Jim co-chairs the firm's Class Action & Complex Litigation Practice Group and chairs the Diversity & Inclusion Committee.
He represents clients in a range of industries, including food and beverage, pharmaceutical, and consumer products. Jim has defended major U.S. and international companies in purported class action lawsuits and has successfully argued against class certification on behalf of both individual clients and industries. He has represented ConAgra Foods, Inc., Pinnacle Foods Group LLC, Popchips, Inc., Allergan, Inc., Aventls Pharmaceuticals Inc., Bayer Corporation, Bausch & Lomb Inc., GlaxoSmithKline LLC, Lindsay Manufacturing Co., Lorillard Tobacco Company, Inc., Pfizer Inc., Philip Morris USA Inc., 7-Eleven, Inc., QuikTrip Corp., and Sanofi Synthelabo Inc. in these matters.
As first chair trial counsel, Jim recently successfully defended what may be the first Rule 23(c)(4) issue class action jury trial involving state consumer fraud allegations in the country, in which the jury returned a unanimous defense verdict. American Fiber and Cabling LLC, v. BP Products North America Inc., et al., Case No. 07-2053-KHV (D. Kan. Sept. 24, 2012) (unanimous jury verdict in favor of defendants). He was successful in another class action trial in which the jury rejected plaintiffs' $10-billion medical monitoring claim. Scott v. American Tobacco Co., 949 So.2d 1266 (La. Ct. App. 2007). Jim also enjoys looking for creative and cost-effective ways to resolve class action litigation. Recently, he persuaded plaintiffs’ counsel to dismiss several purported class actions alleging improper food labeling, based on an analysis of the appropriate regulations and a Rule 11 letter. He brings a creative, strategic and common sense approach to problem solving.
A frequent author and speaker on class action and complex litigation issues, Jim is also very involved in pro bono efforts. He led a team in securing a significant civil rights victory for a class of 11,000 special needs foster and adopted children. Senior U.S. District Judge Scott O. Wright observed that the suit was among the most important cases he has addressed in his 27-year career on the bench. Utilizing an attorneys' fee award donated by the firm, Jim then established "Lawyers for Kids," a charitable foundation which has contributed over $100,000 to foster and adopted children and their parents.
Missouri Lawyers Media recognized Jim as a 2012 Legal Champion for his role in the successful defense of fuel retailers in the nationwide "Hot Fuel" litigation. Jim's litigation expertise has also been recognized for several years in Missouri & Kansas Super Lawyers.
Matters of Note
Levy v. Pfizer, Inc., No. 12-cv-2266 (E.D.Mo. Sept. 30, 2013) (court granted defendant's motion to strike class allegations and plaintiff then dismissed case)
Levy v. Pfizer, Inc., 719 F.3d 884 (8th Cir. 2013) (court reverses district court and finds that defendant met the Class Action Fairness Act requirement that more than $5 million be in controversy)
American Fiber and Cabling LLC, v. BP Products North America Inc., et al., Case No. 07-2053-KHV (D. Kan. Sept. 24, 2012) (unanimous jury verdict in favor of defendants)
Astra USA, Inc. v. Santa Clara County, 131 S.Ct. 1342 (2011) (unanimous court held that the plaintiff did not have a cause of action against the defendants) View
Judy v. Pfizer, Inc., No. 042-01946-02, 2010 WL 3001745 (Mo. Cir. Ct. July 27, 2010) (class certification denied)
Arlt v. Lindsay Corp., No. C109-324 (Neb. 5th Dist. Ct. Apr. 23, 2010) (class certification denied)
County of Santa Clara v. Astra USA, Inc., et al., 257 F.R.D. 207 (N.D. Cal. 2009) (class certification denied) View
In re Neurontin Marketing, Sales Practices, and Product Liability Litig., 257 F.R.D. 315 (D. Mass. 2009) (class certification denied) View
In re Neurontin Marketing, Sales Practices, and Product Liability Litig., 244 F.R.D. 89 (D. Mass. 2007) (class certification denied) View
In re Pharmaceutical Indus. Average Wholesale Price Litig., 230 F.R.D. 61 (D. Mass. 2005) (class certification denied) View
Cocca v. Philip Morris Inc., 2001 WL 34090200 (Ariz.Sup. Ct. July 21, 2001) (class certification denied) View
Aksamit v. Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp., C/A No. 6:97-3636-23, 2000 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 18880 (D.S.C. Dec. 29, 2000) (class certification denied)
Hansen v. American Tobacco Co., 1999 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11277 (E.D. Ark. 1999) (certification of medical monitoring class denied)
Emig v. American Tobacco Co., 184 F.R.D. 379 (D. Kan. 1998) (class certification denied) View
Recent Publications and Presentations
"Making an Issue Out of It: The Trial of a 23(c)(4) Class," 2013 DRI Class Actions Conference (July 26, 2013).
