Ellen Reisman

Ms. Reisman is nationally recognized for her skill in achieving innovative resolutions of complex mass tort litigation through class action, inventory, and individual settlements. She joined in founding RKG after nearly 30 years at an AmLaw 100 international law firm and two years as a senior lawyer at a major pharmaceutical company. Her extensive experience in successfully developing and implementing comprehensive, integrated settlement strategies includes:  

  • Serving as a court-appointed Special Master in several federal multi-district litigations (and related state court litigation) to assist in the resolution of nationwide product liability and economic loss mass tort claims, the allocation of settlement funds, and the allocation of common benefit fees; 

  • Serving as a mediator for individual lawsuits and groups of related cases; 

  • Representing pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers and other companies in negotiating settlements of thousands of product liability and personal injury claims in some of the largest mass tort litigations; 

  • Counseling pharmaceutical and medical device companies and investors on potential product liability risks and mitigation strategies. 

Notable Matters 
Special Master and Mediator in Mass Torts 

  • Ms. Reisman was appointed by U.S. District Judge John W. Lungstrum (D. Kan.), U.S. District Judge David R. Herndon (S.D. Ill.), Judge Thomas M. Sipkins (District Court for Hennepin County, Fourth Judicial District, State of Minnesota), and Judge Brad K. Bleyer (Illinois First Judicial Circuit Court) to facilitate settlement negotiations of class action and individual claims in two federal courts and several state courts by thousands of corn farmers and other plaintiffs alleging economic loss arising from Syngenta’s sales of corn seed containing genetically modified traits approved in the United States, but not in China. Her efforts resulted in a global nationwide $1.51 billion class action settlement of claims asserted by farmers, grain handling facilities, and ethanol producers, which resolved the claims pending in the Kansas and Illinois federal courts and in the Minnesota, Indiana, Iowa, and Ohio state courts. Ms. Reisman was also appointed by Judge Lungstrum to allocate common benefit attorneys’ fees and expenses in connection with the class action settlement. Her Reports and Recommendations as to fees and expenses were substantially adopted by the federal court supervising the settlement. She continues to serve as Special Master in connection with all aspects of the implementation of the settlement, including appeals of claim determinations in that settlement. 

  • Special Master for Settlement in In re C.R. Bard Pelvic Repair System Products Liability Litigation, No. 2:10-md-2187 (S.D. W. Va.), appointed by Judge Joseph R. Goodwin. 

  • Common Benefit Special Master, in In re Abilify (Aripiprazole) Products Liability Litigation, No 3:16-md-2734 (N.D. Fla.), appointed by Judge M. Casey Rogers. 

  • Special Master for Settlement, in In re 3M Combat Arms Earplug Products Liability Litigation, No 3:19-md-2885 (N.D. Fla.), appointed by Judge M. Casey Rogers. 

  • Special Master, in In re: Proton-Pump Inhibitor Products Liability Litigation, No. 2:17-md-2789 (D.N.J.), appointed by Judge Claire C. Cecchi. 

  • Special Master for Settlement, in In re: Ethicon Physiomesh Flexible Composite 

  • Hernia Mesh Products Liability Litigation, No. 1:17-md-2782(N.D.Ga.), appointed by Judge Richard W. Story. 

  • Special Master, in In re: Atrium Medical Corp. C-Qur Mesh Products Liability Litigation, No. 1:16-md-2753 (D.N.H), appointed by Chief Judge Landya B. McCafferty. 

National Mass Tort Settlement Counsel 

  • National Settlement Counsel for Endo Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and American Medical Systems, Inc. and successors in connection with litigation involving AMS Pelvic Repair System Products, resulting in the settlement of over 70,000 claims. 

  • Represented BP in negotiating the Deepwater Horizon Medical Benefits Class Action Settlement. 

  • Represented Scientific Protein Laboratories and American Capital Ltd. in product liability litigation and regulatory matters involving contaminated heparin from China. 

  • Represented Wyeth (formerly American Home Products Corporation) In the diet drug (“fen phen”) litigation as national counsel coordinating defense of tens of thousands of lawsuits, lead negotiator of the National Diet Drug Class Action Settlement (Brown v. American Home Products, No. 99-20593, E.D. Pa.), and architect and lead negotiator in the Diet Drug “Global Settlement Process,” resolving over 60,000 opt-out cases. 

  • Represented Pfizer Inc. and Shiley Incorporated in product liability and other matters involving the Bjork-Shiley Heart Valve, including a class action settlement, a settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice, and international regulatory issues. 

Presentations and Articles 

  • Speaker at the 2020 Forum for State Appellate Judges, The Pound Civil Justice Institute, “Confronting Confidentiality in Our Public Courts,” July 2020 

  • “Panel: Global Settlement Architecture,” Perrin Conferences, May 2019 

  • “Panel: Ethical Considerations in Settling Mass Torts,” ABA Annual Spring CLE Meeting, Toxic Torts and Environmental Law Committee April 2017 

  • “Panel: The Defense Perspective,” Texas Trial Lawyers Association Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Seminar, February 2017 

  • “Panel: Closure Mechanisms,” Emory Law School Institute for Complex Litigation and Mass Claims, December 2016 

  • “Moderator, Panel: Coordinator: Related Class Actions, Mass Actions and Parallel State Litigation,” Emory Law School Institute for Complex Litigation and Mass Claims, December 2016 

  • “Panel: Application of Alternative Mass Tort Resolution Strategies to Asbestos 

  • Litigation,” Perrin Asbestos Litigation Conference: A National Overview and Outlook, September 28, 2015 

  • “CPSA – Buyer Beware, Medical Devices” HB Litigation Conferences, Judicial Teleconference Series with Hon. Marina Corodemus, October 2011 

  • Ellen K. Reisman and Ethan P. Greene, “Ethical Issues in Class Action Settlements”, DRI Class Action Seminar, July 2011 

  • Ellen K. Reisman and Ethan P. Greene, “Ethical Limitations on Attempting to Prevent or Restrict an Attorney from Bringing Future Claims as Part of a Settlement Agreement”, DRI Drug and Medical Device Conference, April 2008 

  • “Panel: Product Recall Readiness” 4thAnnual Drug and Medical Device Litigation Conference, November 2007 

  • “Panel: Compliance, Fraud & Abuse Mock Courtroom” 7thEmerging Growth Conference, AdvaMed Medical Technology Association, May 2007 

  • “Panel: Developing Your Settlement Position with Respect to Mass Tort Products Claims” ABA: Resolving Mass Tort Products Claims, March 2007 

  • “Panel: Settling the Big Case” ABA: Environmental, Mass Torts and Products Liability Litigation, January 2007 

  • “Panel: Making the Decision to Settle and Devising Novel End-Game Strategies” ACI: 11thAnnual Drug and Medical Device Litigation Conference, December 2006 

  • “Panel: Settlement Strategies for Big Time Litigation – When to Hold ‘Em and When to Fold ‘Em” ABA: Toxic Torts & Environmental Law Meeting – Science & The Law, April 2006 

  • “Panel: Balancing Expectations and Ethics in Class Settlements” ABA: 9thAnnual Institute on Class Actions, October 2005 

Education and Prior Experience 

B.A. 1981, Boston College, summa cum laude 
J.D. 1984, University of Chicago Law School, cum laude 
Partner, Arnold & Porter LLP, 1992-1999, 2001-2015 (Washington. D.C. and Los Angeles, CA) 
Associate, Arnold & Porter LLP, 1984-1991 (Washington, D.C.) 
Associate General Counsel of American Home Products Corporation and Vice President, 
Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, 1999-2001 

Bar Admissions 
Ms. Reisman is admitted to the bars of the District of Columbia and California 

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