Overview

Elizabeth is a partner in the firm's Product Liability Litigation and Business Litigation practice groups, and a former chair of the Product Liability Litigation practice group. She has extensive experience in automotive, aviation, and pharmaceutical and medical device product liability litigation, and represents manufacturers of aircraft components, airframes, medical devices, pharmaceuticals, and other commercial and consumer products.

Elizabeth is national counsel for a major commercial food equipment manufacturer, a major power tool manufacturer, an aviation component manufacturer, and an automotive manufacturer, and also serves as national lead trial counsel for a pharmaceutical manufacturer in hormone replacement therapy litigation. She has tried cases for these manufacturers across the country.

Experience

The following are representative of Elizabeth's recent trials that went to verdict:

  • A woman was rendered a quadriplegic after she lost control of her vehicle in reverse and hit a building. She alleged that there was an electronic defect in her electronic throttle control that allowed her vehicle to accelerate at a high rate of speed without her input on the accelerator and that her brakes were ineffective. The case was tried to a jury in federal court in St. Paul, Minnesota, and the jury returned a defense verdict.
  • A pilot and two passengers died in an accident involving a 1974 Grumman AA-5 Traveler. The pilot stalled the aircraft on departure from Lawrence County Airpark in South Point, Ohio. The plaintiffs alleged that the aircraft’s muffler was defectively designed, resulting in its internal components blocking the engine’s exhaust and causing a loss of engine power. After more than eight years of litigation and two weeks of trial, the jury returned a defense verdict on all claims.
  • A pilot was injured when he crashed a Cessna 208B Caravan into a metal building while on approach to the Alliance, Nebraska Municipal Airport. He claimed that the aircraft suffered an ice-contaminated tailplane stall, which resulted in part from the aircraft’s allegedly defective de-icing system. Plaintiff asserted negligence and strict product liability claims against our client, who manufactured components of the de-icing system. The case was tried for three-and-a-half weeks in Douglas County, Nebraska, and the jury returned a defense verdict.
  • An assembly worker was using a pneumatic strip nailer to assemble a ten-foot high crate when he was hit in the abdomen by a nail. He brought suit against the nailer manufacturer alleging design and manufacturing defects and failure to warn. The case was tried to a jury in Florence, Alabama, and the jury returned a defense verdict.
  • A police officer was severely burned in his police cruiser when he was rear-ended by an intoxicated driver in an accident with a closing speed of approximately 80 miles per hour. He sued the vehicle manufacturer alleging design and manufacturing defects in the fuel tank system and failure to warn with respect to the alleged risk of fire in such crashes. The case was tried to a jury in Mahoning County, Ohio, and the jury returned a defense verdict.
  • An experienced HVAC contractor was using a cordless framing nailer to affix a ceiling box to a ceiling when he was hit by a nail. He sustained an eye injury and brought suit against the nailer manufacturer alleging defects in the design and manufacture of the nailer related to the lockout bar spring. The case was tried to a jury in federal court in Oklahoma City, and the jury returned a defense verdict.
