,500 verdict in Kentucky during the summer of 2015. She has second chaired various trials throughout her career. She has also been appointed class counsel in numerous cases across the United States.
Ms. Taylor is a member of the American Association for Justice (AAJ) where she formerly served as Chair of the Railroad Section; she has also served on the AAJ Board of Governors as the Revitalization Member for Tennessee. She is an active member of the Tennessee Trial Lawyers Association where she currently holds the position of Treasurer on the Executive Committee.
Ms. Taylor was most recently featured in the 2022 and 2023 Editions of The Best Lawyers in America for Personal Injury Litigation (Plaintiffs). She was recognized by Super Lawyers as a Mid-South Rising Star in 2021 and 2022 and by MyNashville Magazine as one of the Top 100 Lawyers of 2020. She has also been recognized by the National Academy of Personal Injury Attorneys as a Top 10 Personal Injury Attorney in Tennessee Under Age 40, Top 40 Litigation Lawyer in Tennessee Under Age 40, and as a “Top 40 Under 40” by The National Trial Lawyers.
Milberg Coleman Bryson Phillips Grossman, LLC
Larry Taylor is an attorney with The Cochran Firm – Dallas. His practice focuses on serious personal injury litigation concentrating in the areas of wrongful death, automobile accidents, truck accidents, as well as criminal defense cases. Larry earned his Bachelor’s Degree from Texas A&M University. He obtained his Juris Doctor from Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University where he served as a member of the Board of Regents. Prior to attending law school, Larry worked as an investment banker and financial strategist for small business owners.
The Cochran Firm
In 2010, Aimee became a founding partner of Andrus Wagstaff, PC. Shortly thereafter, the Honorable Judge Andler of the Superior Court of California, County of Orange appointed Aimee Plaintiffs' co-lead counsel of JCCP 4615, which is a products liability proceeding (failure to warn) against several medical device manufacturers after several hundred patients were diagnosed with chondrolysis following the placement of a pain pump catheter after surgery.Additionally, in 2013, the Honorable Joseph R. Goodwin, Chief Judge, United States District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia, recently appointed Aimee to serve on the Plaintiffs' Steering Committee of: (1) MDL 2187: In Re C.R. Bard, Inc.; (2) MDL 2325: In Re American Medical Systems; (3) MDL 2326: In Re Boston Scientific Corporation; (4) MDL 2327: In Re Ethicon, Inc; (5) MDL 2387: In Re Coloplast Corp.; and (6) MDL 2440: In Re Cook Medical, Inc., (collectively, TVM MDLs). Judge Goodwin also appointed Aimee to serve on the 8 member national Executive Committee overseeing the six TVM MDLs and to serve as National Co-Lead of MDL 2326 against Boston Scientific Corporation. In March 2013, Aimee founded and hosted the first annual "Women En Mass" retreat that was held in Aspen, Colorado. WEM is an annual working retreat for amazing women in mass torts -- a time to relax and enjoy each other’s company while creating new, and fostering old, relationships. If you are interested in attending, check out WEM's website at www.WomenEnMass.com or contact Aimee directly. The Second WEM Retreat will be held on June 16-17, 2014 in Aspen, Colorado. Aimee is licensed to practice in all state and federal courts of Colorado and California. And, in January 2011, Aimee was sworn into the United States Supreme Court in Washington, D.C.
Partner, Andrus Wagstaff
Alexandra Walsh is a nationally recognized trial attorney with extensive experience trying and winning cases in courts throughout the country. After years of defending corporate clients, Alex launched Walsh Law to turn a page in her practice and use her expertise and experience to fight for plaintiffs seeking justice in the nation’s courts.
Alex’s successes at trial are well-recognized. In 2018, she received accolades from the National Law Journal for her decisive trial win in the national litigation concerning blockbuster blood thinner, Xarelto. In 2019, Law360 named Alex a Trial MVP of the Year for her victory in a major consumer fraud class action targeting One A Day multivitamins. In 2020, New York Law Journal elevated to its Verdict Hall of Fame the billion-dollar jury award Alex helped secure in a fraud and negligence case against media giant, Vivendi SA.
