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


  • 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, Central District of Illinois, District of Maryland, and Eastern and Western Districts of Michigan

Joe G. Hollingsworth is a nationally renowned courtroom advocate who specializes in trials and appeals and 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 four decades of private practice, Mr. Hollingsworth has been lead counsel in numerous MDLs, serial litigations, and mass torts, and 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 U.S. 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.  He has appeared in trial courts in over 40 states.

Mr. Hollingsworth recently headed up the Firm’s defense of serial personal injury litigation in Cook County, Illinois circuit court arising from alleged exposure to ethylene oxide emissions from a medical device sterilization company. He also currently represents an NFL team in complex litigation arising out of its operations, including suits concerning the scope and enforceability of ticketing contracts.

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 first and second bellwether cases chosen for trial in the Aredia®/Zometa® New Jersey consolidated litigation.  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); Meng v. Novartis Pharm. Corp., No. MID-L-7670-07-MT (N.J. Super. Ct. Law Div. May 15, 2013).  In both cases, plaintiffs claimed long-term injury due to a side effect of cancer therapy.  After brief deliberations, the juries in both trials responded to the first verdict form question that Novartis Pharmaceuticals did not fail to warn.

Mr. Hollingsworth secured a victory for Firm client DynCorp International — a contractor to the U.S. State Department assisting with the United States-Colombia war-on-drugs initiatives known as “Plan Colombia” — when the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia granted summary judgment to DynCorp, dismissing the 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. 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. 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 the biggest environmental disaster at that time since the Exxon Valdez oil spill, 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 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 Texas federal jury deliberated for less than an hour, 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 and 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 — he won a defense verdict after an eleven-week trial.  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 team 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, see, e.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, see, e.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 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 U.S. 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, he 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 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 on strategies in complex litigation. See, e.g.The National Law Journal (strategies for successful Daubert challenges).  Over twenty-five years ago, he published the first article on Daubert (Mealey's 1993).

Mr. Hollingsworth serves on the Georgetown University Law Center Board of Visitors.  He is a member of the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee of Atlantic Legal Foundation, and is a member of the National Association of Railroad Trial Counsel. He also serves on the Board of Directors of the Atlantic Coast Collegiate Hockey League (ACCHL).

Mr. Hollingsworth is named in the 2023 edition of Best Lawyers in America for Product Liability Litigation-Defendants, in the 2023 Washington, DC edition of Super Lawyers for Civil Litigation-Defense, and as a 2023 Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent Attorney-Judicial Edition.  He is a Senior Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America, which recognizes excellence among U.S. litigation and trial counsel.


  • Exclusion of Junk Science in "Bair Hugger" MDL Shows Daubert is Still Breathing
  • Inconsistent Gatekeeping Undercuts the Continuing Promise of Daubert
  • Games People Play: Supreme Court Can Put a Stop to an Obvious CAFA Workaround.
  • Litigation Funding Slides Downmarket
  • 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.
  • 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.