- Emory University School of Law, J.D., Order of the Coif, with distinction
- Bowdoin College, A.B., Mathematics, cum laude
- New Hampshire
- U.S. Court of Appeals, First Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit
- U.S. Supreme Court
- U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts
- U.S. District Court, District of New Hampshire
- U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois
- U.S. District Court, District of Maine
Joe was a recipient of the international Who’s Who Legal of Product Liability Defence and has been selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America from 2007 to 2012. Inclusion in Best Lawyers is based on a peer-review survey. He has also been recognized as a "Massachusetts Super Lawyer" in Class Action and Mass Torts based on a peer-review survey by Thomson Reuters (2004–2011).
JOSEPH J. LEGHORN
First and foremost, Joe Leghorn is a trial lawyer. Over his 30 years of practice, he has tried to successful resolution matters ranging from racial discrimination claims to business partnership and intellectual property licensing disputes, to products liability and mass torts class actions. As a skilled writer and appellate advocate, he has preserved notable trial court victories on appeal.
Using his many years of trial and industry-specific experience, Joe assesses the strengths and weaknesses of his clients’ adversarial and negotiating positions and creates a plan to resolve clients’ problems consistent with their business objectives. Joe brings added value due to his degree in mathematics and deep experience across a broad spectrum of scientific issues. By quickly gathering the necessary facts and understanding the medical and scientific validity of the parties’ positions, he has been successful bringing matters to quick resolution either by way of compromise, dispositive motion, or trial.
Joe concentrates his practice on the representation of manufacturers of pharmaceuticals, biologics, and medical devices, regionally and nationally. Additionally, he serves clients’ needs in the high-tech and consumer products industries. With a focus on providing legal counsel in the context of execution of business strategy, he is constantly abreast of marketplace, regulatory, and competitive forces faced by his clients. He also stays abreast of trends regarding decisions issued by various courts, jurisdictions, and judges, and brings those insights to clients in developing strategy to address a dispute. His clients perceive him as a strategic partner and thought leader.
For more than 25 years, Joe has been both an active writer and a litigator addressing the issue of federal preemption of state law. Among other cases, in 1992, Joe argued King v. Collagen Corporation before the First Circuit, which then established that federal regulation of medical devices preempted certain state tort law claims that seek to impose different or additional safety requirements. At the time, the Wall Street Journal described this decision as the single most important one for the medical device industry.
Representative Trial Experience
- Kyeremteng v. Avis Rent A Car Systems LLC, Worcester Superior Court, January 2009. Successful defense of the claim that the client engaged in racial discrimination when renting cars.
- In re Latex Glove Litigation in New Hampshire. Lead trial counsel for Smith & Nephew AHP in a seven-week trial in Belkap County, where he presented the medical causation defense on behalf of all manufacturers. The case resulted in a defense verdict that was summarily affirmed on appeal.
- Benedict v. Service Corporation International, Suffolk Superior Court, February 2007. Trial on damages resulting in a verdict well below the expected value and settlement demand. This case secured extensive press coverage.
- Butler v. Sigma-Aldrich, Inc., USDC Massachusetts, May 2006. Trial resulting in a defense verdict for the manufacturer of research reagents. The plaintiff claimed she developed a cross-species infection due to the use of an allegedly contaminated reagent.
- Boudreaux v. Cybex, Inc., Suffolk Superior Court, April 2006. Four-week trial resulting in a defense verdict. The plaintiff sought more than $4 million as compensation for injuries due to defective design of exercise equipment.
- Eisenstein v. Conlin. 444 Mass. 258 (2005), Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, 2005. Decision upholding a successful motion for summary judgment on behalf of clients in partner’s hip dispute.
Representative ADR Experience
- Mediation of Cost Recovery Claim for Product Recall, 2007. Seeking reimbursement of both indemnity and expense costs arising out of improperly manufactured components, resulting in recovery—before instituting an action—of an amount in excess of expectations.
- Illinois Union v. Viking Corporation, USDC Massachusetts. Successful mediation of a cost-recovery action for an amount below the expected value of the property damage claim for an alleged product failure.
- Successful mediation of a series of cases involving Hepatitis C contaminated of an intravenous gammaglobulin product.
- Mediations in New Hampshire of a claim involving claims regarding alleged failure of insulin pumps and infusion sets.
Representative Reported Decisions
- Eisenstein v. Conlin, 444 Mass 258 (2005)
- Mills v. Allegiance Healthcare Corp., 174 F.Supp 2d 1 (Mass. 2001)
- Cortes v. Intermedics, Inc., 229 F.3d12.17 (1st Cir. 2000)
- Holland v. Smith & Nephew Richards, Inc., 100 F.Supp. 2053 (1999)
- King v. Collagen Corp. 983 F.2d. 1130 (1st Cir. 1993)
- Palmer v. Liggett Group, Inc., 825 F.2d 620 (1st Cir. 1987)
- Payton v. Abbott Labs, 386 Mass. 540 (1982)
- “Moving Quickly to Endgame in Benzene Cases,” Products Liability Law 360, September 2009
- “Putting Nanotechnology Under the Microscope,” Products Liability Law 360, August 2009
- “Looking at the Further Preemption,” Products Liability Law 360, November 2008
- “A New Breed of Products-Based Litigation,” Products Liability Law 360, June 2007
- “Defending an Emergency Threat: Consumer Fraud Class Action Suit in Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Products-Based Litigation,” Food and Drug Law Journal, Vol. 61, No. 3 (2006)
- “Gathering Storm: The Rise of the Consumer Fraud Class Action Suit and Its Impact on Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Products-Based Litigation,” For the Defense, Defense Research Institute, April 2006
- “The Scientific Method: How to Avoid Erroneous Conclusion, Vioxx Litigation Reporter,” Mealey’s Publications, January 27, 2006