For these and other successes, Alex was recently inducted as a Fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers, which limits its membership to “experienced trial lawyers who have mastered the art of advocacy and whose professional careers have been marked by the highest standards of ethical conduct, professionalism, civility and collegiality.”
During law school, Hailey was a student attorney for the Actual Innocence Clinic working closely with wrongfully convicted individuals on their actual innocence claims and efforts to gain their release. In her final year of law school, Hailey was chosen to be an advanced student attorney for the Children’s Rights Clinic. With her student bar card, Hailey represented nine different children in all phases of DFPS cases including two successful trials where she was asked to sit as first chair, question key witnesses, and deliver opening and closing statements.
In pursuit of her passion to help victims of sexual assault, Hailey spent time interning for the Texas Office of the Attorney General’s Human Trafficking Unit, the Travis County District Attorney’s Office’s Child Abuse Unit, and for The Honorable Gisela D. Triana of the Third Court of Appeals in Austin, Texas. Knowing she eventually wanted to pursue her lifelong dream of becoming a personal injury lawyer, Hailey also interned at personal injury firms in Houston, Texas, and Melville, New York before deciding to move home to join Watts Guerra as an associate in 2023.
During her free time, Hailey loves to travel, cheer on the longhorns, and enjoy the outdoors with her husband and dog, Chunk.
Watts Guerra LLP
Watts Guerra LLC
Ben Whiting is a Partner at Keller Postman LLC. He is an accomplished trial attorney with extensive experience litigating complex, high-stakes matters on behalf of plaintiffs and defendants across a variety of practice areas, with clients consistently relying on Ben to present their cases to juries, judges, and arbitration panels.
At Keller Postman, Ben’s practice focuses on a broad range of litigation, including consumer protection, labor and employment, antitrust, product liability, class action, and arbitration. Through a combination of analytical skills, complex project management capabilities, and legal judgment, Ben secures the best results for clients by helping them navigate a wide range of novel issues.
While at Keller Postman, Ben was named a 2022 Plaintiffs’ Lawyers Trailblazer by the National Law Journal and a 2022 Midwest Trailblazer by American Lawyer. He is also listed on Lawdragon’s Leading Plaintiff Financial Lawyers and the National Trial Lawyers’ Top 100.
Ben earned his law degree from the University of Chicago Law School, where he graduated with High Honors. Prior to law school, he taught philosophy and logic at multiple universities. Ben received a master’s degree in philosophy from the University of Wyoming and an undergraduate degree in finance and philosophy from Trinity University.
Keller Postman LLC
R. Brent Wisner is the managing partner of Wisner Baum (formerly Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman). Brent’s age belies an incredible track record of success which many legal publications have recognized. Brent has been distinguished as one of America’s 50 Most Influential Trial Lawyers by Trial Lawyer Magazine, Civil Plaintiffs Trial Lawyer of the Year by ALM and National Trial Lawyers, West Trailblazer by American Lawyer, and Titan of the Plaintiffs Bar by Law360.
Brent has litigated cases against such companies as Bayer, Eli Lilly, Forest Labs, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Monsanto, Pfizer, Sanofi and Takeda and obtained multiple verdicts totaling $2.427 billion and negotiated mass tort settlements in excess of $1 billion, all before the age of 40. He is the youngest attorney in U.S. history to win a multi-billion-dollar jury verdict, which he achieved in 2019 with a $2 billion Roundup cancer verdict against Monsanto on behalf of the Pilliods.
He has also earned “Elite Trial Lawyers” recognition from 2018 to 2020 by The National Law Journal. Law360 awarded Brent “MVP of the Year” by Law360 in Products Liability. In 2021, Brent was awarded the “Clarence Darrow Award” by Mike Papantonio, founder of Mass Torts Made Perfect. Brent is consistently recognized in the Daily Journal’s “Top Plaintiffs Lawyers” and “Top 100 Lawyers” in California. He is also inducted in the Verdicts Hall of Fame by the National Law Journal and Verdict Search and is listed in Best Lawyers in America® and Lawdragon 500 Leading Plaintiff Consumer Lawyers.
In 2022, Brent was selected to become an Associate Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America (LCA) trial lawyer honorary society. LCA Fellows are selected after being evaluated for effectiveness and accomplishment in litigation, trial work, and ethical reputation.
Attorney, Managing Partner