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United States > Dispute resolution > Product liability, mass tort and class action: automotive/transport > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings


Index of tables

  1. Product liability, mass tort and class action: automotive/transport
  2. Hall of Fame
  3. Leading lawyers

Leading lawyers

  1. 1
    • Michael O’Donnell - Wheeler Trigg O'Donnell LLP
    • Warren Platt - Snell & Wilmer LLP
    • Terri Reiskin - Dykema Gossett PLLC

Who Represents Who

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Bowman and Brooke LLP is an established name in the automotive industry and covers the full array of practice area-related work, including product liability litigation, high-profile class actions and mass torts. Co-led by Joel Smith in Columbia and Thomas Branigan in Detroit, the team continues to represent Honda and BMW in the Takata airbag MDL. In other work, the team obtained several defense verdicts for Ford in personal injury cases, including a high-exposure product liability litigation arising from a rollover accident. Other clients include Toyota, Hyundai and General Motors. The firm endured the departures of Todd Croftchik to Toyota in January 2017 and Ryan McCarthy to Tesla in August 2017. Heidi Yoshioka joined the Los Angeles office in February 2017 from Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard and Smith LLP. Phoenix-based Paul Cereghini and San Jose-based Vincent Galvin co-head the department.

The department at Campbell Campbell Edwards & Conroy P.C. is led by firm head James Campbell in Boston, a ‘parachute-in attorney on high-profile and high-exposure cases’. The team regularly represents automotive and truck manufacturers and is particularly well known for its trial expertise. The firm has ‘a number of accomplished trial attorneys’, including the highly regarded William Conroy. Emily Rogers in Philadelphia, Boston-based Eric Apjohn and Christopher Howe were invited into partnership. Longstanding clients include Toyota, Ford Motor and Eaton.

Trusted Advisor - with Finnegan

IP specialist Finnegan detail how their collaborative approach makes for a unique culture which is designed to allow them to work with clients in a way which is cognizant of the challenges facing all companies today.

Dykema Gossett PLLC handles product liability lawsuits, class action defense and appellate work in the automotive industry. Co-led by Derek Whitefield in Los Angeles and Washington DC-based practice head Terri Reiskin, the team continues to act as lead class action counsel for Toyota in the Takata airbag MDL and in individual personal injury suits arising from the defective airbags. In other work, Bloomfield Hills-based James Feeney is lead trial counsel for American Multinational Automaker in a $100m claim regarding a vehicle that caught fire on a ship, leading to destruction and damage to cargo. The client roster also includes Honda, General Motors and Ford.

Wheeler Trigg O'Donnell LLP’s Denver-based automotive litigation group handles sector-related class actions and product liability lawsuits. The team is headed by ‘excellent trial lawyer’ Michael O’Donnell, who continues to act as national settlement counsel and trial counsel for Michelin in its nationwide product liability litigation. In other work the team, led by Peter Herzog, continues to represent Volvo in the defective sunroof drains class action and, separately, a putative class action involving claims regarding prematurely draining batteries. Michele Choe and Kenneth Stalzer made partner in January 2017.

Ballard Spahr LLP is headed by New Jersey-based Neal Walters and has ‘extensive experience defending automotive companies in class action litigation’. Walters continues to represent Subaru in the defense of various warranty and consumer fraud class actions in nine states in relation to alleged engine defects. Led by Denver-based David Stauss, the firm acts as regional counsel to Goodyear in product liability lawsuits in the mountain west region, including two wrongful death cases in South Dakota and New Mexico, respectively. Roberto Rivera-Soto in New Jersey is another key figure; Roger Thomasch passed away in 2017.

McGuireWoods LLPDiane Flannery heads the products, environmental and mass tort litigation practice and Perry Miles leads the automotive product liability practice group. Miles continues to act as lead trial counsel to Ford in product liability litigation and, together with Samuel Tarry and automotive expert Tracy Walker, co-heads the consumer class action team, which continues to serve as national counsel to Ford in consumer fraud class actions. Mazda, Volkswagen and Olympus are also clients of the firm. All named partners are based in Richmond.

Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP’s 15-strong products, pharma, medical and mass tort practice is headed by the ‘honest, hard-working and knowledgeableSteven Jansma in San Antonio. The ‘excellent’ team is increasingly active in the automotive sector, and handles discovery response, nationwide class actions and product recalls. In one recent highlight, Jansma obtained a favorable settlement for longstanding client BMW, regarding economic loss claims arising from the Takata MDL. In other work, Austin-based Stacey Martinez represented Toyota in a putative class action involving alleged violations of consumer fraud statutes in the marketing of various 2016 vehicle models. The client roster also includes Cooper Tire & Rubber and Walmart. Brett Young joined the Houston office from K&L Gates in January 2017 and Jessica Farley is another name to note.

