For over twenty years, I have worked extensively litigating personal injury product liability cases against major pharmaceutical companies resulting from the sale of dangerous drugs, medical devices and dietary supplements. My firm Andrews & Thornton has unique experience in obtaining compensation for clients despite the wrongdoing company declaring bankruptcy.
Andrews & Thornton is one of the law firms that joined in the founding of the University of California, Irvine School of Law, and we have made various contributions to the school on scholastic levels, including involvement in the school’s moot court competition and the funding of a scholarship endowment. I was appointed to the Dean’s Advisory Committee and have been fortunate enough to be recognized for extraordinary contribution in scholarship and leadership, and was awarded an Honorary Juris Doctorate at University of California, Irvine School of Law by Dean Erwin Chemerinsky.
I currently serve as a board member for Mission Plasticos (501c3 nonprofit organization), dedicated to providing reconstructive surgical care to those in need, and generating positive health outcomes through medical team training, public education, and research. Dr. Hans Kierstead, PHD is board chair. Dr. Keirstead is an internationally-known stem cell expert and has led therapy development for late stage cancers, immune disorders, motor neuron diseases, spinal cord injuries, and retinal diseases.
I am honored to be the 2015 recipient of the Distinguished Achievement (Top Gun) Award for Orange County Trial Lawyers Association (OCTLA) for my success in reaching a $200+ million settlement for the New England Compounding Center (NECC) bankruptcy. As Co-Chair of the Official Creditors’ Committee, I have worked with a team of top national attorneys to secure this incredible victory on behalf of the victims of the fungal meningitis outbreak caused by contaminated steroid injections from NECC. I was also formerly the 2005 recipient of the Top Gun Award for my work in mass torts products liability. In addition, my firm is a 2015 Products Liability Finalist for the National Law Journal’s Elite Trial Lawyers.
In October 2021, I was presented with the Mass Torts Made Perfect (MTMP) Legal Innovation Award in recognition of my pioneering of recoveries for mass tort victims inside major bankruptcy proceedings. I have had the privilege of leading seminars and webinars for MTMP for many years and I have relished the chance to speak on the latest innovations in the legal industry and in the field of mass torts.
I have also been given the opportunity to participate in the Artemis Project, founded by the National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC). The mission of the Artemis Project is focused on primary prevention stopping women and men from getting breast cancer and prevention of metastasis stopping deaths from the disease, the project starts clinical trials of a vaccine for breast cancer later this year.
Bankruptcy Leadership and Experience
Currently, I represent Cheryl Juaire on the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors in the Purdue Bankruptcy (In re Purdue Pharma L.P., Bankruptcy No. 19-23649, Chapter 11). I also represent more than 60,000 additional creditors of Purdue. Each of these victims’ stories are as tragic as the next, which hardworking, stable livelihoods being turned upside down or even ended early by these drugs. I have built my career out on representing victims of corporate greed and the bulk of my experience comes from litigating against the major global industries. Not only do I take on traditional lawsuits, but my firm has focused on representing victims in bankruptcies just like Purdue’s. Purdue will go down in the annals of legal history as one of the most complex and complicated bankruptcy cases ever. From non-debtor contributions to appeals and involvement from all fifty state Attorneys General and the Department of Justice, Purdue has been an uphill struggle from day one to secure compensation for the true victims of the opioid epidemic. I am confident that once resolved, Purdue will serve as an example of how value for personal injury victims can be found and carved out in bankruptcy cases, no matter the odds mass tort attorneys and victims’ advocates are facing. My firm has since applied the same strategy to the Mallinckrodt plc bankruptcy and secured significant funding for opioid victims in that case as well.
In 2020, I began serving on the Tort Claimants Creditors’ Committee in Boy Scouts (In re Boy Scouts of America, Bankruptcy No. 20-10343, Chapter 11). I represent more than 9,500 survivors that were sexually abused during their time in the scouts. Each of these devastating instances of abuse altered these survivors’ lives forever. Based on my desire to achieve equitable compensation for survivors in their lifetime I felt the need to step back from the Tort Claimants Creditors’ Committee and took it upon myself to found the Coalition of Abused Scouts for Justice (“Coalition”). I led the Coalition in negotiations with various parties in the Boy Scouts bankruptcy. The Coalition has negotiated the largest sexual abuse settlement in history, securing commitments of $2.8 billion dollars for sexual abuse survivors. I helped negotiate this plan that has overwhelming support from survivors and their representatives. In addition to compensation, the plan provides substantial youth protection measures to prevent these abuse incidents from continuing. Andrews & Thornton has also been appointed a seat on the Survivors Trust Advisory Committee. Along with Purdue, the Boy Scouts bankruptcy has proven particularly trying for mass tort attorneys advocating for victims. Without the Coalition, I firmly believe that tens of thousands of victims of sexual abuse would have walked away without compensation for the abuse they endured. However, with dedication to representing these individuals, confirmation of a Plan that will provide compensation for these unthinkable harms is on the horizon.
