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  1. Product liability, mass tort and class action: consumer products (including tobacco)
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Following its merger, Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP’s product liability litigation department is jointly headed by Anand Agneshwar in New York and Pamela Yates in Los Angeles, while its consumer products and services group is led by Trenton Norris in San Francisco. Norris has been defending a number of coffee sellers, including 7-Eleven and Dunkin’ Donuts, in Proposition 65 litigation before the Los Angeles County Superior Court regarding the chemical acrylamide in coffee. Led by John Massaro and of counsel David Kouba in Washington DC, the group represented long-term client Philip Morris in a number of class actions alleging that the company’s ‘light’ cigarettes were misleading, including successfully obtaining a complete defense verdict in Missouri. In Washington DC, the team was strengthened by the arrival of Michelle Gillice as of counsel from the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the promotion of Jennifer Karmonick to of counsel.

Headed by Joanne Gray in New York, Goodwin’s practice often acts for clients in the food and beverage industry. Gray has represented long-term client Herbalife in a number of lawsuits and is advising Mattson on regulatory and risk management issues. In San Francisco, Forrest Hainline represented The Wonderful Company (formerly Roll Global) in Lanham Act litigation brought against Coca Cola regarding the labeling and marketing of Coca Cola’s juice blend, which allegedly misled customers and caused The Wonderful Company to lose sales. New York-based Glenn Kerner is recommended.

Jones Day’s ‘extremely responsive and knowledgeable’ group has ‘always provided solid representation in consumer product class actions’ and has impressive jury trial experience. Irvine-based Darren Cottriel has been representing Procter & Gamble in a number of class actions, including a putative class action alleging violations of FDA regulations through the misbranding of certain food products. In Columbus, Matthew Kairis has been serving as lead counsel to Pennsylvania State University, Brigham Young University, University of Miami and the Trustees of Boston College in an MDL comprising 24 class action concussion cases brought by a number of former football players regarding defective helmets. The team includes New York-based Theodore Grossman, whom clients regard as one of ‘the best trial lawyers ever encountered’, and Paul Pohl in Pittsburgh. Stephanie Parker heads the practice from Atlanta.

Latham & Watkins LLP’s ‘first-rate’ practice acts for a wide range of clients and has particular expertise in the tobacco and sports industries. In Chicago, Sean Berkowitz and Mark Mester represented the National Collegiate Athletic Association in 12 concussion-related defective equipment class actions before the Northern District of Illinois. Mester represented vitamin and nutritional supplements manufacturer Schiff in a series of nationwide class actions in California and Florida. In Boston, the team includes the well-regarded Kenneth Parsigian, who has been leading advice to Philip Morris on a number of matters alongside ‘efficient’ practice co-head Gwyn Williams. The other practice heads are Michael Romey in Los Angeles and Mary Rose Alexander and Thomas Heiden in Chicago.

The ‘knowledgeable’ group at Sidley Austin LLP has notable experience handling high-value class actions for clients in the food and beverage, sports and cosmetics industries, among others. Led by the ‘smart and very goodKara McCall in Chicago, Eamon Joyce in New York and Amy Lally in Los Angeles, the team has been defending Kimberly-Clark in a number of nationwide class actions alleging breach of warranty, consumer fraud and unjust enrichment regarding the company’s flushable wipes. In Los Angeles, Michael Mallow, who is co-head of the consumer class actions team, and Mark Campbell successfully obtained denial of class certification at the Central District of California in a case brought against sports equipment and clothing company Head alleging violations of consumer protection statutes. The other co-heads of the consumer class actions team are Washington DC-based James Huizinga and Chicago’s Eric Mattson. The wider product liability department is jointly headed by Sara Gourley and Maja Eaton in Chicago and Debra Pole in Los Angeles.

