James Shepherd is a litigator who focuses on the defense of pharmaceutical and medical device and toxic tort cases. His considerable experience as national counsel in large multidistrict litigations, coupled with his ability to understand and convey complex medical and scientific concepts, enables him to develop and execute the best strategies for his clients. And those strategies get results. Recently James designed and executed a case management and discovery plan in a nationwide litigation involving 20 million documents and 50 company witnesses. His strategy, which guided the litigation for over 5 years in two different MDLs, two consolidated state court proceedings and hundreds of related state court cases, was never successfully challenged by plaintiffs and resulted in Daubert/Kemp challenges that led to the dismissal of thousands of cases in the litigation. James has also designed and executed case management orders that resulted in the dismissal of hundreds of suits for failure of plaintiffs to complete facts sheets, and he successfully argued for and properly implemented an order that established a definitive start date for the running of limitations across a mass tort litigation that resulted in dismissal of hundreds of lawsuits.
Mirena IUD Products Liability Litigation - National counsel for one U.S.-based and two foreign Bayer entities in thousands of lawsuits in a federal multidistrict litigation (MDL 2434) in New York and state courts around the country involving the Mirena® intrauterine device. James led a nationwide team of attorneys from Shook and other law firms from the inception of the first lawsuit until the U.S. Supreme Court denied appellants writ of certiorari seeking review of the Second Circuit’s affirmation of the trial court’s dismissal of all cases in the MDL. Specifically, he worked with clients and co-lead counsel to develop and execute all strategies in the litigation; worked with the Court and the plaintiffs’ PSC to develop and enter all CMOs and argued Bayer’s side when there were disagreements regarding the CMOs and their mandates; worked with company witnesses in the U.S., Germany, Finland, France, England and Brazil to develop the company story and develop the litigation issue modules; took the depositions of experts, plaintiffs and treaters; handled every aspect of affirmative and defensive discovery; and played a significant role in developing and drafting the Daubert motions that led the MDL Court to exclude all of plaintiffs’ general causation witnesses and to grant summary judgment to Bayer.
James is currently serving as national counsel for Bayer in a separate federal multidistrict litigation in New York in which plaintiffs allege a new and different injury. His team successfully argued to the court to front-load the litigation and determine general causation before progressing to other aspects of the litigation.
Contact Lens Solution Products Liability Litigation - Lead Texas counsel and member of Shook’s national counsel team in MDL No. 1785—In re: Bausch & Lomb Inc. Contact Lens Solution Products Liability Litigation. This litigation involved thousands of claims in which plaintiffs alleged that Bausch & Lomb’s Renu with MoistureLoc caused fungal eye infections. James oversaw Texas-based cases, arguing all dispositive motions and representing the client at hearings. On the national team, James prepared company witnesses and was part of the group that took the depositions of plaintiffs’ experts. The deposition he took of the plaintiffs’ microbiology expert led to his disqualification under Daubert and the ultimate resolution of the cases on very favorable terms for our client.
Implantable Defibrillators Product Liability Litigation - Member of the core Shook team that served as national counsel in MDL No. 1708—In re: Guidant Corp. Implantable Defibrillators Products Liability Litigation. This litigation involved 4,000+ claims in which plaintiffs claimed injuries, including death, caused by Guidant’s implantable defibrillators. James was involved in litigation strategy, motion practice, company witnesses, depositions of experts and helped coordinate the state and federal cases. He was also part of the trial team in Motal v. Guidant Corporation, a case filed in Texas state court in Nueces County (Corpus Christi). At trial, James was responsible for arguing daily motions before the court and for the direct and cross-examination of scientific and medical witnesses. As the first jury panel entered the courtroom on the morning of trial, the court asked the parties to announce ready. Plaintiffs told the court that they were not ready. The trial was delayed. Eventually, all of cases were settled very favorably.
Baycol Product Liability Litigation - Member of the national science and expert team in MDL 1431 in which 6,000+ plaintiffs alleged injuries as a result of using Bayer’s cholesterol-lowering medicine, Baycol. James identified, developed and prepared preventive cardiology experts for deposition and trial.
Hearing Loss Litigation - Served as national and lead trial counsel for Shell in its nationwide hearing loss litigation. In the role, James developed and executed the litigation strategy that resulted in the dismissal of 700 cases and the favorable resolution of the remaining 200 cases.
Asbestos Litigation - National and lead trial counsel for Continental Grain Company in all cases involving alleged asbestos exposure. James developed a novel strategy for this client and has successfully implemented it for 12 years.
Bream Investment Company, LP v. H. Muehlstein & Co., Inc. - Lead trial counsel in a complex commercial matter filed by Bream against the largest plastics distributor in the U.S. The defendant counterclaimed seeking $1,000,000 in damages for lost of use of its product. James was the first chair trial attorney. The trial lasted a week. The jury returned a verdict in favor of Bream and awarded it the full value of its contract plus attorney fees.
Ethylene Dichloride Litigation - Member of Shook’s core lead counsel and trial team in a mass tort arising out of a spill at Conoco’s marine dock facility in Westlake, Louisiana. The litigation involved 1,500 plaintiffs. James was responsible for arguing legal issues and the direct and cross examination of regulatory and monitoring experts at the first case to be tried. The case was settled favorably as part of a global inventory settlement for plaintiffs’ counsel just after we argued motions in limine.
Publications and Presentations
Hydraulic Fracturing: Best Legal & Technical Practices, – SHB's Oil & Gas Industry CLE (Houston, Texas, 2012).
Blaine D. Edwards, E. James Shepherd & Nick Deutsch, Hydraulic Fracturing: Protecting Against Legal and Regulatory Risk, 109:15 Oil & Gas Journal, August 1, 2011, at 22.
Nuisance Law Revived and Revisited – SHB-Miami’s Environmental and Toxic Tort Seminar (Miami, Florida, 2010).
Complex Litigation Tactics – Lone Pine Orders and Iqbal/Twombly – SHB’s Seventh Annual Update of the Law (Kansas City, Missouri, 2010).
What’s Bubbling in Toxic Tort Land – DRI Toxic Tort & Environmental Law Seminar (San Diego, California, 2003).
House Bill 4: Texas Tackles Toxic Torts – DRI Annual Meeting (Washington, D.C., 2003).