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 thousands of women who suffered health problems after receiving medical devices such as Essure®, pelvic mesh/sling products and IUDs, as well as people harmed by consumer products such as chemical hair straighteners.
In addition to her toxic tort and medical casework, Fidelma also represents states, cities, counties and townships in litigation against opioid manufacturers, distributors and pharmacies in their claims the companies engaged in deceptive marketing and over-distribution of highly addictive opioids, creating and fueling the deadly opioid crisis.
In 2023, Honorable Mary Rowland appointed Fidelma as co-lead counsel for MDL 3060 In re: Hair Relaxer Marketing Sales Practices And Products Liability Litigation in the Northern District of Illinois. Plaintiffs in the MDL developed uterine cancer and other illnesses after using certain chemical hair relaxers. They assert defendant manufacturers failed to adequately test the products and warn customers about potential harms. Fidelma is also lead counsel of the Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee for the coordinated Essure® litigation in California against Bayer Corp., and she serves on the PEC for Paragard® IUD multidistrict litigation filed in the Northern District of Georgia for women who suffered severe effects linked to the birth control devices. She also serves as co-lead counsel of the Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee for a Philadelphia mass tort filed for farmers, railroad workers and others who developed Parkinson’s Disease after using Paraquat weed killer.
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 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. She continues to represent women who experienced complications after receiving pelvic mesh/sling products. Filed cases are against defendants including Boston Scientific, C.R. Bard, Inc., and Ethicon.
In addition to her leadership appointments in various mass tort actions, Fidelma regularly serves as trial counsel in varied product liability and medical device cases on behalf of Plaintiffs. She was co-lead trial counsel in the lead paint pigment case, The People of California v. Atlantic Richfield Company et al., in which Motley Rice represented 10 California cities and counties 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 parties subsequently reached a $305 million settlement that established an abatement fund to remove toxic lead paint from homes and protect the health and safety of thousands of California children.
Fidelma also held a central role in the state of Rhode Island's trial against former corporate manufacturers of lead paint pigment. She continues to litigate 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.
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
- District of Columbia
- New York
- Rhode Island
Admitted to Practice Before
U.S. Court of Appeals for the First, Fourth, Seventh and Eleventh Circuits
U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, District of Massachusetts, District of Rhode Island, Western District of New York, Eastern District of Missouri, and Eastern District of Wisconsin
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
Awards and Accolades
2008–2024 Mass tort litigation/class actions – plaintiffs
2023 Product Liability: Plaintiffs – Nationwide, Band 2
2021, 2022 Product Liability: Plaintiffs – Nationwide, Band 3
2008, 2010–2023 Environmental litigation; Personal injury – products: plaintiff; Class action/mass torts
2023 Lawdragon Legends
2014–2024 Lawdragon 500
2019–2023 Lawdragon 500 Plaintiff Consumer Lawyers
2019 Elite Women of the Plaintiffs’ Bar
2018 Plaintiffs’ Lawyers Trailblazers
2015 Outstanding Women Lawyers
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
2010–2023 Top 100 Trial Lawyers™ – Rhode Island
2006 Lawyer of the Year