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Covington has a dynamic Products Liability practice led by rising stars in the field. In the last two years, our lawyers have amassed a series of record-breaking wins at every stage of litigation implicating hundreds of millions dollars for household names like Roche, Chiquita, and Eli Lilly. These lawyers regularly serve as defense trial and appellate counsel in product liability and mass tort lawsuits, and as strategic advisors for clients with national or multi-state liability risks or actions.
Our multidisciplinary practice integrates business savvy and industry experience with sophisticated trial, appellate, and litigation management expertise and top-notch counseling, for which we have been recognized by Legal 500 and Chambers USA.
Trial and Appellate Litigation
Covington’s product liability team is called upon to handle high-profile mass tort matters that require a sophisticated litigation defense, strong trial skills, and outstanding appellate abilities. The firm currently serves as lead counsel in a wide range of matters across many industries, including in the life sciences, food and beverage, agricultural, and oil and gas industries including, lead counsel for Chiquita Brands International in one of the largest mass tort actions in the United States -- over 6,000 claims brought by Colombians under the Alien Tort Statute. We recently obtained a landmark victory for Chiquita in the Eleventh Circuit dismissing all claims under the ATS. Covington also serves as lead counsel for Hewlett Packard in connection with tort claims arising from the Washington Navy Yard mass shooting incident in September 2013. We also play a prominent role on behalf of BP in the Deepwater Horizon litigation.
Covington’s product liability team frequently serves as trial counsel and national product liability counsel in complex multi-district litigations. Our team is further distinguished by our record of appellate victories and our preparation of amicus briefs on cutting-edge issues, including federal preemption, innovator liability, and the learned intermediary doctrine. Our expertise has been sought after by companies and trade groups in the life sciences, alcohol beverage, dietary supplement, chemical, construction equipment, energy, railroad, software, automotive, and mining industries.
Strategic Advice and Counseling
Our firm has conducted many due diligence investigations on behalf of pharmaceutical, financial industry firms and defense contractors considering acquisitions or collaborations to evaluate potential product or toxic tort liabilities associated with products and services supplied by the target company. We also regularly conduct risk assessments for pharmaceutical and medical device companies bringing products to market or facing specific issues regarding marketed products.
National Counsel to Eli Lilly and Co. defending products liability and consumer protection claims related to its antidepressant Cymbalta.
Represented Hoffmann-La Roche Inc. in defending mass tort claims involving the prescription acne medication Accutane. In addition to considerable trial level success, Covington has obtained thirteen consecutive appellate victories for Roche in the Accutane litigation.
Served as lead MDL counsel for Boehringer Ingelheim in the Pradaxa products liability litigation.
National counsel to Genentech defending claims related to its cancer medications, Rituxan and Avastin.
Covington obtained a ruling from the appellate court that Lilly was entitled to summary judgment on plaintiffs’ claims and that the “third party payor” plaintiffs’ claims related to Zyprexa pricing could not proceed as a class action, as initially certified by the district court.
Counsel to pharmaceutical and biotech clients defending individuals’ claims arising out of their participation in our clients’ clinical trial programs.
Advising remanufacturers and refurbishers of consumer products as to FTC and state law regulating their ability to describe products as “new.”
The SAFETY Act, administered by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, provides liability protection to the makers and users of anti-terror technology in the event of a terror attack. We have successfully guided clients from virtually every major industry in the United States, including government contractors, airports, port authorities, chemical companies, large sports stadiums, and professional sports leagues, through the SAFETY Act application process and secured SAFETY Act protection for a wide range of technologies.
Filed a Supreme Court amicus brief on behalf of a government contractor trade association in support of a U.S. Navy contractor being sued for unwanted text messaging. The proposed class action raised significant questions regarding the application of derivative sovereign immunity to private contractors performing work on behalf of the federal government.
Removed a construction dispute involving several hundred million dollars from state to federal court, which was a superior forum for asserting various federal defenses on behalf of our government contractor client. We defeated the plaintiff’s efforts to send the case back to state court, successfully arguing that the case properly was removed under the federal officer removal statute because of the significant role played by the federal government in the construction project.
Counseled a major defense contractor on how to mitigate potential future tort risk during contract discussions with the U.S. government. The military wanted the contractor to provide support for a significant anti-terrorism initiative, and the contractor needed advice on how best to structure the contract to minimize its risk and maximize its protection in the event of third-party claims arising from its contract performance.
