Joseph J. Leghorn

Joseph Leghorn is a senior trial attorney in the IP Litigation group with a sustained record of success at all levels of state and federal courts. Over the last 32 years Joseph has represented medical products manufacturers in a variety of cases, including IP litigation. With his background in mathematics and science, he is able to make complex principles easily understood by courts and juries.

What do you focus on?

I always focus my practice on getting my client the best practical outcome. Determining the best possible outcome in each case is a multivariate exercise taking into account many factors, of which advancing a client’s business is of paramount importance. As someone who has always been curious about how things work, representing cutting edge Life Sciences clients has always excited me. The service I provide to Life Sciences companies includes licensing, contract, product liability and IP litigation.

What do you see on the horizon?

For many Life Sciences companies their IP landscape is becoming increasingly crowded, creating more barriers to entry and expensive litigation. At the same time, the Life Sciences industry is coming under increasing pressure to rein in costs. I foresee clients increasingly focused on developing strategies to quickly solve legal problems in order to reduce their overall operating expenses.

Representative Trial Experience

  • Senior trial lawyer on behalf of medical device patent holder seeking damages and injunctive relief from alleged infringer. A ten day trial in 2012 resulted in a favorable jury verdict finding the patents at issue infringed and valid.
  • 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)

Recent Publications

  • “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


Joseph J. Leghorn

Senior Counsel


Phone: 617-345-1114

Fax: 866-947-1719

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

Joseph has been selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© 2017 for Product Liability Litigation - Defendants in Boston, MA. He has been listed in Best Lawyers since 2007.

Joseph 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 was a recipient of the international Who’s Who Legal of Product Liability Defense.

A member of the Defense Research Institute, Joe is an active member of its Drug and Medical Device Committee and Mass Tort Committee. In addition, he is an active member of the Product Liability Committee and Drug and Medical Device Subcommittee of the Litigation Section of the American Bar Association and the International Association of Defense Counsel. Joseph is a sustaining member of the Product Liability Advisory Council. He was also on the Board of Directors of the Massachusetts Medical Device Industry Council between 2001 and 2007.

Joseph has dedicated substantial time to pro bono matters. On October 10, 2006, he helped prepare and file an amicus curiae brief in the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents and the Massachusetts Association of School Committees, Inc. The brief urged the court to uphold the use of voluntary desegregation plans to further the compelling interest of achieving racially diverse schools, and it discussed the successful use of such desegregation efforts in Massachusetts. Currently, he is working with veterans who have served in Iraq and elsewhere, to help them obtain benefits for injuries that they suffered while in service.

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