Firm profile submitted by Wheeler Trigg O'Donnell LLP
Chairman: Michael L O’Donnell
President: Hugh Q Gottschalk
Managing Partner: Carolyn J Fairless
Number of partners: 38 Number of lawyers: 100
Wheeler Trigg O’Donnell (WTO) is a national litigation, trial, and appellate firm focusing on high-stakes and complex matters. Since 2004, WTO lawyers have won 140 trial verdicts and complex arbitrations and 76 appeals nationwide for clients. Established in 1998, WTO currently numbers 100 lawyers. The firm represents sophisticated clients in high-stakes civil trials, appeals, arbitrations, and related matters, including class actions, mass torts, and multidistrict litigation.
PRACTICE AREASAntitrust & Competition
Franchise & Distribution
Medical Devices & Pharmaceuticals
Oil & Gas
Personal Injury DefenseProduct Liability
Professional LiabilityToxic Torts
Beltran et al. v. Noonan et al. (Ongoing) - WTO is lead trial counsel to three defendants (among a group of 15) in a federal $2.1 billion class action. Plaintiffs brought the case in 2015, alleging collusion to keep au pair wages artificially low. Tort claims include fraud, negligent representation, breach of fiduciary duty, and more. The case has received significant national attention, including in the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post, and the outcome may determine the fate of the J-1 visa program administered by the U.S. State Department. Partner Kathryn Reilly is lead counsel.
Kljajic et al. v. Whirlpool Corp. (2017) - WTO defeated class certification efforts brought against Whirlpool in federal court in Illinois. At issue were claims that over 2,000,000 Whirlpool-made ovens were defectively designed and prone to overheating. WTO demonstrated to the Court that the plaintiffs’ key expert’s opinions were unreliable, paving the way for Whirlpool’s victory in excluding the plaintiffs’ expert and defeating class certification. Plaintiffs ultimately settled on a non-class basis for nuisance value. Partner Drew Unthank led the defense, with support from associate Laura McNabb and partner Michael Williams, who oversees WTO’s defense of consumer class actions for Whirlpool.
Stillwater Mining Co. v. Power Mount, Inc. (2017) – WTO won a complete defense ruling for Power Mount after a week-long bench trial involving a breach of contract claim in which the plaintiff sought $28 million for alleged failure to deliver platinum group metals in the fourth quarter of 2008. Stillwater had provided advanced payments to Power Mount, which Power Mount forwarded to its downstream suppliers. The Court held, in part, that Stillwater undertook by itself the risk of loss under the applicable contract on the $28 million in prepayments. The Court adopted the majority of WTO’s proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law and held that Power Mount had not breached the contract. Partners Habib Nasrullah and Matthew Johnson tried the case for Power Mount.
Walker v. Ford Motor Co. (2017) – WTO won a significant victory for Ford in the Colorado Supreme Court. The case involved an accident in which the plaintiff’s seat deformed backward to absorb the shock of the impact. The plaintiff alleged that the seat had an ‘unreasonably dangerous’ design resulting in injuries. WTO demonstrated that the trial court had issued incorrect jury instructions. The opinion reestablishes that the risk-benefit test is the appropriate test for juries to assess whether a product has been defectively designed. The Court also held that a manufacturer could not be negligent if it designed a ‘reasonably safe’ product. Partner Theresa Wardon briefed and argued the appeal, with assistance from partner Ed Stewart and counsel emeritus Malcolm Wheeler.
Star Funding v. Tire Centers, et al. (2017) - WTO won Second Circuit affirmance of summary judgment in federal court in New York dismissing breach of contract and promissory estoppel against Tire Centers LLC (TCi), a wholly-owned subsidiary of WTO client Michelin North America. The plaintiff alleged that TCi should pay millions of dollars’ worth of fraudulent purchase orders submitted by a rogue former employee to defraud TCi and other companies. With TCi unwilling to offer any kind of settlement for these fraudulent claims, WTO lawyers argued dispositive motions for nearly six hours, ultimately prevailing on all claims against the company. Partners Peter Herzog and David Schaller served as lead counsel.
Allstate, CenturyLink, Electrolux, FCA, Ford, General Electric, McKesson, Mercedes-Benz, Michelin, Pfizer, Travelers, USAA, Volvo, Whirlpool
- 211 N. Broadway,
- Suite 2825,
- St Louis,
- MO 63102-2110
- Tel 314 326 4128
- Fax 303 244 1879
- Email : [email protected]