Los Angeles:
400 South Hope Street
Los Angeles, CA 90071


Richard Goetz


Rich Goetz is the Chair of the firmwide Class Actions, Mass Torts and Insurance Litigation Practice, which was named as a “Leading Practice” by Chambers USA for each of the past eight years. Rich has been selected as one of the top product liability lawyers in the United States by Institutional Investor’s Benchmark: Litigation Guide, and was recognized by Legal 500 United States for “excellent” product liability defense work. He has defended individual, mass, and class actions across the country against medical device and prescription drug manufacturers, food companies, hotel chains, an automobile manufacturer, a boat manufacturer, a retail store chain, and a mining company. He has spoken on California’s unfair competition laws at Mealey’s Litigation Conferences and has been a member of the national faculty for the ABA’s Annual National Institute on Class Actions.

Rich’s recent representations include:
  • Nationwide litigation over the diabetes drug Byetta®. Rich is lead trial counsel for Bristol-Myers Squibb.
  • Class action litigation in California, New York and Florida alleging improper labeling for Vita Coco™ drinks.
  • Class action litigation in California alleging improper labeling for Kombucha beverages.
  • Nationwide litigation over Vioxx®. Shortly after Merck withdrew Vioxx® from the market it hired Rich as one of its lead national counsel in all Vioxx personal injury cases nationwide, and in Vioxx class actions cases.
  • Product liability litigation in California, Florida, Illinois and Texas over allegedly defective Duragesic® pain patches.
  • Product liability litigation in California and New Jersey over alleged side-effects from Motrin®.
  • Class action litigation over sun care products alleging improper risk and efficacy disclosure and seeking economic damages.
  • Nationwide class actions over allegedly defective Panacryl® sutures.
  • Nationwide litigation over a major prescription GERD medication that was voluntarily withdrawn from the market except for a limited use program. The drug was alleged to have caused cardiac arrhythmias. Rich led an O’Melveny team that worked with several other firms on this litigation and focused on class action and appellate issues.
  • Nationwide litigation over a prescription anti-psychotic medication which is alleged to cause increased risk of diabetes. Rich was national counsel on class actions raising economic loss claims.
  • Class action litigation over alleged failings of a blood glucose monitor.
  • Class action litigation in West Virginia and Texas seeking personal injury damages for allegedly contaminated Vicryl® sutures.
  • Class actions and personal injury cases alleging mishandling of body tissue from the UCLA Willed Body Program.

Rich led the O’Melveny briefing team in a series of cases before the Mississippi Supreme Court that resulted in significant limits on the joinder of parties in drug litigation in that state, and the briefing team before the same Court that resulted in the reversal of a US$100 million jury verdict against Janssen Pharmaceutica for personal injury claims arising out of their use of Propulsid®.

Rich also has extensive experience in insurance coverage litigation. He was lead counsel for CIGNA in the highly publicized antitrust and RICO class action MDL in New Jersey challenging insurance broker compensation. He was counsel for the insurers in the Powerine II and Ameron coverage cases in the California Supreme Court and in the Fuller-Austin asbestos coverage case in the California Court of Appeal. He has been invited by the California Court of Appeal to file amicus briefs in highly publicized environmental and asbestos litigation.

Rich has been lead counsel in a number of international disputes. His representations include matters in Switzerland, Japan, Hong Kong, and Liberia, and matters in the U.S. for clients from Brazil, China, Australia, and the U.K. He has litigated entertainment and intellectual property disputes for a motion picture studio, a film director, a television producer, a sports marketing company, and a defense contractor; environmental actions for an electric utility, a steel company and an automobile manufacturer; construction disputes for a natural resources company; and securities actions for commercial and investment banks.

Rich has been a member of the Firm’s Policy Committee—the Firm’s board of directors—and the Policy Committee’s three-member Executive Committee. He led the Firm’s Los Angeles litigation group from 2000 to 2010.

Professional Activities

Member, Product Liability Advisory Council (Sustaining Member); Executive Committee of the Los Angeles Bar Association Litigation Section; Board of Trustees of the Los Angeles County Bar Association (2003-05 and 2012-2014); Boards of Directors of the Los Angeles County Bar Foundation (2001-04), Volunteers of America of Los Angeles (VOA), and Uncommon Good; Pacific Council on International Policy; Judicial Appointments Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association
Honors, Named National Litigation Star in Benchmark Litigation: The Definitive Guide to America's Leading Litigation Firms and Attorneys (2013); Named one of the top product liability lawyers in the United States by Institutional Investor’s Benchmark: Litigation Guide; Named a “leading lawyer” by both Chambers USA and Legal 500 United States; Recognized as a Southern California “Super Lawyer” by Law & Politics magazine; Appears in Expert Guides’ handbook of the “World’s Leading Product Liability Lawyers”; Member of the Lawdragon “Top 3,000”
Author,  “Mass Tort Settlement Strategies” (co-authored with Catalina Vergara) and "Class Action Settlements" (co-authored with Carlos M. Lazatin and Esteban Rodriguez), Product Liability Litigation: Current Law, Strategies, and Best Practices (Practising Law Institute 2013); “A Defense Of The Learned Intermediary Doctrine,” Food & Drug Law Journal (co-authored with Karen Growdon) (2008); “Drug Manufacturers’ Interactions with the FDA About Drug-Label Content Are Entitled to Protection Under the Noerr-Pennington Doctrine,” Andrews Drug Recall Litigation Reporter (co-authored with Sabrina Strong) (2008)
Contributing Editor, “Class Actions,” California Practice Guide: Civil Procedure Before Trial (The Rutter Group)

University of Chicago,  J.D., 1984: Associate Editor, Law Review, 1982-84

Dartmouth College,  A.B., 1981: summa cum laude; Phi Beta Kappa