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Bijan Esfandiari

Wisner Baum - Los Angeles
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Bijan Esfandiari
Wisner Baum - Los Angeles
Los Angeles,
 CA

ATTORNEY, SENIOR PARTNER

Bijan Esfandiari is a pharmaceutical product liability litigation attorney and senior shareholder at Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman in Los Angeles. Since joining the firm in 2007, Bijan has worked as lead counsel on several cutting-edge pharmaceutical and medical device cases. His legal work has helped thousands of clients secure compensation for their injuries and shaped the law for the benefit of those harmed by dangerous drugs and medical devices.

Bijan spent the first five years of his legal career as a defense attorney at a major national law firm. While working on a variety of cases spanning multiple disciplines, including entertainment law, intellectual property, and toxic torts, he became discontented with representing corporate polluters. Recalling that he went to law school to help those who were harmed by the greed and neglect of others, Bijan left the defense firm and joined Baum Hedlund, where he immediately found a committed group of lawyers and colleagues that shared his dedication to helping people harmed by corporate malfeasance.

Since his arrival, Bijan has successfully represented clients in state and federal courts across the nation at both the trial and appellate level in wrongful death and catastrophic personal injury cases. Utilizing the discovery process, he has fought to de-designate internal corporate documents demonstrating that pharmaceutical manufacturers intentionally concealed dangers associated with their products simply to maintain sales and profits. In a noteworthy case against drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Bijan obtained, examined, and presented evidence to the Court, which later ruled that: “internal GSK documents suggest that Defendant acted with a wanton and willful disregard for the safety of its consumers…Given such evidence, Plaintiffs may be able to establish at trial that Defendant knew of the risks of pediatric use of its drug yet failed to warn solely to increase the commercial profitability of Paxil.” The ruling allowed Bijan’s clients to proceed with claims for punitive damages and resulted in a successful resolution of the case.

Bijan routinely works on challenging cases for severely injured clients that other law firms refuse to represent due to the costs and legal hurdles. His efforts have not only helped these clients that other attorneys turned away; they also led to precedent-setting legal rulings that have benefited all plaintiffs and consumers.

Many of these precedential successes came in the form of defeating pharmaceutical and medical device companies’ claims that they are immune (preempted) from liability by virtue of their products being approved by the FDA. In 2014, Bijan successfully briefed and argued the first and only medical device preemption case at the time before the Maryland Court of Special Appeals. In an issue of first impression, the three-judge panel in McCormick v. Medtronic, Inc., 219 Md. App.485, unanimously agreed with Bijan’s arguments that the device manufacturer was not entitled to ATTORNEY, SENIOR PARTNER

Bijan Esfandiari is a pharmaceutical product liability litigation attorney and senior partner at Wisner Baum in Los Angeles. Since joining the firm in 2007, Bijan has worked as lead counsel on several cutting-edge pharmaceutical and medical device cases. His legal work has helped thousands of clients secure compensation for their injuries and shaped the law for the benefit of those harmed by dangerous drugs and medical devices.

Bijan spent the first five years of his legal career as a defense attorney at a major national law firm. While working on a variety of cases spanning multiple disciplines, including entertainment law, intellectual property, and toxic torts, he became discontented with representing corporate polluters. Recalling that he went to law school to help those who were harmed by the greed and neglect of others, Bijan left the defense firm and joined Baum Hedlund (now Wisner Baum), where he immediately found a committed group of lawyers and colleagues that shared his dedication to helping people harmed by corporate malfeasance.

Wisner Baum Senior Partner Bijan Esfandiari discusses the Gardasil HPV Vaccine Multidistrict Litigation (MDL). Just days after this interview a federal panel of judges approved the MDL, allowing Gardasil cases to move into coordinated discovery and pretrial proceedings. Gardasil plaintiffs who allege they sustained debilitating Gardasil side effects, will now be able to have their day in court.

Since his arrival, Bijan has successfully represented clients in state and federal courts across the nation at both the trial and appellate level in wrongful death and catastrophic personal injury cases. Utilizing the discovery process, he has fought to de-designate internal corporate documents demonstrating that pharmaceutical manufacturers intentionally concealed dangers associated with their products simply to maintain sales and profits. In a noteworthy case against drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Bijan obtained, examined, and presented evidence to the Court, which later ruled that: “internal GSK documents suggest that Defendant acted with a wanton and willful disregard for the safety of its consumers…Given such evidence, Plaintiffs may be able to establish at trial that Defendant knew of the risks of pediatric use of its drug yet failed to warn solely to increase the commercial profitability of Paxil.” The ruling allowed Bijan’s clients to proceed with claims for punitive damages and resulted in a successful resolution of the case.

Bijan routinely works on challenging cases for severely injured clients that other law firms refuse to represent due to the costs and legal hurdles. His efforts have not only helped these clients that other attorneys turned away; they also led to precedent-setting legal rulings that have benefited all plaintiffs and consumers.

