Brian represents pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers as trial counsel and in leadership roles of coordinated mass tort proceedings. He currently serves as Co-Lead Counsel in a medical device MDL in Atlanta and related litigation in New Jersey state court.

Biography – View PDF Bio

Narrative Bio

Brian has more than 25 years of experience handling complex litigation. In recent years, his practice has been focused on defending product liability cases for pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers.

He currently serves as co-lead counsel and trial counsel for Johnson & Johnson and Ethicon, Inc. in In re: Ethicon Physiomesh Flexible Composite Hernia Mesh Products Liability Litigation, MDL No. 2782, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia. In this role, Brian directs and coordinates the efforts of a nationwide team of lawyers. He has previously served as co-lead science counsel for McNeil and Johnson & Johnson in In re: Tylenol (Acetaminophen) Marketing, Sales Practices and Product Liability Litigation (E.D. Pa.) and as national science counsel for a defendant in In re Phenylpropanolamine Products Liability Litigation (W.D. Wash.). He has played national roles in other mass torts and has particular expertise in Daubert practice and the retention, development and presentation of expert witnesses.

Brian has tried many cases as lead and co-counsel, including cases involving product liability, medical malpractice, health care regulatory issues (Certificate of Need), catastrophic personal injury and other disputes. In 2015, he was part of the trial team that obtained a unanimous jury verdict after a four-week trial in the first bellwether case in the New Jersey Tylenol liver injury litigation. In 2014 and 2016, he served as trial counsel in two high-profile jury trials in Los Angeles federal court in which the plaintiff alleged that a child died after ingesting a contaminated over-the-counter medicine. After the first trial ended in a unanimous defense verdict after three weeks, the court granted a new trial, which resulted in hung jury (7-1 in the client’s favor).

For many years, Brian has represented major Tennessee hospitals in Certificate of Need litigation. In 2016, he successfully represented Vanderbilt University Medical Center in a dispute over a proposed new facility near Nashville. From 2007 to 2009, he successfully represented Maury Regional Hospital in a dispute over a proposed new $110 million hospital sought by the world’s largest for-profit health care company. He is currently representing Baptist Memorial Hospital-Memphis in a contested CON proceeding involving two other major health systems.

Brian has been recognized by Best Lawyers in America® (2008-present) and Super Lawyers® (2010-present), has an AV® – Preeminent™ rating form Martindale-Hubbell®, and is a member of IADC. He has recently been an invited lecturer or panelist at national conferences, including the IADC Mid-Year meeting, the ACI Drug and Medical Device Conference, and a conference sponsored by the Lawyers for Civil Justice and the Federalist Society on the future of Multidistrict Litigation. He has been an invited lecturer at Vanderbilt Law School and Harvard Law School. Among his publications is a law review note on student-university law that has been cited by nearly a hundred scholars and courts, including a 2007 U.S. Supreme Court decision.

Associations

Bar Admissions

  • Tennessee, 1992
  • U.S. District Courts
    • Tennessee: Western, Middle
    • Missouri: Western (pro hac vice)
    • New York: Southern (pro hac vice)
    • Florida: Southern (pro hac vice)
    • Alabama: Northern (pro hac vice)
    • Louisiana: Eastern (pro hac vice)
    • California: Central (pro hac vice)
  • U.S. Court of Appeals
    • 5th Circuit
    • 6th Circuit
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • State Court Pro Hac Vice Admissions:
  • Court of Common Pleas, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Superior Court of Los Angeles, California
  • Superior Court, Atlantic County, New Jersey
  • Brazoria County, Texas

Civic Involvement

  • Christ Church Cathedral, Nashville, Member and Lay Reader
  • Nashville Opera Association, Advisory Board, Board Member
  • Nashville Opera Association, Board of Directors, Former Member
  • Nashville CARES, Board of Directors, Former Member
  • Comprehensive Cares Foundation, Board of Directors, Former Chair
  • Tennessee Stonewall Bar Association, Board of Directors, Member
  • Historic Travellers Rest Plantation and Museum, Board of Directors

