Education

  • DePauw University (B.A., 1971, with distinction
  • Georgetown University Law Center (J.D., 1974)

Admissions

  • District of Columbia
  • United States Supreme Court
  • United States Courts of Appeals for the Second, Third, Fourth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh, District of Columbia, and Federal Circuits
  • United States District Courts for the District of Columbia, the Central District of Illinois, and the District of Maryland

Joe G. Hollingsworth is a nationally renowned courtroom advocate who specializes in trials and appeals and leads a practice group of sixty-five attorneys.  He has been honored three times by The National Law Journal for the year’s Top Ten Defense Wins.  He defends cases involving pharmaceutical and medical device products liability, toxic and environmental torts, and consumer products liability, and he prosecutes and defends complex federal claims involving the government.  Over one hundred opinions arising from his cases are published in the federal and state reporters.  On behalf of corporate defendants during more than for decades of private practice, Mr. Hollingsworth has conducted over twenty-five jury trials, ranging in duration from two weeks to over three and a half months.  He has argued in the United States Supreme Court, eight U.S. Circuit Courts, seven state supreme courts, many intermediate appellate courts, and before the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation.  In total, he has appeared in trial courts in thirty-three states.

Mr. Hollingsworth tries both high-stakes individual cases and cases that form massive serial litigation.  Representing Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation, he led a team of Hollingsworth LLP lawyers in securing a defense verdict in the second bellwether case chosen for trial in the New Jersey Aredia®/Zometa® serial litigation.  Meng v. Novartis Pharm. Corp., No. MID-L-7670-07-MT (N.J. Super. Ct. Law Div. May 15, 2013).  This followed his team's victory in Bessemer v. Novartis Pharm. Corp., No. MID-L-1835-08-MT (N.J. Super. Ct. 2010), aff'd, No. L-1835-08, 2012 WL 2120777 (N.J. Super. Ct. App. Div. June 13, 2012), the first bellwether trial in the Aredia®/Zometa® New Jersey consolidated litigation.  In both cases, plaintiffs claimed long term injury due to a side effect of cancer therapy.  After brief deliberations, the juries in both Meng and Bessemer responded to the first verdict form question that Novartis Pharmaceuticals did not fail to warn.

Mr. Hollingsworth has been lead counsel in numerous MDLs, serial litigations, and mass torts, representing defendants in Omniscan™ contrast dye litigation and Zometa®/Aredia® bisphosphonate litigation, among other serial litigations.  In 2013, Mr. Hollingsworth secured a victory for Firm client, DynCorp International, when the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia granted summary judgment to DynCorp, dismissing the sole remaining human health and medical monitoring claims brought by 3,200 Ecuadoreans claiming personal injury and property damage in connection with counternarcotics aerial herbicide spraying operations in southern Colombia. DynCorp is a contractor to the U.S. State Department and assists with the joint United States-Colombia war-on-drugs initiatives known as “Plan Colombia.”  See Arias, et al. v. DynCorp, et al., 928 F. Supp.2d 10, 2013 WL 821168 (D.D.C. Feb. 19, 2013).  He subsequently defended those victories before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.  See Arias v. DynCorp, 752 F.3d 1011 (D.C. Cir. 2014).

Mr. Hollingsworth served as lead trial counsel for Norfolk Southern in the largest single tort case in South Carolina history and one of the largest tort cases recently tried anywhere, in which textile manufacturer Avondale Mills sought hundreds of millions of dollars in compensatory damages as well as punitive damages for alleged property damage to its plants following a January 2005 train derailment and chlorine release.  Avondale Mills v. Norfolk Southern, Civ. No. 1:05-2817-MBS (D.S.C. 2008).  After one month of an anticipated three-month trial, the parties agreed to a confidential settlement.  In June 2004, Mr. Hollingsworth conducted the first jury trial in the country involving allegations that hernia repair mesh—used in approximately 700,000 hernia surgeries per year in the U.S. alone—can cause infertility.  The Austin, Texas federal jury deliberated for fifty-eight minutes, returning a unanimous verdict for the nation’s largest medical device manufacturer.  In 1997, Mr. Hollingsworth tried the first case alleging that the drug Parlodel® could cause serious cerebrovascular events in new mothers, in a case that had substantial pretrial publicity, including being featured on the NBC show “NOW.”  The case was tried in state court in Rankin County, Mississippi.  Mr. Hollingsworth secured a defense verdict that was upheld by the Mississippi Supreme Court. In another jury trial involving pretrial publicity — a “60 Minutes” documentary about his chemical manufacturer client — Mr. Hollingsworth won a defense verdict after an eleven-week trial.   See Jones v. Velsicol Chem. Corp., 625 N.Y.S.2d 934 (N.Y. App. Div. 1995) (affirming denial of motion for new trial).

In his appellate practice, Mr. Hollingsworth secured, on behalf of General Electric, a decision eliminating collateral tort liability for property damage due to the release of a persistent contaminant.  Based on 100-year-old national precedents, the Georgia Supreme Court issued a unanimous opinion on questions certified from the Eleventh Circuit, leading to the vacatur of a $20 million verdict in a case tried by another firm.  See General Elec. Co. v. Lowe's Home Centers, Inc.608 S.E.2d 636 (Ga. 2005) (answering questions certified by Eleventh Circuit); Lowe's Home Centers, Inc. v. General Electric Co., 404 F.3d 1311 (11th Cir. 2005) (vacating judgment in favor of plaintiff).

