Ellen K. Reisman


Ellen Reisman is nationally recognized for her skill in achieving innovative resolutions of complex mass tort litigation through class action, inventory, and individual settlements. She joined in founding RKG after nearly 30 years at an AmLaw 100 international law firm and two years as a senior lawyer at a major pharmaceutical company. Her extensive experience in successfully developing and implementing comprehensive, integrated litigation and settlement strategies includes:

  • Representing pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers and other companies in negotiating settlements of thousands of product liability and personal injury claims in some of the largest mass tort litigations in history;
  • Serving as a court-appointed Special Master in federal multi-district litigation and related state court litigation to resolve nationwide product liability and economic loss mass tort claims;
  • Serving as a mediator in individual lawsuits;
  • Counseling pharmaceutical and medical device companies and investors on potential product liability risks and mitigation strategies.

Notable Matters

    National Mass Tort Settlement Counsel

  • National Settlement Counsel for Endo Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and American Medical Systems, Inc. and successors in connection with litigation involving AMS Pelvic Repair System Products. [2013 – present],
  • Represented BP in negotiating the Deepwater Horizon Medical Benefits Class Action Settlement [2011-2015]
  • Represented Scientific Protein Laboratories and American Capital Ltd. in product liability litigation and regulatory matters involving contaminated heparin [2008 – 2017].
  • Represented Wyeth (formerly American Home Products Corporation) In the diet drug (“fen phen”) litigation as national counsel coordinating defense of tens of thousands of lawsuits, lead negotiator of the National Diet Drug Class Action Settlement (Brown v. American Home Products, No. 99-20593, E.D. Pa.), and architect and lead negotiator in the Diet Drug “Global Settlement Process,” resolving over 60,000 opt-out cases. [1997 – 2010]
  • Represented Pfizer Inc. and Shiley Incorporated in product liability and other matters involving the Bjork-Shiley Heart Valve, including a class action settlement, a settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice, and international regulatory issues. [1990 – present]

   Special Master and Mediator in Mass Torts

  • Special master for settlement in Syngenta mass tort litigation involving multidistrict class action and individual claims in two federal courts and several state courts by thousands of corn farmers and other plaintiffs alleging economic loss arising from Syngenta’s sales of corn seed containing genetically modified traits approved in the United States, but not in China. Ms. Reisman was appointed by U.S. District Judge John W. Lungstrum (D. Kan.), U.S. District Judge David R. Herndon (S.D. Ill.), Judge Thomas M. Sipkins (District Court for Hennepin County, Fourth Judicial District, State of Minnesota), and Judge Brad K. Bleyer (Illinois First Judicial Circuit Court) [March 2016 – present] MDL 2591 and Minnesota Special Master Order.  On December 7, 2018, the District Court in MDL 2591 granted final approval of a nationwide $1.51 billion class action settlement of claims asserted by farmers, grain handling facilities, and ethanol producers, which resolved the claims pending in the Kansas and Illinois federal courts and in the Minnesota, Indiana, Iowa, and Ohio courts. 14-2591-doc-3849-Memorandum-and-order On December 31, 2018, the Court also issued a Memorandum and Order that substantially adopted a Report and Recommendation by the Special Master regarding allocation of attorneys’ fees.  14-2591-doc-3882-Memorandum-and-order
  • Special Master for Settlement in multi-district product liability and personal injury litigation against C.R. Bard by plaintiffs alleging personal injury from Bard pelvic mesh implants.  Bard-PTO-166.
  • Common Benefit Special Master, in In re Abilify (Aripiprazole) Products Liability Litigation, No 3:16-md-2734 (ND. Fla.), appointed by Chief Judge M. Casey Rogers. [Feb. 2017 – present] Common Benefit Order No. 1


  • The International Who’s Who of Product Liability Defense Lawyers 2018
  • Guide to the World’s Leading Litigation and Product Liability Lawyers, Euromoney 2016
  • LMG Guide, Life Science Star 2012-2014
  • The Who’s Who Legal 100 2014 for Product Liability Defense and Life Sciences – Product Liability
  • Recognized by Benchmark Litigation as one of the “Top 250 Women in Litigation” 2012, 2014
  • Recognized by California’s Daily Journal as one of the “Top Women Lawyers” of 2014
  • The International Who’s Who of Life Sciences Lawyers 2011-2013
  • Southern California Super Lawyers 2004-2013 for Personal Injury – Products; Defense and General Litigation
  • PLC Which lawyer? Yearbook 2009, 2011, 2012: Recommended for Life Sciences: Product Liability
  • The International Who’s Who of Product Liability Defense Lawyers
  • The Best Lawyers in America 2011 for Mass Tort Litigation
  • Legal Media Group’s Guide to the World’s Leading Product Liability Layers 2010
  • Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business 2006-2007 for Products Liability
  • American Lawyer, “45 under 45” 2003
  • National Law Journal, “Top 50 Women Litigators” 2001

Presentations and Articles

  • “Panel: Ethical Considerations in settling Mass Torts,” ABA Annual Spring CLE Meeting, Toxic Torts and Environmental Law Committee April 2017
  • “Panel: The Defense Perspective,” Texas Trial Lawyers Association Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Seminar, February 2017
  • “Panel: Closure Mechanisms,” Emory Law School Institute for Complex Litigation and Mass Claims, December 2016
  • “Moderator, Panel: Coordinator:  Related Class Actions, Mass Actions and Parallel State Contit Litigation,” Emory Law School Institute for Complex Litigation and Mass Claims, December 2016
  • “Panel:  Application of Alternative Mass Tort Resolution Strategies to Asbestos Litigation,” Perrin Asbestos Litigation Conference:  A National Overview and Outlook, September 28, 2015
  • “CPSA – Buyer Beware, Medical Devices” HB Litigation Conferences, Judicial Teleconference Series with Hon. Marina Corodemus, October 2011
  • Ellen K. Reisman and Ethan P. Greene, “Ethical Issues in Class Action Settlements”, DRI Class Action Seminar, July 2011
  • Ellen K. Reisman and Ethan P. Greene, “Ethical Limitations on Attempting to Prevent or Restrict an Attorney from Bringing Future Claims as part of a Settlement Agreement”, DRI Drug and Medical Device Conference, April 2008
  • “Panel: Beyond Preemption: Navigating Your Way Through The Crucial FDA Regulatory Maze When Structuring A Products Liability Defense” ACI: 12thAnnual Drug and Medical Device Litigation, December 2007
  • “Panel: Product Recall Readiness” 4thAnnual Drug and Medical Device Litigation Conference, November 2007
  • “Panel: Compliance, Fraud & Abuse Mock Courtroom” 7thEmerging Growth Conference, AdvaMed Medical Technology Association, May 2007
  • “Panel: Developing Your Settlement Position with Respect to Mass Tort Products Claims” ABA: Resolving Mass Tort Products Claims, March 2007
  • “Panel: Settling the Big Case” ABA: Environmental, Mass Torts and Products Liability Litigation, January 2007
  • “Panel: Making the Decision to Settle and Devising Novel End-Game Strategies” ACI: 11thAnnual Drug and Medical Device Litigation Conference, December 2006
  • “Panel: Settlement Strategies for Big Time Litigation – When to Hold ‘Em and When to Fold ‘Em” ABA: Toxic Torts & Environmental Law Meeting – Science & The Law, April 2006
  • “Panel: Balancing Expectations and Ethics in Class Settlements” ABA: 9thAnnual Institute on Class Actions, October 2005

Education and Prior Experience

B.A. 1981, Boston College, summa cum laude; J.D. 1984, University of Chicago Law School, cum laude

Partner, Arnold & Porter LLP, 1992-1999, 2001-2015 (Washington. D.C. and Los Angeles, CA)

Associate, Arnold & Porter LLP, 1984-1991 (Washington, D.C.)

Associate General Counsel of American Home Products Corporation and Vice President, Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, 1999-2001

Bar Admissions

Ms. Reisman is admitted to the bars of the District of Columbia and California.