Headed by Samuel Tarry, McGuireWoods LLP’s product and consumer litigation department often serves as coordinating and trial counsel to clients in a wide range of sectors. Tracy Walker served as lead trial counsel to United Technologies subsidiary Kidde in a number of cases, recently obtaining a motion for summary judgment in a product liability lawsuit before the Southern District of New York. Led by Terrence Bagley, the team has been serving as national counsel to ConAgra in a series of nationwide consumer class actions. All partners are based in Richmond.

Morrison & Foerster LLP’s ‘excellent’ practice has strong experience representing technology clients in class actions and other product liability litigation. In Los Angeles, Dan Marmalefsky has been defending Monster Beverage in a number of false advertising and unfair competition consumer class actions arising from alleged violations of FDA regulations on certain products. San Diego-based practice head Erin Bosman continued to represent Fitbit in a putative class action in the Northern District of California regarding claims of misrepresentation of the accuracy of Fitbit’s fitness tracker. The team also includes San Francisco-based James Schurz, who often acts for clients before federal and state courts. Other clients include Lumber Liquidators and Gree Electric.

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Shook, Hardy & Bacon LLP’s group has experience acting for a broad range of clients in the tobacco and food and beverage industries. Led by Frank Kelly in San Francisco, the team obtained a defense verdict for Philip Morris following a three-week trial before the Eleventh Judicial Circuit Court of Miami-Dade County, Florida as part of the ‘Engle progeny’ litigation. Key partners include tobacco litigation expert Kenneth Reilly in Miami and Holly Smith and Ann Songer in Kansas City.

Winston & Strawn LLP’s Chicago-based practice has a strong track record defending clients in the food and beverage, sports and pharmaceutical industries. In Los Angeles, David Aronoff continues to serve as national coordinating counsel to a sporting goods company in helmet concussion litigation, including a number of individual and class action claims. Co-head George Lombardi has been representing Philip Morris as lead trial counsel in a number of tobacco litigation cases. Co-head Stephen D’Amore and Dan Webb are also noted. Neil Murphy is now in-house counsel at Arthur J Gallagher.

With deep experience handling high-profile litigation, Bowman and Brooke LLP’s product liability and mass tort team has seen an increase in work for clients in the fitness and construction industries. Phoenix-based group head Paul Cereghini has been serving as lead counsel to Riddell in various concussion litigation, successfully obtaining a dismissal with prejudice of a product liability claim alleging manufacturing defects brought by a number of college athletes before the Southern District of Indiana. Also in Phoenix, Cereghini and William Auther have been defending Beazer in a class action brought by a number of homeowners alleging the improper installation of a tile roof system. The team includes David Campbell in Detroit, Michelle Gilboe in Minneapolis and Robert Wise in Richmond.

Headed by Ben Barnett, Dechert LLP’s practice often represents pharmaceuticals and nutritional supplements manufacturers. In Chicago, Nathan Hoffman continues to serve as trial counsel to Pfizer in Krueger v Wyeth Inc, et al, a consumer class action in which the plaintiff alleges false advertising of certain prescription drugs. In Philadelphia, Hope Freiwald has been defending Bodybuilding.com in a wrongful death claim regarding allegations of a nutritional supplement containing a stimulant that caused the plaintiff’s husband to suffer cardiac arrest. The team includes William Oxley in Los Angeles and Robert Heim and Judy Leone in Philadelphia. David Bernick is now at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP.

Greenberg Traurig LLP’s product liability and mass torts department is highly regarded by clients for its ‘very deep bench’ in high-profile matters. Los Angeles-based practice co-head Robert Herrington represented Twin Hill in a products liability suit brought by more than 170 Alaska Airlines flight attendants alleging that the uniform garments provided by Twin Hill contained various toxins, heavy metals and allergenic dyes. In Chicago, ‘highly experienced and capable’ co-head Francis Citera defended Louisville Distilling Company in a putative class action brought before the Northern District of Illinois alleging false marketing and advertising regarding its product. The firm’s Houston office grew in 2016 with the arrival of Paul Kerlin and David Oliver from Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP.

