Trials

PRACTICE SUMMARY

Irwin Fritchie routinely serves as trial counsel in high-stakes litigation throughout Louisiana and in jurisdictions across the country. Because we have handled all aspects of national trial work, we are capable of adapting to the specific needs of our clients. Our attorneys have served as lead trial counsel and/or liaison counsel in multidistrict litigation proceedings and class actions on multiple occasions. In addition to serving as lead counsel, we also serve on trial teams composed of attorneys from different law firms and enjoy working with skilled colleagues. We are frequently involved in the preparation of bellwether cases for trial. We have skilled trial support teams that assist our clients and/or trial counsel leading up to and through trial. These teams are thoroughly experienced in all areas of trial preparation, including lay witness preparation, expert witness preparation, compiling and coordinating exhibits, and the development of demonstrative evidence for complex cases. Our clients have recognized Irwin Fritchie’s value as trial or trial support counsel by consistently selecting our attorneys to participate in jury research exercises across the country. At Irwin Fritchie, we pride ourselves in our trial capabilities and have even invested in a mock courtroom in our office that allows us to conduct jury research on site.

Science & Experts

PRACTICE SUMMARY

Multijurisdictional, mass-torts often require attorneys who are capable of and willing to immerse themselves in the underlying scientific issues. Such skill and dedication is essential to formulate a viable scientific defense to the claims being asserted, to understand the most effective way to frame matters for trial, to identify and retain the best possible experts, and to act as a resource to other litigation teams, such as coordinating counsel, briefing teams, or trial teams. Our attorneys have tremendous experience in this important area of complex litigation.

We regularly develop teams of experts in litigation-relevant scientific disciplines and then prepare team members for deposition and trial testimony. Our firm is highly skilled at identifying, retaining, and coordinating such teams as part of an overarching defense strategy in nationwide and international mass-torts. Years of practice in this area have led to an extensive network of strong relationships with some of the top experts in the world.

Our attorneys also have extensive experience preparing company witnesses and 30(b)(6) witnesses for depositions and trial testimony in matters involving highly technical subjects. We have served in this role to prepare company scientists and engineers for depositions and trial testimony in cases pending in dozens of U.S. jurisdictions, as well as for testimony in international proceedings. In addition, we routinely prepare presentations to clients, trial teams, national teams, and international counsel on key scientific issues in various pieces of litigation.

Asbestos

PRACTICE SUMMARY

Our asbestos group represents employers, premises owners, manufacturer, and suppliers, including private corporations, municipalities, educational institutions, and their insurers. Our experience includes both the defense of traditional claims alleging asbestos and silica exposure and occupational injuries from industrial accidents. This includes claims involving electrical components, vehicles, filtration equipment, welding equipment, industrial machinery, oilfield production equipment, fumigation, chemical applications, piping systems, valves, and building systems. We have routinely defeated attempts at class certification of toxic exposure claims and have succeeded in excluding junk science from the courtroom on both a state and federal level.

Construction

PRACTICE SUMMARY

Our construction litigation group represents building product manufacturers, general contractors, subcontractors, architects, engineers, distributors, and their insurers in a variety of disputes involving commercial and residential properties. We have experience defending complex construction defect cases, often involving multiple parties and substantial potential exposure. Given the complexity of these cases, we strive to keep costs as low as possible with the goal being a timely and favorable resolution of each claim before having to incur substantial defense costs.

Railroad & Transportation

PRACTICE SUMMARY

The railroad and transportation group has a statewide and national reputation for our work defending all aspects of transportation litigation. We routinely handle complex claims based upon specialized laws and regulations that govern the rail industry. Our experience includes railroad-crossing accidents, claims under the Federal Employers’ Liability Act, trespasser incidents, and derailments. We often defend cases involving serious, traumatic injuries and/or multiple deaths. These matters in particular require skilled counsel to ensure that the statutory protections provided to our clients are not overshadowed.

Our attorneys provide sound, strategic advice to our clients early in the defense of disputed claims. And we have the skills in negotiations, motion practice, and trial to achieve our clients’ goals. Our extensive national experience and effective case management also allow us to reduce overall costs for our clients. Our work in this field has earned the recognition as one of the nation’s “Best Law Firms” by Best Lawyers.

