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 each year from 2007 through 2014. He has defended a wide variety of companies in class action, mass tort, and insurance cases across the country. He has been selected as a national “Litigation Star” by Institutional Investor’s Benchmark: Litigation Guide, and recognized as a “leading lawyer” in Chambers USA for his insurance work and by Legal 500 United States for “excellent” product liability defense work. Rich is a member of the faculty that teaches class action issues at Rutter Group conferences each year in Los Angeles and San Francisco. 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. He has guest lectured at the UCLA School of Engineering and Harvard Law School.

Representative Clients:
  • Johnson & Johnson
  • Amylin Pharmaceuticals
  • AstraZeneca
  • Bristol-Myers Squibb
  • Merck & Co.
  • Kia Motors America
  • ACE Group

Recent Defense Representations:
  • Lead counsel for Amylin Pharmaceuticals, which is owned by Astra Zeneca, in nationwide litigation over the diabetes drug Byetta®.
  • Represents the insurers in environmental insurance coverage action brought by Union Oil Company set for trial in Los Angeles later this year.
  • Representing Kia Motors America in class action litigation over allegedly defective automobiles.
  • Representing industry-leading computer and electronics company in consumer fraud class action litigation involving a variety of the company’s consumer products.
  • Representing industry-leading pharmaceutical and consumer products company in:
    • Product liability litigation in a number of states 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 prescription anti-psychotic medication alleged to cause increased risk of diabetes. Rich was national counsel on class actions raising economic loss claims.
    • Product liability litigation in California, Florida, Illinois and Texas over allegedly defective Duragesic® pain patches.
    • Nationwide litigation over a prescription GERD medication alleged to have caused cardiac arrhythmias. Rich led an O’Melveny team that focused on class action and appellate issues.
    • 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.
  • Defended Merck in nationwide litigation over Vioxx®. Shortly after Merck withdrew Vioxx® from the market it hired Rich as one of its national counsel in all Vioxx personal injury and class action cases.
  • Class Action Litigation in California, New York and Florida alleging improper labeling of Vita Coco™ drinks.
  • Class Action Litigation in California alleging improper labeling of Kombucha beverages.

Rich led the O’Melveny briefing team in a series of cases before the Mississippi Supreme Court that helped put significant limits on the joinder of parties in that state.

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

Over the past 30 years Rich has also led the defense in international disputes both in U.S. courts and in an arbitration in Japan; 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 served on the O’Melveny & Myers Policy Committee—the firm board of directors—and the Policy Committee’s three-member Executive Committee. For a number of years he has chaired the committee that vets candidates for firm partnership.

Outside his practice, Rich is a long-time member of the Pacific Council on International Policy, and co-chairs the Council’s Counterterrorism Subcommittee. He was the Council’s first official observer for the proceedings against Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and others at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba (in 2013), and participated in and authored the official report of a 2012 Council delegation’s trip to North Korea. He is active in the Los Angeles County Bar Association, and is a long time member of its Judicial Appointments Committee. He serves on the boards of directors of Volunteers of America of Los Angeles, the Saks Institute for Mental Health, and Uncommon Good.

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; Named among the nation’s top product liability lawyers 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); 2014 ABA State-by-State Survey of the Statutes of Limitations and Repose Applicable to Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Litigation (California section)
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