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Brian L. Stekloff

Partner

Brian is a go-to first-chair trial lawyer who has tried nearly 30 cases. As a founding partner of Wilkinson Walsh, Brian has served as lead or co-lead trial counsel in high-stakes trials, including major products liability bellwethers. Among his many trial victories was the first jury verdict for Bayer in the Xarelto mass tort proceedings in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas. In recognition of that success, Chambers recently named Brian an “up and coming” trial lawyer in products liability and mass torts, describing him as “a tremendous lawyer” who is “instrumental in getting favorable results.”

Before founding Wilkinson Walsh, Brian practiced at Covington and Burling and Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison in Washington DC, where he tried multiple cases to verdict and represented companies and individuals in government investigations and prosecutions. Earlier in his career, Brian spent four years as an Assistant Federal Public Defender for the Southern District of Florida, where he obtained full acquittals in nearly one-third of his jury trials at a rate of double the national average.


Education

  • Undergraduate: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, B.A. with distinction
  • Law: Georgetown University Law Center, J.D. magna cum laude (Order of the Coif)

Clerkship

  • Judge Catherine C. Blake, United States District Court for the District of Maryland (2001-03)
  • Judge J. Frederick Motz, United States District Court for the District of Maryland (2001-03)

Notable Matters

  • Served as lead trial counsel in Hardeman v. Monsanto, the first federal-court trial over allegations that Roundup causes Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.  Brian led the pretrial strategy in front of Judge Vince Chhabria, including on a successful motion to “reverse bifurcate” the trial with a first phase focused on causation.  The jury returned a verdict for the plaintiff that is currently on appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
  • Served as lead trial counsel in Russell v. Janssen in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas.  The trial was the second state-court bellwether trial over the blood-thinner Xarelto and resulted in a full defense verdict when the jury rejected claims against Bayer AG and Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals.  The plaintiff in the Russell case alleged that Bayer and Janssen were liable for claims that the Xarelto label did not adequately instruct doctors on the risks of bleeding associated with the Anticoagulant Xarelto.
  • Successfully co-tried a two-plaintiff jury trial in federal court for Eli Lilly and Company regarding the antidepressant Cymbalta and allegations that Eli Lilly failed to warn of discontinuation risks.
  • Successfully co-tried two separate trials in federal court for Pfizer as part of a multi-district litigation regarding the hormone therapy medication Prempro and allegations that Pfizer failed to warn of the risk of developing breast cancer.
  • Served as a key member of the defense team representing the NFL in its landmark concussion litigation class action settlement and in related cases for the Kansas City Chiefs and Arizona Cardinals.
  • Successful representation of Pfizer in defending an antitrust case in which plaintiffs claimed Pfizer engaged in a patent-stacking scheme to delay generic entry and maintain a monopoly for Neurontin.

Clients & Industries

Brian’s broad practice has included representation of plaintiffs and defendants in products liability, sports, financial services, and healthcare. He has represented Fortune 500 Companies – including Bayer, Eli Lilly, FedEx Ground, JP Morgan, Medtronic, Monsanto, the National Football League, and Pfizer.  To date, Brian has tried twenty-nine jury trials to verdict in federal and state courts across the country.

Other Activities

From 2006 to 2010, Brian served as an Assistant Federal Public Defender for the Southern District of Florida in Miami. In that capacity, he represented indigent defendants in a variety of criminal cases involving alleged securities and other financial fraud, political corruption, violent crimes, narcotics and immigration offenses.  As an Assistant Federal Public Defender, Brian chaired or co-chaired twenty-two felony jury trials, including seven full acquittals.  Brian has remained involved in representing indigent defendants on a pro bono basis as a member of the Criminal Justice Act Panel for the District of Maryland.

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