Jayne Conroy is a named shareholder at Simmons Hanly Conroy and oversees practice areas in the Complex Litigation Department. Under her leadership, the firm has become one of the country’s largest plaintiff law firms dedicated to helping those injured by corporate wrongdoing.
With a legal career spanning more than three decades, Jayne has earned a superb national reputation as an elite trial lawyer, skilled strategist and decisive negotiator. She has consistently helped secure billions of dollars in verdicts and settlements for thousands of individuals, families and communities in numerous courtrooms nationwide.
“We are a threat to defendants because we are everywhere,” Jayne said while talking about the depth of experience in her department. “They know they have to deal with us, and we are prepared to try cases.”
Jayne focuses her practice on helping plaintiffs exclusively in mass torts, class actions, product liability, pharmaceutical and sexual abuse litigation. She serves or has served on dozens of court-appointed leadership committees in complex legal actions of national scope. These complex mass tort cases, called multidistrict litigations or MDLs, involve thousands of cases originating from state courts around the country and consolidated before a single federal judge.
Jayne’s most recent MDL appointments include the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee Leadership in the In re: Social Media Adolescent Addiction/Personal Injury Products Liability Litigation, which alleges social media platforms encourage addictive behavior in adolescents, and the Plaintiff’s Steering Committee for the multidistrict litigation against McKinsey & Company in the In re McKinsey & Co Inc National Prescription Opiate Consultant Litigation, Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation, which alleges McKinsey knowingly engineered marketing tactics that caused an avalanche of opioid addiction.
Other high-profile appointments include serving:
As a co-lead of the sprawling National Prescription Opiate Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) before Judge Polster in the Northern District of Ohio
As lead counsel in the NY state bellwether trial alongside Nassau County and the Attorney General of NY, against the entire opioid industry and resulting in over $1.7B in settlements and a plaintiff’s verdict against a manufacturer and a distributor
On the lead trial team that secured over $325 million in settlements for two Ohio counties related to the first bellwether trial in the ongoing opioid MDL
On the lead trial team that secured three consecutive bellwether 9-figure verdicts on behalf of patients injured by Johnson & Johnson/DePuy’s Pinnacle metal-on-metal hip replacement
On leadership in the Volkswagen emission scandal MDL
As legal representative of several thousand victims and families impacted by the 9/11 terrorist attacks
As the co-chair of the Environmental Testing Committee for the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster MDL
In individual cases against a variety of religious, educational and civic organizations for hundreds of sex abuse victims.
“Terrible things have happened to my clients that I can’t change, but what I can do is try to get them the justice they deserve,” Jayne said. “We are the best at doing that.”
The results Jayne has helped secure for her clients underscore the quality of her legal work. Her vast experience orchestrating large and multifaceted multidistrict litigations has resulted in multiple, significant settlements for her clients and thousands of others nationwide.
A sampling of her results includes:
Over $1.7 billion in settlements with multiple opioid manufacturers and distributors as part of the consolidated New York State opioid trial;
$26 billion global settlement with McKesson Corp., Cardinal Health Inc., AmerisourceBergen Drug Corp. and Johnson & Johnson as part of the National Prescription Opiate MDL;
Over $1.7 billion in verdicts for those affected by J&J/DePuy Pinnacle hip replacement devices after four bellwether trials;
$650.5 million in abatement fees against CVS, Walgreens and Walmart in Lake and Trumbull counties in Ohio for contributing to the opioid epidemic;
$60 million to a class of 170+ Haitian boys abused by a convicted pedophile at a school sponsored by a Connecticut-based university;
$16 billion global settlement for owners of VW vehicles involved in the 2016 emissions scandal;
Multiple billions of dollars in claims for businesses and individuals harmed by the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill;
$1.69 billion global settlement for women injured by Yaz birth control; and
Hundreds of millions of dollars in settlements for the families and victims of the 9/11 tragedy.
Jayne’s legal track record demonstrates her stature as one of the preeminent litigators of the nation’s plaintiffs’ bar. National legal publications and well-respected legal organizations recognize this fact. In 2022, Law360 named her a Titan of the Plaintiffs’ Bar. Previous honors include induction into the National Trial Lawyers Association’s Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame, election as a member of the exclusive American Law Institute, recognition as an Elite Women of the Plaintiffs Bar Winner by The National Law Journal, and the American Association for Justice’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
Fighting the Opioid Epidemic
Jayne and the firm are at the forefront of unprecedented litigation that seeks to resolve the ongoing opioid epidemic. The litigation seeks to secure meaningful funds for communities that incurred millions in costs related to dealing with the estimated 400,000 opioid-related deaths since 1996.
