Wheeler Trigg O'Donnell

United States (National)


Dispute resolution
Operating two offices in Denver and St. Louis, Wheeler Trigg & O’Donnell is recognized for having an established footprint in the Midwest. The firm hosts a number of highly skilled litigators skilled in a number of complex civil and commercial matters. Managing Partner Carolyn Fairless, one of Benchmark’s Top 250 Women in Litigation, won a complete defense jury verdict for a leading auto parts maker in federal court in Kentucky in a nine-year-old breach of contract claim brought by a sub-subcontractor—a third-party beneficiary to the contract in question. The suit alleged the client’s termination of the contract entitled the plaintiff to millions of dollars in damages and penalty payments per the terms of the agreement. The firm was hired just six months prior to the trial, which the Court had twice dismissed in separate rulings, only to see the plaintiff successfully appeal to the Sixth Circuit. After the firm’s intervention, a successful defense verdict was rendered. John Fitzpatrick is highly regarded for his mass tort practice. Fitzpatrick served as lead counsel for Intermountain Power in highly complex litigation, successfully negotiating a settlement on favorable terms for his client concerning a consortium of 18 dairy farmers who alleged that stray electricity from the client’s power system depressed dairy herd production in excess of $1 billion in damages. Firm president Hugh Gottschalk successfully represented IBM in a Denver court in a dispute involving tax assessments by the City of Golden, with the court invalidating previous penalties levied against the company. Habib Nasrullah is lead counsel to long-time client McKesson, the largest pharmaceutical distributor in North America. The firm was hired as national settlement counsel to handle all litigation involving its subsidiary Northstar Rx and its chemotherapy drug Taxotere. The cases were consolidated in federal multidistrict litigation in New Orleans, and Nasrullah was able to prove Northstar Rx was not liable for the alleged damages, and plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed the subsidiary without any payment by the client. Michael O’Donnell is lead counsel to Skyjack, who hired the firm to take over its entire portfolio of U.S. product liability litigation including over 20 active matters with the vast majority involving claims resulting from lift accidents. The firm has resolved most of the original portfolio and is handling all of Skyjack’s new cases going forward. High-stakes litigator Theresa Wardon Benz obtained a complete defense verdict for client Michelin in a product liability lawsuit that received national attention. Michael Williams currently represents Whirlpol in a multistate consumer class action lawsuit involving allegations of defective dryers. A new addition to this year’s list is Kathryn Reilly, who focuses her practice on complex commercial and antitrust litigation. Among her current matters, Reilly is representing clients in a federal class action lawsuit involving alleged collusion to keep au pair wages artificially low.