Joel Smith is a nationally recognized first-chair trial lawyer with more than 35 years of experience dedicated to defending high exposure product liability and mass tort litigation. As lead trial counsel, he has tried to verdict over 20 high-exposure product liability trials across the country. In recent years, he has been a central figure in two of the biggest product liability crises to hit the automotive industry, including Toyota's unintended acceleration litigation and Honda's handling of the massive recall over faulty Takata air bags.
In defending his clients, Joel begins with a robust commitment to understanding a company's product – how the product works, or how it doesn't – then drills down to the scientific truth, becoming so well-versed in the most minute of facts and science to fully enable him to teach it to judges, juries, government officials, the media and others.
Named a Product Liability MVP in 2015 by Law360, Joel has represented manufacturers of automobiles, tires, forklifts and other equipment, as well as consumer products. Joel's experience defending automotive manufacturers in catastrophic injury and wrongful death claims nationwide includes roof crush, air bags, restraints, rollover, crashworthiness, unintended acceleration, and tire defects, among others.
In pharmaceutical litigation, his experience includes lead trial counsel for a major pharmaceutical company in each of the birth defect litigation (MDL) and testosterone replacement therapy litigation. He was given a first-chair role in the defense of PPA litigation and played a leading role in two MDL Daubert hearings. Joel was also selected as trial counsel in hormone therapy cases and cases involving infant cough/cold products.
Joel’s work in these mass torts has taken him beyond the courtroom to interactions with the Department of Justice, Regulations, State Attorney Generals and Congressional committees.