Bar and Court Admissions
Kate Mercer-Lawson defends product liability and personal injury lawsuits involving asbestos and stray voltage claims. Prominent asbestos clients include Michelin, GE, and Foster Wheeler. Kate has argued in court, taken well over 100 asbestos depositions, including extremely sensitive ones as SWAT counsel to a national energy company, and prepped many corporate witnesses. Kate is a powerful storyteller who brings a vibrant approach to pattern litigation.
Kate’s legal practice is bolstered by her background in science, which gives her an edge in understanding the complex issues her clients face. She also excels at triaging new and complicated cases, often uncovering vital information to develop winning arguments.
- Represent Michelin as national coordinating counsel for toxic tort litigation.
- Won exclusion via Daubert challenge of a star medical-causation expert—twice—in two living mesothelioma cases in California and North Carolina federal court.
- Won walk-away dismissal with no money paid for a national cosmetics company in a talc case with 78 defendants in Denver District Court. The plaintiff claimed that asbestos-contaminated talc in the client's products caused his mesothelioma.
- Won summary judgment for General Electric in a seven-figure mesothelioma case in plaintiff-friendly Ramsay County, Minnesota. The win came less than a month before trial, and marks WTO's second asbestos victory of 2021 in this challenging jurisdiction.
- Won summary judgment for General Electric in a seven-figure asbestos case in plaintiff-friendly Ramsey County, Minnesota. The win came just three weeks before trial.
- Won dismissal for a Colorado-based manufacturer in an asbestos product liability case in the plaintiff-friendly "judicial hellhole" of St. Clair County, Illinois. WTO asserted jurisdictional defenses at the pleading stage and later won dismissal after the plaintiff's deposition.
- Represented oil and gas companies in high-exposure cases arising from well-site and other industry-related accidents resulting in catastrophic injury and death.
- Defending utility companies and equipment manufacturers in catastrophic fire and explosion cases resulting in major burn injuries.
- Handled behind-the-scenes case management and participated in all witness prep in a stray voltage trial.
- Handled all remaining mediations in a series of personal injury cases for a cab company that ceased operations.
- Won 67% reduction of post-trial damages (eliminating punitive damages) in a case involving stray-voltage claims and secured affirmance of the reduced award in the Wisconsin Court of Appeals.
- Sawyer v. Foster Wheeler (4th Cir. 2017) - Won for Foster Wheeler in an asbestos failure to warn case involving the government contractor defense. The Fourth Circuit reversed and remanded to the district court following WTO's arguments that evidence set forth by Foster Wheeler was sufficient to demonstrate a colorable defense establishing federal jurisdiction.
- Ripley v. Foster Wheeler (4th Cir. 2016) - Won for Foster Wheeler in an asbestos failure to warn case involving the government contractor defense. The Fourth Circuit reversed and remanded to the district court following WTO's arguments in this matter of first impression.
- Obtained midtrial settlement—for less than the cost of defense—for Foster Wheeler in a trial that went to an eight-figure verdict against the other defendant. The plaintiff simply wanted WTO out of the case.
- Taken over 100 expert and fact depositions in asbestos cases nationwide.
- Argued a motion to dismiss in Wyoming state court that drew praise from the court.
- Argued a winning opposition to plaintiffs' motion to dismiss a counterclaim in Wyoming state court.
- Led trial preparation efforts, under senior supervision, for a major industrial manufacturer facing hundreds of millions in damages as a result of a catastrophic accident. Drafted Daubert motions, developed expert witnesses, and prepared experts for depositions and trial. The case settled shortly before trial.
- Represented a utility company in the retrial of a $1 billion dollar lawsuit brought by a consortium of dairy farmers alleging stray electricity from our client's facilities and transmission lines depressed herd production. The parties reached settlement on the eve of the retrial.
- Crafted new and improved "good company story" for prominent defendant in asbestos litigation and worked with new corporate representative to prepare him for successful depositions.
- Uncovered "smoking gun" medical record in take-home exposure case, resulting in an extremely favorable settlement.
Publications & Speaking Engagements
"How to Prepare Your Corporate Witness on Knowledge of Asbestos Hazards," presented at the 2022 Defense Asbestos Litigation Seminar, (June 24, 2022).
"The Electrical Products Defense: ‘Shockingly' Simple," presented at the 2022 Defense Asbestos Litigation Seminar, (June 24, 2022).
Survey of Recent Developments in Indiana Evidence Law, 45 Ind. L. Rev. 1147, (2012).
The Pitfalls of an Internet Persona: Evidentiary and Privacy Concerns of Online Social Media, 28 Mich. IT Law 9, (2011).
Tribute to the Late Mary Harter Mitchell, 44 Ind. L. Rev. 657, (2011).
Bingham Greenebaum Doll LLP, Summer Associate
Y-ME Indiana Breast Cancer Organization
Programs Manager/Volunteer Coordinator
Legal Memberships, Activities, and Honors
Colorado Rising Stars
Personal Injury - Products Defense, 2021
The Best Lawyers in America
Ones to Watch - Personal Injury Litigation - Defendants, 2022, 2023
Advisory Board, University of Denver Sturm College of Law Professional Mentoring Program
Mentor, University of Denver Sturm College of Law Professional Mentoring Program
Law School...Yes We Can!, 2022
Tenth Circuit Historical Society
Defense Research Institute
Chair of the Newsletter for DRI's Products Liability Committee
Author for the Tenth Circuit, 2021-2022 Product Liability Case Law Update
American Bar Association's Judicial Intern Opportunity Program
Volunteer Attorney Screener
Community Memberships, Activities, and Honors
Girls on the Run of the Rockies
Associate Board Member
Adjunct Professor of Political Science, Indiana University – Indianapolis (taught courses in judicial politics and criminal law)
Running, traveling, and mentoring