Scott Lauck, Hot Fuel Team: Shook, Hardy & Bacon, Legal Champions, Missouri Lawyers Weekly, Jan. 2013. View
Lincoln’s Mercy: A Confederate Spy and a Missouri Lawyer, Journal of the Missouri Bar, Vol. 68, No. 6 (November-December 2012).
Does 'Wal-Mart' Doom Expansive Reading of Rule Authorizing Class Actions for 'Particular Issues'?, The National Law Journal, July 11, 2012. View
"Food-Related Class Action Litigation: What's Hot?," Agribusiness/Food Safety CLE Webcast (May 24, 2011).
Elaine Meyer, Plaintiffs Lose Class Cert. Bid in Mo. Neurontin Case, Law 360, July 2010 (Jim Muehlberger quoted in article).
"Missouri Class Actions and the Merchandising Practices Act," Missouri Judicial Advanced Trial Skills/Complex Litigation Seminar Course (April 30, 2010). View
"How Product-Related Risk Management Can Be a Lifeline for Your Company," Sixth Annual Update of the Law (June 25, 2009).
"Managing Class Action Litigation Challenges: Winning Strategies for Tackling Certification, Experts, Damages, International Class Actions and CAFA," American Conference Institute’s Managing Complex Litigation: The 6th National In-House Senior-Level Defense Litigation Forum (February 27, 2009).
"Analyzing the Provisions of and Differences Between State Consumer Protection Statutes To Develop an Aggressive Defense Strategy," Drug and Device Forum on Defending Consumer Fraud Claims (September 23, 2008).
"Analysis of New Developments and Trends in Class Action Certification," ACI Forum on Positioning the Class Action Defense for Early Success (September 26, 2007).
Certification Claims Come Under Tighter Scrutiny, The National Law Journal, December 4, 2006. View
Lawsuits Without Injury: The Rise of Consumer Protection Claims, Harris Martin Litigation Watch, October 2006. View
Eighth Circuit Joins Growing Number of Circuit Courts in Rejecting the Eisen Rule in the Class Certification Determination, Missouri Association of Defense Counsel Newsletter, Summer 2005. View
Class Action Appeals: Rule 23 (f) and its Jurisprudence, ABA Class Action and Derivative Suits, Summer 2005. View
Court's Use of Daubert-Lite Standard During Class Certification Proceedings is Analytically Less Filling, ABA Class Action and Derivative Suits, Fall 2004. View
Missouri Court Leads the Way in Utilizing Full Daubert Analysis During Class Certification Proceedings, Missouri Organization of Defense Lawyers Newsletter, Fall 2004.
An Overview of Lone Pine Orders in Toxic Tort Litigation, Defense Counsel Journal, October 2004. View
Misplaced Reliance on Eisen and ‘Lower’ Daubert Standard Leads to Certification of Historic Class, For the Defense, September 2004. View
Kansas Supreme Court Clarifies Class Certification Standards, Kansas Association of Defense Counsel Newsletter, Summer 2004. View
Jim is admitted to practice before the state courts of Kansas and Missouri; the U.S. District Courts for the District of Kansas and the Western and Eastern Districts of Missouri; the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Eighth and Ninth Circuits; and the Supreme Court of the United States.
1982 J.D., University of Kansas School of Law
1978 B.A., cum laude, University of Kansas
News & Events
- Fifty-One SHB Attorneys Recognized as Missouri & Kansas Super Lawyers
- NYT Reviews Muehlberger’s Frank & Jesse James Book
- Muehlberger to Discuss Book on the Trials of Frank and Jesse James at KC Public Library
- Congrove and Muehlberger to Participate in DRI Class Action Event
- Missouri Lawyers Weekly Features SHB Trial Team as Legal Champions
- SHB Partners to Be Honored by Missouri Lawyers Media
- Muehlberger Pens Civil War Tale Involving SHB Founder
- Missouri & Kansas Super Lawyers Recognizes 37 SHB Attorneys
- Firm Recognized as Midwest Foster Care & Adoption Association “Outstanding Community Partner”