In the course of their representation of manufacturers and other corporations in the defense of thousands of cases nationwide involving pharmaceuticals and medical devices, Mr. Hollingsworth and his group have pioneered important developments in the law critical to corporate tort defendants.  Notable examples include four important and widely cited U.S. circuit court Daubert decisions, see, e.g.Rider/Siharath v. Sandoz Pharm. Corp., 295 F.3d 1194 (11th Cir. 2002) (affirming summary judgment in pharmaceutical case); Hollander v. Sandoz Pharm. Corp., 289 F.3d 1193 (10th Cir. 2002) (same); Glastetter v. Novartis Pharm. Corp., 252 F.3d 986 (8th Cir. 2001) (per curiam) (same); and Schudel v. Gen. Elec. Co., 120 F.3d 991 (9th Cir. 1997) (overturning $14 million jury verdict on Daubert grounds in PCB/solvents case).  Mr. Hollingsworth and his group have also secured important precedent-setting victories ranging from winning summary judgment on various grounds, seee.g.Davidson v. Velsicol Chem. Corp., 834 P.2d 931 (Nev. 1992), cert. denied, 507 U.S. 1051 (1993) (first state supreme court post-Cippolone FIFRA preemption decision); Conde v. Velsicol Chem. Corp., 804 F. Supp. 972 (S.D. Ohio 1992), aff'd 24 F.3d 809 (6th Cir. 1994) (first post-Daubert summary judgment opinion in 6th Cir.); Bly v. Tri-Continental Indus., 663 A.3d 1232 (D.C. 1995) (affirming summary judgment in leukemia cases), to establishing important procedural principles that upset plaintiffs’ case planning, seee.g., In Re Consolidated Parlodel Litig., 22 F. Supp. 2d 320 (D.N.J. 1998)(deconsolidating claims on forum non conveniens grounds); Yocham v. Novartis Pharm. Corp., No. 07-1810, slip. op., 2007 WL 2318493 (D.N.J. Aug. 13, 2007) (denying motion to remand case brought against in-state defendant where defendant removed case prior to being served).  Mr. Hollingsworth and his firm also counsel clients with respect to due diligence and insurance coverage issues relating to toxics liabilities.

Mr. Hollingsworth's practice also emphasizes the pursuit of claims against the government on behalf of contractors and others.  He represented Glendale Federal Bank, and successfully argued its breach-of-contract case before the United States Supreme Court, in the landmark Winstar litigation, see 518 U.S. 839 (1996), an oral argument featured in The American Lawyer, and a case that concluded with the award of $387 million to his client Glendale.  On a national basis, he has pursued indemnity claims against the government on behalf of two former asbestos-containing product manufacturers.  In such federal claims litigation, Mr. Hollingsworth has appeared in numerous specialized forums, including the full en banc Federal Circuit.

Over the course of his career, Mr. Hollingsworth has been sought out hundreds of times for various speaking engagements.  He has appeared frequently on behalf of the American Enterprise Institute, the Brookings Institution, Northwestern Law’s Searle Center, and George Mason University Law & Economics Center as a lecturer in federal and state judge education workshops and related seminars.  He also lectures, and is consulted by media interests, about litigation strategies in complex litigation.  See, e.g.The National Law Journal (strategies for successful Daubert challenges).  And, over twenty years ago, Mr. Hollingsworth published the first article on Daubert (Mealey's 1993).

Mr. Hollingsworth is a member of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce National Chamber Litigation Center's Constitutional and Administrative Law Committee, a group that helps the Chamber select appropriate cases for amicus participation in the highest appellate courts in the country.  He is a member of the Defense Research Institute and the National Association of Railroad Trial Counsel.  Mr. Hollingsworth serves on the Georgetown University Law Center Board of Visitors.  He is a board member of the Atlantic Legal Foundation and of the Chesapeake Legal Alliance (a non-profit dedicated to using the law to improve the quality of the Chesapeake Bay).  

Mr. Hollingsworth is named in the 2018 Washington, DC edition of Super Lawyers, as he has been each year since 2007.  He is named in Best Lawyers' 2019 edition for Product Liability Litigation-Defendants.  He is listed in Who's Who in AmericaWho's Who in American Law, Who's Who in the East, and as a 2017 AV Preeminent® Lawyer by Martindale-Hubbell™.

Publications

  • New Jersey: Now the Product-Liability Defendant's Playground?
  • The Supreme Court’s Chance to Re-Open a Preemption Door the Third Circuit Tried to Close Forever
  • Washington Legal Foundation publishes "A Framework for Toxic Tort Litigation," by Joe Hollingsworth and Kate Latimer.
  • Daubert in Toxic Tort Litigation (part 3 of 3)
  • Daubert in Toxic Tort Litigation (part 2 of 3)
  • Testing Claims of Adverse Drug Effects in the Courtroom, in Drug Abuse Handbook, 2d ed.
  • Daubert in Toxic Tort Litigation (part 1 of 3)
  • Dodging Daubert
  • The Case Against Differential Diagnosis: Daubert, Medical Causation Testimony, and the Scientific Method
  • Toxic Torts in the Oil and Gas Industry, Oil & Gas Institute
  • Conde v. Velsicol Chemical Corp.: Lessons for the Defense of Toxic Tort Cases.
  • Taking The Depositions Of Plaintiffs’ Experts In Toxic Tort Cases
What's
Hot

Bloomberg BNA: Monsanto: Cancer Study Suppression is ‘Scientific Vandalism’

Hollingsworth LLP represents Monsanto in In Re:Roundup Products Liability Litigation in the Northern District of California.