Attorney Holly Nighbert is a shareholder in the Complex Litigation Department at Simmons Hanly Conroy, focusing her practice on prescription opioids, pharmaceutical and other mass tort litigation. She represents everyday people, businesses and municipalities who have been harmed by major corporations, particularly medical device and pharmaceutical manufacturers. Since she started at the firm in 2012, she has helped recover over a billion dollars in verdicts and settlements on behalf of those harmed by corporate wrongdoing.

Evening the Playing Field

Holly became a lawyer to help people who need it most. Through her work, she seeks to even the playing field for the average person and their families or communities who were harmed by large pharmaceutical companies with unlimited resources.

“My clients are up against some of the largest companies in the world, and the work I’m doing to hold those companies accountable makes a very big difference for real, everyday people,” she said.

Holly has extensive experience litigating every aspect of a case, from signing the client to working up discovery and depositions or serving on the trial team in court. Her past representative case areas include DePuy Pinnacle Hip Implants, Propecia, Transvaginal Mesh, Lipitor, Mirena, Invokana, Taxotere and Wright Medical Hip Implants.

Fighting the Opioid Epidemic

Holly is a key member of the firm’s opioid litigation team, which represents local governments across the country in state and federal courts. The opioid lawsuits allege drug companies contributed to the opioid crisis by carelessly promoting painkillers and downplaying addiction risks.

Led by Shareholders Paul J. Hanly, Jr. and Jayne Conroy, the team seeks to secure meaningful funds for communities that incurred millions in costs related to addressing the opioid epidemic. Since 1999, the opioid epidemic has caused an estimated 400,000 deaths.

Currently, Holly oversees casework and serves as the client contact for more than 125 opioid lawsuits filed on behalf of government entities in more than 18 states including New York, Illinois, Wisconsin, Louisiana, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Iowa, Indiana and more.

“It’s imperative that I have an in-depth understanding of the intricacies of the litigation because we have sophisticated clients who are attorneys themselves,” she said. “It’s my job to keep them updated and help move their cases forward.”

When she’s not working directly with her clients, she focuses her time on completing discovery, depositions and trial preparation for both state and MDL cases. Holly also serves as a member of the trial teams.

In recent years, the opioid legal team has reached several significant settlements as part of the on-going litigation. In November 2020, a proposed $26 billion global settlement with four defendants in the National Prescription Opioid MDL was announced. Previously, in October 2019, a $350 million settlement agreement on behalf of two Ohio counties was made hours before the opening arguments in the first opioid bellwether trial.

“I’ve gotten to work on the biggest cases that are happening in the country,” Holly said. “It’s exciting to be a team member on such historic, landmark litigation.”

A Successful Verdict for Patients Injured by Hip Implants

Holly also served as member of the trial team for all bellwether trials for the DePuy Pinnacle MDL. Her worked helped secure jury verdicts totaling more than $1.75 billion. She prepped witnesses, including plaintiffs and experts, and prepared exhibits and demonstratives. She also served as the coordinator between the courtroom and trial team’s war room, ensuring team lead Jayne Conroy had everything she needed during trial. 

Background and Experience

Holly earned her J.D. from the University of Dayton School of Law in Dayton, Ohio, where she graduated with honors. She also received a Pro Bono Commitment to Community award for her work helping Hurricane Katrina victims get needed relief from the U.S. government. In addition, Holly holds a B.A. in political science from Purdue University.

“I take pride in what I do,” Holly said. “Working diligently on a case and building lasting relationships with my clients are what make my job fulfilling.”

Representative Cases

  • In re: National Prescription Opiate Litigation, MDL 2804 (N.D.Ohio 2018)
    • $325 million in settlements | County of Cuyahoga v. Purdue Pharma LP et al., case number 1:17-op-45004; County of Summit et al. v. Purdue Pharma LP et al., case number 1:18-op-45090; and In re: National Prescription Opiate Litigation, case number 1:17-md-02804, all in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio.
  • In re: New York Opioid Product Liability Litigation, Index No. 613760/2016
  • In re: DePuy ASR Hip Implant Products Liability Litigation, MDL 2197 (N.D. Ohio)
    • $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.)
    • $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.)
    • $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: Lipitor Products Liability Litigation, MDL 2502 (D.S.C. April 9, 2014)
  • In re: Propecia (Finasteride) Product Liability Litigation, MDL 2331 (E.D.N.Y. 2012)
  • In re Pelvic Repair System Products Liability Litigation, MDL 2325, 2326 & 2327 (S.D. W. Va.)

Practice Areas:

  • Complex Litigation
  • Mass Tort
  • Pharmaceutical Litigation

Bar and Court Admissions:

  • Missouri, 2012
  • Eastern District of Missouri, 2016
  • Illinois, 2017

Recognition:

  • Pro Bono Commitment to Community Award

Representative Experience:

  • DePuy Pinnacle Hip Implants
  • Propecia
  • Transvaginal Mesh
  • Lipitor
  • Mirena
  • Invokana
  • Taxotere
  • Wright Medical Hip Implants

Affiliations:

  • American Association for Justice
  • Illinois Trial Lawyers Association
  • Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis

Education:

  • University of Dayton School of Law, J.D., May 2010
  • Purdue University, B.A. Political Science, honors, May 2005