Susanna practices in the firm’s Pharmaceutical, Medical Device and Healthcare Group and focuses her practice on product liability law, drug and medical devices, and appellate matters.  Most recently, she has served as a lead motion coordinator for a major medical device company in what was at the time the largest MDL in the country.  She has been recognized by Best Lawyers in America® and has successfully defended drug and medical device companies in appeals in the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, and Eleventh Circuit Courts of Appeal.

Biography – View PDF Bio

Narrative Bio

Susanna has served as a lead motions coordinator for the Pelvic Mesh Product Liability Litigation and Hernia Mesh Product Liability litigation.  In that role, Susanna has written and overseen the preparation of briefs through the entire life cycle of the litigation, from initial pleadings through discovery motions, summary judgment motions, expert motions, and appeal.  That includes coordination of “wave” motions practice, which required the filing of thousands of summary judgment motions, Daubert motions, responses, and replies over a 3½ year period.

Susanna also has an active appellate practice.  She has represented clients in dozens of appeals in federal courts of appeals across the country.  She recently obtained a ruling in a pelvic mesh case affirming summary judgment on a failure to warn claim and rejecting an exception to the learned intermediary doctrine in Salinero v. Johnson & Johnson, 995 F.3d 959 (11th Cir. 2021).  Drug and Device Law Blog named this ruling one of “The Ten Best Prescription Drug/Medical Device Decisions of 2021.” See also “No ‘Financial Bias’ Exception to Learned Intermediary Rule in Florida – or Anywhere Else,” Drug and Device Law Blog, May 7, 2021.  She also obtained a ruling in a pelvic mesh case affirming summary judgment on the basis of the statute of repose in Clabo v. Johnson & Johnson Health Care Systems Inc. et al., 982 F.3d 989 (6th Cir. 2020). See “J&J Prevails In Tenn. Woman’s Pelvic Mesh Suit At 6th Circ.,” Law360, December 14, 2020; “Tennessee State of Repose Shuts Down Pelvic Mesh Case,” Drug and Device Law Blog, January 6, 2021.

Susanna is active in Products Liability Advisory Council (PLAC) and Defense Research Institute (DRI), as well as a number of national and state bar associations. She also served as an Adjunct Professor at Mississippi College School of Law (2009-2010).

She frequently writes and speaks about product liability litigation. For example, in 2020, she co-authored “Mass Torts in the United States,” Chapter 6 – Management of Mass Torts by the Judiciary, American Bar Association.  She also has authored a number of articles for Butler Snow’s publication for the pharmaceutical, medical device and healthcare industries, Pro Te: Solutio. In 2018, she spoke at the IADC Mid-Year Meeting on “Personal Jurisdiction Post-Daimler: State of Law and Strategy.”

Susanna obtained her J.D., magna cum laude, from the University of Mississippi and her B.A. from Yale University.  Following law school, she clerked for Judge Southwick of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. She is admitted to practice in Mississippi, Tennessee, Louisiana and New York.

Associations

Bar Admissions

  • Mississippi, 2011
  • Tennessee, 2011
  • Louisiana, 2011
  • New York, 2010
  • U.S. District Courts
    • Mississippi: Northern, Southern
    • Louisiana: Eastern, Middle, Western
    • Tennessee: Western, Eastern
  • U.S. Court of Appeals
    • 1st Circuit
    • 2nd Circuit
    • 3rd Circuit
    • 4th Circuit
    • 5th Circuit
    • 6th Circuit
    • 7th Circuit
    • 8th Circuit
    • 9th Circuit
    • 11th Circuit
  • U.S. Supreme Court

Distinctions

  • Best Lawyers in America®
    • Ones to Watch, Product Liability Litigation – Defendants, 2021-2022
  • Adjunct Professor, Mississippi College School of Law, 2009-2010

Education & Honors

  • University of Mississippi, J.D., magna cum laude, 2009
    • Editor-in-Chief, Mississippi Law Journal, 2008-2009
    • Moot Court Board Member
  • Yale University, B.A., English, 2006
  • Clerkship, Honorable Leslie H. Southwick, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, 2009-2010

Experience

  • Lead motions team in Pelvic Mesh Products Liability Litigation, including In re: Ethicon, Inc., Pelvic Repair Systems Products Liability Litigation, MDL No. 2327, United States District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia; In re: Pelvic Mesh/Gynecare multicounty litigation (New Jersey)
  • Lead motions team in Hernia Mesh Products Liability Litigation, including In re: Ethicon Physiomesh Flexible Composite Hernia Mesh Products Liability Litigation, MDL No. 2782, United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia; In re: Proceed Mesh multicounty litigation (New Jersey)
  • Susanna has successfully defended drug and medical device companies in appeals in the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, and Eleventh Circuit Courts of Appeal, including:
    • Salinero v. Johnson & Johnson, 995 F.3d 959 (11th Cir. 2021) (affirming summary judgment on failure to warn claim and rejecting exception to learned intermediary doctrine)
    • Kelly v. Ethicon, Inc., No. 21-1769 (8th Cir. 2021) (affirming summary judgment under Iowa statute of limitations)
    • Clabo v. Johnson & Johnson Health Care Systems Inc. et al., 982 F.3d 989 (6th Cir. 2020) (affirming summary judgment on the basis of statute of repose)
    • Nwatulegwu v. Boehringer Ingelheim Pharms., Inc., 2016 WL 4443600 (7th Cir. Aug. 22, 2016) (affirming dismissal for failure to comply with discovery order)
    • Weer v. Ethicon, Inc., 2016 WL 1359129 (4th Cir. Apr. 6, 2016) (affirming dismissal for failure to effect service)
    • Flores v. Ethicon, Inc. et al., 563 F. App’x 266 (4th Cir. 2014) (affirming dismissal for failure to comply with pretrial orders and denial of motion to remand)
    • Huston v. Ethicon, Inc., 585 F. App’x 165 (4th Cir. 2014) (affirming dismissal for failure to comply with pretrial orders)
    • Bryant v. Wyeth, Inc., 487 F. App’x 207 (5th Cir. 2012) (affirming summary judgment in favor of drug manufacturer under Mississippi statute of limitations)

Papers, Presentations, & Publications