Richard B. 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,” The Legal 500: United States named him to its inaugural “Hall of Fame” in 2017 and recognizes him as a “Leading Lawyer,” and BTI has recognized him as a Client Service All-Star. Chambers USA ranks Rich in both Product Liability/Mass Torts and Insurance, noting his “widespread experience handling mass torts and consumer class actions,” and his “skill in handling significant contentious insurance matters.”

Rich is the Firmwide Co-Chair of O’Melveny’s Litigation Department and previously chaired the Firm’s Consumer Class Actions, Product Liability/Mass Torts, and Insurance Practices. He has also served on the Firm’s Executive Committee.


Honors & Awards

  • Recognized by Best Lawyers® 2022 for Insurance Law and Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions - Defendants in Los Angeles, CA; Richard has been listed in Best Lawyers® since 2012 and he has also been named “Lawyer of the Year” (Insurance Law) in local jurisdiction (2021)
  • Named to the “Top 100 Lawyers” list, Daily Journal (2021)
  • California Lawyer Attorney of the Year Award, Daily Journal (2021)
  • Named a “Superstar Of Insurance Law” by Insurance Business Magazine (2021)
  • Benchmark California Star (2019), National Practice Area Star and Local Litigation Star (2019-2020) for Energy & Natural Resources, General Commercial, Product Liability, and Securities by Benchmark Litigation
  • “Life Sciences Star” for Product Liability by LMG Life Sciences (2018-2020)
  • Ranked to the "Hall of Fame" for Insurance and recommended for General Commercial Disputes, Healthcare, and Product Liability and Mass Torts by The Legal 500 US 
  • Leading Lawyer, Chambers USA
  • Client Service All-Star, BTI
  • Southern California “Super Lawyer,” Law & Politics magazine 
  • World’s Leading Product Liability Lawyers, Expert Guides  
  • Top 3,000, Lawdragon


Bar Admissions

  • California

Court Admissions

  • US Supreme Court
  • US Court of Appeals for the Second, Sixth, Ninth and Tenth Circuits
  • US District Court for the Central, Eastern, Northern and Southern Districts of California
  • US District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan


  • 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


  • Board of Directors (Chair) of Volunteers of America of Los Angeles
  • Board of Directors (Co-Chair) of The Pacific Council on International Policy
  • Advisory Board of Saks Institute for Mental Health Law, Policy, and Ethics
  • Board of Directors of Uncommon Good
  • Product Liability Advisory Council (Sustaining Member)
  • Former member of Executive Committee of the Los Angeles Bar Association Litigation Section
  • Former member of Law360's Insurance Editorial Advisory Board
  • 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)


  • “A Matter of Time: To Propel the Guantánamo Cases Toward Trial, Send in Federal Judges with the Authority to Enforce Scheduling Orders; A Report from the Pacific Council on International Policy Guantánamo Bay Task Force” (2018)
  • “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
  • Product Liability Litigation: Current Law, Strategies, and Best Practices, Practising Law Institute
  • Defending an industry-leading pharmaceutical and consumer products company in:
    • Nationwide litigation over prescription opioid medications.
    • 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.
  • Defending Colgate-Palmolive and Hill's Pet Foods in consumer class actions.
  • Defending Amylin Pharmaceuticals, an AstraZeneca company, in an MDL and 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.

Press Releases

Daily Journal Names Goetz, Petrocelli, and Fisher to “Top 100 Lawyers” List

September 15, 2021

More than 50 O’Melveny Lawyers Recognized by Best Lawyers in America® 2022

August 20, 2021

O’Melveny Reaches #1 on The American Lawyer’s “A-List”

August 5, 2021

O’Melveny Practices, Lawyers Highly Ranked by The Legal 500 US 2021

June 28, 2021

Daily Journal Names Goetz and Fisher 2021 Attorneys of the Year in California

March 19, 2021

O’Melveny Announces New Leadership Appointments

February 11, 2021

Partner Daniel Petrocelli Named 2020 “Litigator of the Year” by The American Lawyer

January 15, 2021

LMG Life Sciences Names Eight O’Melveny Lawyers 2020 “Stars”

October 16, 2020

O’Melveny Welcomes Versatile Commercial Litigator in Washington, DC

September 14, 2020

More than 40 O’Melveny Lawyers Recognized in 35+ Practices by Best Lawyers in America® 2021

August 25, 2020

O’Melveny Helps ACLU Remedy Nevada’s Public Defense Crisis

August 6, 2020

New Co-Chairs Elected to Lead Pacific Council Board of Directors

June 30, 2020

O’Melveny Practices, Lawyers Highly Ranked in The Legal 500 US 2020

June 24, 2020

O’Melveny Named Leading Law Firm by Chambers USA 2020

April 27, 2020

O’Melveny Wins Five West Coast Awards from Benchmark Litigation

March 6, 2020

O’Melveny Named Runner-Up in American Lawyer’s National Litigation Department of the Year Competition

January 6, 2020

O’Melveny Lauded at The American Lawyer Industry Awards

December 5, 2019

In the News

O’Melveny Recognized as a Leader for Satisfaction, #1 for Tech, in The American Lawyer’s 2021 Midlevel Associates Survey

August 24, 2021

Insurance Business Magazine: 5-Star Law Firms and Lawyers

July 15, 2021 Litigation Trendspotter: How Do You Move the Needle on Diversity in the Litigation Bar? Try.

June 3, 2021

The American Lawyer: “None of This Happened by Accident”: How O’Melveny Built a Self-Sustaining Pipeline for Women Litigators

June 2, 2021

Bloomberg Law: O’Melveny Announces New Leaders, Including Litigation, Corporate

February 11, 2021

The Pacific Council Magazine: Daily Journal - Council Co-Chair is a Leader in Business Interruption Litigation

January 25, 2021

Daily Journal: O’Melveny Lawyer is a Leader in Business Interruption Litigation

December 28, 2020

Law360: Insurance Group of the Year - O’Melveny

December 7, 2020

Reuters: JPML Rejects Nationwide Consolidation of Business Insurance Cases. Now What?

August 13, 2020

The American Lawyer: In the Spotlight: O’Melveny & Myers, Litigation Department of the Year Runner-Up

December 29, 2019

Alerts and Publications