Most recently before Boy Scouts and Purdue, I represented my client as Co-Chair of the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors in Insys Therapeutics (In re Insys Therapeutics, Inc., Bankruptcy No. 19-11292, Chapter 11). Insys, as the first pharmaceutical bankruptcy stemming from the over 2,600 opioid lawsuits filed by states, cities, and counties, has already covered some of the difficult ground required in these complicated bankruptcies. I am confident that the victims of Insys will be compensated fairly in light of the limited resources available.
In addition to my work in Insys, I have served on Unsecured Creditors’ Committees in TwinLab (In re TL Admin. Corp., Bankruptcy No. 03-15564, Chapter 11), N.V.E. (In re N.V.E., Inc., Bankruptcy No. 05-35692, Chapter 11), and as the Chair of the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors in NECC (In re New England Compounding Pharmacy, Inc., Bankruptcy No. 12-19882, Chapter 11). I also participated in bankruptcy proceeding on behalf of tort creditors in Chemtura (In re Chemtura Corp., Bankruptcy No. 09-11233, Chapter 11), Metabolife (In re MII Liquidation Inc., Bankruptcy No. 05-6040, Chapter 11), MuscleTech (In re Ephedra Products Liability Litigation/In re Muscletech Research and Development, Inc., 349 B.R. 333 (S.D.N.Y. 2006), Chapter 15), and Dow Corning (In re Dow Corning Corp., Bankruptcy No: 95-20512, Chapter 11). In 2019, I began serving on the Tort Claimants’ Committee in PG&E (In re PG&E Corp., Bankruptcy No. 19-30088, Chapter 11).
I have been fortunate enough to have held leadership positions on the tort committees for plaintiffs in the bankruptcy proceedings filed by Metabolife International, Inc., MuscleTech, and NVE, Inc. Due in large part to my firm’s efforts, these bankruptcies generated over $300 million in settlement proceeds for the benefit of the claimants injured by ephedra. For In re MII Liquidation, Inc. (Metabolife – Chapter 11), I was selected by the Office of the United States Trustee for the Southern District of California to serve in a representative capacity for two of my clients on the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors, and I was elected by that Committee as Committee Co-Chair. In that capacity, I assisted in successfully negotiating the settlement of 700 tort claims within the bankruptcy.
I was also selected by the Office of the United States Attorney for the District of New Jersey to serve in a representative capacity for my client on the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors for the In re N.V.E., Inc. Chapter 11 case, where I served as Lead Counsel in the negotiation and global resolution of tort claims. In addition, I was selected, per coordinated orders of Justice Farley of the Ontario Commercial Court in Ontario, Canada and Judge Rakoff in the Southern District of New York, to serve on the Ad Hoc Committee of Tort Claimants in the Canadian CCAA case and companion U.S. Chapter 15 case in In re MuscleTech Research and Development, Inc. This was one of the first Chapter 15 cases ever filed (Chapter 15 provides for ancillary U.S. proceedings in aid of foreign main insolvency proceedings). My firm was an integral component to the negotiation and global resolution of tort claims in that case.
I was selected by the Office of United States Trustee for the Southern District of New York to serve in a representative capacity for my client on the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors in the In re Chemtura Corporation bankruptcy, which involved significant tort claims for injury resulting from exposure to diacetyl. I also served on the Official Creditors Committee in the tragic case of a deadly fungal meningitis outbreak caused by contaminated steroid injections made by the New England Compounding Pharmacy. The bankruptcy was in parallel with the MDL 2419 in the District of Massachusetts, before the honorable Rya W. Zobel.
In addition to my current committee work in opioid bankruptcies of Insys and Purdue, I represented a creditor seated on the Official Committee of Tort Creditors in PG&E. That case won court approval of a Restructuring Support Agreement that commits assets of $13.5 billion to victims of wildfires. My firm has also been selected to represent the PG&E Fire Victim Trust in its efforts to obtain more compensation from victims for the tortious conduct of third parties. I have also been involved in the Archdiocese of New Orleans (In re The Roman Catholic Church of the Archdiocese of New Orleans, Bankruptcy No. 20-10846, Chapter 11). These cases are heartbreaking to hear, but there remains a high demand for top lawyers at the intersection between bankruptcy and mass tort and I am honored to assist these victims.
Leadership and Experience in Multidistrict Litigations and State Coordinated Proceedings
I have been fortunate enough to serve in multiple capacities in Federal MDLs and state coordinated litigations, as detailed below. In each litigation I have been able to commit the time and energy to recruit and prepare nationally recognized experts whose reports and testimony have been instrumental in the litigation.
