As a nationally renowned high-stakes litigator and trial advocate, representing some of the most prominent companies in the world and working on some of the largest cases in the country, Joe Hollingsworth brings well-honed critical thinking skills and decades of perspective to his trial practice and challenging complex litigation cases.

In private practice for almost five decades, both inside and outside the courtroom, Joe defends cases involving pharmaceutical and medical device products liability, toxic and environmental torts, and consumer products liability, and prosecutes and defends complex federal claims involving the government. He has been honored three times by The National Law Journal for the year’s Top Ten Defense Wins.

With a long history of career wins, Joe has:

  • 140+ opinions arising from his cases published in federal and state reporters
  • Conducted 25+ jury trials
  • Served as lead counsel in numerous MDLs, serial litigations, and mass torts
  • Appeared for oral argument in the United States Supreme Court, eight U.S. Circuit Courts, seven state supreme courts, many intermediate appellate courts, and before the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation
  • Appeared in trial courts in over 40 states

Trying both high-stakes individual cases and cases that form massive serial litigation, some of Joe’s notable achievements include:

  • Beginning in 1987, serving as national trial counsel in one of the nation’s first mass tort litigations involving carcinogenicity claims against the manufacturer of the agricultural chemical Chlordane;
  • Beginning in 1997, serving as national trial counsel on behalf of the maker of Parlodel in one of the nation’s first serial litigations involving pharmaceutical products;
  • Beginning in 2006, defending Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation and winning defense verdicts in the first and second bellwether cases chosen for trial in the New Jersey Aredia®/Zometa® serial litigation, one of the then longest-standing multidistrict litigations ‎in the country;
  • Heading up the firm’s defense of serial personal injury litigation in Cook County, Illinois circuit court arising from alleged exposure to ethylene oxide emissions from a medical device sterilization company;
  • Representing an NFL team in complex litigation arising out of its operations, including suits concerning the scope and enforceability of ticketing contracts;
  • Securing a Daubert-based victory for DynCorp International – a contractor to the U.S. State Department assisting with the joint United States-Colombia war-on-drugs initiatives known as “Plan Colombia” that dismissed personal injury, property damage, and medical monitoring claims brought by 3,200 Ecuadoreans due to counternarcotics aerial herbicide spraying operations;
  • Serving as lead trial counsel for Norfolk Southern in the largest single tort case in South Carolina history and the biggest environmental disaster at that time since the Exxon Valdez oil spill, in which a textile manufacturer sought hundreds of millions of dollars in compensatory damages plus punitive damages for alleged property damage following a train derailment and chlorine release;
  • Pioneering important developments in the law critical to corporate tort defendants while representing manufacturers and other corporations in the defense of thousands of cases nationwide involving pharmaceuticals and medical devices; prominent examples include five important and widely cited U.S. circuit court Daubert decisions — Rider v. Sandoz, Hollander v. Sandoz, Glastetter v. Novartis, Conde v. Velsicol, and Schudel v. GE. Legal scholars refer to the first three decisions as the “Parlodel Trilogy” and have written that they represent the key to litigating against junk science in the 21st Century.

Outside of the courtroom, Joe is a highly regarded speaker and educator and has delivered more than 250 speeches. Given his penchant for speaking and educating, he created and launched over thirty years ago the longest running CLE-accredited annual seminar of its kind on complex litigation defense. He also lectures and is consulted by media interests about litigation strategies in complex litigation and is among a small percentage of American lawyers invited to be a Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America, an honorary society that recognizes excellence among U.S. litigation and trial counsel.

Education

Georgetown Law (J.D., 1974) DePauw University (B.A., 1971, with distinction)

Admissions

  • District of Columbia
  • United States Supreme Court
  • United States Courts of Appeals for the Second, Third, Fourth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh, District of Columbia, and Federal Circuits
  • United States District Courts for the District of Columbia, Central District of Illinois, District of Maryland, and Eastern and Western Districts of Michigan

Accolades

  • The National Law Journal, Top Ten Defense Wins, 2004, 2001, 1998
  • Super Lawyers, Civil Litigation Defense, 2007–2024
  • Best Lawyers in America, 2008–2023
  • AV Preeminent Lawyer – Judicial Edition by Martindale-Hubbell, 2022-2024
  • AV Preeminent Lawyer by ALM Media and Martindale-Hubbell, 1996–2021
  • Litigation Counsel of America, Senior Fellow

Memberships

  • Georgetown Law Board of Visitors, Former Member
  • Atlantic Legal Foundation Board of Directors and Executive Committee
  • Atlantic Coast Conference Hockey League (ACCHL) Board of Directors
  • National Association of Railroad Trial Counsel (NARTC)

Cases

Insights & Events

The Firm congratulates fifteen attorneys named as 2023 Super Lawyers and Rising Stars for Washington, DC. The annual publication lists the top five percent of attorneys in each state, as chosen by their peers through a…
In October, firm founder Joe Hollingsworth gave the keynote address to the reunion weekend gathering of the Barristers’ Council at Georgetown Law.  The Barristers’ Council, consisting of the law school’s mock trial, moot court, and alternative…

"After fewer than six hours of deliberations . . . the jury in Middlesex County Superior Court handed down its 7-1 decision in the case of Beverly Meng shortly after 11 a.m. Meng's lawsuit was the second to go on trial in the New Jersey mass tort, and Novartis has won both."

The New Jersey Supreme Court has declined to hear a challenge to judgments for Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp. in the first bellwether trial in consolidated litigation over claims the drugmaker's bone cancer drugs Aredia and Zometa caused jaw deterioration.

A Texas federal judge . . . ruled against a cancer patient who sued Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp. over a jaw injury she allegedly sustained after taking Zometa, handing Novartis the latest of several wins in multidistrict litigation over the bone drug in the past several months.

On March 4, 2009, the Supreme Court ruled 6-3 that plaintiff Diana Levine could sue the drugmaker Wyeth for injuries she suffered after receiving the antinausea drug Phenergan. Click here to view the opinion.  The medicine…

In the final installment, authors Joe Hollingsworth and Eric Lasker, discuss causation opinions premised on clinical practice, and how defense counsel can effectively use Daubert to exclude causation testimony that rests upon anecdotal case reports and clinical reasoning; Michigan Defense Quarterly (April 2007)

Daubert in Toxic Tort Litigation (part 2 of 3)

publication | January 29, 2007

Written by Joe Hollingsworth and Eric Lasker, the second article explains how defense counsel can assist courts in properly applying the Daubert requirements to various categories of scientific evidence often cited by plaintiffs' experts in support of general causation opinions.  Michigan Defense Quarterly (January 2007).

Daubert in Toxic Tort Litigation (part 1 of 3)

publication | October 25, 2006

Throwing Out Junk Science:  The first article of this 3-part series discusses the legal standards for admissibility of medical causation expert testimony following the Michigan Supreme Court's adoption of the federal Daubert requirements of reliance and relevance. Michigan Defense Quarterly (October 2006) (Joe G. Hollingsworth and Eric G. Lasker).

In March 2000, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma entered summary judgment for Sandoz Pharmaceuticals Corporation, holding that the plaintiff’s proffered expert testimony that Parlodel® caused her stroke was not scientifically reliable…

Yet Another Daubert Victory

news | September 12, 2001
Following a two-day evidentiary Daubert hearing in Caraker v. Sandoz Pharm. Corp., 172 F. Supp. 2d 1046 (S.D. Ill. 2001), Judge J. Phil Gilbert granted Firm client Sandoz’s motion to exclude expert testimony of plaintiffs’ expert witnesses…