Professional Liability

PRACTICE SUMMARY

The professional liability group provides representation to a broad range of professionals, including accountants, attorneys, directors, officers, and insurance brokers. Our attorneys have extensive experience and a deep understanding of the substantive areas of law in which these claims frequently arise. We handle cases expediently for our clients and colleagues. Our attorneys consistently have been included on the list of approved counsel for the professional liability coverage provided by the Louisiana State Bar Association and have been one of the most frequently selected counsel from that listing.

Products Liability

PRACTICE SUMMARY

The products liability group represents manufacturers, distributors, and retailers on the national, regional, and local level. Our attorneys have a wealth of experience in this area, and many have scientific backgrounds, which allows a deep understanding of the technical and scientific issues that are central to these cases. Our representation has spanned matters involving a wide variety of products, including aircraft engines, asbestos, building systems, cellular phones, chemicals, cosmetics, electrical components, electrical vehicles, filtration equipment, firearms, food products, industrial machinery, medical implants, motor vehicles, over-the-counter medicines, pharmaceuticals, piping systems, recreational products, scaffolding, trailers, and windows. Because products liability matters are inherently complex, we consciously focus on developing an efficient plan for resolving each matter. However, our attorneys are also skilled litigators and trial attorneys who enjoy the opportunity to try cases when early resolution is not possible.

Premises Liability

PRACTICE SUMMARY

Our premises liability group has extensive experience defending property owners when accidents occur on their property. Our attorneys have handled matters arising at retail establishments, industrial facilities, grocery stores, public facilities, restaurants and bars, convenience stores, hotel and apartment complexes, educational institutions, railroad properties, and nursing homes, among others. This depth of experience allows us to provide thorough and realistic case assessments early in litigation, helping our clients make informed decisions about resolution before significant trial expenses are incurred. When a matter cannot be resolved, however, our clients receive the benefit of our attorneys’ substantial trial experience to ensure that the best possible result is achieved.

Pharmaceutical & Medical Device

PRACTICE SUMMARY

Irwin Fritchie has a recognized and respected pharmaceutical and medical device practice. We have the resources to manage litigation from inception through trial and appeal, as well as the flexibility to work side by side with other premier law firms in a team environment.

Our work in this challenging area includes the defense of a wide variety of products, including: anti-depressants, aspirin, asthma medications, blood products, breast implants, cholesterol medications, diabetes drugs, diet drugs, gastrointestinal medications, hormone replacement therapies, impotence medications, latex products, maxillary-cranial implants, migraine medications, PPA, spinal fixation devices, sutures, urological implants, vascular stents, vitamins, and knee and hip implants.

Many of the leading pharmaceutical and medical device companies in the world have come to rely upon the counseling and skills of our attorneys when their products become the target of litigation. Our attorneys have successfully handled matters from “bet the company” litigation to individual claims in jurisdictions around the country. We have extensive experience in all phases of mass-tort and multidistrict litigation, including complex document review and production, motion practice, lay and expert witness depositions, retention and development of defense experts, pre-trial preparations, and lead trial counsel.

Labor & Employment

PRACTICE SUMMARY

The labor and employment group represents employers both in federal and state courts, as well as before federal and state administrative agencies. Our experience covers matters involving allegations of employment discrimination, retaliation, sexual harassment, civil rights violations, contract disputes, and workers’ compensation disputes. We have handled matters based on a variety of state and federal statutes, including the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, and the Louisiana Employment Discrimination Law. Our attorneys strive to preempt litigation when possible by advising clients on issues such as discharging employees, enforcement of non-competition agreements, and claims brought under state or federal whistleblower laws. Our experience and success in this field have earned us the representation of both private school systems and public school districts throughout Louisiana.

Insurance

PRACTICE SUMMARY

The casualty group represents a diverse selection of insurers, risk retention groups, and self-insureds in defending personal injury and property damage claims arising out of business premises, construction, industrial, maritime, trucking, and vehicular accidents. We provide our clients with the information and counsel necessary to allow them to make the most cost-effective decisions at the earliest possible moment in litigation. We employ advanced technology to keep transactional costs at a minimum while still thoroughly preparing for trial.

