Sean focuses primarily on complex commercial and products liability litigation. He has represented clients in the chemical, consumer product, pharmaceutical, medical device, food and fragrance, and industrial products sectors when they faced significant product liability and mass tort claims, including putative class actions. He has litigated cases in federal and state courts in dozens of jurisdictions.
Sean joined Shook after practicing as a partner with Dechert LLP, where he chaired the product liability and mass torts group for more than 10 years. He has served since 2012 as lead counsel for a flavor company in the national diacetyl litigation, as trial counsel in numerous diet drug trials, and on the litigation team that secured a defense verdict in the first tobacco medical monitoring trial—a class action involving 250,000 plaintiffs in West Virginia. He also acted as lead counsel in complex commercial litigation arising from a textile mill fire and in a putative class action alleging the release of chemicals at a North Carolina pharmaceutical facility. Sean acted as lead counsel for a major animal health company in litigation brought by numerous chicken farms alleging that the client’s poultry vaccine was defective, leading to the death of their flocks. He recently served as co-lead national counsel for a pharmaceutical company in the testosterone replacement therapy mass tort, In Re: Testosterone Replacement Therapy Products Liability Litigation, No. 14-1748 (N.D. Ill.). Sean also is part of the team representing a pharmaceutical maker in MDL litigation alleging a prescription drug caused birth defects in the children of mothers who used the drug when pregnant. In addition to his product liability work, which has included asbestos, forklifts, isocyanates, PCBs and other manufacturing and consumer goods, Sean has represented multiple clients in putative class actions raising state consumer fraud, unfair or deceptive trade act claims, and has assisted clients with significant commercial disputes.
A trusted advisor on complex commercial issues, Sean has counseled clients on ways to assess and mitigate potential litigation risks in the mergers and acquisition context as well as those arising from client entry into new geographic or product markets. Frequently asked by clients to monitor ongoing litigation as plaintiffs add new classes of defendants, Sean has advised corporations on U.S. labeling regulations and emerging tort issues, such as those involving the chemical BPA in food containers and the potential product liability issues related to a new technology for cord blood storage. He has also advised clients in the adhesives industry on formaldehyde exposure issues.
Sean has been ranked annually among the top product liability lawyers by Chambers USA, a referral guide to leading lawyers in the United States based on the opinions of their peers and clients. Chambers has praised Sean for his "fantastic knowledge of class action law and procedure," describing him as a “calm and organized” lawyer who “continues to deliver high quality work in the pharmaceutical area.” The recent edition adds: "He can help develop arguments and responses on the technical aspects of any litigation." The Best Lawyers in America has also recognized Sean for product liability and mass tort litigation; The Legal 500 United States recommended his work in product liability and mass tort defense in the areas of toxic tort and consumer products (including tobacco); and Who's Who Legal: The International Who’s Who of Product Liability Defence Lawyers named him a leading product liability defense attorney. His class action and litigation experience has also been featured in several editions of Super Lawyers.
Sean is an American Bar Foundation fellow and an elected member of the American Law Institute, the leading independent organization in the United States producing scholarly work to clarify, modernize and otherwise improve the law. He formerly served on Law360's Product Liability Editorial Advisory Board and previously chaired the Mass Torts and Class Actions Subcommittee of DRI (Defense Research Institute), a national organization of more than 22,000 defense trial lawyers and corporate counsel.
Publications and Presentations
Sean is the author of the widely read blog Mass Tort Defense, which focuses on the defense of complex commercial litigation and significant products liability matters.
For a decade starting in 1990, Sean lectured at the University of Pennsylvania Law School on toxic torts and product liability, and served in 1999-2000 as the Thomas O'Boyle Honorary Lecturer-in-Law. He also frequently serves as an instructor at continuing legal education courses on toxic torts and product liability.
Team Leader, Standards and Practices for Large and Mass-Tort MDLs, Bolch Judicial Institute, Duke Law School (forthcoming 2018).
Joseph Blum, John Lyons & Sean Wajert, Corporations: Are You Voluntarily Consenting to General Jurisdiction in Pennsylvania?, Westlaw Journal: Corporate Officers & Directors Liability, July 10, 2017.
Moderator, "Inside View: Legal and Ethical Considerations for In-House Counsel," Third Annual Life Sciences Legal Summit, September 21, 2016.
Presenter, "Daubert/Frye Motions in Product Liability Litigation," Strafford Live CLE Webinar, June 10, 2015.
Sean Wajert, Combating Commonalities in Toxic Tort Class Actions, Law360, May 8, 2015.
Editor, The Class Actions and Mass Torts Answer Book (PLI 2015)
Sean Wajert, Noteworthy Product Liability Decisions Of 2012: Part 1, Law360, Jan. 9, 2013.
Sean Wajert, A Criminal Act Severs The Chain Of Causation, Law 360, Aug. 21, 2012.