Arnold & Porter adds five-partner product liability team in Houston and DC

Veteran litigators join amid uptick in federal and state regulatory scrutiny facing product manufacturers

Arnold & Porter has strengthened its product liability litigation group in the US with the hire of a team from Shook Hardy & Bacon. 

Partners Frank Cruz-Alvarez, Brian Jackson, Christopher Nease, David Thorne and Michael Walden have joined the 1,000-lawyer firm alongside Rachel Forman, who has joined as counsel. 

The new arrivals are split between Arnold & Porter’s Washington DC and Houston offices. According to their LinkedIn bios the partners all spent more than 20 years at Shook Hardy, which is known for its product liability defence work, while Forman joined the firm in 2016. 

Arnold & Porter chairman Richard Alexander said the new arrivals’ extensive trial experience litigating complex product liability matters and their “demonstrated track record of success” would add strength to the firm’s existing team.

Between them the team members have represented numerous Fortune 500 companies and individuals in complex domestic and international disputes. They serve as pre-trial counsel as well as trial and appellate counsel to clients from a range of industries including tobacco, pharmaceuticals and medical devices. 

The team have joined Arnold & Porter as product manufacturers grapple with growing federal and state regulatory scrutiny, and Cruz-Alvarez and Jackson told Reuters that the firm’s strengths in transactional and regulatory work as well as litigation would benefit their clients. 

Arnold & Porter’s product liability team is ranked Band 1 by Chambers and Partners, which notes the team “possesses an impressive bench of trial and appellate attorneys” that act across areas such as tobacco disputes, toxic torts and major consumer fraud actions. 

The team is co-chaired by New York-based partner Anand Agneshwar, whose CV includes representing Sanofi as lead counsel in Thalidomide litigation, and Washington DC-based Daphne O’Connor. She has defended clients including Wyeth and Phillip Morris in federal and state litigation. 

Cruz-Alvarez commented: “Arnold & Porter has a robust product liability litigation practice that is known for handling high-stakes litigation for its clients. Joining this team’s platform has allowed us to better serve our clients and deliver solutions to their most challenging product liability litigation issues.”

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