Philadelphia-based Raymond Williams and Christopher Young in San Diego co-head DLA Piper LLP (US)’s nationwide product liability and mass torts practice. The team advises OEMs, such as Porsche and Ford, on contentious and non-contentious matters, including risk mitigation, product recalls and litigation. Other key figures in the department are James Brogan in Philadelphia and Joel Dewey in Baltimore.

Baltimore-based Lauren Colton heads the product liability practice at Hogan Lovells US LLP, which has significant experience handling class actions and MDLs in the automotive sector. In one recent highlight, Latane Montague led advice to Daimler Group on the high-profile product recall arising from Takata’s defective airbags. Together with Adam Kushner, Montague continues to represent Hyundai in its Clean Air Act settlement commitment. Jessica Ellsworth handles sector-related appellate work and Michael Kidney is another name to note.

While Carol Wood heads the overall tort and environment practice at King & Spalding LLP, Philip Holladay leads the firm’s Atlanta-based automotive and transportation subgroup. The team recently underwent significant changes; Shawn Stephens and Dan Willoughby retired and Halli Cohn departed to Troutman Sanders in July 2017. The departures were countered with the July 2017 hire of four partners from Reed Smith LLP in New York, namely John Hooper, Kelly D’Auria, Eric Gladbach and Jacqueline Seidel. In one highlight, Hooper, Gladbach and Seidel obtained approval of the economic loss class action settlement for Toyota in the high-profile Takata airbag MDL. The firm’s client roster also includes Ford, Mercedes and General Motors.

Headed by Washington DC-based Steve Brody, O'Melveny & Myers LLP’s automotive litigation team is particularly active in the class action defense of OEMs. In one recent highlight, Los Angeles-based Carlos Lazatin led advice to Kia in multiple class actions concerning defective panoramic sunroofs. In other work, Lazatin continues to represent Hyundai in a class action alleging a failure to inform that panoramic sunroofs in some models can shatter suddenly. Advanced Micro Devices is another client of the firm.

Shook, Hardy & Bacon LLP’s automotive litigation practice is jointly headed by Robert Adams and Ann Songer in Kansas City, and Amir Nassihi in San Francisco. The team has experience in representing OEMs in product liability and class action litigation and counts Ford and Nissan to its client base. Other names to note are San Francisco-based Frank Kelly, Kevin Underhill and Grant Law.

Stephen Strauss heads the department at Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP and advises OEMs on product liability litigation in the automotive sector. In one recent highlight, Bettina Strauss successfully defended long-term client Enterprise Rent-A-Car in three appellate court cases. In other work, Robert Ebert continues to act as lead national counsel in U-Haul’s international truck litigation. Garmin and Zodiac Parachute & Protection are also clients of the firm. All named partners are based in St Louis.

Kirkland & Ellis LLP advises on product liability litigation and mass torts in the automotive and aviation industry. In one recent highlight, Craig Primis obtained a favorable settlement of consolidated lawsuits brought against Boeing relating to the 2013 crash of a Boeing 747-400, and which alleged negligence and strict liability. In other work, Robert Brock and Chicago-based Richard Godfrey continue to act for General Motors in the General Motors LLC Ignition Switch Litigation. Primis and Brock co-head the department in Washington DC; Andrew Bloomer in Chicago is another key figure.

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP’s wider product liability, tort and insurance practice is headed by Paul Zevnik in Washington DC and is particularly strong in sector-related class action lawsuits. Miami-based Brian Ercole and Gordon Cooney in Philadelphia successfully defended airline operator Aerovias de Mexico in a nationwide putative class action involving claims alleging that the client conspired with six other defendants to improperly collect tourism tax from exempt passengers. The client base also includes Boeing, Toyota and General Motors. In October 2017, Los Angeles-based Esther Ro made partner.

Reed Smith LLP regularly acts as national product liability, trial and defense counsel for OEMs in individual lawsuits, MDLs and class actions. Chicago-based Robert Roth heads the wider products team. In July 2017, John Hooper, Eric Gladbach, Kelly D’Auria and Jacqueline Seidel departed to King & Spalding LLP. Russell Gaudreau left the firm in June 2017, to join Greenberg Traurig, LLP.

St Louis-based Thompson Coburn LLP’s product liability practice is co-headed by Rick Mueller and Carl Pesce. Mueller and Heather Counts continue to defend Yamaha in product liability litigation and recently obtained a defense verdict in a lawsuit involving a Yamaha WaveRunner, in which the plaintiffs alleged lack of adequate warning. The firm’s client base also includes Fiat Chrysler, Kawasaki and Honda. Bob Wagner and Kathy Wisniewski jointly lead the class action group.

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