Advising major Internet companies as to the substantiation required to defend advertising claims made about their products and services.
Advising retailers on pricing claims and practices, including the use of the word “free,” “two-for-one” offers, and trial periods with negative cancellation options.
National coordinating counsel to Purdue Pharma defending scores of suits filed in state and federal courts around the country by plaintiffs who claim injury from having used – in most cases abused – the company’s OxyContin pain relief prescription medication.
Conducting due diligence investigations and performing risk assessments to evaluate potential product or toxic tort liabilities associated with pharmaceutical and medical device companies bringing products to market.
Covington scored a major victory for Hoffmann-La Roche when, for the second time, the firm convinced the New Jersey Appellate Division to reverse a 2010 state court verdict in a case regarding side effects of the manufacturer’s drug Accutane. Covington has prevailed in all thirteen appeals in the Accutane litigation and has obtained reversals of all six adverse jury verdicts that have received appellate review.
Counsel to Merck Animal Health defending purported class action claims related to its animal diabetes medication, Vestulin.
Serving as national product liability counsel to Microsoft in preparation for the defense of claims involving virus and worm attacks or potential cyber-terrorism involving our client's array of software products.
Representation of Purdue Pharma in class action litigation in multiple states alleging violations of consumer protection laws in the marketing of OxyContin.
Representation of Merck in a class action alleging injuries from a product manufactured to regulate diabetes in animals.
Secured trial, expert, adequacy, and appeals wins imperiling thousands product liability claims against client Hoffmann-La Roche involving the prescription medication Accutane.
Represented Johnson & Johnson and McNeil Consumer Healthcare in consumer class actions arising out of recall of children’s medicines.
Won the dismissal of more than 6,000 alien tort claims against Chiquita arising from extortion payments made by Chiquita’s Colombian subsidiary to armed groups in that country.
Covington successfully represented Chiquita against a series of Alien Tort Statute claims filed by more than 6,000 individual plaintiffs in Colombia. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit dismissed the cases for lack of jurisdiction, agreeing that they involved conduct committed entirely abroad.
Counseling clients on compliance with European Union and national requirements regarding the use of “green dot” labels related to product disposal, “CE” labels on prototype products, and use of national languages on product labels.
Obtained dismissal of a wrongful death case brought against a major government contractor for alleged gamma radiation exposure from a cargo screening device it manufactured for national security/border protection purposes. Early in the case, and only after minimal discovery, we successfully asserted the government contractor defense and convinced the trial court that the government had meaningfully reviewed and approved the product’s design specifications, that the product conformed with those specifications, and that the contractor had no knowledge of any product risks or hazards unknown to the government.
Obtained dismissal of wrongful death claims against a military support contractor following an insurgent attack on a supply convoy in Iraq. After the district court refused to dismiss the case, we successfully brought an interlocutory appeal and persuaded the court of appeals that the Defense Base Act provided an exclusive remedy and barred the employee claims.
Persuaded a district court to dismiss a tort suit brought against a large logistical services contractor for injuries sustained by a soldier on a military base in Iraq. The district court and the court of appeals agreed that the case raised political questions because of the involvement of the military that were outside the scope of judicial review.
Counsel for AstraZeneca in the Seroquel litigation, including obtaining a defense jury verdict in the first case to go to trial.
Providing litigation counsel to several industry trade associations, including Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA), Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), and Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS).
Counseling companies with rising volumes of asbestos and silica liability claims in the energy, automotive, construction, mining, respiratory protection, and railroad industries.
January 28, 2016
WASHINGTON, DC - Law360 has named six Covington practice groups among its “Practice Groups of the Year.”
The practice groups recognized by Law360 are as follows:
December 22, 2015
WASHINGTON, DC, December 22, 2015 - The American Lawyer has named Covington its “Litigation Department of the Year: Product Liability.” The magazine recognizes the firm for its “string of big victories in trial and appellate courts, major settlements, plus a creative strategic edge that sets it apart.”
In its profile of the firm in its January 2016 issue, The ...
November 25, 2015
WASHINGTON, DC, November 25, 2015 - Law360 has named four Covington partners as MVPs in their respective practice areas. The awards single out lawyers from across 31 practice areas based on their success in high-stakes litigation, record-breaking deals, and complex global matters.
The Covington lawyers recognized as Law360 MVPs are:
Ray Biagini, ...
