HarrisMartin's MDL Conference: 'Bet-the-Company' Mass Tort Litigation Speaker Profiles

Co-Chair Jayne Conroy, Simmons Hanly Conroy LLC, New York Show/Hide Bio

Co-Chair Jayne Conroy

As a named shareholder of Simmons Hanly Conroy, Ms. Conroy is an experienced litigator who has developed a superb national reputation as a skilled strategist, trial lawyer and negotiator over her thirty year career. For many years, Ms. Conroy acted as national trial and coordinating defense counsel to a multi-national corporation and several of its subsidiaries. In recent years, she has represented plaintiffs exclusively in a wide variety of products liability matters.

Ms. Conroy’s practice currently focuses on various complex civil cases, including a high profile sex abuse case against multiple Catholic institutions and litigation against Volkswagen on behalf of several thousand plaintiffs who were affected by the German automaker’s recent emissions scandal.

Ms. Conroy has a track record for standing up for the rights of individuals and families harmed by corporate wrongdoing. She has recovered millions in verdicts and settlements for those injured by unsafe consumer products, including victims of 9/11, families impacted by Toyota’s recent unintended acceleration malfunction, and thousands of young women who suffered heart attacks and other cardiovascular injuries as a result of taking Yaz, a heavily marketed birth control manufactured by the Bayer corporation. She currently represents multiple individuals who were injured by DePuy artificial hips and pelvic repair system materials.

Co-Chair Eric D. Holland, Holland Law Firm, St. Louis Show/Hide Bio

Co-Chair Eric D. Holland

Eric D. Holland was born in Illinois, growing up in a construction-trades family. During high school, Eric earned varsity letters in three sports (baseball, basketball and golf) and began working construction during summer breaks. Following high school, he attended the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science and a minor in Economics. He attended the St. Louis University School of Law, where he was elected to the Law Review. Eric worked his way through college and law school in the construction business, often working overtime with his father and learning the value of hard work and precision. Since his graduation from law school, he has been admitted to the state bars of Illinois, Missouri and Michigan as well as federal courts in Texas and Colorado. He has also been admitted to practice in particular cases in dozens of other states and forums and has led litigations from coast to coast. He now leads a nationally-recognized law firm based in St. Louis.

Eric limits his practice to railroad and transportation accidents, mass torts, class actions and other complex litigation. He has litigated cases throughout the United States and has obtained a host of record-setting jury verdicts and settlements. In single injury cases, he obtained over 25 multi-million dollar results in the first 20 years of his law practice involving railroad, product liability, and trucking matters. Over the last decade, Eric has developed his firm's aggregate litigation practice, which has followed the path of his early career. Most recently, he served as Plaintiffs' counsel where he successfully represented over 200 franchise owners in a business interruption matter that resulted in a multi-million dollar recovery and as co-lead counsel in a banking class action that resulted in a settlement valued at $20 million. His acumen in complex litigation was noted by a judge presiding over one of Eric's cases, finding that his handling of the case was “exemplary” and that he had a “command of complex litigation” that the judge praised. Eric is regularly hired by the country’s seriously injured railroad workers, catastrophic injury victims and their families, as well as a wide variety of other clients including publicly-traded companies, water districts, hospitals, villages, international companies, judges and consumers. He is also approved counsel for a national labor union.

Co-Chair Richard Arsenault, Neblett, Beard & Arsenault, Show/Hide Bio

Co-Chair Richard Arsenault

Richard Arsenault has been recognized as one of America’s Most Influential Trial Lawyers by Trial Lawyer Magazine. He has participated in over 25 multidistrict litigation proceedings and currently serves as Co-Lead Counsel in the Actos MDL where a jury rendered a historic $9 billion dollar punitive damage verdict which has been reported as one of the nation’s largest personal injury verdicts. He subsequently served on the Actos MDL team that negotiated a $2.4 billion dollar settlement which is the largest single mass tort settlement for a drug that is still on the market. In the Pinnacle MDL pending in Dallas federal court where Richard serves on the Executive Committee, he was part of the Trial Team that secured a $502 million dollar jury verdict against Johnson & Johnson and DePuy, after an 11 week trial. Richard was nominated for the 2015 Trial Lawyer of the Year Award by the Public Justice Foundation and also selected as a 2015 member of the Nation’s Top One Percent by the National Association of Distinguished Counsel. The National Trial Lawyers recognized Richard as the 2014 Trial Lawyer of the Year Civil Plaintiff Finalist.

