Richard Goetz


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Rich Goetz defends some of the world’s best-known businesses—including pharmaceutical, medical device, computer, insurance, consumer products, and food companies—in complex, multimillion-dollar legal challenges. At the pleadings stage and at trial, he has defeated allegations of negligence, false advertising, improper labeling, defective manufacturing, and personal injury. Benchmark Litigation calls him a national “Litigation Star,” and The Legal 500: United States and Chambers USA recognize him as a “Leading Lawyer.”

Rich co-chairs O’Melveny’s Consumer Class Actions and Product Liability/Mass Tort Practices, which have been recognized by Chambers USA as leading practices for nine consecutive years. He also leads the Firm’s 200-lawyer Southern California Litigation Practice and serves on the Firm’s seven-member Executive Committee.


Honors & Awards

  • “Litigation Star,” Benchmark Litigation: The Definitive Guide to America’s Leading Litigation Firms and Attorneys
  • “Leading Lawyer,” Chambers USA and The Legal 500
  • Southern California “Super Lawyer,” Law & Politics magazine 
  • “World’s Leading Product Liability Lawyers,” Expert Guides 
  • “Top 3,000,” Lawdragon
  • Insurance Law and Mass Tort Litigation/Class Action, The Best Lawyers in America


Bar Admissions

  • California


  • University of Chicago, J.D., 1984: Associate Editor, Law Review, 1982–84   
  • Dartmouth College, A.B., 1981: summa cum laude; Phi Beta Kappa

Professional Activities


  • Law360's Insurance Editorial Advisory Board
  • Board of Directors and Executive Committee of Volunteers of America of Los Angeles
  • Boards of Directors of the Pacific Council on International Policy, the Saks Institute for Mental Health Law, Policy, and Ethics, Uncommon Good, and Los Angeles County Bar Foundation (2001–2004)
  • Product Liability Advisory Council (Sustaining Member)
  • Former member of Executive Committee of the Los Angeles Bar Association Litigation Section
  • Board of Trustees of the Los Angeles County Bar Association (2003–2005 and 2012–2014)
  • Judicial Appointments Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association (multiple terms under Governors Davis, Schwarzenegger, and Brown)
  • United States Supreme Court Historical Society (California co-chair)


  • “How to Fix Guantanamo's Broken Justice,” co-authored with K. Jack Riley, Jerrold D. Green, Michelle Kezirian, Newsweek (2016)
  • “Up To Speed: To Fairly and Transparently Expedite the Guantanamo Trials, Put Federal Judges in Charge; A Report of the Pacific Council on International Policy GTMO Task Force” (2016)
  • “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)
  • "Country Dialogue: North Korea," Trip Report of Delegation Visit to Pyongyang, Wansan, Nampho Port and Kaesong/DMZ, co-authored with Jennifer Faust, Pacific Council on International Policy (2012)
  • “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 Limitation and Repose Applicable to Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Litigation, California section

Contributing Editor

  • California Practice Guide: Civil Procedure Before Trial, The Rutter Group
  • Defending Amylin Pharmaceuticals, an AstraZeneca company, in nationwide litigation over the diabetes drug Byetta®.
  • Defending insurers in multiple insurance coverage actions.
  • Defending Kia Motors America in class actions over allegedly defective automobiles.
  • Defending an industry-leading computer and electronics company in consumer class actions.
  • Defending an industry-leading pharmaceutical and consumer products company in:
    • Product liability litigation in multiple states over the alleged side-effects of an over-the-counter pain reliever.
    • Class action litigation over the risk and efficacy disclosures of sun-care products.
    • Nationwide class actions over allegedly defective sutures.
    • Nationwide litigation over a prescription antipsychotic medication alleged to increase the risk of diabetes.
    • Product liability litigation in California, Florida, Illinois, and Texas over allegedly defective pain patches.
    • Nationwide litigation over a prescription acid reflux medication alleged to cause cardiac arrhythmias.
    • Class action litigation over the alleged failings of a blood glucose monitor.
    • Class actions in West Virginia and Texas seeking personal injury damages for allegedly contaminated sutures.
    • Class actions and personal injury cases alleging the mishandling of body tissue from the UCLA Willed Body Program.