Many of these precedential successes came in the form of defeating pharmaceutical and medical device companies’ claims that they are immune (preempted) from liability by virtue of their products being approved by the FDA. In 2014, Bijan successfully briefed and argued the first and only medical device preemption case at the time before the Maryland Court of Special Appeals. In an issue of first impression, the three-judge panel in McCormick v. Medtronic, Inc., 219 Md. App.485, unanimously agreed with Bijan’s arguments that the device manufacturer was not entitled to immunity and held that the plaintiff could proceed with his claims against the medical device manufacturer. This appellate success led to thousands of other similarly injured plaintiffs being able to successfully bring and maintain claims against the device manufacturer.

In a similar proceeding, Bijan successfully briefed and argued the first drug preemption case before the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. The three-judge panel in Mason v. SmithKline Beecham Corp., 596 F.3d. 387 unanimously agreed with Bijan’s arguments, finding that plaintiffs’ claims against the drug manufacturer were not preempted by federal law.

The significance of these and other landmark rulings cannot be overstated. They ensure that drug and medical device companies that engage in deceptive or impermissible conduct are not entitled to immunity and that they can be held accountable in a court of law for any injuries they or their products cause to consumers.

Aside from obtaining substantial monetary recoveries for his clients, the cases Bijan and his colleagues have worked on helped give the public and medical community a chance to learn more about previously undisclosed risks associated with drugs, devices, and products. In multiple instances, his casework helped lead to labeling changes or dangerous products being removed from the market to prevent consumers and patients from suffering harm.

The son of an infectious disease scientist, Bijan was surrounded by members of the medical community from a young age. In addition to the joy he receives from representing and obtaining justice for his clients, a favorite part of Bijan’s legal practice is that it allows him to learn from some of the world’s leading medical experts in their respective fields, retained in the pharmaceutical and medical device cases he handles.

EDUCATION

University of California School of Law, Los Angeles, California (J.D., 2002)

University of California, Los Angeles (B.A., cum laude, 1999)

Member, UCLA School of Law Moot Court Honors Program

COURT ADMISSIONS

California, 2002

U.S. District Court, Central District of California, 2002

U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, 2002

U.S. District Court, Southern District of California, 2005

U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California, 2005

U.S. Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit, 2008

U.S. District Court, Western District of Michigan, 2008

U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Wisconsin, 2008

U.S. Court of Appeals, Third Circuit, 2008

U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit, 2009

U.S. Supreme Court, 2011

U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, 2012

U.S. Court of Appeals, First Circuit, 2013

U.S. District Court, Western District of Wisconsin, 2021

U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico, 2021

U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Texas, 2021

U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan, 2022

AWARDS AND HONORS

The Best Lawyers in America® 2022 – 2024

Lawdragon 500 Leading Plaintiff Consumer Lawyers, 2023

California Powerhouse, Law360 Regional Powerhouse Series, 2021

Products Liability Trial Lawyers Association – Top 25

The National Trial Lawyers Top 100 Trial Lawyers

Selected to: Southern California Super Lawyers®, 2017 – 2023

Selected to: Southern California Super Lawyers® – Rising Stars, 2009 – 2016

Up-and-Coming 100: 2016 Southern California Rising Stars – Top List

Avvo.com Superb Score 10 out of 10

Member, UCLA School of Law Moot Court Honors Program

LITIGATION LEADERSHIP

Co-Lead Plaintiffs' Counsel for Gardasil MDL No. 3036 - In Re: Gardasil Products Liability Litigation, U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina, 2022 -

MEMBER

State Bar of California

American Association for Justice: Leader’s Forum - Champion; Police Misconduct Litigation Group

Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles

Member, UCLA Journal of International Law & Foreign Affairs

Contributing Author to The Docket, a UCLA School of Law Publication

GUEST SPEAKER

American Association for Justice Conferences 

American Bar Association 

Harris Martin Conferences 

Mass Torts Made Perfect Conferences and Webinars

San Fernando Valley Bar Association

Selling Sickness Conferences

University of Toronto Faculty of Law

AUTHOR

Challenging Medical Ghostwriting in US Courts – PLOS Medicine, January 24, 2012

Reason Magazine Perpetuates False Information About Safety and Efficacy of Antidepressants, September 30, 2011

Levine To Mensing — A Journey From The Sublime To The Ridiculous – LexisNexis® Mealey’s™ Emerging Drugs & Devices, Volume 16, Issue #16, August 18, 2011

Outsmarting the ‘Learned-Intermediary Doctrine’ Defense – The Advocate, February 2010, pg 62

Preemption’s Requiem in the Wake of Wyeth v. Levine – LexisNexis® Mealey’s™ Emerging Drugs & Devices, Volume 14, Issue #10, May, 2009

Complete Tort Immunity For Drug Manufacturers Is Bad For The Public Health: A Commentary On Colacicco v. Apotex And Other Recent Preemption Decisions – LexisNexis® Mealey’s™ Litigation Report: Antidepressant Report, Volume 4, Issue #10, May, 2008

Caught Without a License – Marketing Management – Marketing Law, November/December, 2007

YouTube Sued: It’s a Riot – American Bar Association, Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section (TIPS) Media Privacy Committee Newsletter, Fall, 2006

