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Rick Morgan has a national reputation for his aggressive defense of high-exposure litigation across a spectrum of industries. His practice encompasses product liability, commercial, class action and intellectual property litigation involving chemical and electronic products, drug and medical devices, food products and toxic torts for a host of Global 500 companies and industry leaders.

Acknowledged by his opponents as “one of the best cross-examiners” in practice, Rick honed his reputation for efficiency as a federal prosecutor, and his ability to enthrall juries as a political pundit. Clients value his skills in strategic and tactical case evaluation and the development of powerful factual and legal presentations presented with insights that humanize corporations in the eyes of judges and juries.

Rick presents such a compelling case throughout trial preparation that often his cases result in defense settlements prior to trial. Of the more than 45 cases he has tried as first-chair, notable trials include Millenkamp v. Davisco Foods (a commercial matter), in which Rick stepped in to recast the trial strategy after a plaintiff’s verdict was reversed and remanded for new trial; Smothers v. Ecolab, a highly publicized wrongful death case in Texas involving a fire ant attack in a nursing home; Williams v. Ecolab, an Arkansas case brought by a 22-year old man blinded while using chemicals; and Gamma-10 Plastics v. American President Lines, where Rick again stepped in for the retrial of a commercial matter that had also been remanded after a plaintiff’s verdict.

Rick has served on the Minnesota Law School board. He is chair of the firm's Strategic Planning Committee, a member of the firm's Diversity and Inclusion Committee and has previously served on the firm's Executive and Management committees.

Bar Admissions

  • Minnesota, 1984
  • New York, 2001

Court Admissions

  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of Arkansas
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Arkansas
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of Michigan

Education

  • University of Minnesota Law School, J.D., 1984
    cum laude
  • University of Minnesota, Humphrey Institute, M.A., 1984
  • Cornell University, B.A., 1980
    with distinction

Professional Associations

    • Center for the American Experiment
      —Board Member
    • American Bar Association
    • Minnesota State Bar Association
    • Hennepin County Bar Association
    • New York State Bar Association
    • Minnesota Federal District Court
      —Judicial Selection Committee

Distinctions

    • Super Lawyers Magazine
      —Minnesota Super Lawyers, 2007 – 2013, 2015 – 2018
    • Who's Who Legal
      —International Who's Who of Product Liability Defence Lawyers
    • Benchmark Litigation
      —"Local Litigation Star," Product Liability, Minnesota, 2015
    • "Client Service All-Star" in a national survey of corporate counsel conducted by BTI Consulting

Recent Verdicts & Case Studies


CASE RESULTS DEPEND UPON A VARIETY OF FACTORS UNIQUE TO EACH CASE. CASE RESULTS DO NOT GUARANTEE OR PREDICT A SIMILAR RESULT IN ANY FUTURE CASE.

Recent News, Events and Blogs


Speaking Engagements

  • "Defending Against Today's Most Significant Threat: "Toxic Soup"," DRI Toxic Torts and Environmental Law Seminar, March 2017
  • "Toxic Soup - Tactics to Defend Against a New Batch of Toxic Tort Litigation," Co-Presenter, Client Webinar, May 2016
  • "Recent Developments In Fracing Litigation: Overcoming the Growing Conflict Between Industry Trade Secret Protection and the Public’s Right To Know What’s In Its Drinking Water," Moderator, Chemicals Products Liability and Environmental Litigation, American Conference Institute, New Orleans, April 2015
  • "In-House Perspectives: Managing the Continuing Evolution Toward the Virtual Law Firm in Complex Litigation," Moderator, Chemicals Products Liability and Environmental Litigation, American Conference Institute, Chicago, April 2014
  • "Toxic Tort Litigation Update: Bolstering Defense Strategy," American Conference Institute's 4th National Forum on Chemical Product Liability and Environmental Litigation, Chicago, April 2013
  • "Inside/Outside Counsel Perspectives on Making Fixed Fee Arrangements Work," Marketing Partners Forum, Panelist, Ranchos Palos Verdes, California, January 2013
  • "Crisis Management - What You Need to Know Now," MNACCA In-House Counsel Conference, Minneapolis, MN, June 2012
  • "The Evolution of Mass Torts in the Post-FSMA Era," GMA Food Claims and Litigation Conference, Dana Point, CA, February 2012
  • "Navigating the Waters of IP Settlements: Bringing Your Case to Dock," Midwest Intellectual Property Institute, Minneapolis, MN, September 2011
  • "The Evolution of Mass Torts and What it Means for the Food Industry," GMA Foodborne Illness Litigation Conference, Chicago, IL, May 2011
  • "The Impact of Product Liability Pattern Litigation in the 21st Century," Bowman and Brooke Hot Topics Seminar, Minneapolis, MN, November 2010
  • "Intellectual Property: How to Protect It," 40th Annual Orthopaedic and Trauma Seminar, Minneapolis, November 2010
  • "State and Federal Regulation & Enforcement Activity Affecting Resolution of Mass Tort Liability Claims," ACI National Advanced Forum on Managing and Resolving Mass Tort Product Liability Claims, New York, NY, September 2010
  • "Product Recalls – Preparing, Defending, and Preventing," with Ken Ross, MN Association of Corporate Counsel Legal Sampler, Minneapolis, September 2010

Publications

  • "What Manufacturers Should Know About Triclosan Findings," Co-Author, Law360, September 2018
  • "Is New Study a Gut-Punch for Triclosan?," Co-Author, Client Alert, July 2018
  • "Newly-Minted "Defend Trade Secrets Act" Put to Test to Protect Autonomous Vehicle Technology," Co-Author, Client Alert, March 2017
  • "Defending Against a New Generation of Toxic Torts," Law360, July 2016
  • "TSCA Overhaul Creates Uncertain Litigation Risks for Chemical Manufacturers," Client Alert, Co-Author, June 2016
  • "Sweeping Chemical Safety Reform Legislation Afoot in Washington," Client Alert, Co-Author, December 2015
  • “What’s in the Wash? FDA Rules on Antibacterial Soaps,” Law360, January 2014
  • "Recent Application of Minnesota's Credit Agreement Statute of Frauds," The Hennepin Lawyer, Co-Author, June 2011
  • "Evolving With Affirmative Defense Pleading Standard," Product Liability Law360, March 2010
  • "Forecasting the Fallout of Wyeth v. Levine," The Journal of Biolaw & Business, December 2009

Representative Experience

  • First chair trial counsel in 48 cases. Has appeared on behalf of clients in courthouses in over 20 states and has defended matters for clients in over 40 states
  • National counsel for Ecolab Inc. on products liability and commercial matters
  • National Counsel for 3M and Cargill on toxic tort defense programs
  • National trial counsel for Apple Computer on product liability matters involving claims of repetitive stress syndrome
  • National trial counsel for Starkey Hearing Technologies  on commercial and intellectual property matters
  • National counsel for Capital Safety USA in products liability and intellectual property matters
  • National counsel for H.B. Fuller Company on products liability and commercial matters involving several product lines. Has also represented Fuller in intellectual property matters
  • Defended class actions for H.B. Fuller Company and Ecolab Inc.
  • Representing government regulatory agency investigating failed banks (FDIC)
  • Former federal and Army prosecutor