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Michael J. Ross

Fax +1.412.355.6501
Mr. Ross is a partner in our Pittsburgh office who focuses on appellate practice and product liability and toxic tort litigation. He has also done substantial work in the areas of oil and gas litigation, general commercial litigation, Uniform Commercial Code contract disputes, labor and employment litigation, and local land use and zoning litigation.
Mr. Ross specializes in coordinating the national defense of companies sued in repetitive toxic and mass tort claims. In that capacity, he has performed substantial work at the appellate level (and the trial level) for a number of firm clients.

He has personally argued 24 appeals in toxic tort and product liability matters and numerous motions at the state trial court and federal district court levels. In the course of this work, he has also successfully opposed a petition for a writ of certiorari with the United States Supreme Court seeking to obtain review of, and ultimately overturn, a significant decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in favor of a firm client.

Mr. Ross has appeared as trial counsel for firm clients in multiple jurisdictions and has co-chaired several product liability trials resulting in defense verdicts. He has assisted clients to maintain a consistent multi-claim defense in the context of “mass” or “recurring” torts involving a substantial number of claims growing out of the same underlying conduct and/or product sales.

He has also assisted clients to leverage favorable resolutions following successful legal challenges, through early case motions practice, in a number of cases involving commercial sale and labor and employment disputes.

Representative Reported Decisions:

Product Liability/Toxic Tort Litigation
In each of the following cases, Mr. Ross argued the appeal and was substantially involved with the underlying briefing:

Leite v. Crane Co., 749 F.3d 1117 (9th Cir. 2014) (upholding defendant’s right to remove state-court toxic tort claim to federal court on “federal officer” grounds)

Cuomo v. Crane Co., 771 F.3d 113 (2d Cir. 2014) (the Second Circuit reaching the same holding as the Ninth Circuit in Leite, above)

Zeringue v. Crane Co., 846 F.3d 785 (5th Cir. 2017) (the Fifth Circuit reaching the same holding as the Ninth Circuit in Leite, above)

Thurmon v. Georgia Pacific, LLC, 650 Fed.Appx. 752 (11th Cir. 2016) (upholding summary judgment upon finding defendant had no legal duty to plaintiff under controlling law).

Pace v. Air & Liquid Sys. Corp., 642 Fed.Appx. 244 (4th Cir. 2016) (upholding summary judgment upon finding plaintiff’s causation evidence insufficient to establish a prima facie claim under South Carolina law).

In the Matter of Eighth Judicial Dist. Asbestos Litig. (Pienta), 141 A.D.3d 1127 (N.Y. App. Div. 2016) (overturning jury’s finding that led to joint and several liability upon determining that trial court instructed jury incorrectly on that concept).

In re New York City Asbestos Litig., 13 N.Y.S.3d 398 (1st Dep’t 2015) (overturning on due process grounds decision of judge controlling New York County asbestos docket to reinstitute punitive damages in asbestos cases in the County).

Barnes v. Alcoa, Inc., 145 A.3d 730 (Pa. Super. Ct. 2016) (upholding nonsuit granted during trial to corporate parent of allegedly negligent premises owner upon finding insufficient evidence to impute the negligence of the subsidiary to the parent).

Nelson v. Airco Welders Supply, 107 A.3d 146 (Pa. Super. Ct. 2014) (en banc) (overturning multi-million dollar jury verdict upon finding plaintiff’s evidence insufficient to establish causation or that defendant’s product was being used by an intended user in an intended manner)

Whiting v. CBS Corp., 982 N.E.2d 1224 (Mass. Ct. App. 2013) (upholding award of summary judgment to defendant sued on theory that it could bear legal liability for a defective product it neither made nor sold if that product was “foreseeably” used with its own by the buyer).

Brewer v. Crane Co., 2012 WL 3126523 (Cal. Ct. App. 2012) (overturning multi-million dollar California jury verdict on duty grounds)

Oil & Gas Litigation
Mr. Ross was also one of the primary authors of the briefs submitted to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in Range Resources-Appalachia, LLC v. Salem Township, 964 A.2d 869 (Pa. 2009) (holding local land-use regulations of oil and gas industry preempted and invalidated by state oil and gas statute) and T.W. Phillips Gas and Oil Co. v. Jedlicka, 42 A.3d 261 (2012) (upholding continuing validity of 80-plus-year-old oil and gas leasehold and broadly construing “paying quantities” termination clause).