Notable Representations, Key Contacts
Creative Exit Strategies
Weil served as lead trial counsel for Johnson & Johnson in the mass tort talc litigation brought in New Jersey state court. After a four-week trial, Weil secured a complete defense jury verdict in October 2018. The plaintiff alleged that J&J’s baby powder contains asbestos and causes cancer. This lawsuit is one of many similar cases currently pending in courts around the United States, in which plaintiffs allege that the use of talcum powder caused lung cancer or ovarian cancer, but this is the first defense verdict for J&J in a talc case in New Jersey courts. The American Lawyer awarded Weil lead trial partners Diane Sullivan and Allison Brown “Litigator of the Week” honors for securing the verdict. Law360 also highlighted the win as a landmark victory of 2018. CVN showcased the win as the most impressive defense verdict of the year.
Weil subsequently served as co-lead trial counsel for Johnson & Johnson in a similar case in New Jersey state court alleging that exposure to asbestos in J&J’s baby powder contributed to him developing cancer. Following four weeks of trial, in March 2019, the jury returned a unanimous, 6-0 verdict after deliberating for less than 25 minutes. As a result of the victory, Weil was named a “Legal Lion” by Law360. The American Lawyer also recognized Allison Brown as “Litigator of the Week” for her role in obtaining the victory.
Following closely on the heels of this victory, in May 2019 Weil served as lead trial counsel in a separate lawsuit in the mass tort talc litigation in South Carolina state court alleging that exposure to asbestos in J&J’s baby powder contributed to the plaintiff developing a rare form of cancer. Following one week of trial, the jury returned a unanimous, 12-0 verdict in favor of J&J on every question.
Weil represented Nortek Global HVAC LLC (NGHL), a subsidiary of Nortek and a leading manufacturer of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, as lead counsel in defense of putative state and nationwide consumer class actions pending in Florida and Tennessee federal courts. Plaintiffs are purchasers of residential HVAC systems manufactured, distributed and sold by NGHL that allegedly contained defective copper evaporator coils. In 2016, Weil defeated plaintiffs’ motion to certify a class in the Florida case, as well as won a motion to dismiss with prejudice in the Tennessee case.
Weil successfully represented Procter & Gamble (P&G) as lead counsel in a high-profile MDL in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida in which plaintiffs allege that they were injured through their use of the popular denture cream, Fixodent. Specifically, plaintiffs allege that zinc contained in the denture creams manufactured by P&G and others caused neurological problems. Plaintiffs filed numerous Florida state law claims, including strict product liability, negligence, intentional misrepresentation, breach of express warranty, implied warranty, and violation of Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act. In 2014, Weil won a significant victory before the Eleventh Circuit that affirmed the trial court’s Daubert and summary judgment orders in the lead case, which excluded plaintiffs’ expert testimony and resultantly found that plaintiffs could not sustain their burden of proof. While the Chapman case was on appeal, the remaining plaintiffs in MDL 2051 were granted an opportunity to proffer new experts and any new science in support of their causation theory. P&G again challenged plaintiffs’ new experts and purported new science through the submission of additional Daubert motions. In January 2015, the trial court granted P&G’s motion to exclude all of the plaintiffs’ general causation experts, a decision that led to the dismissal with prejudice of 62 plaintiffs’ complaints in April 2015. In June 2016, the Eleventh Circuit once again affirmed the trial court’s Daubert order and orders of dismissal. Plaintiffs’ petition for certiorari to the U.S. Supreme Court was denied on October 25, 2016. P&G then moved for summary judgment in approximately six cases in which plaintiffs argued that they were not subject to the district court’s Daubert ruling. The district court granted summary judgment in all of these cases, bringing seven years of litigation to a close on October 25, 2016.The Eleventh Circuit dismissed subsequent appeals by five of these six plaintiffs in November 2016 and January 2017.
Weil also served as lead trial counsel for P&G in a consumer fraud class action in federal court in Ohio. Prior to our retention, the five-state class of purchasers of P&G’s best-selling probiotic dietary supplement, Align, had been certified, and subsequently upheld by the Sixth Circuit. Plaintiffs alleged that P&G’s marketing of Align was misleading, and sought a full refund, with total damages totaling hundreds of millions of dollars. In early October 2017, on the eve of trial, P&G was able to settle the seven-year litigation on very favorable terms.
In 2018, Weil was honored as the national finalist in the Product Liability competition in The American Lawyer’s prestigious, biennial Litigation Department of the Year contest, with the publication showcasing our unique ability to win in and out of the courtroom.
What separated Weil’s products liability group from other firms was the team’s ability to win big not just at trial, but long before the matter ever came before a jury.” Moreover, Weil’s “cases often involve not only civil investigations, but also governmental inquiries, bankruptcy proceedings and intense media scrutiny, at times occurring in multiple countries and languages.”
The American Lawyer, 2018 Litigation Department of the Year
Weil’s Product Liability and Mass Torts practice is recognized by Legal 500 as one of the best in the United States, including in both the areas of Consumer Products and Toxic Tort – Defense.
Legal 500 US 2019
Weil is currently recognized as a “Leading” firm nationally for Product Liability.
Benchmark Litigation 2019