Understanding the importance of knowledgeable qualified experts regarding the prescription opioid litigation, I have been working to contact and secure the commitment of a number of the world’s leading experts in the issues confronting this litigation. I have been successful at assembling a distinguished panel of doctors and scientists with longstanding research interests in the epidemiology, pharmacology, neuroscience and public health issues of the opioid epidemic. Additionally, I have the ability to call on resources and contacts to bring additional expertise into litigations and bankruptcies as needed.
My firm, Andrews & Thornton, has extensive multidistrict federal and coordinated state experience. I was appointed to the In Re: Power Morcellator Products Liability Litigation (MDL 2652) Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee involving Johnson and Johnson’s Ethicon Power Morcellator under the Honorable Judge Kathryn H. Vratil in the United States District Court in the District of Kansas. We were involved in working with experts in alternative safer designs. The entire litigation settled at an early stage
I am currently honored to be appointed to the Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee in the In Re: Bair Hugger Forced Air Warming Devices Products Liability Litigation (MDL 2666), where I am fortunate enough to work with a diverse and highly skilled group of attorneys from across the nation. Our firm located and developed an internationally renowned expert in fluid dynamics to model the effect of the Bair Hugger forced air warming device on airflow in the operating theater. The modeling successfully withstood a Federal Rule of Evidence Rule 702 challenge. It will be important evidence in the upcoming trials.
I was appointed to the Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee (PEC) by the Honorable Robert L. Miller, Jr. for In Re: Biomet M2a Magnum Hip Implant products liability litigation (MDL 2391), which settled for $56 million in 2014. I chaired the Regulatory Committee.
Honorable Barry Ted Moskowitz appointed me to the PSC for In re Hydroxycut (MDL 2087). We developed key expert witnesses at the outset of the litigation in the key areas of nephrology, cardiology, pharmacology and neurology.
For In re: Ephedra Products Liability Litigation (MDL 1598), Hon. Jed. S. Rakoff of the Southern District of New York appointed me to the Plaintiffs’ Coordinating Counsel. My partner and I successfully conducted an extensive FRE 702 hearing involving complex scientific issues. We retained and developed the key experts in pharmacology, cardiology and neurology. I have served as Co-Plaintiffs’ Liaison Counsel in In re Metabolife for 356 Cases (Cal. JCCP 4360) before Honorable Ronald Styn in San Diego, CA.
My firm served as Lead Counsel in In re Quinine (JCCP 4565), which settled in 2011 with various manufacturers, including Teva and McKesson, for over $40 million. We developed top experts in the fields vital to the litigation: hematology and nephrology. I also served as Lead Counsel for USPLabs Dietary Supplement Cases (JCCP 4808), pursuing the makers of dietary supplements which caused serious cardiac and liver injuries to hundreds of victims.
In addition, my firm has represented clients in various capacities for the following pharmaceutical MDLs and state coordinated proceedings:
In Re: Actos (JCCP 4696)
In Re: Avandia (JCCP 4578)
In Re: Byetta (JCCP 4574)
In Re: C. R. Bard, Inc. Pelvic Repair System (MDL 2187)
In Re: Diet Drugs (Phentermine / Fenfluramine / Dexfenfluramine) products liability litigation (MDL 1203)
In Re: Fosamax / Alendronate Sodium (JCCP 4644)
In Re: Gadolinium (JCCP 4556 and MDL 1909)
In Re: Kugel Mesh (MDL 1842)
In Re: PPA litigation (MDL 1470)
In Re: Pradaxa (MDL 2385)
In Re: Reglan Metoclopramide (JCCP 4631)
Risperdal and Invega Product Liability Cases (JCCP 4775)
In Re: Stryker Rejuvenate & ABG II Hip Implant (MDL 2441)
USPLabs Dietary Supplement Cases (JCCP 4808)
In Re: Vioxx (MDL 1657)
In Re: Yaz Yasmin (JCCP 4608 and MDL 2100)
In Re: Zimmer Durom Cups (MDL 2158)
In Re: Zoloft (MDL 2342)
My firm also developed extensive expert testimony in a large-scale single-action litigation involving the Karl Storz Power Morcellator (Case No. BC581718) in Los Angeles Superior Court where victims received millions in compensation. Andrews & Thornton has led many other cases involving harmful drugs, medical devices, and consumer products over the last twenty years, including haircare product (WEN by Chaz Dean), fertility drugs (Bravelle), and various food outbreak cases involving Salmonella and Hepatitis A.
In addition to my leadership experience in multiple litigations, I have held board positions in the following organizations: Consumer Attorneys of California (CAOC), Orange County Trial Lawyers (OCTLA), Orange County Bar Association (OCBA) and I am frequently invited to speak as a lecturer in frequent areas of law as a recognized expert in generating value for mass tort victims in bankruptcies around the country. I am past President of OCTLA and led the Hydroxycut Litigation Group and Fungal Meningitis Litigation Group for the American Association for Justice (AAJ).