Kimberly (“Kim”) Dougherty knew from an early age that she wanted to help people. She volunteered for Big Brother Big Sister in college and quickly became passionate about issues facing women, children and those in need. Kim then earned a Master’s degree in Social Work and worked in child protective services on a disciplinary team of lawyers and social workers in the Manhattan Family Courts. Soon after, she recognized that many people needed more than social work services. They needed a legal advocate. That’s when she decided to become an attorney.
Kim’s law practice quickly turned to the people who needed the help most: ones severely injured and harmed by corporations and institutions that put profits before people. Today, she is a leading attorney in complex pharmaceutical, medical device mass tort, personal injury, sexual assault and civil rights litigation, regularly lecturing nationwide on these topics and receiving Court appointments to lead litigations across the country. Kim has obtained multiple millions of dollars in settlements on behalf of thousands of clients and worked hard to also attain non-economic change to protect people in the future, including through FDA warnings, legislative change, creating healing funds, procedure and policy change and more. To Kim her work is about her clients and their healing and about justice, in every shape and form.
In 2021, Kim co-founded Justice Law Collaborative to help provide trauma informed legal services to those who need it most. Prior to founding Justice Law Collaborative, Kim served as a partner and the Managing Attorney of the Boston office of two separate nationwide law firms for many years. She is a volunteer advocate as President of the Massachusetts Women’s Bar Association and current President of National Women Trial Lawyers, and has regularly testified at the State House on laws to protect the rights of women and children, and lobbying legislators on those laws. She leads litigations across the country and has regularly lectured on various torts, a trauma-informed approach to assault cases, as well as the importance of increasing gender diversity in the judiciary and elected office. Kim is an experienced and fierce advocate, ready to help you with dedication and compassion to your cause.
SEXUAL ASSAULT AND CIVIL RIGHTS CASES
Kim’s work in the area of sexual assault and abuse began when she was at Columbia University School of Social Work in 1999, working as a social worker with a team of lawyers on child sexual and physical assault and neglect cases. She continued her work in this area as a lawyer, representing victims of domestic violence pro bono in restraining order and divorce matters throughout law school and early on in her legal career. In the past several years, Kim has become a leader in sexual assault litigation, representing students, athletes, church goers, orphans, patients and many other survivors of abuse and assault nationwide. Kim pursues claims against perpetrators of sexual assault and abuse and others who had the ability and obligation to intervene, but instead, turned a blind eye. In 2019, Kim resolved cases against Michigan State University on behalf of athletes abused by Olympic Coach, Larry Nassar, for multiple millions of dollars. Kim has also secured significant settlements for individual clients, up to well into seven figures related to abuse by teachers, coaches and priests.
LEADERSHIP IN DEFECTIVE MEDICAL DEVICE CASES
Kim has also been a leader in litigation involving defective devices. Kim was appointed to the Executive Committee for the Essure JCCP litigation coordinated in California in 2016, pursuing litigation on behalf of thousands of women injured by the permanent birth control device. Since the filing of initial lawsuits, the FDA has now 1) added a black box warning to the device, 2) requires physicians to utilize a lengthy patient checklist prior to implantation of the device, describing the risks associated with it, and 3) ordered further clinical studies to assess efficacy and safety issues. In 2020, Kim resolved cases on behalf of hundreds of women, resulting in a multi-million dollar settlement for her clients.
From 2005 to 2011, hundreds of thousands of women were implanted with transvaginal mesh (TVM), seeking to end their problems brought on by weakened pelvic muscles that could no longer support internal organs, and for leaky bladders. The devices were failing at an alarming rate and adverse reports to the FDA started surfacing almost immediately. Although approved by the FDA to repair abdominal hernias, the manufacturers were able to use an FDA process that allowed them to skip any testing on women for use of the products in a very different area of the body.
As a result of her leadership and experience in the TVM litigation, Kim has negotiated resolution of over 1200 cases on behalf of over 30 law firms, resulting in multiple millions of dollars in settlement funds for women injured by the device.
A natural progression lead Kim to recently be appointed to leadership positions in several hernia mesh consolidations, including litigation against Bard, Atrium and Covidien/Medtronic hernia mesh. She currently also serves as settlement and local counsel on approximately 2,000 hernia mesh cases.
FINDING EVIDENCE BEFORE IT COULD BE COVERED UP RESULTED IN $200MILLION RECOVERY FOR CLIENTS AND LAWYER OF THE YEAR HONOR
Kim’s intuition was very strong in the New England Compounding Center (NECC) tainted steroids case. In 2012, NECC distributed tainted steroids that had been produced in their facility. Hundreds of people all over the country became seriously ill, and many died. The quicker experts got inside the building to start looking for potential contamination sources, the quicker they would know what happened and who was responsible. After countless hours, overnights and weekends, preparing with experts for one of the most important arguments for the Court would hear, she was ready to fight for the victims. Before a holiday weekend, Kim urged a federal judge to allow plaintiffs’ experts access to the facility. The company fought hard against Kim’s efforts, but ultimately the Court ruled in her favor and crucial evidence was uncovered and the company was in trouble.
In 2013, Kim was appointed to the seven-person plaintiffs’ steering committee for the NECC multidistrict litigation (MDL) related to the fungal meningitis outbreak from contaminated steroids. Her work leading to the inspection of NECC’s facility, securing world-renowned experts and obtaining crucial evidence was integral to securing a $200 million settlement with NECC, its affiliates and other responsible parties in 2015. For these efforts, she was honored as The Massachusetts’ Lawyer of the Year by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly in 2015.
DANGEROUS DRUGS, CLASS ACTION LAWSUITS AND MASS TORTS
Kim has been appointed as Co-Liaison Counsel in litigation involving Covidien/Medtronic hernia mesh and GlaxoSmithKline’s off-label marketing of anti-nausea drug Zofran, to pregnant women causing serious birth defects.
Another mass tort case that Kim is also currently involved in, and is a natural progression from her transvaginal mesh work, is the defective hernia mesh litigation against Atrium C-Qur, Bard and others. Many of the hernia mesh devices have been recalled because they degrade and cause serious side effects, including mesh erosion, infections, adhesions, bowel or intestinal blockage and twisting, organ perforation, allergic reactions, nerve damage, and severe pain, all which ultimately may lead to corrective surgery.
Kim also managed metal on metal mass tort hip cases. Many of these devices have also been recalled, as they cause toxic, high levels of cobalt and chromium in the bloodstream, pseudotumors, hip stem fractures, and often require corrective surgery. These cases involve defendant manufacturers DePuy Orthopaedics, Stryker, Smith & Nephew, Biomet, Zimmer, Wright Medical and others.
Prior to Co-founding Justice Law Collaborative, Kim practiced mass tort product liability, medical malpractice, wrongful death, antitrust and consumer protection class-action lawsuits. She has litigated cases involving: