Fidelma Fitzpatrick represents people and communities in toxic tort and environmental matters, including property damage and personal injury claims. Her experience with complex civil litigation has led her to represent other victims of corporate malfeasance, including hundreds of women allegedly injured by medical devices such as Essure® and pelvic mesh/sling products.
In addition to her toxic tort and medical casework, Fidelma also represents states, cities, counties and townships in litigation against the opioid industry, including manufacturers, distributors and pharmacies. The litigation alleges the companies engaged in deceptive marketing and over distribution of highly addictive opioids to create and fuel the opioid crisis that claims thousands of American lives every year.
In 2017, Fidelma was appointed Lead Counsel of the Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee for the coordinated Essure® litigation in California against Bayer Corp. She also represents hundreds of women allegedly harmed by pelvic mesh/sling products in filed cases against defendants that include American Medical Systems, Boston Scientific, C.R. Bard, Inc., and Ethicon. In 2012, Fidelma was appointed co-lead counsel of the pelvic mesh MDL In re American Medical Systems, Inc., Pelvic Repair Systems Products Liability Litigation pending in the Southern District of West Virginia. She also holds leadership roles in pelvic mesh state court litigations, including serving as liaison counsel in the American Medical Systems cases consolidated in Delaware and the Boston Scientific cases consolidated in Massachusetts.
Fidelma was co-lead trial counsel in the billion dollar lead paint pigment case, The People of California v. Atlantic Richfield Company et al., in which Motley Rice represented cities and counties, including San Francisco, Santa Clara, Los Angeles and San Diego, in litigation against national lead paint pigment manufacturers. In January 2014, the court ruled Sherwin-Williams Company, NL Industries, Inc., and ConAgra Grocery Products Company created a public nuisance by actively promoting lead for use in homes despite knowing that it was highly toxic. The California Court of Appeals, 6th appellate District, later affirmed the majority of the ruling, and remanded the case to the Santa Clara Superior Court to decide how much defendants should pay to establish an abatement fund that will be used to clear toxic lead paint from homes in plaintiffs’ jurisdictions that were constructed prior to 1951. In 2018, U.S. Supreme Court declined to review the litigation, effectively exhausting defense appeals and ensuring that an abatement fund for the removal of toxic lead paint from pre-1951 California homes will be established. This will help protect the health and safety of thousands of California children.
Fidelma held a central role in the state of Rhode Island's trial against former corporate manufacturers of lead paint pigment. She continues to manage cases seeking to hold the lead paint pigment industry accountable for the childhood lead poisoning crisis and provide restitution and compensation to affected children and families. As a result of her work for lead poisoning victims, the Wisconsin State Supreme Court became the first to recognize the legal rights of poisoned children to sue lead paint pigment manufacturers. She also played a lead role in representing the community of Tallevast, Florida, in a lawsuit against Lockheed Martin Corporation involving the pollution of the community's groundwater with PCE and TCE.
Fidelma began working with Motley Rice attorneys in 1997 on the Massachusetts, New York and Rhode Island lawsuits against the tobacco industry. She serves on the Board of Regents at Canisius College and frequently speaks on environmental and mass tort topics at conferences for federal and state court judges, attorneys, academic professionals and law students.
“Painting Over Long-Standing Precedent: How the Rhode island Supreme Court Misapplied Public Nuisance Law in State v. Lead Industries Association” Roger Williams University Law Review (Summer 2010)
“Access to Justice: The Use of Contingent Fee Arrangements by Public Officials to Vindicate Public Rights” Cardozo J.L. & Gender (Spring 2008)
“Negligence in the Paint: The Case for Applying the Risk Contribution Doctrine to Lead Litigation” in Pace Environmental Law Review (Fall 2008)
* Please remember that every case is different. Although it endorses this lawyer, The Legal 500 United States is not a Motley Rice client. Any result we achieve for one client in one matter does not necessarily indicate similar results can be obtained for other clients.
J.D. cum laude, American University, 1994
B.A., Canisius College, 1991
American Association for Justice
American Bar Association
American Civil Liberties Union, Volunteer attorney
Public Justice Foundation, Rhode Island State Coordinator
Rhode Island Association for Justice
Rhode Island Women’s Bar Association
- District Of Columbia
- New York
- Rhode Island
Admitted to Practice Before
U.S. Court of Appeals for the First, Seventh and Eleventh Circuits
U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, District of Massachusetts, District of Rhode Island and Eastern District of Wisconsin
Litigation AreasMedical Devices Toxic Exposure
Awards and Accolades
2008–2020 Mass tort litigation/class actions – plaintiffs
2019–2020 Lawdragon 500 Plaintiff Consumer Lawyers
2014–2020 Lawdragon 500
2019 Elite Women of the Plaintiffs’ Bar
2018 Plaintiffs’ Lawyers Trailblazers
2015 Outstanding Women Lawyers
2008, 2010–2018 Environmental litigation; Personal injury – products: plaintiff; Class action/mass torts
2013, 2014, 2018 Dispute resolution – product liability, mass tort and class action – toxic tort – plaintiff
*Although it endorses this lawyer, The Legal 500 United States is not a Motley Rice client.
2014 Trial Lawyers of the Year
2006 Finalist: Trial Lawyers of the Year
2010–2013 Top 100 Trial Lawyers™ – Rhode Island
2006 Lawyer of the Year