Law360 Names Simmons Hanly Conroy Shareholders Holly Nighbert, Laura Fitzpatrick Rising Stars

Partners Laura Fitzpatrick and Holly Nighbert are Law360 Rising Stars

ALTON, Ill. – Simmons Hanly Conroy, one of the nation’s leading mass tort and product liability law firms, is pleased to announce two of its Shareholders — Holly Nighbert and Laura Fitzpatrick — have been named to Law360’s Rising Stars list.

Law360’s Rising Stars represent the nation’s top legal talent under 40. The winners comprise top litigators and dealmakers practicing at a level usually seen from veteran attorneys. Shareholders in the firm’s Complex Litigation Department, Nighbert is recognized in the Products Liability category, while Fitzpatrick is honored in the Class Actions category.

“We are so thrilled to see both Holly and Laura receive this national recognition,” said Simmons Hanly Conroy Chairman John Simmons. “They are truly excellent examples of young attorneys exhibiting expertise, dedication and wisdom beyond their years.”

Both Nighbert and Fitzpatrick have served as integral members of the firm’s state and federal MDL opioid team. In October 2019, they were both instrumental in helping secure eve of trial settlements of $325 million for Cuyahoga and Summit counties in Ohio in the first federal bellwether trial. Their success was the result of years of liability development concerning more than a dozen separate defendants and included depositions, document review and selection, and the management of thousands of individual subdivision clients.

In November 2021 and leading up to the first MDL jury trial, Fitzpatrick worked with the other pharmacy teams to develop the overall liability story, with a particular emphasis on CVS. She was an integral member of the trial team for both the liability phase, which resulted in a landmark jury verdict against Walgreens, CVS, and Wal-Mart, and the damage phase, which was tried in May and awaits a decision. She currently is overseeing five additional pharmacy chain bellwethers in various areas of the country in advance of upcoming trials.

Nighbert lent her significant expertise to the New York State opioid trial, which resulted in more than $1.7 billion in settlements and a verdict against Teva and Anda. Nighbert oversaw the selection and admission of more than 800 exhibits over the seven-month New York trial. She also oversaw the exhibit process for the bellwether bench trial against opioid distributors in state court in West Virginia in early 2021 and in the November 2021 MDL trial in Ohio. She currently is on the trial team for the MDL bellwether trial in San Francisco.

In February 2020, Fitzpatrick was appointed to the Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee (PEC) for the MDL involving Allergan’s Biocell textured breast implants, which were linked to the rare cancer anaplastic large-cell lymphoma (ALCL).

Nighbert and Fitzpatrick also both served on the trial team for all bellwether trials for the DePuy Pinnacle MDL involving more than 9,000 patients injured by Johnson & Johnson’s metal-on-metal hip replacement device. Nighbert prepped witnesses, including plaintiffs and experts, and prepared exhibits and demonstratives. Fitzpatrick developed witness strategy, completed depositions, planned questioning, and was on hand with evidence to refute false witness statements during questioning. The team secured jury verdicts totaling more than $1.75 million.

“Holly and Laura are dedicated attorneys who work tirelessly on behalf of clients, putting in countless hours and even living for months away from home to help achieve justice,” said Shareholders Jayne Conroy. “Their contributions in both the opioid trials and DePuy Pinnacle were invaluable. I truly couldn’t put into words how integral they were to the teams.”

As part of the award, the Law360 Rising Stars will be profiled by the publication. Fitzpatrick’s profile (paywall) was recently published while Nighbert’s will run later this summer.

Nighbert earned her J.D. from the University of Dayton School of and a B.A. in political science from Purdue University.

Fitzpatrick earned her J.D. from Tulane Law School and a B.A. from Louisiana State University.