November 12, 2015, Covington Alert
November 2, 2015
WASHINGTON, DC, November 2, 2015 - The National Law Journal named Covington partner Paul Schmidt to its 2015 “Winning: A Special Report,” an annual feature profiling litigators with significant trial victories and their successful strategies. This year’s list includes 20 of the top litigators in the United States.
The report highlighted Mr. Schmidt’s role as ...
September 14, 2015
WASHINGTON, DC, September 14, 2015 - The National Law Journal has named Phyllis Jones and Daniel Suleiman among its “D.C. Rising Stars.” The list recognizes Washington, D.C.’s “40 most promising lawyers age 40 and under.”
Ms. Jones focuses on complex legal issues facing clients in the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries. Her wide-ranging litigation ...
August 14, 2015, The Am Law Litigation Daily
Phyllis Jones, Paul Schmidt, and Michael Imbroscio are quoted in an Am Law Litigation Daily article regarding their victory on behalf of client Eli Lilly in the Cymbalta litigation that looks closely at the cross-examination which exploited holes in plaintiff Erin Hexum’s case.
During Hexum’s questioning, Jones used personal details from prior testimony to ...
June 30, 2015
WASHINGTON, DC, June 30, 2015 — The National Law Journal has selected Covington as one of Washington, D.C.’s top three litigation departments. In naming Covington a finalist for its “Washington Litigation Department of the Year” award, the publication noted that in 2014 Covington’s lawyers “kept the big wins coming.”
The NLJ highlighted a string of Covington ...
April 14, 2015
WASHINGTON, DC, April 14, 2015 — Am Law Litigation Daily named Covington’s Paul Schmidt and Michael Imbroscio “Litigators of the Week” for leading the defense of Hoffmann-La Roche in the extensive litigation over its acne medication Accutane.
Mr. Schmidt and Mr. Imbroscio scored a major victory on April 2 when they convinced a New Jersey state court judge ...
April 10, 2015, Am Law's The Litigation Daily
Covington's Paul Schmidt and Michael Imbroscio were named "Litigators of the Week" by AmLaw for their successful representation of Hoffmann-La Roche Inc.:
"Not so long ago, Hoffmann-La Roche Inc. faced a grim reality in sprawling litigation over the acne medication Accutane."
"In 2007, New Jersey judge Carol Higbee handed an edge to plaintiffs lawyers at ...
November 26, 2014, Law360
Covington partner Paul Schmidt was named a Law360 MVP in product liability law.
WASHINGTON, DC, November 26, 2014 — Law360 named Covington & Burling partner Paul Schmidt a “most valuable player” in product liability law. Law360’s “MVP of the Year” awards recognize lawyers who have had successes in high-stakes litigation, complex global matters, and record-breaking deals in the past year. In its profile of Mr. Schmidt, Law360 highlighted his ...
April 27, 2014
WASHINGTON, DC, April 28, 2014 — Law360 has named Covington & Burling’s Phyllis Jones a recipient of its “Rising Star” award in the product liability category. The award honors attorneys under the age of 40 whose “legal accomplishments belie their age.”
In its profile, Law360 wrote that Ms. Jones has “taken on big responsibilities in a variety of high-stakes ...
April 3, 2014
WASHINGTON, DC, April 3, 2014 — For the third consecutive year, Covington & Burling has been nominated for the 2014 Chambers USA Awards for Excellence in five national practice areas. Chambers released its “shortlist” of the law firms nominated based on their pre-eminence and recent achievements. Covington is a finalist in the areas of insurance, international ...
NEW YORK, September 27, 2013 — Covington & Burling received six awards at the inaugural LMG Life Sciences awards on September 25, including “FDA Pharmaceutical Firm of the Year” and Richard Kingham’s induction to the Hall of Fame.
The awards, which are selected based on a survey of peers and leading companies in the life sciences industry, “recognize and honor ...
March 27, 2013
WASHINGTON, DC, March 27, 2013 — For the second straight year, Covington & Burling has been nominated for the 2013 Chambers USA Awards for Excellence in five national practice areas. Chambers released its “shortlist” of the law firms nominated based on their pre-eminence and recent achievements in 21 distinct practice areas.
Covington is a finalist in each of ...
January 8, 2013
WASHINGTON, DC, January 8, 2013 — E. Donald Elliott, a leading environmental and administrative lawyer and scholar, has joined Covington & Burling, strengthening the firm’s top-ranked environmental and product liability practices.
Mr. Elliott has more than 30 years of experience in environmental law, administrative law and product liability and toxic torts. He ...
December 3, 2012
WASHINGTON, DC, December 3, 2012 — Law360 named five Covington & Burling lawyers today as “Most Valuable Players” in their respective practice areas. The award singles out lawyers from across 22 practice areas whose achievements in major litigation or transactional matters have “raised the bar” over the past year.
The Covington lawyers recognized as Law360 MVPs ...
WASHINGTON, DC, November 7, 2012 — Covington & Burling received 97 first-tier practice rankings in the 2013 “Best Law Firms” survey by U.S. News-Best Lawyers, placing Covington among the top 10 firms nationwide. Covington was also named “Law Firm of the Year” in both FDA Law and Corporate Compliance Law. The honor is presented to one law firm in each of the ...
September 24, 2012
NEW YORK, September 24, 2012 — New York Super Lawyers selected 27 Covington & Burling lawyers for its 2012 list of top legal talent. Super Lawyers selects only five percent of the total lawyers in the state based upon peer review and the publication’s independent research.
Nineteen Covington lawyers were named New York Super Lawyers:
Jack Bodner, Mergers & ...
August 27, 2012
WASHINGTON, DC, August 27, 2012 — Covington & Burling LLP lawyers received 196 individual mentions in 57 areas of law in the 2013 edition of The Best Lawyers in America. This annual compilation of top U.S. lawyers is based on peer-review surveys and is used as a referral guide in the legal profession.
The Covington lawyers recognized are as ...
May 2, 2012
WASHINGTON, DC, May 2, 2012 — D.C. Super Lawyers selected 64 Covington & Burling lawyers for its 2012 list of top legal talent. Super Lawyers selects no more than five percent of the total lawyers who practice in Washington based on peer review and the publication’s independent research.
Deborah Garza and Robert Long have been named among the “Top 100” for ...
September 27, 2011
NEW YORK, September 27, 2011 — Twenty Covington & Burling LLP lawyers are recognized in the 2011 edition of New York Super Lawyers. The annual list by Super Lawyers selects only five percent of the total lawyers in the state based upon peer review and the publication’s independent research.
Sixteen Covington lawyers were named New York Super Lawyers:
September 7, 2011
WASHINGTON, DC, September 7, 2011 — Covington & Burling LLP lawyers received 184 individual mentions in 56 areas of law in the 2012 edition of The Best Lawyers in America. This annual compilation of top US lawyers is based on peer-review surveys and is used as a referral guide in the legal profession.
The Covington lawyers recognized are as follows: ...
June 10, 2011
WASHINGTON, DC, June 10, 2011 — Covington & Burling LLP received 123 individual mentions and 45 practice mentions in Chambers USA 2011. The guidebook, which ranks lawyers by state and national practice area, is designed to identify the most skilled legal practitioners based on the qualities most valued by clients.
Here are the Covington lawyers and practices ...
September 17, 2010
WASHINGTON, DC, September 17, 2010 — Covington & Burling LLP received 33 first-tier practice rankings in the 2010 “Best Law Firms” survey by U.S. News Media Group and Best Lawyers. Covington’s first-tier national rankings place it among the top 10 firms nationwide and at the top of the first-tier rankings for Washington, DC.
The inaugural rankings presented in ...
August 6, 2010
WASHINGTON, DC, August 6, 2010 — Covington & Burling LLP received 138 individual mentions in 40 areas of law in the 2011 edition of The Best Lawyers in America. This annual compilation of top US lawyers is based on peer-review surveys and is used as a referral guide in the legal profession.
The Covington lawyers recognized are as follows:
June 16, 2010
WASHINGTON, DC, June 16, 2010 — Covington & Burling LLP received 112 individual mentions and 44 practice mentions in Chambers USA 2010. The guidebook, which ranks lawyers by state and national practice area, is designed to identify the most skilled legal practitioners based on the qualities most valued by clients.
Here are the Covington lawyers and practices ...
WASHINGTON, DC, April 8, 2010 — Three partners at Covington & Burling LLP have been selected as “Rising Stars” by Law360. The online legal publication describes each of the partners as one of the 10 best lawyers under the age of 40 in his respective practice area. Named as “Rising Stars” are David Fagan in international trade, Seth Safra in employment, and Paul ...
March 19, 2010
WASHINGTON, DC, March 19, 2010 — A jury in Middlesex County, New Jersey has ruled in favor of AstraZeneca in the first U.S. trial over its antipsychotic medication Seroquel. The state court panel returned its verdict March 18 following six hours of deliberations. A trial group from Covington & Burling LLP led by Mike Brock worked with teams from Dechert LLP and ...
WASHINGTON, DC, September 18, 2009 — Four Covington & Burling LLP partners were recognized at the Washington Business Journal’s “2009 Top Washington Lawyers” awards gala held last night at The Fairmont Washington. Tony Herman, who chairs the firm’s public service committee, was named the “Top Washington Lawyer” in the pro bono category. Paul Schmidt, a ...
August 7, 2009
WASHINGTON, DC, August 7, 2009 — Covington & Burling LLP received 131 individual mentions in 38 areas of law in the 2010 edition of The Best Lawyers in America. This annual compilation of top US lawyers is based on peer-review surveys and is used as a referral guide in the legal profession.
The Covington lawyers recognized are as follows:
June 12, 2009
WASHINGTON, DC, June 12, 2009 — Covington & Burling LLP received 100 individual mentions and 40 practice mentions in Chambers USA 2009. The guidebook, which ranks lawyers by state and national practice area, is designed to identify the most skilled legal practitioners based on the qualities most valued by clients.
Here are the Covington lawyers and practices ...
October 2008, EURALex
September 29, 2008
WASHINGTON, DC, September 29, 2008 — Covington & Burling LLP received 124 individual mentions in 40 areas of law in the 2009 edition of The Best Lawyers in America. This annual compilation of top US lawyers is based on peer-review surveys and is used as a referral guide in the legal profession. The Covington lawyers recognized are as follows:
June 16, 2008
WASHINGTON, DC, June 16, 2008 — Covington & Burling LLP received 81 individual mentions and 45 practice mentions in the newly released 2008 Chambers USA. The guidebook, which ranks lawyers by state and national practice area, is designed to identify the most skilled legal practitioners based on the qualities most valued by clients.
Here are the Covington ...
WASHINGTON, DC, April 9, 2008 — Covington & Burling LLP has been named to The National Law Journal’s inaugural “Appellate Hot List.” The “Hot List,” featured in the publication’s April 7 issue, recognizes 20 firms whose appellate track records included significant 2007 victories in cases with high financial stakes or that presented important legal principles. ...
February 27, 2008, Covington E-Alert
September 6, 2007
WASHINGTON, DC, September 6, 2007 — Covington & Burling LLP received 115 individual mentions in 38 areas of law in the 2008 edition of The Best Lawyers in America. This annual compilation of top US lawyers is based on peer-review surveys and is used as a referral guide in the legal profession. The recipients are as follows:
Administrative: E. Edward Bruce and ...
June 18, 2007
WASHINGTON, DC, June 18, 2007 — Covington & Burling LLP received 44 practice mentions and 74 individual mentions in the newly released 2007 Chambers USA guidebook. The 2007 edition of Chambers USA attempts to identify the most skilled legal practitioners throughout the country based on the qualities most valued by clients. Covington attorneys have been ...
April 3, 2007
WASHINGTON, DC, April 3, 2007 — Covington & Burling LLP has announced the promotion of four new Of Counsel and six new Special Counsel.The four new Of Counsel are Daniel P. Cooper, Christian Neira, Matthew J. O’Connor, and Kevin J. Shortill.Daniel P. Cooper advises on European privacy and data protection matters, as well as on contentious and non-contentious ...
March 29, 2007, Covington E-Alert
2007, International Comparative Legal Guide to: Product Liability
June 5, 2006
WASHINGTON, DC, June 5, 2006 - Fifty Covington & Burling lawyers practicing in 27 fields and in each of the firm's US offices were recognized as "leaders in their field" in this year's edition of Chambers USA - America's Leading Business Lawyers. The 2006 edition of Chambers USA, which was released June 2, 2006, attempts to identify the most skilled legal ...
July 2005, RAJ Devices
October 28, 2003
WASHINGTON, D.C., October 28, 2003 - The American Tort Reform Association (ATRA) has named Covington & Burling partner Keith A. Teel to its list of "Legal Reform Champions", a group of attorneys, scholars and businesspeople who are dedicated to legal reform through ending lawsuit abuse and promoting a fair and predictable legal system.
For the last dozen years, ...
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