Drug and Device Litigation

Outstanding service, deep expertise, high efficiency

Butler Snow’s drug & device litigation team approaches each case with a strategic view toward presenting a compelling defense to the jury—developing case themes early, weaving them throughout discovery and motions practice, and ultimately presenting a cohesive and persuasive defense at trial if the case is not resolved earlier. Our goal is to bring innovative, cost-effective results to our clients’ most complex and challenging matters.

Our success is based on becoming an integral part of our client’s team. By using our deep industry knowledge and decades of hands-on experience, we work together with our clients to find creative solutions, while keeping an eye on value and effective resolutions.

Our drug & device litigation team has taken leading roles in pharmaceutical and medical device litigation involving a wide range of products, including:

  • Pharmaceuticals: Acne medications, anti-biotics, anti-inflammatory medications, anti-psychotic medications, birth control, blood thinners, cholesterol medications, colitis medications, diabetes medications, diet drugs, heartburn medications, hormone replacement therapies, hypertension medications, osteoporosis medications, over-the-counter pain relievers, treatment for male pattern baldness, and vaccines.
  • Medical devices: pelvic and hernia mesh, mammary implants, pain pumps, hip replacements, dialyzers, mechanical heart valves, and IUDs.

We have a proven reputation for success in the following specific areas:

  • Mass tort and MDL management: We are regularly called upon to lead mass torts and multidistrict litigations (MDLs), deftly managing thousands of cases, dozens of other law firms and hundreds of lawyers.
  • Motions and appeals: We have vast experience at every point in the lifecycle of the litigation process, often obtaining rulings that that significantly impact the course of the overall litigation. We have secured key victories for our clients ending litigation well before the trial stage, and we are also experienced in litigating issues on appeal to uphold key defense verdicts or obtain reversals of adverse rulings and verdicts.
  • Science counsel: We are skilled at effectively identifying and interpreting all relevant scientific literature and expert witness testimony, as well as limiting, excluding and cross-examining opposing experts and developing and presenting expert testimony at trial.
  • Trials: We have multiple team members who are Fellows of the American College of Trial Lawyers and International Academy of Trial Lawyers. Several of our team members are Associates of the American Board of Trial Advocates. We are regularly called upon to lead trial teams in some of the most challenging jurisdictions nationwide.
  • Attorneys General actions: In addition to product liability litigation, the pharmaceutical and medical device industries are increasingly facing legal actions initiated by attorneys general, whether that involves investigations or litigation. We have significant experience with these types of actions.
  • Risk management and counseling: The best defense is a good offense, and our team is skilled at working with our clients to prevent litigation before it happens. In the event of recalls or adverse events, we work with our clients to develop strategies to interface with regulatory agencies and limit risk.

In recognition of our successes, the team was selected as LMG Life Sciences 2019 Product Liability Firm of the Year and Benchmark Litigation’s 2018 Product Liability Law Firm of the Year. The firm and many of our individual team members have earned specific recognition in drug and device litigation from the legal profession and from our peers. We have been recognized by Chambers USA, The Legal 500 US, The Best Lawyers in America, Who’s Who Legal, and Super Lawyers, to name a few.

Delivering value—alternative fee arrangements

Butler Snow is a leader in providing creative fee arrangements for our clients. Approximately 80% of our drug and device litigation work is currently handled under alternative fee arrangements. Alternative fee structures give our clients more certainty and allow them to budget more accurately, which fosters a collaborative working relationship between our firm and our clients.

We are able to build these mutually beneficial fee solutions because our deep industry experience allows us to fully understand the scope of the work and what will likely be necessary to successfully defend the matter. We also have our own pricing experts who provide invaluable analysis and work with our clients and their pricing and procurement teams to develop and manage alternative fee arrangements. Additionally, the structure of our firm contributes to our ability to price more effectively. We work in a collaborative manner, which means we build teams based on your needs, not our billing system.

Across the firm, our mission is to put the appropriate person on the appropriate task regardless of firm hierarchies—and to always put our client first.

Supporting our next generation rising stars and celebrating diversity

While our veteran attorneys have exceptional experience and demonstrated success records, they also have an obligation to build the next generation’s skills and talents. Our collaborative work environment helps create an atmosphere where veteran attorneys can take time to informally and formally mentor young attorneys.

We develop the next generation of Butler Snow stars through inclusion. Our young attorneys are often included as members of the trial team and in key hearings, depositions and strategy meetings. We offer them opportunities to work directly with our clients, and we encourage them to develop personal areas of expertise and to become thought leaders within those areas.

