Jayne Conroy is a named shareholder at Simmons Hanly Conroy and oversees practice areas in the Complex Litigation Department. Under her leadership, the firm has become one of the country’s largest plaintiff law firms dedicated to helping those injured by corporate wrongdoing.
With a legal career spanning more than three decades, Jayne has earned a superb national reputation as an elite trial lawyer, skilled strategist and decisive negotiator. She has consistently helped secure billions of dollars in verdicts and settlements for thousands of individuals, families and communities in numerous courtrooms nationwide.
“We are a threat to defendants because we are everywhere,” Jayne said while talking about the depth of experience in her department. “They know they have to deal with us, and we are prepared to try cases.”
Jayne focuses her practice on helping plaintiffs exclusively in mass torts, class actions, product liability, pharmaceutical and sexual abuse litigation. She serves or has served on dozens of court-appointed leadership committees in complex legal actions of national scope. These complex mass tort cases, called multidistrict litigations or MDLs, involve thousands of cases originating from state courts around the country and consolidated before a single federal judge.
Her recent high-profile cases include serving:
- As a co-lead of the sprawling National Prescription Opiate Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) before Judge Polster in the Northern District of Ohio
- As lead counsel in the recent NY state bellwether trial alongside Nassau County and the Attorney General of NY, against the entire opioid industry and resulting in over $1.7B in settlements and a plaintiff’s verdict against a manufacturer and a distributor
- On the lead trial team that secured over $325 million in settlements for two Ohio counties related to the first bellwether trial in the on-going opioid MDL
- On the lead trial team that secured three consecutive bellwether 9-figure verdicts on behalf of patients injured by Johnson & Johnson/DePuy’s Pinnacle metal-on-metal hip replacement
- On leadership in the Volkswagen emission scandal MDL
- As legal representative of several thousand victims and families impacted by the 9/11 terrorist attacks
- As the co-chair of the Environmental Testing Committee for the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster MDL
- In individual cases against a variety of religious, educational and civic organizations for hundreds of sex abuse victims.
“Terrible things have happened to my clients that I can’t change, but what I can do is try to get them the justice they deserve,” Jayne said. “We are the best at doing that.”
The results Jayne has helped secure for her clients underscore the quality of her legal work. Her vast experience orchestrating large and multifaceted multidistrict litigations has resulted in multiple, significant settlements for her clients and thousands of others nationwide.
A sampling of her results includes:
- Over $1.7 billion in settlements with multiple opioid manufacturers and distributors as part of the consolidated New York State opioid trial;
- $26 billion global settlement with McKesson Corp., Cardinal Health Inc., AmerisourceBergen Drug Corp. and Johnson & Johnson as part of the National Prescription Opiate MDL;
- Over $1.7 billion in verdicts for those affected by J&J/DePuy Pinnacle hip replacement devices after four bellwether trials;
- $60 million to a class of 170+ Haitian boys abused by a convicted pedophile at a school sponsored by a Connecticut-based university;
- $16 billion global settlement for owners of VW vehicles involved in the 2016 emissions scandal;
- Multiple billions of dollars in claims for businesses and individuals harmed by the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill;
- $1.69 billion global settlement for women injured by Yaz birth control; and
- Hundreds of millions of dollars in settlements for the families and victims of the 9/11 tragedy.
Jayne’s legal track record demonstrates her stature as one of the preeminent litigators of the nation’s plaintiffs’ bar. National legal publications and well-respected legal organizations recognize this fact. In 2019, Jayne was inducted into the National Trial Lawyers Association’s “Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame” and elected as a member of the exclusive American Law Institute.
The National Law Journal recognized her in 2015 as one of the nation’s “Outstanding Women Lawyers.” Law360, a primarily defense-oriented publication, also recognized her consecutively in 2016 and 2017 as a legal “MVP for Product Liability Law” for her work on the DePuy Pinnacle hip replacement trials.