Distinctions

  • Best Lawyers in America®
    • Administrative / Regulatory Law, 2008-2019
    • Product Liability Litigation – Defendants, 2019
  • Super Lawyers®
    • Mid-South Super Lawyers, Personal Injury – Products: Defense, 2010-2018
  • Martindale-Hubbell®
    • AV® – Preeminent™ Peer Review Rated
  • Nashville’s 101 Top Lawyers, Nashville Post
  • Best in Bar, Nashville Business Journal

Education & Honors

  • Vanderbilt University Law School, J.D., 1992
    • Associate Editor, Vanderbilt Law Review
    • Vanderbilt Law Review, Associate Editor’s Award
  • Sewanee: The University of the South, B.A., cum laude, 1989

Experience

  • Recent Trials:
    • Robertson v. McNeil/Johnson & Johnson, United States District Court for the Central District of California (2014). Plaintiffs alleged that a child died as a result of contaminated medicine. Unanimous defense verdict after three-week trial. Plaintiff granted new trial, and retrial resulted in hung jury (7-1 in client’s favor) (2016).
    • MDHA v. Nashville Downtown Platinum LLC, Davidson County (TN) Circuit Court (2016). Lead trial counsel on behalf of city agency in eminent domain case about the value of downtown property acquired for convention center project. Jury unanimously rejected landowner’s claim for $4 million and awarded far less than the city had offered.
    • HCA Health Services of Tennessee, Inc. v. Vanderbilt University Medical Center (2016). Successfully represented Vanderbilt University Medical Center in a dispute over a proposed new facility in Williamson County, Tennessee.
    • Strategic Behavioral Health v. Mountain States Health Alliance (2015-2016). Represented largest hospital system in the Tri-Cities region (TN-VA) in opposition to proposed new psychiatric hospital.
    • Jackson v. McNeil/Johnson & Johnson, Atlantic County (NJ) Superior Court (2015). First bellwether case in the New Jersey Tylenol liver injury litigation. Unanimous defense verdict following four-week trial.
    • Covenant Health v. East Tennessee Radiation Therapy Services (2013). Represented the largest Knoxville-area hospital system in obtaining a reversal of a Certificate of Need for radiation therapy services.
  • Science counsel in MDL and Other Coordinated Proceedings. Brian has served as national science counsel in coordinated proceedings, including several Multi-District Litigations. He has extensive experience in Daubert challenges, and in the retention, development, and presentation of defense expert witnesses. He has deposed or cross-examined dozens of experts from virtually every major medical specialty, as well as non-medical experts. He has had substantial roles in the following proceedings:
    • In re: Tylenol (Acetaminophen) Marketing, Sales Practices and Product Liability Litigation (E.D. Pa.).
    • In re: Ethicon, Inc. Pelvic Repair System Products Liability Litigation (S.D. W.Va.).
    • In re: Pradaxa (Dabigatran Etexilate) Products Liability Litigation (S.D. Ill.).
    • In re: Ephedra Products Liability Litigation (S.D.N.Y.).
    • In re: Phenylpropanolamine Products Liability Litigation (W.D. Wash.).

Papers, Presentations, & Publications

  • ​Invited Lecturer, “The Trial,” Harvard Law School, Cambridge, Mass., October 4, 2018.
  • Panelist, “Containing Litigation Tourism and the Practical Impact of the BMS Decision Thus Far,” ACI Drug and Medical Device Conference, N.Y., 2017.
  • Panelist, “Trying Cases and Settlement,” Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) Conference, Washington D.C., October 19, 2017.
  • Presenter, “The Trial, Vanderbilt University Law School, September 2016.
  • Panelist, “Start to Finish: Jury Research From Pre-Discovery to Post-Trial,” IADC Mid-year Meeting, Pebble Beach, Calif., 2016.
  • Co-Author, Expert Evidence in the Sixth Circuit, Scientific Evidence Review: Admissibility and Use of Expert Evidence in the Courtroom (Monograph No. 9), ABA Section of Science and Technology Law, 2013.
  • Presenter, “Hot Topics in Product Liability Law,” M. Lee Smith Tennessee Tort Law Conference, 2010.
  • Presenter, “Daubert and Beyond,” Rossdale Group National Teleconference on Trial Skills and Expert Witnesses, 2010.
  • Presenter, “Ethical Issues in Litigation,” Lorman Education Services, 2009.
  • More...