“Every one of those communities has a story about how the opioid epidemic has devastated the families who live there,” Jayne said. “The opioid litigation allows us to get some relief to these communities faster, which could actually help someone who has not been hurt yet.”
National Prescription Opiate MDL
Jayne has a long track record of holding opioid manufacturers accountable for misleading marketing. In 2003, she and Shareholder Paul Hanly, who served as co-lead of the ongoing opioid MDL, represented more than 5,000 individuals against Purdue Pharma, the manufacturer of OxyContin.
By implementing a successful discovery plan, Jayne and her legal team uncovered evidence proving the full extent of Purdue’s criminality and its fraudulent marketing campaign designed to persuade physicians that OxyContin was not addictive. Following a 3-year battle, which included Jayne, Paul and the firm filing more than 1,200 cases in various courts across the country, Purdue Pharma settled the litigation for a significant confidential settlement in 2007.
The litigation also led to a Department of Justice investigation that resulted in Purdue Pharma paying more than $600 million in fines. Three of its executives also pled guilty to criminal charges that they misled regulators, doctors and patients about the drug’s risk of addiction and personally paid millions of dollars in fines.
After Paul Hanly’s untimely passing in early 2021, Jayne took over as co-lead counsel of the Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee (PEC) that leads the ongoing National Prescription Opiate MDL. After years of advocating for their over 3,000 community clients, Jayne and the PEC endorsed a $26 billion global settlement with opioid manufacturer Johnson & Johnson and the “Big 3” drug distributors AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health and McKesson.
As part of the MDL, in November 2021, Jayne and her legal team secured the first nationwide jury verdict in an opioid case, holding pharmacy chains CVS, Walgreens and Wal-Mart responsible for their role in the opioid epidemic in Lake and Trumbull County in Ohio. In August 2022, U.S. District Judge Dan Aaron Polster ordered them to pay $650.5 million in abatement fees over a 15-year span. The opioid team also won a key verdict in San Francisco in 2022; in the first bench trial to decide in the plaintiff’s favor in the national opioid litigation, a federal judge found Walgreens liable for contributing to the epidemic in the city.
New York State Opioid Trial
In addition to her work on the national opioid MDL, Jayne served as lead counsel for Suffolk County in the New York State opioid trial, whose defendants encompass the entire opioid supply chain.
As part of the New York State trial, Jayne and her team secured over $1.7 billion in settlements from multiple major opioid manufacturers and distributors for Suffolk and Nassau County as well as the state of New York, its counties and New York City. The NY trial plaintiffs were the first to finalize the Big 3 and J&J settlement, serving as a catalyst for the remainder of the country.
Building upon that success, Jayne and her team secured a landmark verdict in December 2021 that found the remaining defendants, opioid manufacturer Teva Pharmaceuticals and distributor Anda, liable for their role in the opioid epidemic.
This was the first opioid case to be heard before a jury and is considered to be one of the largest and longest jury trial proceedings in New York history.
Helping Victims of Child Sexual Abuse
Jayne has helped hundreds of victims of sexual abuse secure justice from the institutions responsible for their abuse. In 2019, she helped achieve a landmark $60 million class action settlement on behalf of 170-plus Haitian boys harmed by a convicted pedophile and former school administrator associated with a Jesuit school in Connecticut. In 2013, the same defendants paid $12 million to settle similar claims brought by 24 other young men victimized when they were children.
Protecting Rights of Patients Injured by Hip Implants
Jayne previously served on the Plaintiff Executive Committee in the DePuy Pinnacle federal litigation involving more than 9,000 patients injured by Johnson & Johnson’s metal-on-metal hip replacement device. As a member of the trial team, she secured three consecutive 9-figure bellwether trial verdicts, including a $1 billion result for six families.
In early 2019, amidst a retrial led by Jayne and her legal team, Johnson & Johnson agreed to a significant global settlement to resolve all pending litigation.