The New York Times has referred to Arsenault as a “big player” in the legal community. The Wall Street Journal has described him as having “national notoriety” and as a “big gun” among attorneys in competition for national leadership roles. They also noted he hosts “must-attend” legal seminars on the “hot cases” of the moment. Business Week has referred to him as “a Dean of the Louisiana tort bar”, USA Today featured him as a member of the “Legal Elite” and the New Orleans Times Picayune has referred to him as “an authority on class actions.”

Richard has over 300 articles and presentations to his credit and has authored many Law Review articles including one published in Federal Courts Law Review. Among other writings, he co-authored the chapter on Multidistrict Litigation in an ABA treatise. Richard was also asked by Judge Heyburn, JPML Chair, to participate in the Panel’s “Multidistrict Litigation Study Project”. He has personally participated in negotiating over $3.5 billion in complex litigation settlements in the last five years. Through a multi-phase selection process, the National Academy of Personal Injury Attorneys has chosen Richard to receive the organization’s Top 10 Attorney Award for the State of Louisiana.

Richard’s commitment to legal excellence is reflected in years of serving as a faculty member for LSU’s Trial Advocacy Program, lecturing at Judicial Colleges and assuming leadership roles in both local as well as national Bar Associations. For over 25 years, Richard has had Martindale Hubbell’s highest rating. He likewise is recognized by many other peer reviewed publications including the “Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers,” “Best of United States,” “SuperLawyers” and the “Best Lawyers in America.”

Vance R. Andrus, Andrus Wagstaff, Denver

Professor Lynn A. Baker, Frederick M. Baron Chair in Law; Co-Director - Center on Lawyers, Civil Justice and the Media, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX

Todd Campbell, Neblett, Beard & Arsenault,

Dustin C. Carter, Neblett, Beard & Arsenault,

Lindsey Cheek, The Cheek Law Firm, LLC, New Orleans

Dawn M. Chmielewski, Neblett, Beard & Arsenault,

Derek T. Braslow, Pogust Braslow & Millrood, LLC, Conshohocken, PA

Robert A. Clifford, Clifford Law Offices, Chicago

Lori G. Cohen, Greenberg Traurig, LLP, Atlanta

Kenneth W. DeJean, The Law Offices of Kenneth W. DeJean, Lafayette, LA

R. Seth Crompton, Holland Law Firm, St. Louis

Kimberly A. Dougherty, Andrus Wagstaff, Denver

Nicholas J. Drakulich, The Drakulich Firm, San Diego

Robert J. Drakulich, The Drakulich Firm, San Diego

Kevin P. Durkin, Clifford Law Offices, Chicago

Josh B. Wages, Blasingame, Burch, Garrard & Ashley, P.C., Athens, GA

Jane M. Lamberti, The Cochran Firm, Atlanta

Cari Campen Laufenberg, Keller Rohrback L.L.P., Seattle

Rachel Lanier, The Lanier Law Firm, New York

Victoria Maniatis, The Sanders Firm, New York

D. Todd Mathews, Gori Julian & Associates, P.C., Edwardsville, IL

James C. Pullos, Clifford Law Offices, Chicago

Richard D. Meadow, The Lanier Law Firm, Houston

Jennifer A. Moore, Grossman & Moore Injury Law, Louisville, KY

Melanie H. Muhlstock, Parker | Waichman LLP, New York

Stephanie O’Connor, Douglas & London, P.C., New York

Leigh O’Dell, Beasley Allen Law Firm, Montgomery, AL

Neil D. Overholtz, Aylstock, Witkin, Kreis & Overholtz, PLLC, Pensacola, FL

Gale D. Pearson, Pearson, Randall & Schumacher, P.A., Minneapolis

Kip Petroff, Kip Petroff Attorney at Law, Dallas

Paul J. Pennock, Weitz & Luxenberg P.C., New York

Shannon Pennock, Pennock Law Firm LLC, New York

Troy Rafferty, Levin Papantonio, Pensacola, FL

Jessica Richman, Parker | Waichman, New York

Gary J. Russo, Jones Walker LLP, Lafayette, LA

Ginger Susman, President, Providio MediSolutions, Greenwood Village, CO

Steven Teppler, Abbott Law Group, Jacksonville, FL

Lance Unglesby, Unglesby + Williams, New Orleans

Aimee H. Wagstaff, Andrus Wagstaff, Denver

James M. Williams, Chehardy Sherman Williams, Metairie, LA

Shean Williams, The Cochran Firm, Atlanta

Professor James E. Wren, Professor of Law, Baylor Law, Waco, TX

John A. Yanchunis, Morgan & Morgan, PA, Orlando, FL