  • An airline operator and its insurer paid $95 million in settlement of claims brought by the families of passengers involved in an airplane crash where all 29 persons on board were killed. The insurance company then brought suit for contribution and indemnity against the manufacturer of the airplane's deicing boots. The insurer alleged that the boots were defective in design and that the deicing boot manufacturer had failed to warn and/or instruct as to when the boots were to be operated. The case was tried to a jury in Summit County, Ohio, and resulted in a defense verdict.
  • A 28-year-old man was injured in a 1991 automobile accident and was rendered a quadriplegic. He alleged a variety of defects including restraint design, structural design and failure to equip the automobile with an airbag. The case was tried to a jury in Lake County, Ohio, and resulted in a defense verdict.
  • A 72-year-old, 5-foot, 120-pound woman was involved in an accident during which her airbag deployed. She suffered a basilar skull fracture, brain damage, a fractured ulna and a subdural hematoma. She alleged that the airbag was defective in design and that the manufacturer failed to warn of the dangers of the airbag. The case was tried to a jury in federal court in Toledo, Ohio, and resulted in a defense verdict.
  • An elderly couple was injured when their vehicle struck a house. The husband suffered brain damage and had been in a coma for four years prior to trial. His wife suffered a broken hip and other related injuries. They alleged that their vehicle had a defective cruise control which caused it to suddenly accelerate. The case was tried to a jury in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, and resulted in a defense verdict.
  • A 30-year-old man fractured his pelvis and was rendered impotent and incontinent when he jumped out of a medium duty truck when the truck's brakes failed. He alleged that the truck was defective in design due to its failure to incorporate a split circuit hydraulic brake system. The case was tried to a jury in federal court in Columbus, Ohio, and resulted in a defense verdict.
  • A college student was injured when his vehicle collided with a bus. He alleged that the body mounts in his vehicle were defective, causing him to lose control. The body mounts had been the subject of a voluntary recall. The case was tried to a jury in federal court in Toledo, Ohio, and resulted in a defense verdict.
  • An elderly man lost control of his vehicle and slammed into a mother and daughter who were pedestrians. The mother suffered a fractured back, a fractured scapula and a fractured clavicle. The daughter suffered a closed head injury and brain injury. The driver of the vehicle designated the automobile manufacturer as a responsible non-party in the suit filed against him by the mother and daughter. The plaintiffs retained Elizabeth to represent them on the driver's affirmative claim that the cruise control of the vehicle was defective and caused a sudden, unwanted acceleration. The case was tried to a jury in Denver. The jury rejected the driver's claim of product defect and entered a verdict in favor of the plaintiffs in the amount of $848,000 plus interest.
  • A former controller, assistant treasurer and senior financial officer brought an action for alleged breach of an employment security agreement by the defendant which had acquired plaintiff's former employer. He claimed that his job duties had been substantially reduced and that his travel violated the agreement. He resigned his employment. The case was tried to a jury in January 2000 for seven days in Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas and resulted in a defense verdict.