Fighting the Opioid Epidemic
Jayne and the firm are at the forefront of unprecedented litigation that seeks to resolve the ongoing opioid epidemic. The litigation seeks to secure meaningful funds for communities that incurred millions in costs related to dealing with the estimated 400,000 opioid-related deaths since 1996.
“Every one of those communities has a story about how the opioid epidemic has devastated the families who live there,” Jayne said. “The opioid litigation allows us to get some relief to these communities faster, which could actually help someone who has not been hurt yet.”
National Prescription Opiate MDL
Jayne has a long track record of holding opioid manufacturers accountable for misleading marketing. In 2003, she and Shareholder Paul Hanly, who served as co-lead of the ongoing opioid MDL, represented more than 5,000 individuals against Purdue Pharma, the manufacturer of OxyContin.
By implementing a successful discovery plan, Jayne and her legal team uncovered evidence proving the full extent of Purdue’s criminality and its fraudulent marketing campaign designed to persuade physicians that OxyContin was not addictive. Following a 3-year battle, which included Jayne, Paul and the firm filing more than 1,200 cases in various courts across the country, Purdue Pharma settled the litigation for a significant confidential settlement in 2007.
The litigation also led to a Department of Justice investigation that resulted in Purdue Pharma paying more than $600 million in fines. Three of its executives also pled guilty to criminal charges that they misled regulators, doctors and patients about the drug’s risk of addiction and personally paid millions of dollars in fines.
After Paul Hanly’s untimely passing in early 2021, Jayne took over as co-lead counsel of the Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee (PEC) that leads the ongoing National Prescription Opiate MDL. After years of advocating for their over 3,000 community clients, Jayne and the PEC endorsed a $26 billion global settlement with opioid manufacturer Johnson & Johnson and the “Big 3” drug distributors AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health and McKesson.
As part of the MDL, Jayne and her legal team secured a historic jury verdict in November 2021 that held pharmacy chains CVS, Walgreens and Wal-Mart responsible for their role in the opioid epidemic in Lake and Trumbull County in Ohio. This result is the first jury verdict in an opioid case nationwide.
New York State Opioid Trial
In addition to her work on the national opioid MDL, Jayne serves as lead counsel for Suffolk County in the New York State opioid trial, whose defendants encompass the entire opioid supply chain.
As part of the New York State trial, Jayne and her team secured over $1.7 billion in settlements from multiple major opioid manufacturers and distributors for Suffolk and Nassau County as well as the state of New York, its counties and New York City. The NY trial plaintiffs were the first to finalize the Big 3 and J&J settlement, serving as a catalyst for the remainder of the country.
Building upon that success, Jayne and her team secured a landmark verdict in December 2021 that found the remaining defendants, opioid manufacturer Teva Pharmaceuticals and distributor Anda, liable for their role in the opioid epidemic.
This is the first opioid case to be heard before a jury and is considered to be one of the largest and longest jury trial proceedings in U.S. history.
Helping Victims of Child Sexual Abuse
Jayne has helped hundreds of victims of sexual abuse secure justice from the institutions responsible for their abuse. In 2019, she helped achieve a landmark $60 million class action settlement on behalf of 170-plus Haitian boys harmed by a convicted pedophile and former school administrator associated with a Jesuit school in Connecticut. In 2013, the same defendants paid $12 million to settle similar claims brought by 24 other young men victimized when they were children.
Protecting Rights of Patients Injured by Hip Implants
Jayne previously served on the Plaintiff Executive Committee in the DePuy Pinnacle federal litigation involving more than 9,000 patients injured by Johnson & Johnson’s metal-on-metal hip replacement device. As a member of the trial team, she secured three consecutive 9-figure bellwether trial verdicts, including a $1 billion result for six families.
In early 2019, amidst a retrial led by Jayne and her legal team, Johnson & Johnson agreed to a significant global settlement to resolve all pending litigation.
Litigating on Behalf of Volkswagen Owners and Dealers
A member of the Volkswagen MDL Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee, Jayne has been on the front lines of helping thousands of VW and Audi diesel owners impacted by the emission scandal. The litigation recently resolved with VW agreeing to pay more than $16 billion in fines and buybacks to thousands of car owners impacted by the company’s deceitful actions.
