February 14, 2020
Law360 names Motley Rice a 2019 Product Liability Practice Group of the Year
Motley Rice was one of five firms nationally, and one of two plaintiffs’ firms to be named a 2019 Law360 Product Liability Practice Group of the Year. The firm was one of only a handful of plaintiffs’ firms to be included as one of Law360’s 2019 Practice Groups of the Year.
Law360 recognized Motley Rice for its role as one of three co-lead counsel and a member of the PEC for the National Prescription Opiate MDL, comprised of roughly 2,600 cases coordinated in the Northern District of Ohio. The federal litigation seeks to hold several opioid manufacturers and distributors accountable for allegedly creating the opioid crisis. Motley Rice represented one of two Ohio counties that were plaintiffs in what would have been the litigation’s first bellwether. A $260 million settlement reached in October 2019 on the eve of trial resolved claims against all but one of the defendants. Motley Rice co-founder Joe Rice, a previously named Law360 “Product Liability MVP,” served as a lead negotiator for the settlement.
“We were all set to try the case," Rice said of the settlement in an interview with Law360. “It basically settled on the courthouse steps with the jury in the box.”
The legal publication also highlighted the firm’s representation of victims of deadly Takata airbags, including helping to initiate the Honda’s most recent recall of replacement Takata airbags, as well as lead pigment litigation in California and Milwaukee that secured millions of dollars for victims of exposure and lead poisoning.
Law360 recognized the firm’s leadership in pending litigation in California for women who suffered severe complications allegedly caused by Essure birth control. With more than 32,000 cases, the litigation is one of the largest cases currently pending in U.S. courts. Essure manufacturer Bayer Corp. ceased all sales of the device in the U.S. at the end of 2018, citing a decline in sales amid scrutiny and the imposition of a black box warning, the FDA’s highest reserved for products that may cause serious injuries or death.
“One of the most meaningful aspects of [the Essure litigation] is seeing how outspoken and passionate the victims have been along the way, despite their personal struggles facing severe health complications caused by Essure,” attorney Fidelma Fitzpatrick, lead counsel for Essure plaintiffs and a 2019 Law360 MVP of the Year, told Law360. “I strongly believe Essure is no longer on the market in the U.S. today because of the willingness of firms like ours to take on a very challenging case like this.”
Asked what set’s Motley Rice apart from other firms, Rice said the firm’s commitment to approaching each case with the intent to go to trial.
“We don't file cases with the intent of sitting back and watching while someone else gets them ready for trial,” Rice told Law360.
About Law360’s Practice Group of the Year Award
Law360 selected 182 winning groups across 38 practice areas to receive Practice Group of the Year for 2019, the award’s 10th year. Award recipients were recognized for being behind litigation wins and major deals that resonated throughout the legal industry in the past year. In all, 85 law firms were selected from 776 submissions. Read more about the selection criteria.