Beth Wilkinson is a Founding Partner of Wilkinson Walsh. She has been lead counsel in over 50 jury trials, including numerous bet-the-company, multi-billion dollar cases. For almost 30 years she has developed an unrivaled record of victories in both federal and state courts throughout the country. Her career has taken Beth from the Army to a leading role in the prosecution of the Oklahoma City bombers to nationally recognized work as a litigation partner at two of the nation’s most prominent law firms, and most recently to founding Wilkinson Walsh.
Beth is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, a member of American Law Institute (ALI), a Legal 500 Leading Trial Lawyer, and a Chambers USA “Star Individual” among Nationwide Trial Lawyers. She has been named a Litigator of the Year by The American Lawyer, a Law360 Trial Ace, A National Law Journal Winning Litigator, and Chambers’ Business Trial Lawyer of the Year. Beth received these honors for delivering stellar results and based on praise from clients and peers, including the following accolades: “I have never seen anyone with better jury skills,” “Beth is an incredibly gifted trial lawyer,” “one of the top trial lawyers in the country,” and “Wilkinson’s ability to relate to jurors and build a compelling narrative focused on the essential facts of the case has earned her one of the best track records in the country.”
Beth litigates cases of all kinds, including white collar, antitrust, mass tort and product liability, contract, commercial, and class actions. She also represents clients in front of the Department of Justice, Congress, and other government agencies.
Recent notable matters include:
•Lead trial counsel for Philip Morris USA in two consumer class actions involving Light cigarettes and multi-billion-dollar damage claims. Plaintiffs claimed that Philip Morris’s use of the terms “Lights” and “Lowered Tar and Nicotine” violated Missouri state law by suggesting that Marlboro Lights, the nation’s best-selling cigarettes, were not as dangerous as Marlboro full-flavored cigarettes. After a three-week trial, the St. Louis jury rendered a complete defense verdict in less than 30 minutes.
•Lead trial counsel for the NCAA in lawsuits brought by current and former student-athletes challenging, under the Sherman Act, NCAA rules limiting the level of athletics-based financial aid and benefits that student-athletes may receive. The Court’s opinion reaffirmed the procompetitive value of the NCAA’s rules limiting pay for student-athletes while enjoining certain limitations on benefits that student-athletes may receive. An appeal is pending.
•Lead trial counsel for the NFL in a national antitrust MDL lawsuit brought by putative class members challenging the League’s broadcast arrangement for its Sunday Ticket Package. The District Court dismissed all of Plaintiffs’ claims, with prejudice. The Ninth Circuit subsequently reversed that decision, and the case remains on appeal.
•Lead trial counsel for Bayer in the multi-district litigation in Louisiana involving the blood-thinner Xarelto, and in the first state-court bellwether trial in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas. Obtained complete defense verdicts in two MDL bellwether trials, in each case within an hour or two after delivering closing arguments, and judgment for Bayer notwithstanding a jury verdict in the plaintiff’s favor in the state-court bellwether.
•Lead trial counsel for Georgia-Pacific in a multi-billion-dollar class action in Chicago federal court alleging Sherman Act violations by the largest manufacturers in the containerboard and corrugated products industries. The court granted summary judgment for Georgia-Pacific one day after it had preliminarily approved a settlement in which the company’s co-defendants agreed to pay over $350 million.
•Lead trial counsel in ZeniMax Media et al. v. Oculus VR et al., on behalf of Facebook, Oculus VR, and individual defendants in a federal jury trial in the Northern District of Texas. Plaintiffs sought $6 billion in damages based on allegations that the defendants improperly used its trade secrets and other intellectual property in designing the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset. Obtained a defense verdict for Facebook and a partial defense verdict for the remaining defendants, including the jury’s rejection of plaintiffs’ lead claim of trade secret misappropriation. Wilkinson Walsh’s post-trial briefing persuaded the court to sanction plaintiffs withholding evidence and prevented them from recovering $40 million in attorneys’ fees.
•Lead trial counsel for former pharmaceutical executive charged with participating in a criminal RICO conspiracy through a nine-week, nationally-reported jury trial that included testimony from more than forty witnesses. Further proceedings are pending.
•Lead trial counsel for Pfizer in the first two cases ever tried (in St. Louis and Philadelphia state courts) in the national litigation alleging that the company failed to warn its anti-depressant medicine Zoloft causes birth defects. Obtained complete defense verdicts in both cases.