John ("Fitz") Fitzpatrick is the epitome of a trial lawyer's trial lawyer. For more than 30 years, he has been in the trenches, steadily trying in excess of 220 cases to verdict in over 40 states, and obtaining defense verdicts in the vast majority of those cases. Fitz has truly developed a reputation as the go-to, bet-the-company trial attorney for high-exposure, catastrophic matters. His cases have involved allegations of injury attributable to medical devices, pharmaceuticals, asbestos, medical malpractice, infant car seats, natural gas explosions, and stray voltage from power companies.
High-stakes Cases Nationwide
Fitz's experience ranges from class action lawsuits involving both consumer products and employment issues to bad faith insurance claims to birth trauma and traumatic brain injury cases. His ability to quickly assess a case, tell a story, and charm a jury contributes to his exemplary record of success and has resulted in his being retained as lead trial counsel in high-exposure cases involving nationally recognized companies. Fitz's clients include General Electric, AT&T, Yum! Brands, Allstate, Family Dollar, and Evenflo. He is also national trial counsel to major insurance companies, such as ACE, Aegis, AIG, CNA, Electric Insurance Mutual, and Premier, for catastrophic, product liability, toxic tort, medical malpractice, and personal injury claims.
Clients often call on Fitz to parachute into a trial two to three weeks before jury selection and get up to speed—if not set the pace—very quickly. Recent evidence of this includes a two-week asbestos wrongful death trial in Philadelphia in the fall of 2013, in which he was engaged three weeks before trial and, after all the arguments were heard, obtained a complete defense verdict from the jury following just 15 minutes of deliberations.
In addition to representing top companies in their high-stakes trials, Fitz is national trial counsel for asbestos personal injury and wrongful death cases for General Electric, Foster Wheeler, Leslie Controls, Velan, and Dana Corporation.
Just since joining WTO in 2007, Fitz has tried over 30 cases to verdict in 10 states and many of the so-called "judicial hellholes" for corporate America, including Philadelphia, Baltimore, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Madison County, Illinois. He frequently presents to corporate counsel around the country on how to select experienced trial lawyers for high-exposure cases.
National Specialized Litigation Teams
In addition to asbestos personal injury and wrongful death, Fitz has extensive experience trying medical malpractice actions throughout the United States. Since 2006, Fitz has tried over 30 high-exposure medical malpractice cases to verdict in 16 states and prevailed in 95% of them. He has won defense verdicts in highly charged cases involving birth trauma, brain injury, spinal injury resulting in paralysis, and death.
Fitz's first medical malpractice trial, in Virginia in 1989, led to creation of the largest medical malpractice team in that state over the next 20 years. Fitz generally had three to five of the top defense verdicts in Virginia in any given year. His expertise in cases involving babies who suffered brain damage at birth led CNA Insurance to appoint him national trial counsel for birth trauma cases in 2002, and then to assist CNA in selecting a national birth trauma team, which has since evolved into a national catastrophic injury team. In 2005, Fitz was named CNA's 2004 Health Pro Litigator of the Year. Fitz has also served as national trial counsel for high-exposure medical malpractice cases for insurers Premier and AIG, and large hospital groups such as MedStar Health and Universal Health Services.
A former concert pianist and Army Airborne Ranger, Fitz began his legal career in 1981 with the U.S. Army JAG Corps as a prosecutor trying criminal cases in Colorado. He became the Eighth Army Division's Chief Prosecutor in South Korea in 1983 before being selected as the senior medical malpractice attorney for the U.S. Army Tort Branch at the Pentagon in 1986. There he tried 12 civil cases to verdict in federal courts across the country before entering private practice in Richmond, Virginia, in 1988. Fitz's civilian trial career started when he was selected as the youngest national trial counsel for Owens-Corning's asbestos trial team in 1989.