Brian S. Prestes
Brian Prestes specializes in leading and coordinating multi-firm defense teams in products liability, mass tort, and complex commercial litigation. Brian has been lead or national coordinating counsel in matters that have involved tens, hundreds, and even thousands of individual personal injury cases as well as state and federal false claims act cases, government investigations, and class actions. Brian's experience and skill in directing multi-firm defense teams and crafting both litigation and resolution strategies, combined with Brian's advocacy skills, have contributed to some of our clients' most successful results. Brian was the National Intercollegiate Debate Champion before attending law school at the University of Chicago. At the University of Chicago, Brian was Executive Editor of the Law Review and graduated with high honors. Prior to joining Bartlit Beck, Brian clerked for the Honorable Sandra L. Lynch on the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit and served in the Office of Legal Counsel at the United States Department of Justice, where he assisted the Attorney General in advising Executive Branch Agencies and the President of the United States. Brian joined Bartlit Beck in 2006 and became a partner in 2009.
PRODUCTs-LIABILITy, mass-tort, and other mass actions
ET Plus Litigation
Brian serves as national coordinating counsel for defendants, Trinity Industries and Trinity Highway Products, in litigation alleging personal injuries from Trinity's ET Plus guardrail end terminal system. In this role, Brian has coordinated the defense of products liability cases pending in multiple state and federal jurisdictions, class actions, state and federal qui tam actions, and other related litigation.
Brian serves as counsel for Monsanto and Bayer defending the Roundup® products-liability litigation. Plaintiffs allege personal injuries, including non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, caused by Roundup® herbicide. The MDL is pending in the Northern District of California, with state-court proceedings pending in Missouri, California, and other states.
Las Vegas Hepatitis C Litigation (District Court, Clark County, Nevada)
Brian provided strategic direction, coordinated six trial teams, and spent 30 days on trial, for UnitedHealthcare in litigation encompassing over 40 individual cases, pending before 20 different judges in state court. Plaintiffs were individuals who claimed to have contracted Hepatitis C during endoscopy procedures performed at clinics that were on defendants' networks of approved healthcare providers. Defendants were health plans and other entities affiliated with UnitedHealthcare. Bartlit Beck tried one case (Martin v. PacifiCare of Nevada, et al.), resulting in a favorable jury verdict and subsequent settlement of half of the pending cases. Bartlit Beck began trying a second case (Paul v. Health Plan of Nevada, et al.), which settled one month into trial, along with the other remaining cases.
Yaz®/Yasmin® Birth Control Litigation (S.D. Ill.)
In addition to his role as one of Bayer's trial counsel in the first case set for trial, Brian was part of the small national-counsel team directing Bayer's overall defense of the Yaz® and Yasmin® birth-control litigation. Plaintiffs alleged personal injuries, including blood clots and gallbladder injuries, caused by the oral contraceptives Yaz® and Yasmin®. MDL in the Southern District of Illinois and large, coordinated state-court proceedings in California, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. No adverse judgments among approximately 20,000 lawsuits and claims resolved by voluntary dismissals, judgments in favor of Bayer, and settlements.
Represented Merck in litigation alleging personal and economic injuries caused by the anti-inflammatory medication Vioxx®. Brian represented Merck as one of its trial counsel in Plubell v. Merck, a consumer class action brought in the Circuit Court of Jackson County on behalf of Missouri consumers alleging economic losses relating to purchases of Vioxx®, as well as in International Union of Operating Engineers Local No. 68 v. Merck, a class action, and later individual actions, brought in Atlantic County, New Jersey, Superior Court, by payors of prescription benefits alleging economic losses relating to purchases of Vioxx®. Both cases settled; Engineers after the New Jersey Supreme Court reversed class certification.
Represented AstraZeneca as one of its trial counsel in mass tort litigation filed by plaintiffs alleging personal injuries caused by the antipsychotic medication Seroquel®. Brian’s role included representing AstraZeneca in Hopkins, Scaife, and Jones -- the first several Seroquel® cases selected to be tried in state court in Delaware, all of which were resolved shortly before trial on summary judgment in AstraZeneca’s favor.
