January 22, 2020
Motley Rice wins two “Elite Trial Lawyers” Firm of the Year categories
The 2020 Elite Trial Lawyers Awards, presented by ALM and The National Trial Lawyers, named Motley Rice Firm of the Year in its pharmaceuticals litigation and insurance liability categories. The firm was a finalist in 13 categories. Motley Rice co-founder Joe Rice also received the Elite Trial Lawyers Lifetime Achievement award, along with Paul Hanly of Simmons Hanly Conroy. Attorney Jodi Westbrook Flowers was also recognized as one of 11 Elite Women of the Plaintiffs’ Bar.
The Firm of the Year awards considered achievements from August 1, 2018 to October 1, 2019. View all the finalists.
Pharmaceuticals and insurance liability Firm of the Year
Motley Rice’s pharmaceuticals and medical device casework during the nomination period included leading Essure litigation consolidated in the Superior Court of California, Alameda County, against Bayer Corp. The total number of cases filed for women suffering severe, debilitating injuries more than doubled throughout 2018 and 2019, to more than 30,000, making it one of the largest medical mass torts currently being litigated. The firm also serves as co-lead counsel and a member of the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee for multidistrict litigation that alleges anti-nausea medication Zofran caused life-threatening birth defects in unborn children, In re: Zofran (Ondansetron) Products Liability Litigation in the District of Massachusetts. The Court heard arguments made by appellate attorney Lou Bograd against a motion for summary judgment, and ultimately denied the defense request, allowing claims to proceed. The case is being closely watched as liability for harm caused by generic drugs has been hotly contested in the civil court system in recent years.
The firm’s insurance liability casework includes representing patients in litigation that alleges certain health insurance and provider companies overcharged patients for needed medical services and products while knowingly pocketing the difference.
In addition to pharmaceuticals litigation and insurance liability, Motley Rice was listed as a finalist for Firm of the Year in nine other categories:
- Class Actions
- Consumer Protection
- Financial Products
- Mass Torts
- Personal Injury
- Privacy/Data Breach
- Products Liability
- Securities Litigation
Elite Women & Lifetime Achievement awards
“Standing up for my clients, many of whom have been through unspeakable tragedy, is one of the top honors of my life. To be recognized for doing so is truly humbling, and I am grateful for the opportunity to be a trial lawyer,” said Jodi, who co-leads Motley Rice’s Anti-Terrorism and Human Rights practice group. She is a key member of the firm’s opioid litigation team and she currently serves on the Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee for In re Terrorist Attacks on September 11, 2001, and represents thousands of survivors and their families in this pioneering civil action seeking to hold al Qaeda’s material sponsors accountable. She played a key role in Linde et al. v. Arab Bank PLC, filed by victims of terrorist bombings in Israel against Arab Bank for allegedly financing Hamas and other Israeli terrorist organizations, marking the first time that a financial institution has been brought to trial under the Anti-Terrorism Act. She also served as the lead negotiator in the last hold-out of the individual cases against Libya for the Lockerbie bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, among other cases. In addition to her anti-terrorism and human rights casework, Jodi also serves as co-liaison counsel and represents victims in the 21st Century Oncology data breach multidistrict litigation. She also represents consumers and businesses impacted by security flaws believed to affect virtually all Intel Corp., computer processors, among other data breach and privacy cases.
Joe Rice has served as lead negotiator in some of the nation’s largest civil actions over the past 30 years, including crafting the tobacco Master Settlement Agreement in the 1990s. He also served as a lead negotiator for a pair of settlements reached with BP regarding the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, one of which was the largest civil class action settlement in U.S. history. He also helped negotiate the nearly $15 billion Volkswagen Diesel Emissions Fraud class action settlement, which is the largest auto-related consumer class action settlement in U.S. history. Currently, Joe is co-lead counsel in the National Prescription Opiate Litigation MDL aimed at combatting the alleged over-distribution and deceptive marketing of prescription opioids.
“This award isn’t for me alone. There are countless others who stood beside me along the way and helped change our society for the better by fighting for the safety of every man, woman and child. Their hard work will always be appreciated,” said Joe.
About the 2020 Elite Trial Lawyers
According to ALM, the 2020 finalists chosen by The National Trial Lawyers’ selection committee “demonstrated repeated success in cutting-edge work on behalf of plaintiffs over the last 15 months. They also possess a solid track record of client wins over the past three to five years.” A “significant win” means prevailing in a bench or jury trial or in a major settlement in which the stakes are high; for example, a substantial amount of money is involved or the outcome potentially affects litigation strategy or the results in similar cases.
Additionally, according to ALM, “While the categories are very similar to past years, 2020 marks the official launch of a strategic partnership between ALM and The National Trial Lawyers. The National Trial Lawyers is a membership organization of civil plaintiffs and criminal defense attorneys, offering education and networking as well as recognition programs for the top lawyers in the plaintiff and criminal defense bar across the country. ALM’s new 2020 partnership with NTL allowed the company to expand its reach to new organizations and geographies.” To be eligible for the award, firms should devote at least 50% of their litigation resources to plaintiffs work.
The Elite Women of the Plaintiffs’ Bar Award “celebrates women lawyers who have consistently excelled in high-stakes matters on behalf of plaintiffs across their careers and within the last year.”
The Elite Trial Lawyers Lifetime Achievement Award “recognizes the outstanding trial lawyer who has made a significant impact on the legal community and the practice of law over an entire career.” The award’s recipients have also “helped shape the legal industry through visionary leadership and have had an extraordinary impact on society and the profession on behalf of plaintiffs year in and year out.” Read more about the award evaluation process and criteria.