Jayne also leads the firm’s efforts in representing dealers who were in competition with Volkswagen and lost sales as a direct result of the company’s misleading advertising efforts and falsified emissions reports.
Beyond the Courtroom
Whether in or out of the courtroom, Jayne is instantly recognizable by her vintage couture style and can often be seen wearing beautifully constructed suits from the 1940s in the courtroom and around the New York office where she is based. She credits her innate sense of style to her mother and grandmother who was a master sewer and made most of her clothes growing up.
Jayne currently resides in New York City and Cape Cod.
Representative Cases Include
- In re: National Prescription Opiate Litigation, MDL 2804 (N.D.Ohio 2018) (Co-Lead of Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee);
- $1.7 billion in settlements | In re: Opioid Litigation, case number 400000/2017; County of Suffolk v. Purdue Pharma LP et al., case number 400001/2017; County of Nassau v. Purdue Pharma LP et al., case number 400008/2017; and State of New York v. Purdue Pharma LP et al., case number 400016/2018, in the Supreme Court of the State of New York, County of Suffolk. (Lead counsel for Suffolk County)
- In re McKinsey & Co Inc National Prescription Opiate Consultant Litigation, Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation, No. 2996. (Court-appointed member of the Plaintiffs Steering Committee)
- $60 million settlement | St. Louis v. Perlitz et al., case number 3:13-cv-01132, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut. (Class action settlement on behalf of 170+ Haitian nationals alleging negligent supervision on part of Connecticut-based defendants of convicted pedophile, resulting in sexual abuse);
- $247 million DePuy Hip Verdict | In re: DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc. Pinnacle Hip Implant Products Liability Litigation, MDL Docket No. 2244, Alicea et al. v. DePuy Orthopaedics Inc. et al., case number 3:15-cv-03489; Barzel v. DePuy et al., case number 3:16-cv-01245; Kirschner v. DePuy et al., case number 3:16-cv-01526; Miura v. DePuy et al., case number 3:13-cv-04119; Stevens v. DePuy et al., case number 3:14-cv-01776; and Stevens v. DePuy et al., case number 3:14-cv-02341, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas. (Six cases consolidated for trial in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Dallas Division alleging injuries from J&J DePuy Pinnacle metal-on-metal hip implants.) (Co-counsel and member of the Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee);
- $1 billion DePuy Hip Verdict | In re: DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc. Pinnacle Hip Implant Products Liability Litigation, MDL Docket No. 2244, No. 13-3631, Rosa Metzler, et al. v. DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc., et al., No. 12-2066, Michael Weiser v. DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc., et al., No. 13-3631, Judith Rodriguez v. DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc., et al., No. 13-3938, Linda Standerfer v. DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc., et al., No. 14-1730, Kathleen Davis, et al. v. DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc., et al., No. 15-1767, Marvin Andrews, et al. v. DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc., et al., No. 15-3484. (Six cases consolidated for trial in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Dallas Division alleging injuries from J&J DePuy Pinnacle metal-on-metal hip implants.) (Co-counsel and member of the Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee);
- $502 million DePuy Hip Verdict | Aoki v. DePuy Orthopedics, et al., No. 3:13-cv-01071-K; Christopher v. DePuy Orthopaedics, et al., No. 3:14-cv-01994-K; Greer v. DePuy Orthopaedics, et al., No. 3:12-cv-01672-K; Klusmann v. DePuy Orthopaedics, et al., No. 3:11-cv-02800-K; and Peterson v. DePuy Orthopaedics, et al., No. 3:11-cv-01941-K. (Five cases consolidated for trial in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Dallas Division alleging injuries from J&J DePuy Pinnacle metal-on-metal hip implants; verdict of $502 million including $142 million compensatory and $360 million punitive damages.);
