Jason’s practice is primarily product-liability and toxic tort defense for companies sued in state and federal courts throughout the country. He has represented clients in all stages of litigation, including trial and appeals. His cases have involved a wide variety of products and substances, including automobiles and components, industrial and infrastructure products, radioactive materials, and chemicals—such as herbicides, propane, and natural gas. Jason also has significant experience working with clients in crisis-management situations. One focus of Jason's practice has been product warnings and literature. He has evaluated warnings for numerous clients and participated in drafting product literature and on-product warnings. He has given several presentations to industry groups about appropriate warning practices.
He regularly serves as the primary attorney in personal-injury and property-damage cases. In this role, he is responsible for leading discovery efforts to determine the facts of the case and develop a defense theory. He has conducted numerous depositions, including experts in the fields of fire investigation, chemistry, engineering, medicine, damages, and product specific experts. He has also drafted and argued successful dispositive and Daubert motions. Jason has negotiated favorable settlements in many cases on behalf of his clients.
Jason has first and second chair trial experience. His trial experience includes first chairing product-liability and automobile accident cases. In the product-liability cases, Jason led the discovery effort by deposing plaintiffs' fact and expert witnesses. The information Jason acquired during discovery was used to formulate successful defense theories.
Jason attended the University of Kansas School of Law. He was a member of the Order of the Coif and an articles editor for the Kansas Law Review. He received CALI Excellence for the Future Awards for the highest grade in the class for Employment Law, Criminal Law, Labor Law and Business Taxation.
Prior to law school, Jason was a patrolman and detective with the Kansas City, Kansas Police Department. In these positions, he was responsible for investigating criminal activity, interviewing witnesses and suspects, and working with prosecutors to prepare cases for trial. He received numerous awards from the Kansas City, Kansas Police Department, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Drug Enforcement Administration.
Jason was defense counsel in a multiple plaintiff lawsuit where plaintiffs alleged exposure to radioactive material from the Manhattan Project and uranium processing caused their cancers. Jason conducted expert depositions in the matter and drafted a Daubert motion to exclude unreliable scientific evidence. After the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri excluded expert testimony on Daubert grounds, plaintiffs were unable to prove elements of their causes of action, and the court granted summary judgment in favor of the defendant on all claims.
Jason was co-counsel in a personal injury trial in Jackson County, Missouri, where plaintiff alleged the herbicide Roundup caused his non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. After a six-week trial, the jury deliberated for nine hours before returning a complete defense verdict.
Jason was co-counsel in a personal-injury trial in Kansas stemming from an incident where a child was seriously injured while playing on a piece of industrial equipment. The matter settled during trial on favorable terms.
Jason was lead counsel in a two-week personal-injury, product-liability action where the plaintiff alleged a defective product design and warnings. The New Jersey jury returned a complete defense verdict after 45 minutes of deliberation.
Jason led the defense effort of a natural-gas odorant manufacturer in a wrongful death and personal-injury case. Based on the legal and factual defenses developed by Jason, the Circuit Court of Marshall County, Mississippi, granted his client summary judgment on all claims.
Jason second chaired an eight-day trial on behalf of an electrical appliance manufacturer.
Jason led the defense effort of a natural-gas odorant manufacturer in a wrongful death case. He deposed plaintiff's expert witnesses and developed the defense theory. Based on the defense theory, Jason persuaded the District Court of Oklahoma County, Oklahoma, to grant his client summary judgment on all claims.
Jason obtained a defense verdict on behalf of the defendant driver in an automobile accident case.
He obtained summary judgment on behalf of a major hotel chain in a wrongful-death premises-liability action.
Jason drafted Daubert motions and a motion for summary judgment on behalf of a major automobile manufacturer in the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Iowa. He successfully argued to the court that the opinions of plaintiff's fire-cause-and-origin expert and mechanical engineering expert were unreliable and insufficient to support plaintiff's strict liability, negligence, and breach of warranty claims. As a result, the court limited the testimony of plaintiff's proffered experts and granted the manufacturer's motion for summary judgment.
In an unpublished opinion, the Iowa Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court's directed verdict ruling in favor a major automobile manufacturer. Jason drafted the manufacturer's appellate brief and represented it at oral argument.
Jason second chaired a product-liability case on behalf of a major automobile manufacturer in the 16th Circuit Court of Jackson County, Missouri. Plaintiffs sought to recover for the loss of their home and contents after a fire originated in the engine compartment of their vehicle. Plaintiffs claimed the fire was caused by a defective alternator. Jason deposed plaintiff's key liability expert witnesses. At trial, he cross examined several expert witnesses. In closing, plaintiffs' counsel asked the jury to award $3.2 million for plaintiffs' lost property and punitive damages. The jury returned a plaintiffs' verdict for $350,000, but it did not award any punitive damages.
Jason second chaired a product-liability case against a major automobile manufacturer in the District Court in and for Black Hawk County, Iowa. During discovery, Jason conducted the depositions of plaintiff and his expert witness. As a result, Jason argued a motion in limine to preclude plaintiff's expert from offering any engineering testimony or describing the subject component as defective. In the pre-trial hearing, the court granted the manufacturer's motion. After plaintiff rested his case, the court granted a directed verdict in favor of the manufacturer because without plaintiff's expert's excluded testimony the plaintiff did not have any evidence to support his claims that the vehicle was defective.
Publications and Presentations
Jason has presented to several groups on the topics of product liability, warnings and residential combustible gas detectors.
Jason M. Zager, Defending Claims Premised on the Design Hierarchy, For the Defense, April 2012, at 39.
Jason Zager, The Kansas Foreclosure Process: Adapting the System to the Changing Real Estate Finance Market, Kansas Law Review, June 2005.