City of Milwaukee v. NL Industries, Inc. (Circuit Court, Milwaukee County, Wisconsin)
Briefed and argued NL’s motion for summary judgment on plaintiff’s claim for $108 million in alleged future damages for lead-paint abatement. Victory for NL. Court dismissed with prejudice 100 percent of plaintiff’s future-damages claim. Featured in The American Lawyer.
In Re Teflon® Products Liability Litigation (S.D. Iowa)
Represented DuPont in an MDL comprised of 23 alleged class actions brought on behalf of consumers who claimed to have purchased cookware coated with Teflon® and other non-stick coatings manufactured by DuPont. MDL in Southern District of Iowa. Class certification denied in all matters. Petition for appeal rejected by the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. Cases voluntarily dismissed with prejudice.
Perrine v. DuPont (West Virginia)
Retained shortly before trial to represent DuPont in class action jury trial of toxic-tort claims. Class of 8,500 alleged community contamination by zinc smelter emissions over a century. Jury verdict for plaintiffs.
Represented company on appeal to West Virginia Supreme Court, which ordered re-trial on statute of limitations defense and substantially reduced potential damages. Case settled favorably.
Ehlis v. Shire Richwood, Inc. (U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit)
Represented Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (“PhRMA”) as amicus in support of Shire in products liability case involving “failure to warn” claims relating to the prescription drug Adderall®. Shire prevailed.
Other representative cases
Sunrise Hospital System v. Sierra Health Services
Trial counsel for UnitedHealthcare’s affiliate, Sierra, in an arbitration initiated by HCA Healthcare’s affiliate, Sunrise, alleging underpayments for medical services. Case resolved on confidential terms.
Bayer Pharma v. Watson & Lupin Ltd. (D. Del.)
Represented Bayer in Hatch-Waxman litigation against challengers seeking to market a generic version of the oral contraceptive Natazia®. Complete trial victory for Bayer.
Adelphia Communications Corp. v. Deloitte & Touche, LLP (Court of Common Pleas, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania)
Represented defendant Deloitte & Touche in multi-billion dollar accounting malpractice case brought by Adelphia, with third-party claims against the Rigas family. Case resolved on confidential terms.
Northern Illinois Gas Company v. Commonwealth Edison Company (CPR Arbitration)
Represented Nicor Gas Company in 38 separate cost allocation arbitrations with Commonwealth Edison. Nicor sought to allocate remediation costs for environmental cleanup the parties jointly undertook at former manufactured gas plant sites in Illinois. Parties agreed to final cost allocation and received approval for the allocation from the Illinois Commerce Commission.
Nicor Gas Co. v. J.F. Edwards Construction Co. (Circuit Court, Cook County, Illinois)
Lead trial counsel representing plaintiff, Nicor Gas, seeking to recover damages to Nicor’s underground gas line. First chaired two-day jury trial. Victory for Nicor. Jury awarded Nicor damages and court costs, and completely denied defendant’s counterclaim.
Nicor Home Services, LLC v. Holzkamp (Circuit Court, Lake County, Illinois)
Lead trial counsel representing plaintiff, Nicor Home Services, seeking to recover damages arising out of a car accident. First chaired two-day jury trial. Total victory for Nicor Home Services. Jury awarded Nicor Home Services 100 percent of its claimed damages, plus court costs.
Kerr-McGee Chemical LLC v. Kemira (London Court of International Arbitration)
Represented Kerr-McGee, alleging breach of contract, in London Court of International Arbitration proceeding.
Nike v. Kasky (U.S. Supreme Court)
Represented ExxonMobil Corp., Bank of America, Microsoft, Monsanto, Morgan Stanley, GlaxoSmithKline, and Pfizer as amici in support of Nike.
Locke, Governor of Washington v. Davey (U.S. Supreme Court)
Represented National School Boards Association, numerous State school boards associations, and others as amici in support of the State of Washington in First Amendment Free Exercise Clause case. Washington prevailed.