Environmental & Toxic Tort

PRACTICE SUMMARY

The environmental and toxic tort group has successfully defended matters in a wide array of settings, including litigation involving alleged chemical exposures, soil and groundwater contamination, and regulatory violations. Our experience in this area is broad and includes the defense of claims involving arsenic, asbestos, electromagnetic radiation, formaldehyde, herbicides, lead, pesticides, silica, termiticides, and a multitude of other chemical and biological substances. We regularly handle individual, multi-plaintiff, and class action claims in both federal and state courts. Our track record includes successful dispositive briefing, denial of class certifications, exclusion of countervailing expert opinions at Daubert hearings, and, when necessary, a vigorous defense at trial.

Electronic Discovery

PRACTICE SUMMARY

Electronic discovery and document management have become critical to the defense and management of complex matters. Irwin Fritchie has extensive experience in these areas. We have significant hands-on experience in the identification, acquisition, analysis, coding, and production of paper documents and electronically stored information. Our team is well versed in the traditional issues of electronic discovery, including confidentiality, privilege, and subject-specific reviews. We regularly expand our analysis beyond these traditional reviews to higher-level work, such as the development of broader case themes and tactics based on in-depth document analysis. Irwin Fritchie has handled document projects involving more than 25,000,000 documents. We are able to offer a dedicated document-management workspace staffed by experienced attorneys and paralegals when needed, and our technological capabilities include case management systems, litigation databases, document depositories, and extranets, all of which provide our clients and litigation teams with the resources necessary for an effective, efficient, and coordinated defense.

Casualty

PRACTICE SUMMARY

The casualty group represents a diverse selection of insurers, risk retention groups, and self-insureds in defending personal injury and property damage claims arising out of business premises, construction, industrial, maritime, trucking, and vehicular accidents. From the outset of litigation, our primary responsibility is to develop and implement a comprehensive, coordinated defense strategy that fits our client’s objectives. We counsel our clients with the information necessary to make cost-effective decisions at the earliest possible moment in litigation. Our trial and negotiating experience also allows us to effectively pursue the successful resolution of claims, whether through settlement, mediation, pre-trial motions, or trial. We employ advanced technology to keep transactional costs at a minimum while still thoroughly preparing for trial.

Complex Litigation

PRACTICE SUMMARY

The complex litigation group has extensive experience managing litigation efficiently and effectively. We have demonstrated ourselves to be a highly-skilled and cost-effective option for our clients in multijurisdictional and complex litigation. We pride ourselves in providing the quality of work typically associated with a large, national firm but are able to do so at a reduced cost.

Our attorneys are flexible and team oriented, and they routinely integrate themselves into multi-firm litigation teams in complex matters. We take on a range of roles, including national coordinating counsel, national trial counsel, affirmative discovery counsel, e-discovery, and document management counsel, as well as the more traditional roles of regional and local counsel.

We are familiar with the legal and practical issues that arise in anticipation of multidistrict litigation and during its administration. We have supervised motion practice on a national level and maintain a robust library of briefs on a wide variety of topics. In matters requiring an in-depth understanding of complex scientific and medical issues, we serve as national and international science counsel, responsible for fully understanding the underlying science, identifying experts in the relevant disciplines, and preparing those experts for depositions and trial. Our attorneys are accustomed to traveling across the country to complete initial discovery and analyze individual cases to determine whether they are appropriate for early resolution or whether they should be identified as bellwether trial candidates. Our counsel continues after the litigation is resolved by performing detailed retrospective analyses for our clients and providing specific recommendations to reduce exposure moving forward.

Commercial Litigation

PRACTICE SUMMARY

The commercial litigation group represents clients in a wide array of matters ranging from complex commercial litigation to simple contractual disputes. Our experience ranges from securing preliminary relief, such as injunctions and restraining orders, to complex, multi-party litigation involving motion practice, discovery, trial, appeals, arbitration, mediation, and other types of alternative dispute resolution. Our attorneys have handled multimillion-dollar claims against vendors and subcontractors for violations of contractual agreements in a variety of forums. While we aggressively represent our clients in litigation, we also recognize the importance of resolving disputes before our clients incur significant costs, and we are sensitive to the fact that commercial disputes, unlike many other types of litigation, often have business implications that must be managed creatively to arrive at a resolution that truly serves our clients’ needs.

TEAM MEMBERS