We routinely send our associates to the annual IADC Trial Academy, where they gain invaluable experience through a mock-trial experience. We also developed our own courtroom in our Ridgeland office, where our associates participate in mock trials and are critiqued and coached by senior attorneys.

As a result, we have a deep bench of experienced young attorneys. This benefits our clients and our firm because we are able to staff client matters with just the right combination of expertise to produce effective results at the right value.

While inclusion benefits our young attorneys, our belief in inclusion reaches well beyond training opportunities. Butler Snow’s diversity efforts are rooted in our belief that diversity and inclusion help drive innovation and creativity. We encourage and embrace new ideas and creative solutions, which require a diverse, inclusive work environment. We are also active participants in diversity-related events and organizations at a national and international level.

Supporting inclusion and fostering diversity is our responsibility—to our firm, to our clients and to our communities—and we take that responsibility seriously.

Risk management and counseling

While we regularly try complex cases across the country, we also provide proactive counseling and risk-management assessments aimed at sidestepping litigation. We help clients evaluate their decision-making process and help develop product documentation and other collateral materials.

When trouble is already on the horizon, such as a product recall, we advise our clients on ways to stay ahead of the curve so that we are on the frontline before the first lawsuit is filed. We help counsel clients on their best course of action, and we help work with the FDA, physicians and distributors, or other stakeholders to mitigate or minimize issues as early as possible.

Through our years of trial experience, we have seen the often-expensive results of bad documentation, late reactions and other missteps. We know what has worked and what hasn’t worked, and we make every effort to help our clients avoid a mishandled a situation.

Attorneys general actions

Increasingly, the life sciences industry is facing legal actions initiated by attorneys general, whether that involves investigations and/or litigation. Butler Snow’s litigation group has significant experience with these types of actions, which can come at a high cost in both time and money for major corporations or industry sectors.

These actions can be driven by work from outside private firms working in concert with attorneys general. Plaintiffs’ firms, generally working on contingency, hire numerous expert witnesses and produce a myriad of documents, which must all be carefully reviewed. Our attorneys have both the governmental and industry backgrounds to review the facts versus the claims and to lead a counterattack that fits the challenge.

Recent Recognition

Benchmark Litigation

The Legal 500 US

  • Ranked for nationwide Product Liability, Mass Tort and Class Action: Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices – Defense (2021)
  • “The team at Butler Snow LLP is regularly sought out by pharmaceutical and medical device companies to take on lead roles in complex product liability litigation . . . Practice head Alyson Bustamante Jones draws on considerable MDL experience, as does well-known trial attorney William Gage.” The Legal 500 US commentary (2021)
  • “Butler Snow LLP has notable experience acting as national, regional and local counsel for pharmaceutical and medical device companies across the country. . . In addition, the practice has expertise in defending mass tort and multi-district litigation involving pelvic mesh and hernia mesh-related claims.” The Legal 500 US commentary (2020)
  • “[T]he ‘highly competent and skilled’ group at Butler Snow LLP has outstanding trial expertise and is entrusted by high-profile clients…” The Legal 500 US commentary (2019)

Chambers USA

  • Ranked for nationwide Product Liability & Mass Torts (2021)
  • “One client says: ‘They take an interest in the company and strive to find the best avenues to provide support and guidance. Furthermore, they dig into the product and the company they are representing, creatively exploring options and alternatives that might not be standard.’” Chambers USA commentary (2021)
  • I have a lot of confidence in them,” states a source. “Working with them is a wonderful experience.” Chambers USA commentary (2020).
  • “[S]trategy is done thoughtfully, and because of their experience, they translate that into getting across the finish line.” Chambers USA commentary (2020).
  • “Strong reputation for its knowledge of the life sciences sector, where it regularly acts for a number of leading entities in complex product liability claims . . . Substantial experience handling major multidistrict litigation and widely regarded as one of the leading litigation firms in the Southeast, while making significant inroads elsewhere in the country.” Chambers USA commentary (2019)
  • “’They offer national coordinating as well as trial expertise and are skilled in taking difficult situations, managing a team and directing toward resolution,’  report impressed sources.”  Chambers USA commentary (2019)
  • “Clients highlight the firm’s ‘very, very good trial lawyers,’ and note that they are ‘very collaborative with other firms.’”  Chambers USA commentary (2019)
  • “Interviewees comment the team’s advocacy capabilities, stating: ‘They work very hard training people to try cases, and they try a ton as well.’” Chambers USA commentary (2019)

LMG Life Sciences