Kirkland & Ellis LLP’s litigation practice handles class action defense for a wide range of clients. Richard Godfrey and Andrew Langan, both of whom are based in Chicago, have been representing L3 Technologies in a class action alleging defective military and consumer rifle accessories. In Washington DC, Eugene Assaf and Daniel Bress successfully obtained complete dismissals with prejudice for United Technologies in three putative federal class actions concerning allegations of defects in the company’s Carrier home air conditioning systems. The team includes Andrew McGaan in Chicago and Jay Lefkowitz in New York.

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP’s mass torts and consumer litigation team has experience acting for clients in the sports, construction and technology sectors, among others. In Washington DC, practice head John Beisner, Jessica Miller and of counsel Geoffrey Wyatt have been representing Electrolux in a number of class actions alleging a washing machine design defect. In Palo Alto, Jack DiCanio obtained dismissal of a putative class action filed against the NFL by ten retired players alleging that the NFL improperly provided prescription painkillers and anti-inflammatories. Other clients include Tamko Building Products and the NHL.

The product liability and mass torts group at Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP has notable experience defending consumer fraud class actions for high-profile clients. In Princeton, Diane Sullivan successfully obtained a defense verdict for Philip Morris following a three-week jury trial in a medical monitoring class action regarding the client’s cigarettes. Miami-based Edward Soto obtained dismissal of six remaining cases in the denture cream MDL brought against Procter & Gamble alleging that the use of its Fixodent product caused neurological injuries. Practice head Arvin Maskin, who is based in New York, has been serving as lead trial counsel to Japanese fiber manufacturer Toyobo in False Claims Act litigation brought by the federal government concerning Toyobo’s Zylon fiber in bullet-resistant vests. David Singh was promoted to partner in the firm’s Silicon Valley office.

Wheeler Trigg O’Donnell LLP’s Denver-based practice often defends high-profile clients in class actions. Led by Michael Williams, the team has been serving as national counsel to Whirlpool in all class action litigation. John Fitzpatrick obtained a complete defense jury verdict for Evenflo in a $15m failure to warn trial regarding an Evenflo infant seat. Peter Herzog successfully obtained dismissal of three putative class actions brought against Yahoo! concerning daily fantasy sports contests. Michael O’Donnell heads the practice, which also includes the well-regarded Malcolm Wheeler.

Headed by Michael Wagner in Chicago, Baker McKenzie LLP’s product liability and product recall group has experience defending a wide range of clients in product liability litigation, as well as advising on compliance issues. Chicago-based Erin Maus has been defending a global manufacturer of furniture products in a number of wrongful death claims arising from a furniture warehouse fire. The team includes e-discovery expert Tod Gamlen in Palo Alto, Mark Karasik in Chicago and Washington DC-based Neil O’Flaherty, who specializes in FDA regulations.

DLA Piper LLP (US)’s product liability and mass torts group handles consumer class actions for a wide range of clients, including tobacco and healthcare product manufacturers. In Philadelphia, co-head Raymond Williams primarily represents clients in FDA-related matters. San Diego-based co-head Christopher Young has strong experience serving as both local and national counsel to clients in the life sciences and food and beverage industries. Brian Foster is also recommended in San Diego.

Led by Thomas Riley, Herbert Smith Freehills’ New York-based team primarily handles domestic and cross-border tobacco litigation, as well as food and beverages matters. Gregory Loss, who has ‘a wealth of experience running massive litigation in the US and abroad’, and the ‘exceptional’ Benjamin Rubinstein have been leading the representation of British American Tobacco in various claims brought by a number of foreign governments regarding healthcare costs for the treatment of smoking-related illnesses. Clients also recommend the ‘no-nonsense and creative’ David Wallace, who often defends clients before federal and state courts. Other clients include Twinings, Souza Cruz and Diageo.

