Bar and Court Admissions
James Hooper defends manufacturers in high-stakes and high-profile mass tort litigation. He handles cases ranging from federal multidistrict litigation involving Zoloft birth defect claims to asbestos wrongful death lawsuits, and numerous product liability and commercial disputes in between. Jim is nationally ranked in Chambers USA for product liability and mass torts defense.
Jim joined WTO at its inception and became its first elected partner in 1998. Jim is a West Point and Michigan Law School graduate who has spent the past 20 years helping American businesses defend complex, scientifically and technically challenging lawsuits in more than 20 states. He has tried, served as national counsel, and litigated numerous types of lawsuits, ranging from products liability to civil RICO and federal land use. His work most often centers on high-profile, large-exposure, and expert-intensive cases involving challenges to the design, risk and safety profiles, and marketing of pharmaceuticals, medical devices, building materials, and similar products. Jim's cases have resulted in significant and helpful judicial decisions in the areas of expert scientific evidence, product safety warnings, and medical causation.
Jim was elected by his peers to serve as a member of the Pfizer Legal Alliance (PLA) Roundtable, a strategic planning and oversight group for 19 nationally renowned law firms that provide legal services to the world's largest pharmaceutical company. He is listed in Chambers USA, The Legal 500 US, International Who's Who of Life Sciences Lawyers, and Colorado Super Lawyers. Jim's clients described him to Chambers USA as "very talented in the courtroom, thoughtful and creative."
Jim leads WTO's associate evaluation and training committee, helping to develop the firm's next generation of national caliber trial lawyers.
- In re Juul Labs Inc. Marketing, Sales Practices, and Products Liability Litigation (19-md-02193-WHO, N.D. Cal.) - Serving as lead national trial counsel to a major U.S. distributor of vaping products in federal multidistrict litigation in California. WTO is liaison counsel to all of the distributor defendants in the litigation.
- In re Gadolinium-Based Products Liability Litigation, MDL No. 2868 (J.P.M.L. 2018) - As lead national trial counsel to GE Healthcare, successfully argued before the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation to defeat plaintiffs' attempt create an MDL involving gadolinium-based contrast agents.
- Developed, presented, and defended multiple defense expert witnesses in the fields of occupational medicine, industrial hygiene, and state-of-the-art scientific knowledge.
- Coordinated asbestos-defense strategies integrating historical and newly developed scientific research in toxicology, epidemiology, analytical chemistry, and particulate analysis and characterization.
- In re: Zoloft (Sertraline Hydrochloride) Products Liability Litigation (E.D. Pa. 2016) - Successfully excluded all of plaintiffs' general causation experts to help Pfizer secure summary judgment in federal Zoloft birth defect MDL.
- Porter v. Smithkline Beecham (Phila. Ct. Com. Pl. 2015) - Contributed to summary judgment win for Pfizer in a Zoloft birth defect case in Philadelphia. WTO partner Jim Hooper cross-examined the plaintiffs' only expert to offer live testimony, leading to the exclusion of both of the plaintiffs' experts. This was the second time courts excluded causation experts in Zoloft birth defect litigation. In 2014, Hooper cross-examined three causation experts in federal multidistrict litigation in Philadelphia; all three were barred from offering causation opinions.
- McNellis v. Pfizer (3d Cir. 2008) - Won an appeal for Pfizer in a groundbreaking preemption case before the Third Circuit.
- Taylor v. Solvay Pharmaceuticals - Obtained voluntary dismissal of claims against Solvay Pharmaceuticals in litigation stemming from the 1999 Columbine High School shooting.
- Miller v. Pfizer - Won exclusion of a star expert for the plaintiffs in antidepressant suicide litigation and won summary judgment for Pfizer in federal court in Kansas in a case alleging that the company's antidepressant led to the suicide of a minor.
- Motus v. Pfizer - Obtained summary judgment for Pfizer in a case alleging wrongful death, failure to warn, and other claims involving the company's popular antidepressant, and won on appeal in the Ninth Circuit.
