Carolyn Collins represents large and small companies in disputes from complex mass tort litigation to California Proposition 65 and has extensive experience with resolution of cases through ADR, trial and the appellate process.
What do you focus on?
I focus my practice on defense of product liability lawsuits, including asbestos and toxic tort, and on defense of companies in Proposition 65 matters. In both areas, my experience from 30+ years of evaluating the scientific bases of causation and exposure allegations plays prominently. That experience affords me opportunities to collaborate with and to present testimony from leading medical and scientific experts from around the country and to challenge the opinions of opposing experts. Recently, our Prop 65 team negotiated a successful resolution after convincing the opposition that its technical experts’ flawed methodology for modeling exposure for a household product overstated the human health effects.
What do you see on the horizon?
I’ve observed that the uptick in recent years in aggressive enforcement policies of consumer product regulation, both at the federal and state levels, influences the strategy of the plaintiff’s bar in products liability litigation. We work with clients to increase awareness of and develop strategies to mitigate risk flowing from this trend.
- Work with forensic accounting and economist experts in scrutiny of catastrophic business and property loss claims.
- Involved in national asbestos litigation defense for several Fortune 500 companies. Defends locally or on a regional basis various asbestos defendants sued on "low dose" or other non-traditional theories of liability. Extensive experience working with scientific and medical experts.
- Counseled and litigated numerous matters under Proposition 65 (California's Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act)
- Coordinated a team responsible for handling over 3,000 California asbestos cases for a defendant which acquired, by merger, interests of an asbestos manufacturer.
- Representation of medical device and pharmaceutical manufacturers in product litigation involving a range of products, including orthopedic implants; member of Western U.S. regional counsel team for major pharmaceutical manufacturer in diptheria-pertussis-tetanus (DPT) litigation.
- Managed the court-appointed defense liaison function of law firm coordinating the joint discovery of thousands of Northern California asbestos cases. Responsibilities included implementing general orders governing hundreds of defendants and plaintiffs, close interaction with the trial courts, and extensive trial preparation and trial of medical issues.
- Representation of insurance carriers in coverage, bad faith, declaratory relief and related matters; hotels and other premises liability defendants; chemical and equipment manufacturers.
- “What to Watch Out For: Emerging Trends in Prop 65 Litigation,” Nixon Peabody’s 8th Annual California MCLE Symposium for Corporate Legal Executives, San Francisco, January 15, 2013 (co-presenter with Lauren Michals)
- “Asbestos Litigation Update: New Legal and Scientific Frontiers,” Nixon Peabody Webinar, April 2012 (co-presenter with Ross Petty and John Weinholtz)
- Mealy’s Asbestos Conference, Los Angeles, December 2010 (presenter)
- “California Component Part Defense,” Andrew’s Asbestos Conference, New Orleans, October 2010 (presenter)
- “Recent Developments in the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, California’s Proposition 65, and Recent Phthalate Regulations: Not Just for Kids Anymore,” Nixon Peabody Webinar, December 2009 (presenter with Christopher Thomas and James Weller)
- “The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008: Issues in Implementation,” Nixon Peabody Webinar, December 2008 (presenter)
- “Avoiding Sophisticated User Doctrine In Calif.”, Product Liability Law 360, Guest Column, March 1, 2010. Co-Author, Kelly Kress