- In re: Volkswagen “Clean Diesel” Marketing, Sales Practices, And Products Liability Litigation, MDL No. 2672 (Court-appointed member of the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee);
- $12 million settlement | Jean-Charles v. Perlitz, 3:11-CV-00614-RNC (D. Conn. 2013) (consolidated actions on behalf of 24 Haitian nationals alleging negligent supervision on part of Connecticut-based defendants of convicted pedophile, resulting in sexual abuse);
- In re: Toyota Motor Corp. Unintended Acceleration Marketing, Sales Practices, and Product Liability Litigation, MDL 2151 (C.D. Cal.) (court-appointed member of Lead Counsel Committee for Economic Loss Claims);
- In re: Terrorist Attacks on September 11, 2001, No. 21 MC 97 (S.D.N.Y.) (Consolidated 9/11 negligence actions against airlines and airport security companies);
- In re: Terrorist Attacks on September 11, 2001, MDL 1570 (S.D.N.Y.) (Anti-terrorism Act actions against financial sponsors of terrorism);
- In re: DePuy Pinnacle Hip Implant Products Liability Litigation, MDL 2244 (N.D. Tex. Jan. 9, 2012) (Court-appointed member of Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee);
- In re: DePuy ASR Hip Implant Products Liability Litigation, MDL 2197 (N.D. Ohio) (Court-appointed member of Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee);
- In re: Oil Spill by the Oil Rig “Deepwater Horizon” in the Gulf of Mexico, on April 20, 2010 litigation, MDL 2179 (E.D. La.) (Co-chair of Environmental Testing Committee);
- In re: Syngenta AG MIR162 Corn Litigation, MDL 2591 (D. Kan. Jan. 21, 2015) (court-appointed member of Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee);
- In re: Lipitor Products Liability Litigation, MDL 2502 (D.S.C. April 9, 2014) (court-appointed member of Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee);
- In re: Zoloft Products Liability Litigation, MDL 2342 (E.D. Pa. 2012) (court-appointed member of Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee);
- In re: Propecia (Finasteride) Product Liability Litigation, MDL 2331 (E.D.N.Y. 2012) (court-appointed member of Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee);
- In re: Pelvic Repair System Products Liability Litigation, MDL 2325, 2326 & 2327 (S.D. W. Va. 2012) (court-appointed member of Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee);
- In re: Actos Products Liability Litigation, MDL 2299 (W.D. La. 2012) (court-appointed member of Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee);
- In re: Yazmin and Yaz (Drospirenone) Marketing, Sales Practices and Products Liability Litigation, MDL 2100 (S.D. Ill.) (court-appointed co-chair of Plaintiffs’ Law and Briefing Committee);
- In re: Chantix (Varenicline) Products Liability Litigation, MDL 2092 (N.D. Ala.) (court-appointed Plaintiff State and Federal Court Co-Liaison);
- In re: Gadolinium-Based Contrast Agents Products Liability Litigation, MDL 1909 (N.D. Oh.) (court-appointed member of Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee);
- In re: Zyprexa Litigation, MDL 1596 (E.D.N.Y.) (court-appointed member of Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee);
- In re: Bextra and Celebrex Products Liability Litigation, MDL 1699 (N.D. Cal.) and New York State Coordinated Proceedings (court-appointed member of Discovery and Science Committees, Trial Team and Common Benefit Allocation Committee);
- Owens-Illinois, Inc. v. T&N Ltd. , 191 F.R.D. 522 (E.D. Tex. 2000) (successful vacation of $1.66 billion default judgment);
- Chase Manhattan Bank v. T&N plc, 1997 WL 221203 (S.D.N.Y. Apr. 28, 1997), aff’d, 162 F.3d 1147 (2d Cir. 1998) (successful defense of largest asbestos property damage case ever tried in U.S.) (trial profiled in “Chase’s Case Turns to Dust,” The American Lawyer (May 1996); and
- Prudential Ins. Co. v. T&N plc (D. Mass. 1992) (successful defense of $200 million asbestos property damage action).