- Smith v. Pfizer - Won exclusion of a plaintiff's causation experts and summary judgment for Pfizer in federal court in Kansas in a case alleging that the company's antidepressant led to the suicide of an adult male patient.
- Tebbetts v. Ford - Won a New Hampshire "no airbag" trial for Ford before getting all no-airbag cases held preempted in Geier in the U.S. Supreme Court.
Publications & Speaking Engagements
"Punitive Damages," presented at 27th Annual Conference of Colorado Defense Lawyers Association (August 20, 2004).
"Court-Appointed Experts," presented at The Network of Trial Law Firms (March 14, 2002).
"The Future of Preemption," presented at Defense Research Institute (May 3, 2001).
"Daubert and Differential Diagnosis," presented at The Network of Trial Law Firms (January 4, 2001).
"Bright Lines, Dark Deeds: Counting Convictions Under the Armed Career Criminal Act," 89 Mich. L. Rev. 1951 (1991).
- Chambers USA: WTO "Acts Totally with the Client's Interest at Heart."
- Benchmark Litigation 2021 Includes 23 WTO Lawyers
- 27 WTO Lawyers Recognized in The Best Lawyers in America 2019
- WTO Leads Top 100 in Colorado Super Lawyers
- 26 WTO Lawyers ranked in the 24th Edition of The Best Lawyers in America
- Who's Who Legal Names Seven from WTO for Product Liability Defense
- Chambers USA 2017 recognizes Wheeler Trigg O'Donnell among the top litigation firms nationwide and in Colorado
- 42 WTO Lawyers Named to the 2017 Colorado Super Lawyers List
- 20 WTO Lawyers ranked in the 23rd Edition of The Best Lawyers in America®
- Chambers USA 2016 Ranks WTO Among Top Firms Nationwide and in Colorado
- 20 WTO Lawyers ranked in the 22nd Edition of The Best Lawyers in America®
- WTO Leads the Nation for Ranked Lawyers in Product Liability & Mass Torts Defense in Chambers USA 2015
- Legal 500 US Ranks Wheeler Trigg O'Donnell in Three Areas Nationwide
- Best Lawyers® 2015 Ranks 20 WTO Attorneys
- Pfizer Legal Team Wins Daubert Exclusion of Plaintiffs' General-Causation Experts in Birth Defects Mass Tort Litigation
- Benchmark Litigation 2013 Ranks Seven WTO Partners Among 33 Colorado Litigation Stars
- Legal 500 US Ranks WTO as One of Two Top Product Liability and Mass Tort Defense Firms in the Automotive Industry
- Benchmark Litigation Ranks Six WTO Partners Among 30 Colorado Litigation Stars
- Pfizer Presents WTO with Performance Award
King & Spalding (Atlanta)
Legal Memberships, Activities, and Honors
Product Liability - National, 2011-2021
The Best Lawyers in America
Mass Tort Litigation/Class Actions - Defendants Lawyer of the Year, 2022
Product Liability Litigation, 2014-2022
Personal Injury Litigation, 2021, 2022
Mass Tort Litigation/Class Actions, 2021, 2022
The Legal 500 United States
Litigation: Product Liability and Mass Tort Defense, 2009-2012, 2015
Colorado Super Lawyers
Personal Injury Defense: Products, 2012-2021
Business Litigation, 2010-2011
Local Litigation Star, 2020
Product Litigation - Colorado, 2016
Commercial Litigation - Colorado, 2014-2015, 2017-2018
Future Star - Colorado, 2011-2013
The International Who's Who of Life Sciences Lawyers, 2008-2017, 2019
The International Who's Who of Product Liability Defense Lawyers,
Euromoney's Expert Guides - Litigation and Product Liability
Martindale-Hubbell AV® Peer Review Rated
Lawyers for Civil Justice
Defense Research Institute
Drug and Medical Device Section
International Association of Defense Counsel
Denver Bar Association
Colorado Bar Association
American Bar Association
University of Denver Sturm College of Law