has over twenty years of experience managing the defense of all forms of aggregated litigation for major corporations in many industries and involving many areas of substantive law. He has defended more than 400 class actions, mass tort cases, multi-district proceedings, state attorney general lawsuits and investigations, and mass-joinder actions in state and/or federal courts of 39 states and the District of Columbia. Most of Brian’s experience is at the trial court level, yet he has briefed and argued appeals in most federal circuits and many state appellate courts. He has also consulted in the defense of class actions brought in other countries.
Brian has defended class actions in the motor vehicle, food and beverage, pharmaceutical, consumer product, technology, and insurance industries. His practice covers the law of product liability, negligence, common law and statutory fraud, express and implied warranty, RICO, Medicaid fraud, pharmaceutical regulation, environmental regulation, insurance regulation, and employee benefits. He has repeatedly been listed by Chambers USA and Legal 500 as one of the leading product liability class action defense lawyers in the United States.
Brian is a co-author of The Class Action Playbook, a leading guide to the strategic decisions underlying the pursuit and defense of class actions. He also is an Adjunct Professor of Law at Georgetown University Law Center, and a frequent writer and speaker on class actions and complex litigation issues.
Brian serves as General Counsel to and member of the Board of Trustees of Ford’s Theatre Society in Washington, DC. He also serves as legal counsel to the District of Columbia Public Charter School Board.
Brian was the Administrative Partner of the Firm’s Washington, DC office from 2004 to 2006. From 2000 to 2002, Brian served in the Firm’s Office of the Chair, leading initiatives to improve the Firm’s attorney development programs and information technology services. In 2000, he served on a partner task force that updated the Firm’s internal governance structure.
Illustrative Professional Experience
Trial Court Cases
- Lead counsel for a major food manufacturer in the defense of multiple lawsuits alleging deceptive marketing of a food product.
- Lead counsel for a major motor vehicle manufacturer in multiple actions based on alleged engine defects
- Lead member of several multi-firm defense teams representing major pharmaceutical companies in the defense of lawsuits brought by state attorneys general challenging the marketing of prescription drugs.
- Led the multi-firm defense of a proposed nationwide class action against several importers of Chinese-made tires alleging defects in such tires; obtained dismissal of the litigation nine months after case initiated.
- Led the defense and eventual settlement of a proposed nationwide class action against a major automobile manufacturer alleging odometer defects in certain vehicles.
- Led the defense of several dozen proposed class actions against major automobile manufacturer alleging safety-related defects in police cars. Eventually obtained victorious results in all actions.
- Led the defense of proposed class action by consumers against municipal water district alleging unsafe lead levels in drinking water; obtained dismissal of case within five months.
Appellate Court Cases
Briefed successful appeal to state Supreme Court challenging entry of summary judgment against pharmaceutical company in action concerning marketing of its drugs
Briefed and argued partially successful appeal to Sixth Circuit of class certification order against major automobile manufacturer.
Briefed appeal to Ninth Circuit in case that established landmark standard for ruling on petitions for interlocutory review of class certification orders.
Briefed and argued successful appeal to Louisiana court of Appeals of class certification order against major automobile manufacturer.
Briefed and argued successful appeal to Arizona Supreme Court of appellate court decision authorizing liberal standing rules in proposed class actions.
Briefed and argued successful appeal to Texas Court of Appeals of class certification order against major automobile manufacturer.
Special Assistant to the General Counsel,
U.S. Department of Education (1987-89)Law Clerk,
Honorable Laurence H. Silberman, U.S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit (1986-87)Admitted to Practice,
U.S. District Courts: District of Columbia, Central District of California; U.S. Courts of Appeals: Second, Third, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, Eleventh, and D.C. Circuits; U.S. Supreme CourtRecent Publications,
California Supreme Court to (Re)Consider the Permissibility of Contingency Fee Agreements Between Governments and Private Counsel in Public Nuisance Actions, State Court Docket Watch
(Spring 2009) (co-authored with Chris Catalano); CAFA v. Securities Act: Which Law Governs Class Action Removal to Federal Court?, Washington Legal Foundation Critical Legal Issues Working Paper Series (May 2009) (co-authored with Lilit Voskanyan); “‘Made in China’ Safety: Tips for Preventing and Managing Controversies,” In-House Defense Quarterly
(Spring 2008) (co-authored with William Dance); “When State Officials Attack,” Legal Times
(February 2008) (co-authored with Amber Taylor); “CAFA Case Study: Settlement Rejection Reveals Mixed Impact of Class Action Law,” Washington Legal Foundation Contemporary Legal Note (February 2008) (co-authored with Mel Schwing); “State Attorney General Class Actions Raise Concerns,” ProductLiability360, SecuritiesLaw360, CompetitionLaw360
(October 2007) (co-authored with Amber Taylor); “Results-Oriented Class Certification: Schwab v. Philip Morris
,” Washington Legal Foundation Working Paper (November 2006) (co-authored with Andrew Trask)Recent Speaking Engagements, Coordinating the Defense of Multi-Forum Class Actions
, American Conference Institute Seminar (September 2010); Google Book Settlement Status and Outlook
, Washington Legal Foundation Legally Brief Webcast (October 2009); Evolving Class Action Removal Strategies
, Strafford Publications webcast (June 2009); Emerging Trends in Aggregated Litigation
, Defense Research Institute Annual Meeting (October 2008); State Attorney General Actions
, American Insurance Association Joint Meeting of the Law & Regulation and Government Affairs Committees (May 2008); State Attorneys General Suits: Courtroom & Legal Policy Strategies for Defeating the AG-Trial Lawyer Alliance
, Washington Legal Foundation webcast (March 2008); Food Safety in China
, American Chamber of Commerce in China (October 2007)