Hogan Lovells US LLP’s product liability practice has strong experience representing clients ranging from electronics retailers to food and beverage companies. New York-based department head Phoebe Wilkinson has been representing Best Buy and LG Electronics in a nationwide putative class action brought before the District of Minnesota alleging fraud in the marketing and sale of LED televisions manufactured by LG Electronics and sold by Best Buy. In Silicon Valley, Robert Hawk has been defending StarKist in an action brought before the Northern District of California alleging violations of FDA regulations regarding the client’s canned tuna product. The team was strengthened by the arrival of trial expert Regina Rodriguez in the firm’s Denver office from Faegre Baker Daniels and Michael Turrill in Los Angeles from Arent Fox LLP.

Kelley Drye & Warren LLP’s ‘excellent’ group excels in class actions and mass tort litigation, with a particular niche in Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) cases. The ‘highly rated’ Parsippany-based Lauri Mazzuchetti and Chicago-based Givonna Long have been representing Essendant in a putative class action filed by a number of companies alleging violations of the TCPA. In New York, Jonathan Cooperman served as counsel to BP in a number of liability cases regarding an October 2009 explosion at a petroleum storage terminal near San Juan, Puerto Rico. The group is headed by Michael Lynch in New York.

King & Spalding LLP’s department primarily acts for clients in the tobacco industry. Led by Richard Schneider in Atlanta, the group continues to act for RJ Reynolds in a number of ‘Engle progeny’ cases in Florida. Charlotte-based Cory Hohnbaum obtained a complete defense verdict for the client in a claim brought by two plaintiffs alleging its cigarettes caused coronary heart disease. Also in Charlotte, Jeffrey Furr obtained a defense verdict in a claim in which plaintiffs sought recovery of $15m for alleged addiction caused by the cigarettes. Bradley Pratt left to found Pratt Law, LLC.

Headed by Dale Giali in Los Angeles and Carmine Zarlenga in Washington DC, Mayer Brown’s ‘very responsive, efficient and easy-to-work-with’ group acts for a wide range of retailers and manufacturers, with a ‘very deep bench’ in the food and beverages area. Giali and Zarlenga successfully obtained dismissal with prejudice for Nestlé in a consumer class action complaint brought before the Northern District of California concerning misrepresentation of ingredients in the client’s Coffee-Mate product. Clients regard Michele Odorizzi in Chicago and Lauren Goldman and Scott Chesin in New York as ‘first-rate advocates and strategists’; the three have been leading the team as national counsel to Philip Morris subsidiary Altria in a number of nationwide consumer fraud actions, including various ‘Engle progeny’ trials and appeals in Florida. The firm’s client base includes Whirlpool, Chobani and Gerber.

The New York-based practice of legacy firm Chadbourne & Parke LLP is now part of Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP , following the combination of the two firms in June 2017. The team has experience handling class actions for clients ranging from the food and beverages, cosmetics and electronics industries, excelling in preemption work. On behalf of Clarins, practice head Mary Yelenick successfully obtained denial of class certification at the Southern District of Florida in a lawsuit alleging unjust enrichment and violations of the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act. Yelenick and Donald Strauber successfully obtained dismissal and denial of class certification in nine nationwide class actions brought against Beam Suntory regarding its cocktail product. Robin Ball in Los Angeles is also recommended. The team’s clients include Miele.

O’Melveny & Myers LLP’s practice has experience representing a wide range of clients in class actions, including in false advertising claims. Continuing their representation of Johnson & Johnson, practice co-head Richard Goetz, New Port Beach-based Amy Laurendeau and of counsel Cynthia Merrill and Joe O’Connor won summary judgment and denial of class certification in two Neutrogena sunscreen cases in Florida federal court alleging misleading product labeling. Washington DC-based Steve Brody is the other co-head of the team, which also includes San Francisco-based Randall Edwards. All named attorneys are based in Los Angeles except where otherwise stated. Carla Christofferson is now in-house counsel at Aecom.

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