Camisoles: Providing Thin Protection, IP – Law 360, September 28, 2006

Grokster: Inducing Further Litigation – ABA Tort Trial & Practice Section, Intellectual Property Law Committee Newsletter, Fall, 2005

PRO BONO AND CIVIC ACTIVITIES

Member, Representative Assembly of the Palms Neighborhood Council

Public Counsel Volunteer Attorney, 2007

PUBLISHED CASES

Hricik v. Stryker Biotech, LLC, 89 F. Supp. 3d 694 (E.D. Pa. 2015) (granting plaintiff’s motion to remand the case back to state court)

Boutte v. Stryker Biotech, LLC, 67 F. Supp. 3d 732, 734 (M.D. La. 2014) (denying defendant’s motion to dismiss and permitting plaintiff to proceed with his products liability claims against medical device manufacturer)

McCormick v. Medtronic, Inc., 219 Md. App. 485, 101 A.3d 467 (2014) (unanimously reversing the trial court’s preemption/dismissal ruling and holding that injured patient’s claims arising out of medical device manufacturer’s off-label promotion of its medical device were not preempted by federal law and thus allowing plaintiff to proceed with his meritorious claims)

Cabana v. Stryker Biotech, LLC et al., Case No. BC465313, 2012 WL 3729227 (Cal.Super. Ct., August 20, 2012) (holding that injured patient’s state law claims arising out of medical device manufacturer’s off-label promotion of its bone morphogenetic protein [Infuse] were not expressly nor impliedly preempted by federal law)

Dorsett v. Sandoz, Inc., 699 F.Supp.2d 1142 (C.D.Cal. 2010) (denying defendants’ preemption motion and holding that both name-brand and generic drug manufacturers have an affirmative duty to issue warnings)

Tucker v. SmithKline Beecham Corp., 701 F.Supp.2d 1040 (S.D.Ind.2010) (denying defendant’s learned intermediary defense and further allowing plaintiffs’ experts to testify regarding the causal association between antidepressants and increased suicidal behavior)

Mason v. SmithKline Beecham Corp., 596 F.3d 387 (7th Cir. 2010) (unanimously reversing the trial court’s preemption ruling and allowing plaintiffs’ claims to proceed to a trial on the merits)

Forst v. Smithkline Beecham Corp., 639 F.Supp.2d 948 (E.D.Wis.,2009) (holding that plaintiffs’ claims are not preempted by federal law)

Forst v. SmithKline Beecham Corp., 602 F.Supp.2d 960 (E.D.Wis. 2009) (holding that Wisconsin has not adopted the learned intermediary doctrine and allowing all of plaintiffs’ claims, including, negligence, fraud and punitive damages to proceed to the jury)

Cunningham v. SmithKline Beecham, 255 F.R.D. 474 (N.D.Ind. 2009) (ordering defendant to produce documents and awarding sanctions)

Knipe v. SmithKline Beecham, 583 F.Supp.2d 602 (E.D.Pa. 2008) (holding that a drug manufacturer owes a duty to warn regarding risks associated with off-label uses and allowing plaintiffs’ claims for compensatory and punitive damages to proceed to the jury)

Knipe v. SmithKline Beecham, 583 F.Supp.2d 553 (E.D.Pa 2008) (holding that plaintiffs’ claims are not preempted by federal law)

Tucker v. SmithKline Beecham Corp., 596 F.Supp.2d 1225 (S.D.Ind. 2008) (granting plaintiff’s motion for reconsideration and holding that plaintiff’s claims are not preempted by federal law)

Berg & Berg Enterprises, LLC v. Sherwood Partners, Inc. (2005) 131 Cal.App.4th 802

NOTABLE MEDIA APPEARANCES

TV

KABC News Los Angeles

KCAL News Los Angeles

KCBS News Los Angeles

KNBC News Los Angeles

KTTV Fox 11 News Los Angeles

Radio

KPCC 89.3 Southern California Public Radio

News

Andrews Litigation Reporters

Bloomberg News

BNA (Bureau of National Affairs, Inc.)

California Lawyer Magazine

Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

FDA News: Devices & Diagnostics Letter

Law 360

Law.com

Lawyers USA

Mass Device Blog

Mealey’s Emerging Drugs & Devices

Mealey’s Litigation Report: Antidepressant Report

MedPage Today

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

National Law Journal

Nature

Pennsylvania Law Weekly

Pharmagossip

Pharmalot

Philadelphia Inquirer

Pittsburgh Post Gazette

San Francisco Chronicle

Sciencedaily.com

The Chronicle of Higher Education

The Legal Intelligencer

The Legal Intelligencer

The Star Ledger

Toronto Star

TRIAL magazine

Westlaw Journals

ADDITIONAL LANGUAGES

Farsi

German (conversational)

PRACTICE AREAS

Class Actions

Complex and Multi-District Litigation

Consumer Fraud Litigation

Defective Medical Devices

Personal Injury

Prescription Drugs

Gardasil Vaccine Lawsuit

Pharmaceutical Drug Product Liability

Zantac Cancer Lawsuit

Product Liability Law

Wrongful Death Law


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