Kate Swift is a trial lawyer at Bartlit Beck in Chicago. Kate has spent more than 125 days in the courtroom, helping clients with their most important cases. Recently, Kate tried two bellwether cases for Walgreens in the nationwide opioids MDL—regarded as among the most complex cases in U.S. history—including the first jury trial against chain pharmacies and the first trial involving manufacturers, distributors, and a chain pharmacy. In the latter case, with billions of dollars at stake, Kate gave the opening statement for Walgreens and examined more than a half dozen witnesses, including direct and cross-examinations of several experts.
In addition to her background in mass tort and product liability defense, Kate also has tried cases on the plaintiff's side, including disputes involving billion-dollar breach of contract claims and residential mortgage-backed securities. Kate's experience also includes developing creative litigation strategies and efficiently managing large teams in mass litigations.
Kate began her legal career at Kirkland & Ellis, where she was part of a team representing a large consumer products company in a four-week jury trial that resulted in the largest civil verdict then recorded in Wisconsin and a top ten national jury verdict for her client. Kate joined Bartlit Beck in 2009 following clerkships with the Hon. Richard Cudahy on the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and the Hon. Mark Filip on the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. Kate graduated from The University of Chicago Law School with Honors and earned her bachelor’s degree magna cum laude from the University of Missouri.
National counsel and trial counsel for Walgreens in nationwide litigation relating to the distribution and sale of prescription opioid medications, including more than 2,500 cases brought by states, cities, counties, tribes, and private parties seeking recovery in connection with the opioid abuse crisis. Kate served as lead trial counsel for Walgreens in City and County of San Francisco v. Walgreens (tried April-July 2022) and as trial counsel in Lake County, OH v. Purdue and Trumbull County, OH v. Purdue (tried in October and November 2021).
YAZ®/Yasmin® Personal Injury Litigation
National counsel for Bayer in nationwide product liability litigation alleging personal injuries caused by the oral contraceptives YAZ® and Yasmin®, including venous blood clots, gallbladder injuries, heart attacks, and strokes. 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.
Cases Tried or Otherwise Taken to Judgment
San Francisco v. Purdue (N.D. Ca.)
Lead trial counsel for Walgreens in bellwether bench trial against manufacturers, distributors, and Walgreens, alleging marketing, distribution, and sale of prescription opioids contributed to a public nuisance in San Francisco. Case settled before the damages phase of trial for less than 3% of damages sought.
Lake County, OH v. Purdue and Trumbull County, OH v. Purdue (N.D. Ohio, Sixth Circuit)
Trial counsel for Walgreens in first bellwether jury trial against chain pharmacies, alleging distribution and sale of prescription opioids caused a public nuisance in two Ohio counties. Appeal pending.
Hubbard v. Bayer (N.D. Ga., Eleventh Circuit)
Lead counsel in case alleging catastrophic brain injury caused by Bayer’s Beyaz birth control pill. Took key depositions, briefed, argued, and won summary judgment. Briefed, argued, and won affirmance in the Eleventh Circuit. Click here for press coverage and here for opinion .
Poggioli-Grimm v. Bayer (Superior Court of New Jersey)
Lead counsel in case alleging stroke caused by Bayer’s Yaz birth control pill. Took key depositions, briefed, argued, and won summary judgment.
Maze v. Bayer (E.D. Tenn.)
Lead counsel in case alleging stroke caused by Bayer’s Yaz birth control pill. Obtained dismissal on the pleadings on federal preemption grounds.
Massachusetts Mutual Life Ins. Co. Residential Mortgage-Backed Securities Litigation (D. Mass.)
Represented MassMutual in its actions under the Massachusetts Uniform Securities Act, against underwriters Credit Suisse and Goldman Sachs, arising from their sales of residential mortgage-backed securities to MassMutual in 2005-2007. Credit Suisse settled after four weeks of trial, taking an additional $79.5 million charge to earnings because of the settlement payment. Goldman Sachs settled shortly thereafter.
Second chair trial counsel in a large confidential arbitration involving a power plant project. Cross-examined two of respondents' key witnesses, and put on direct testimony of two of claimant's key fact witnesses as well as claimant's damages expert.
Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation v. United States (Court of Federal Claims and Federal Circuit Court of Appeals)
Trial counsel for Sikorsky against Department of Justice in bench trial of government contract suit. Government sought $80 million plus interest on its claim that Sikorsky had overcharged for aircraft and parts by allocating material overhead costs in violation of Cost Accounting Standards during 1999-2005.
Judgment for Sikorsky; court rejected government's claim in its entirety. Judgment for Sikorsky affirmed on appeal.
Click here to read the Law360 article.
Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation v. United States (Court of Federal Claims)
Represented Sikorsky against Department of Justice in government contract suit seeking $34 million in an "alternative claim" to government's previous claim against Sikorsky regarding Sikorsky's overhead accounting practices. Trial court granted Sikorsky's motion for judgment on the pleadings, entered judgment for Sikorsky, and rejected the government's claim in its entirety. Federal Circuit dismissed government's appeal.
Click here to read the Law360 article.
Bayer HealthCare LLC v. Pfizer Inc. (N.D. Ill.)
Trial counsel for Bayer in a patent infringement suit relating to Pfizer's animal health product, ADVOCIN, a fluoroquinolone treatment for bovine respiratory disease. Case settled following multiple summary judgement wins for Bayer.
United States ex rel. Simpson v. Bayer (D. Minn.)
Represented Bayer in False Claims Act litigation alleging deceptive marketing of Baycol®. Obtained dismissal of plaintiff's first amended complaint without prejudice for failure to plead fraud with particularity. Court dismissed second amended complaint with prejudice.
Michael Dikcis v. Nicor Gas Company (Cook County, Illinois and Illinois Court of Appeals)
Represented Nicor Gas Company in class action case involving Nicor's natural gas billing practices. Argued motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction in Cook County Chancery Court. Won dismissal of complaint with prejudice. Argued appeal before the First District. Judgment affirmed.
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Professional Activities and Community Service
Chicago Legal Clinic, Auxiliary Board, 2006-Present
ABA Journal, Chicago, Illinois, Assistant Managing Editor, 2000-2003
Chicago Lawyer Magazine, Chicago, Illinois, Staff Writer, 1998-2000
- Peter Bensinger, Jr., Kate Swift, and Scott McBride win multiple summary judgment motions for Bayer in patent case against Pfizer (Zoetis)07.07.2016
Education & Honors
The University of Chicago Law School, 2006, J.D., with Honors
Managing Editor, The University of Chicago Law Review
University of Missouri-Columbia, 1998, B.J., magna cum laude; B.A., with Departmental Honors, French
- Honorable Richard D. Cudahy, United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, 2009
- Honorable Mark R. Filip, United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, 2006-2007
Awards & Recognition
Ranked by Chambers USA as one of the leading Commercial Litigation lawyers in Illinois
Recognized as a Notable Gen X Leader in Law by Crain’s Chicago Business
Lawdragon 500 Leading Litigators in America
Lawdragon 500 Leading Lawyers in America
- United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois Trial Bar
- United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
- United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit