The Legal 500

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United States > Litigation > Mass tort and class action: plaintiff representation – pharmaceuticals and medical devices

Editorial

Index of tables

  1. Mass tort and class action: plaintiff representation – pharmaceuticals and medical devices
  2. Leading lawyers

Leading lawyers

The ‘excellentBurg Simpson Eldredge Hersh & Jardine, P.C. is ‘one of the leaders in this field’ and is praised for ‘seeing a case through to trial if necessary’. The firm remains involved in the Yaz /Yasmin multi-district litigation (MDL), where practice head Michael Burg is co-lead counsel, Seth Katz serves as the chair of the discovery committee and Janet Abaray is co-chair of the science and expert committee. In 2013 the firm was also involved in negotiating a global settlement with Bayer with regard to gall bladder injuries; it recently entered into negotiations with the company regarding compensation for venous injuries suffered by over 8000 women. Katz, who is particularly ‘strong on electronic discovery’, is currently serving as co-lead counsel in the Pradaxa litigation, and is also a member of the plaintiffs’ steering committee in the MDL involving DePuy Orthopaedics’ recalled ASR XL metal-on-metal hip device and the alleged failure of its ASR XL Acetabular Hip System. Abaray is the lead attorney in the Depakote products liability claims, where depositions are ongoing and expert witnesses have been retained. Michael Burg and Peter Burgare experienced and highly capable trial lawyers who are absolutely devoted to their clients and practices’.

Herman, Herman & Katz LLC has an active practice operating out of New Orleans. The firm is currently representing plaintiffs in Granuflo litigation against Fresenius Medical Care; the case was established as an MDL in 2013, with James Klick serving on the plaintiffs’ executive committee and of counsel Joseph Kott serving as co-chair of the science committee. The firm is also active in the TYLENOL MDL, with Leonard Davis serving on the plaintiffs’ steering committee, and its role in the Vioxx litigation recently saw it negotiating a $23m settlement for the reimbursement of prescription costs; Russ Herman serves as the plaintiffs’ liaison counsel and chair of the executive committee, Davis is an ex-officio member of the plaintiffs’ steering committee and Stephen Herman is co-chair of the sales and marketing committee, insurance committee and a member of the drafting team.

The ‘highly regardedLevin Papantonio Thomas Mitchell Rafferty & Proctor, P.A. is headquartered in northwest Florida, and its track record includes handling litigation involving Actos, Accutane, GranuFlo, antidepressants and DePuy hip implants; in the latter, Ben Gordon serves on the plaintiffs’ executive committee and has been appointed as co-chair of the science and expert committee. Other key names in the team Troy Rafferty and Timothy O’Brien are involved in the gadolinium-based contrast agent litigation and Fosamax product liability litigation respectively. Mike Papantonio is a ‘good trial lawyer’.

Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP is ‘very good’, particularly in hip replacement cases; it remains active in the DePuy artificial hip litigation, where Wendy Fleishman serves on the plaintiffs’ steering committee in the MDL and Robert Nelson serves on the plaintiffs’ steering committee in co-ordinated proceedings in the California state court. Other activities in 2013 included filing claims in the Medtronic InFUSE litigation, where injuries are alleged to have arisen from the off-label use of the InFUSE bone graft. The firm is also active in pharmaceutical litigation such as the Actos litigation; Donald Arbitblit serves on the science committee. Practice head Elizabeth Cabraser is a ‘stand-out name’ in this area. Cabraser, Arbitblit and Nelson are based in the firm’s San Francisco office, while Fleishman is New York-based.

Name partner W Mark Lanier at The Lanier Law Firm is a ‘major player’; opponents note that when this ‘formidable’ attorney is on the other side that they ‘stand up and take notice’. The firm, which has offices in Texas, California and New York, has represented clients in litigation involving DePuy hip replacements, transvaginal mesh, failed knee replacements, CHANTIX and Paxil. The firm is currently representing plaintiffs in claims against Intuitive Surgical, which manufactures the da Vinci Surgical Robot, for failure to properly train surgeons on the proper use of the product; plaintiffs claim to have suffered injuries following surgery involving the Robot, including tears or burns to blood vessels, intestines and other internal organs. New York-based pharmaceutical litigation chair Richard Meadow continues to serve on a number of plaintiffs’ steering committees.

The ‘very professional’ team at Levin, Fishbein, Sedran & Berman is praised by peers for ‘getting the ball moving’ in litigation and is ‘fabulous in pulmonary hypertension cases’. The firm is currently lead plaintiffs’ counsel in the nationwide class action concerning diet drugs, representing clients in both the trial and appellate courts. The ‘excellent’ Arnold Levin serves on the negotiating plaintiffs’ counsel committee in the Vioxx litigation. Frederick Longer and Michael Fishbein are also recommended. The team is based in the firm’s sole office in Philadelphia.

Seeger Weiss LLP’s ‘very active’ team is made up of ‘civil, ethical lawyers who do their job well’; it operates from offices in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Co-founder Christopher Seeger is a ‘very good organizer’ and continues to act in MDLs; for example he is on the plaintiffs’ steering committee in the Actos litigation, and has been appointed to the plaintiffs’ executive committee in the the DePuy artificial hip litigation. David Buchanan, who is ‘excellent’, is noted for his expertise in electronic discovery.

Ashcraft & Gerel LLP’s 20 fee-earner team operates from offices in Washington DC, Virginia and Maryland. It represents plaintiffs in litigation involving Actos, the da Vinci Surgical System, GranuFlo, Pradaxa and TYLENOL. Michelle Parfitt and James Green in the firm’s Washington DC office are ‘top names’ in this area; the latter has been appointed to serve on the MDL committees for prescription drugs including Fosamax, Rezulin and Zyprexa.

Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles, P.C., which is based in Montgomery, Alabama, is praised by peers for its ‘good work’. Highlights included Frank Woodson’s appointment to serve on the plaintiffs’ steering committee for the GranuFlo litigation and Roger Smith’s appointment to serve on the plaintiffs’ steering committee for the Mirena IUD litigation. Andy Birchfield heads the mass torts practice, which includes P Leigh O’Dell, and which has recently added seven of counsel.

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