“Without hard work and integrity in action, there is no law that can save anyone.”
Very few lawyers can say they tried a class action and even fewer can say they tried both a class action as well as a bellwether mass tort case in the largest ever medical device multi-district litigation (“MDL”). Ed has done both and, with co-counsel, achieved plaintiff jury verdicts in each case.
Since joining the firm in February 2000, just one month after its founding by Ken Wexler, Ed has played a major role in leading the firm to national prominence. Ed focuses his practice on complex multi-party litigation, and he has been appointed to leadership positions in numerous high-profile cases, including recent appointments in securities and mass tort litigation. For example, as sole lead counsel in the Illinois Funeral Directors Litigation, Ed worked directly with thirteen different defense firms, the Comptroller of the State of Illinois, and the Office of the Illinois Attorney General. Judge Patrick Murphy described the resolution of that case, which involved massive coordination between both public and private entities in settlements totaling over $59 million dollars, as a “remarkable settlement under all the circumstances.” Tipsword v. IF.D.A. Services, Inc. et al., 3:09-cv-00390, Transcript of hearing at 9 (S.D. III. Feb. 17, 2012).
Together with co-lead counsel, Ed recently tried Jammal, et al. v. American Family Insurance, (Case No.: 13-cv-00437) to an advisory jury, which is a massive ERISA class action case centered on the Plaintiffs’ claims that American Family improperly classifies its agents as independent contractors when they are actually employees for ERISA purposes, with American Family reserving the right to exercise control over the agent-employees’ businesses. This case, which has been pending for several years, was tried over two weeks in Cleveland, Ohio, and the advisory jury returned a unanimous verdict in favor of the nearly 7000 agents that are part of the class.
Ed has also been critical in the development of the firm’s mass tort practice and, in the process, has gained a national reputation for integrity, efficiency, strategic planning, understanding the relevant science, and achieving success in complex multi-party trials. In this role, he has served in multiple leadership positions, including as a member of the plaintiffs’ steering committees in the transvaginal mesh MDLs, In re Ethicon, MDL No. 2327; In re Boston Scientific Corp. ; In re AMS, MDL No. 2325; and In re C.R. Bard, Inc. Pelvic Repair Systems Products Liability Litigation, MDL No. 2187 Ed was also appointed as co-liaison counsel in the Delaware transvaginal mesh litigation involving American Medical Systems, entitled In Re: AMS Pelvic Mesh Products Liability Litigation C.A. No. 11C-07-212 MMJ (Delaware).
In addition to having significant roles in the transvaginal mesh pretrial proceedings, Ed was an instrumental part of trials in these cases in a series of “firsts.” For example, though it was a defense verdict, Ed is proud to have tried the first transvaginal mesh case with co-counsel in the coordinated proceedings in Boston, involving the Pinnacle device manufactured by Boston Scientific. Thanks to co-counsel’s willingness to see that verdict through appeal, the defense verdict was later reversed by the appellate court. Just weeks after trying the Pinnacle case, Ed served as lead trial counsel in the first Ethicon “sling” verdict in Federal Court, where he and co-counsel secured a $3.27 million verdict on behalf of Jo Huskey in the Ethicon MDL proceedings. In addition to these results, Ed has substantial experience as a member of similar leadership teams, including In re Kugel Mesh Hernia Patch Prod. Liability Litig, MDL No. 1842 (D.R.I.). There, he was the chair of the Law and Briefing Committees in Rhode Island in both state and federal court and served on multiple trial teams. He currently serves as one of five executive committee members as part of the coordinated JCCP proceedings in California (In Re Essure Product Cases (JCCP 4887) and holds other roles in coordinated litigation in various parts of the Country.
Ed served as co-lead counsel in the Kaiser v. Ethicon Inc. et al. case, where his considerable experience trying similar cases helped lead the trial team to a $35 million verdict for Plaintiffs Barbara and Anton Kaiser. Over the course of the nine day trial in March 2018, Ed was involved in all aspects of the case. He led numerous direct and cross examinations, including the cross examination of the engineering witness for the Defense, as well as the testimony of the Plaintiffs’ expert pathologist.
In the 2011 inaugural edition of Benchmark Plaintiff, The Definitive Guide to America’s Leading Plaintiff Firms & Attorneys, Ed was honored as a “Local Litigation Star” in its Illinois rankings in consumer protection. He has retained this honor through 2016. Wexler Wallace was the only plaintiff side firm to be recognized in Benchmark Plaintiff as a “Recommended” firm in Illinois. From 2014 forward, Ed was named an Illinois Super Lawyer, an honor given to no more than 5 percent of attorneys in the state. He was also recognized as a “Rising Star” by Super Lawyers for the practice areas of class actions and mass torts in 2009. Ed is rated by peers in the Bar and has an AV® Preeminent™ rating from Martindale-Hubbell, the highest rating a lawyer can obtain, indicating a very high to preeminent legal ability and exceptional ethical standards.