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Life Science: Mass Torts and Product Liability Litigation

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Our firm represents many of the world’s leading pharmaceutical, biotechnology, medical device, and other life sciences companies in their most significant mass tort and product liability litigation.

Our lawyers have decades of experience litigating these cases. We know how to strategically organize complex cases to win. We have enjoyed great victories framing scientific issues and positioning cases successfully for Daubert and analogous state-court challenges, often leading to summary judgment of hundreds of cases in favor of our clients. Our lawyers have also won landmark cases in state and federal appellate courts—including the United States Supreme Court—on significant class action and tort law issues.

Our practice and our attorneys are recognized as the best in the field. Named “Product Liability Group of the Year” for 2017 by Law360, we were also shortlisted for the 2014, 2015, 2016 “Chambers USA Awards for Excellence” and twice named, in 2014 and 2015, “Product Liability Practice Group of the Year” by Chambers USA.. Our team of over 50 lawyers has been involved in some of the most significant complex tort litigations of the last 30 years, including product liability litigation involving Zoloft® and Lipitor®, and we are at the forefront of the opioid litigations. Our attorneys have also been individually recognized as outstanding by publications such as Chambers USA, The National Law Journal, Law360, The International Who’s Who of Product Liability Defence Lawyers, The Best Lawyers in America, Fortune, and Crain’s New York Business, and Legal 500.

Our practice has been recognized as the best in the field.  Below are some of our recent accolades:

  • Chambers USA ranked the firm’s Product Liability & Mass Torts practice as “Band 1” for 2015, 2016, 2017.
  • Chambers USA named the firm’s Product Liability Practice as “Practice Group of the Year” in 2014-2015.  The practice was also a finalist 2016-2017.
  • Legal 500 ranked our Product Liability practice as “Tier 2” for 2016-2017 and “Tier 3” for 2015.
  • Law360 named the firm’s Product Liability as “Practice Group of the Year” in 2014, 2015, and 2017.
  • Global Law Experts named the firm “Product Liability & Mass Torts Litigation Law Firm of the Year in New York” in 2016.
  • Corporate LiveWire recognized the firm at the 2016 Global Awards for Mass Tort Litigation in New York.

Representative Clients: 

  • Allergan
  • Colgate-Palmolive
  • Endo Pharmaceuticals
  • Forest Laboratories
  • Intuitive Surgical
  • Pfizer
  • Purdue Pharma

Recent Representations

Notable Recent Wins

  • Cashmere Bouquet® We are lead trial counsel for Colgate-Palmolive Company in cases venued throughout the country in which individuals claimed to have contracted asbestos-related diseases from body talcum powders formerly manufactured by Colgate.  Since we became involved in these cases, through focused litigation strategy, we have achieved dismissals in many cases and have recently achieved a string of victories.  We won a Frye/Parker hearing challenging Plaintiffs’ testing experts in the New York City Asbestos Litigation docket.  The judge presiding over that motion noted that the victory was “unprecedented” in New York.  Last year, we tried three cases to juries in Los Angeles, and Colgate obtained defense verdicts in all three cases.  After each verdict, the jurors have credited the strength and credibility of the defense experts, and Quinn Emanuel’s cross-examinations that exposed the analytical gaps in Plaintiff’s theories of the key issues of product defect and causation.  We have also obtained summary judgment victories in San Francisco and in Baltimore City.
  • We also successfully represented Colgate-Palmolive Company in an appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit challenging the denial of Colgate’s motions to vacate orders remanding two asbestos-related cases to state court.  The court of appeals, sitting en banc, agreed that 28 U.S.C. 1447(d)’s prohibition on “review[]” of remand orders does not preclude “vacatur” of a remand order pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 60(b)(3) due to fraud, misrepresentations, or other misconduct in procuring that order.
  • Lipitor® We are lead national counsel to Pfizer in its defense of litigation involving more than 8,000 plaintiffs alleging that Lipitor® caused type 2 diabetes.  We prevailed on a series of Daubert motions in an MDL in the District of South Carolina and prevented plaintiffs from bringing a single case to trial.  The court granted summary judgment in thousands of cases in favor of Pfizer, after excluding virtually all of plaintiffs’ experts’ opinions.
    We also obtained a unanimous decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, affirming partial judgment in a False Claims Act case against Pfizer.  In this qui tam action, a former employee alleged that Pfizer promoted Lipitor®, its top-selling cholesterol-lowering medicine, “off-label,” claiming that Pfizer promoted Lipitor® for use by certain patients whose cholesterol levels were not elevated enough to warrant treatment based on national cholesterol guidelines.  The Second Circuit  affirmed the district court’s decision to dismiss these claims, rejecting the relator’s entire theory of “off-label” marketing.  It concluded that cholesterol guidelines summarized in the label merely “provide[d] advice and (unsurprisingly) guidance, ‘not mandatory limitation.’”  The Court also questioned whether the conduct alleged – off-label marketing by sales representative or through promotional materials–could even constitute a false claim to the government.
  • Zoloft® We are lead national counsel for Pfizer and Greenstone in an MDL proceeding in federal court in Pennsylvania alleging that the use of Zoloft® during pregnancy caused birth defects to infants exposed in utero.  Our attorneys were lead counsel and developed and implemented the Daubert strategy, which resulted in a trio of rulings in which the court excluded as unreliable all of Plaintiffs’ experts’ opinions, in Zoloft, 26 F. Supp. 3d 449 (E.D. Pa. 2014); Zoloft, 26 F. Supp. 3d 466 (E.D. Pa. 2014); and Zoloft, 2015 WL 314149 (E.D. Pa. 2015).  Thereafter, the court allowed plaintiffs to substitute a new causation expert, triggering another round of Daubert proceedings, and again, we prevailed in excluding the new expert.  The Court then dismissed over 600 of plaintiffs’ claims and awarded summary judgment for Pfizer.  Zoloft, 2016 WL 1320799 at *11 (E.D. Pa. 2016).  The Third Circuit affirmed the lower court in all respects, Zoloft, 858 F.3d 787 (3rd Circuit 2017).
  • We also represent Pfizer in litigation in West Virginia state court in which plaintiffs allege that use of Zoloft® during pregnancy has caused birth defects in children.  At the outset, there were almost 40 cases pending before the Mass Litigation Panel of West Virginia, filed by a Texas attorney seeking to avoid the federal multi-district litigation.  We successfully obtained dismissal on grounds of forum non conveniens of 29 cases, while others were voluntarily dismissed, leaving 4 cases remaining in West Virginia state court.  The Panel then entered an order granting summary judgment in two of the cases.  The remaining two cases were scheduled for trial in mid-January 2017, but Plaintiffs, as a result of discovery, withdrew their liability expert, and Pfizer moved for summary judgment.  The Panel granted Pfizer’s motion for summary judgment, rejecting the Plaintiffs’ arguments that an expert witness on the adequacy of the Zoloft® label was not required.

Current Representations

  • We are lead trial counsel for Forest Pharmaceuticals and Forest Laboratories in personal injury litigations throughout the country in which individuals allege that the use of Forest’s prescription medications, Lexapro® and Celexa®, during pregnancy caused birth defects to infants exposed in utero. Since we became involved, we have achieved dismissals in many cases. 
  • We represent Intuitive Surgical with respect to medical device personal injury claims relating to its robotics surgical system.
  • We are lead national counsel for Pfizer and Hospira in personal injury litigation, including an MDL in the Eastern District of Louisiana, in which plaintiffs allege that a chemotherapy medication causes permanent hair loss. 
  • We are co-national counsel for Purdue in connection with lawsuits brought by attorney generals and municipalities relating to opioid medications.
  • We represent Vintage Pharmaceuticals, LLC, an affiliate of Endo, in connection with thousands of claims alleging personal injuries arising from Vintage’s manufacture and distribution of certain generic prescription medications.

Landmark Mass Tort Rulings

  • We obtained a 6-2 win in the U.S. Supreme Court for Wyeth in Bruesewitz v. Wyeth, 131 S. Ct. 1068 (2011), which held that the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act expressly preempts state-law design-defect claims against manufacturers of childhood vaccines.
  • Our attorneys obtained a 7-2 win in the U.S. Supreme Court for Metro-North Commuter Railroad Company, in Buckley v. Metro North, 521 U.S. 424 (1997), a landmark case holding that asymptomatic workers exposed to asbestos cannot recover for emotional distress and medical monitoring. 
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