Litigating on Behalf of Volkswagen Owners and Dealers
A member of the Volkswagen MDL Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee, Jayne has been on the front lines of helping thousands of VW and Audi diesel owners impacted by the emission scandal. The litigation recently resolved with VW agreeing to pay more than $16 billion in fines and buybacks to thousands of car owners impacted by the company’s deceitful actions.
Jayne also leads the firm’s efforts in representing dealers who were in competition with Volkswagen and lost sales as a direct result of the company’s misleading advertising efforts and falsified emissions reports.
Beyond the Courtroom
Whether in or out of the courtroom, Jayne is instantly recognizable by her vintage couture style and can often be seen wearing beautifully constructed suits from the 1940s in the courtroom and around the New York office where she is based. She credits her innate sense of style to her mother, as well as her grandmother, a master seamstress who made most of her clothes growing up.
Jayne currently resides in New York City and Cape Cod.
Medical Device Litigation
Prescription Opioid Litigation
Sexual Abuse Litigation
Bar and Court Admissions:
U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts, 1986
U.S. Court of Appeals, First Circuit, 1986
U.S. District Court, District of Columbia, 1997
New York, 1996
U.S. District Court, Southern and Eastern Districts of New York, 1996
U.S. District Court, District of Columbia and U.S. Court of Federal Claims, 2003
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Illinois, 2004
The Best Lawyers in America®
Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions, “Lawyer of the Year”, New York City, 2022
Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions – Plaintiffs, 2016-2023
Product Liability Litigation – Plaintiffs, 2021-2023
Law360, Titan of the Plaintiffs’ Bar, 2022
Thomson Reuters, New York Metro Super Lawyers®: 2010 – 2022
Top 50: Women New York Metro Super Lawyers: 2020 – 2021
The National Law Journal
Elite Women of the Plaintiffs Bar Winner, 2021
Plaintiffs’ Lawyer Trailblazer List, 2020
American Association for Justice’s Lifetime Achievement Award, 2021
Elected as a member of the American Law Institute, 2019
National Trial Lawyers Association’s Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame, 2019
Martindale-Hubbell AV® Preeminent™
Panelist, “Governmental Misconduct and the Toxins,” Harris Martin Camp Lejeune Litigation Conference, 2022
Panelist, “How 21 Firms Organized Opioid Litigation,” CLE Conference at Spangenberg Shibley & Liber LLP, 2022
Baylor Law National Advisory Panel, 2022
Speaker/President, National Trial Lawyers Summit, 2022
Ethics Panelist, Mass Torts Puerto Rico, 2022
Participant, Revision of the Manual for Complex Litigation, Federal Judicial Center, Washington, D.C., 2022
Panelist, Bolch Judicial Institute, Duke Law, Mass Tort MDL Certificate Program, 2022
Speaker, 22nd Annual Complex Litigation Symposium LSBA and Baylor Law School, 2022
Federal Bar Council: Panelist on Trial Advocacy, Winter Bench & Bar Conference, 2001, 2003, 2019
Evaluating 2015 Rule 26 Discovery, Duke University, Arlington VA, 2019
American Law Institute, Washington, D.C., 2019
Harris Martin Development Mass Torts, New Orleans, 2019
Emory State/Federal Coordination: Newport Beach, CA, 2019
Harris Martin MDL Conference, 2018-2019, Co-Chair 2022
Mass Torts Made Perfect, 2018-2019, 2022
Masters of Mass Torts, 2018-2019
Cambridge Forum on Mass Tort Litigation, 2018
Women’s Issues in Litigation, Santa Monica, 2018
AAJ National Conference, Denver, 2018
Duke Law – MDL Problems, Atlanta, 2018
Panelist, Mealey’s Pharmaceutical Lawyers’ SuperConference, 2008
Panelist, ABA Pharmaceutical CLE Workshop, 2008
Lecturer, National Law Journal Litigation Summit, 2002
New York County Lawyers Association: CLE Instructor on Trial Advocacy 2000, 2001
American Association for Justice; Co-Chair, Mealey’s Asbestos and Bankruptcy Seminar, 2001
The National Trial Lawyers: President of Top 100 Trial Lawyers, 2022
The Association of the Bar of the City of New York
New York State Bar Association: Chair, Products Liability Committee, 2002 to 2004
Massachusetts Bar Association
Federal Bar Council
American Association for Justice
Dartmouth College (B.A., 1980)
New England School of Law (J.D., 1985). Editor, New England Journal on Criminal & Civil Confinement, 1984-85
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