Marilyn is a trial attorney and partner in Reed Smith’s Los Angeles office, and is a member of both the firm’s Commercial Litigation and Life Sciences Health Industry Groups. She has more than two decades of experience handling commercial disputes, products liability and related regulatory proceedings in federal and state courts around the country. Coordinating complex issues with a top-notch team of lawyers – with a variety of levels of experience and across multiple practice areas and industries – to assure efficient communication and high-caliber work product, is a guiding principal of Marilyn’s national practice. As National Counsel in numerous high-profile actions, including multidistrict proceedings, Marilyn facilitated discovery efforts, formulated litigation strategy, retained and prepared expert witnesses, prepared and argued dispositive and pretrial motions, and acted as trial counsel.
Marilyn has a wealth of knowledge and experience with products manufactured by both branded and generic pharmaceutical companies and medical device companies, including pre-clinical and clinical development; NDA and ANDA regulatory approval and related preemption issues; design and manufacturing regulations; product labeling and licensing; and product launch and sale. Recognizing that “…an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” Marilyn often puts her two-plus decades of litigation experience to work assisting clients with early case evaluations, product risk assessments, and pre-marketing evaluations.
Marilyn has also handled a variety of commercial disputes for clients in a wide range of industries, including actions for breach of contract, unfair competition, and false advertising. She has also been involved in handling government investigations and has defended actions brought under the False Claims Act.
As an active advocate for the advancement of women lawyers, Marilyn rigorously involves women on her teams and ensures that they interface with clients. She routinely monitors work opportunities for those she mentors. She is a member of national women’s organizations and was a founding member of the firm’s women’s initiative, which has received national recognition.
Marilyn’s work on behalf of her clients, and the accomplishments of the teams Marilyn has led, have been specifically recognized in the following honors and media coverage:
- The American Lawyer, Product Liability Department of the Year
- Legal 500, U.S. Product Liability Defense Team of the Year
- The Recorder, Litigation Department of the Year, Product Liability Finalist
- Prosecuted multimillion-dollar breach of contract action for GE Healthcare’s medical diagnostic’s division arising out of failure of supplier to fulfill sales agreement for biologics.
- Represented GE Capital in a variety of contractual matters involving equipment leases, and handled workouts and related proceedings, including representing GE as a creditor in adversary and other bankruptcy court proceedings.
- Handled contract disputes, shareholder litigation, and other regulatory issues for several large hedge funds.
- Obtained a defense verdict after a four-week trial for Zimmer arising out of the use of orthopedic hip implant.
- Co-chaired 12-week trial for Baxter Healthcare alleging contraction of HIV from factor concentrates.
- Handled four-week trial for BASF Catalysts LLC in asbestos litigation in Los Angeles Superior Court.
- National counsel for C. R. Bard, Inc. in multidistrict litigation involving hernia mesh patches, transvaginal mesh, and stress urinary incontinence slings. Defense verdict in first hernia mesh patch case in the MDL to go to trial.
- Represented C. R. Bard, Inc. in medical monitoring class action involving inferior vena cava filters resulting in denial of class certification.
- Represented two LAPD officers in two-week personal injury trial in federal court.
- Member of the national trial team for large manufacturer in the latex glove litigation.
- Member of the national trial team for 3M in the silicone gel breast implant litigation.
- Defended avionics manufacturer in multidistrict litigation related to the June 2009 crash of Air France Flight 447. All claims dismissed on forum non conveniens grounds.
- Defense liaison counsel for Wyeth in California coordinated vaccine litigation. All cases dismissed on preemption grounds.
- Trial counsel for manufacturers of welding consumables in multidistrict litigation of cases alleging exposure to fumes-caused injuries. Participated in multiple trials and won
- Daubert challenge as to plaintiffs' warnings expert.
- "3 Jurisdiction Arguments to Undermine 'Bauman'," Corporate Counsel, 9 June 2015 - Co-Author(s): Mark A. Sentenac
- "The Expert Ethicist and Product Liability Litigation," ABA Products Liability Newsletter, Vol. 19, No. 2, Summer 2008 - Co-Author(s): Steven J. Boranian, Eric T. Atkisson, James E. Heffner
- "The California Supreme Court Adopts the ‘Sophisticated User’ Doctrine," Product Liability Update - Vol. IV, No. 3, 11 April 2008
- "Analysis: ‘Ethics Experts’ in Products Cases Just Confuse the Issues," Law.com, 22 September 2006 - Co-Author(s): Steven J. Boranian, Zareh Jaltorossian
- "The Ethics Expert: Argument From the Witness Box," Product Liability Update - Vol. II, No. 8, August 2006
- "The “Sophisticated User” Doctrine In California After Johnson v. American Standard, Inc.," Product Liability Update - Vol. II, No. 6, June 2006
- "50 State Survey of Challenging Expert Witnesses in Pharmaceutical And Medical Device Cases In State Court," American Bar Association Litigation Section, Fall 2002 - Co-Author(s): David J. de Jesus
Recent Speaking Engagements:
- American Conference Institute’s 2nd Annual Conference on Women Leaders in Life Sciences Law, Boston, 23-24 July 2015
- 2003 - Reed Smith
- 1992 - Alameda County District Attorney's Office (Extensive jury and bench trial
- 1986 - Crosby Heafey Roach & May (combined with Reed Smith in 2003)
- 1985 - Extern to the Honorable Stanley Mosk of the California Supreme Court
- Defense Research Institute, Drug and Device Group
- National Association of Women Lawyers
- Healthcare Businesswomen's Association
- Claims & Litigation Management Alliance
- KPMG Women's Executive Leadership Program
- Santa Clara University School of Law, 1986, J.D.,
- Dean's List; Moot Court Honors
- Board, Editor, Santa Clara Law Review
- University of California, San Diego, 1983, B.A.,
- Dean's List, Communications
- Lewis and Clark College, 1979
- U.S. Court of Appeals - Ninth Circuit
- U.S. District Court - Central District of California
- U.S. District Court - Northern District of California
- U.S. District Court - Southern District of California
- U.S. District Court - Eastern District of California