The following are some of the decisions in which Elizabeth has been involved:

  • Hetzer-Young v. Elano Corp., 2016-Ohio-3356 (2nd App. Dist., June 10, 2016)
  • Kuns v. Ford Motor Co., 2013 Westlaw 6068459 (6th Cir. 2013)
  • Kuns v. Ford Motor Co., 926 F. Supp. 976 (N.D. Ohio, 2013)
  • Buck v. Ford Motor Co., 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 87693 (N.D. Ohio, June 25, 2012).
  • Schwering v. TRW Vehicle Safety Systems, Case No., 2011-0438, 2012-Ohio-1481 (Ohio, April 4, 2012).
  • Wilhite v. Howmedica Osteonics Corp., 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 64843 (N.D. Ohio, June 20, 2011).
  • Shannon v. Hobart, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 12312 (E.D. Penn., Feb. 8, 2011).
  • Utz v. Howmedica Osteonics, Corp., 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 123973 (N.D. Ohio, Mar. 31, 2009).
  • Berghoff v. Davey Tree Expert Co., 2009 Ohio App. LEXIS 515 (8th App. Dist., Feb. 12, 2009).
  • Judith Watson v. Ford Motor Company, 2007 Ohio App. LEXIS 5576 (6th App. Dist., Nov. 30, 2007).
  • Brown v. Teledyne Cont'l Motors, Inc., 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 18179 (N.D. Ohio, Mar. 15, 2007).
  • Zappola v. Stryker Leibinger, 2006 Ohio App. LEXIS 2058; CCH Prod. Liab. Rep. P17,451, (8th App. Dist., May 4, 2006).
  • United States Aviation Underwriters, Inc. v. BF Goodrich Company, Case No. 20873 (Summit Cty., Ohio Ct. App., Oct. 9, 2002).
  • Jones v. Allercare, Inc., 203 F.R.D. 290 (N.D. Ohio 2001).
  • Beverly M. Fisher v. Ford Motor Co., 224 F.3d 570 (6th Cir. 2000).
  • Beverly M. Fisher v. Ford Motor Co., 13 F.Supp. 2d 631 (N.D. Ohio 1998).
  • Beverly M. Fisher v. Ford Motor Co., 178 F.R.D. 195 (N.D. Ohio 1998).
  • Dent v. Ford Motor Co., 83 Ohio App. 3d 283, 614 N.E.2d 1074 (9th App. Dist., 1992).
  • Mathew Hall v. Hennessy Industries, Inc., 1998 U.S. App. LEXIS 28056 (6th Cir., 1998).
  • Virginia Manigault v. Ford Motor Co., 2000 Ohio App. LEXIS 4950 (8th App. Dist., Oct. 26, 2000).
  • Virginia Manigault v. Ford Motor Co., 134 Ohio App. 3rd 402 (8th App. Dist., 1999).
  • Raymond Richard Nelson v. Ford Motor Co., 2001 Ohio App. LEXIS 3288 (11th App. Dist., July 20, 2001).
  • James Hoover v. Ford Motor Co., 1991 Ohio App. LEXIS 3177 (9th App. Dist., 1991).
  • In re Election of November 6, 1990 for the Office of Attorney General of Ohio, 58 Ohio St. 3d 103, 569 N.E.2d 447 (1991).
PublicationsPresentations
  • "Communicating With Your Jurors: From Boomers To Millennials,” 49th Annual SMU Air Law Symposium, March 2015
  • Moderator, “Chief Litigation Counsel Roundtable: Proactively Spotting Litigation Red Flags Based on Current Hot Button Issues in Product Liability,” American Conference Institute Drug and Medical Device Litigation, December 2014
  • "A Focus on Expert Testimony: Special Nuances in the Selection of Experts, Strategically Preparing & Defending Daubert Challenges, and Debunking Junk Science," American Conference Institute Defending and Managing Aviation Litigation Forum, June 2010
  • Moderator, "Judicial Insights on Drug and Medical Device Litigation," Marcus Evans Drug and Medical Device Litigation Forum, April 2010
  • "Jury Communication and Advocacy During Opening/Closing Statements and Otherwise: Using Demonstrative Evidence and Themes, Telling a Detailed Story, and Overcoming Sympathy for Plaintiffs," American Conference Institute Defending and Managing Aviation Litigation Forum, June 2009
  • "Assessing the Risks of Direct to Consumer Advertising," Marcus Evans Drug and Medical Device Seminar, March 2009
  • "Developments in Federal Practice: Discovery and Motions," Ohio State Bar Association Convention, May 2008
  • "Ethics & Professionalism," Ohio State Bar Association/American College of Trial Lawyers, November 2007
  • "Off-Label Issues in Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Product Liability Litigation," ACI Drug and Medical Device Conference, December 2006
  • "Ethics & Professionalism," Ohio State Bar Association/American College of Trial Lawyers, November 2006
Distinctions
  • Listed in The Best Lawyers in America, 2017 and 2019; recognized in Best Lawyers 2017 Lawyer of the Year
  • Recognized as a BTI Client Service All-Star, 2011 and 2015
  • AV® Preeminent Rated by Martindale-Hubbell
  • Euromoney/LMG Life Sciences, Life Sciences Star, 2012-2015
  • Selected for Inclusion in Women in Business Law Expert Guide, Euromoney, 2013
  • Listed as a Litigation Star by Benchmark Litigation, 2012-2017
  • Named to list of Top 250 Women in Litigation by Benchmark Litigation, 2016 and 2017
  • Named to list of Top Trial Lawyers of America by Benchmark Litigation, 2017
Professional and Civic

Professional Associations

  • American College of Trial Lawyers, fellow
  • International Society of Barristers, fellow
  • John M. Manos Inn of Courts, master bencher
  • Defense Research Institute
  • International Association of Defense Counsel

Community Activities

  • The Junior League of Cleveland, Inc.
  • Alzheimer's Association, Board of Trustees, 1999 to 2003
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