Karen Barth Menzies

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Phone: (949) 720-1288
Fax: (949) 720-1292

19 Corporate Plaza Drive
Newport Beach‚ California 92660

Karen Barth Menzies is a partner at Robinson Calcagnie Robinson Shapiro Davis‚ Inc.‚ and manages the firm’s Los Angeles office. She focuses her practice on plaintiffs’ pharmaceutical mass tort litigation‚ and in particular‚ Ms. Menzies focuses on litigation related to women’s health issues.

Ms. Menzies has been appointed leadership positions on Plaintiff Steering Committees in numerous federal MDLs and has served as Lead/Liaison counsel in several state court coordinated actions. Currently Ms. Menzies is Lead Counsel for the Fosamax femur statewide coordinated litigation for California‚ Co-Chair of the Commercial and Marketing Committee for the Zoloft birth defect federal MDL in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania‚ Co-Lead Counsel for the Lexapro/Celexa birth defect cases statewide coordinated for Missouri. Ms. Menzies has also been appointed to the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee (PSC) for the transvaginal mesh federal MDL litigation against Ethicon‚ C.R. Bard‚ American Medical Systems and Boston Scientific pending in the Southern District of West Virginia.

Ms. Menzies has been at the forefront of the SSRI antidepressant litigation for more than a decade against defendants such as‚ GlaxoSmithKline‚ Pfizer and Eli Lilly in cases involving antidepressant-induced suicide‚ withdrawal and birth defects. In 2003‚ she was appointed Lead Counsel for the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee in the Paxil Products Liability Litigation (MDL 1574). In 2006‚ Ms. Menzies was appointed and served four years as Co-Lead Counsel in the Paxil birth defect litigation coordinated in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas.

Karen has testified twice before FDA advisory boards as well as the California State Legislature on the safety concerns regarding the SSRI antidepressants and the manufacturers’ misconduct. Ms. Menzies has authored numerous publications and has been a frequent speaker on the topics of FDA‚ drug safety and federal preemption. She is most proud of the speeches she has been invited to give to healthcare professionals and patients at medical seminars both in the U.S. and internationally.

Ms. Menzies has received an AV rating‚ the highest rating for legal ability and ethical standards under the peer review system of Martindale-Hubbell‚ the national legal directory.  Ms. Menzies has received several awards from legal organizations including‚ Lawyer of the Year by Lawyer’s Weekly USA (2004)‚ California Lawyer of the Year by California Lawyer magazine (2005)‚ The National Law Journal’s Top 40 Under 40 (2005)‚ Consumer Attorney of the Year Finalist by Consumer Attorneys of California (2006)‚ and Southern California Super Lawyers (2004 – 2012).

Ms. Menzies is on the Board of Governors of National Association of Public Justice and the Board of Governors of the American Association for Justice. She is a member of the Consumer Attorneys of California‚ American Bar Association‚ Women’s Lawyers Association of Los Angeles.

Ms. Menzies grew up in Boulder‚ Colorado. She received her Bachelor of Arts Degree at Colorado State University and her Juris Doctorate from University of California at Davis in 1995‚ where she served as an intern for Justice Rod Davis‚ California 3rd District Court of Appeal (1994)‚ the Colorado Attorney General’s Office (1993)‚ the California Attorney General’s Office (1994)‚ and the Sacramento District Attorney’s Office (1995). Ms. Menzies was admitted to the California Bar in 1995.

Admissions:

  • California Bar‚ 1995
  • U.S. District Court‚ Central District of California‚ 1995
  • U.S. District Court‚ Southern District of California‚ 1999
  • U.S. Court of Appeals‚ Ninth Circuit‚ 1999
  • U.S. District Court‚ Eastern and Western Districts of Arkansas‚ 2003
  • U.S. District Court‚ Southern District of Illinois‚ 2003
  • U.S. District Court‚ District of Colorado‚ 2003
  • U.S. Court of Appeals‚ Fifth Circuit‚ 2005
  • U.S. District Court‚ Eastern and Northern Districts of California‚ 2006
  • U.S. District Court‚ Central District of Illinois‚ 2006
  • U.S. District Court‚ Eastern District of Wisconsin‚ 2007
  • U.S. District Court‚ Eastern District of Pennsylvania‚ 2007
  • United States Supreme Court‚ 2009
  • U.S. District Court‚ Southern District of West Virginia‚ 2011

Articles:

"Karen Barth Menzies battles to change this Prozac Nation‚" Lawcrossing.
"Female Lawyers for Female Cases‚" Los Angeles Times insert: Women Leaders in the Law 2012.
"The Preemption Prescription‚" ABA Journal‚ November 2008.

Pro Bono Activities:

Co-trial counsel for defense in State v. Pittman (S.C.Gen.Sess.‚ NO. 04-GS-12-571‚ 04-GS-12-572) Zoloft-induced murder case in South Carolina against a boy who was 12 years old at the time.

Governmental Testimony:

California State Senate Transportation Committee hearing regarding investigation into CalTrans’ oversized truck permits‚ October 1999

FDA’s Psychopharmacologic Drugs Advisory Committee and the Pediatric Subcommittee of the Anti-Infective Drugs Advisory Committee hearings regarding the risk of suicide in children and adolescents taking antidepressants‚ February 2004

California State Senate hearing on Antidepressant Drugs and Suicide‚ regarding antidepressant drugs and suicide‚ August 4‚ 2004

FDA’s Psychopharmacologic Drugs Advisory Committee and the Pediatric Advisory Committee hearings regarding the risk of suicide in children and adolescents taking antidepressants‚ September 2004

FDA’s Psychopharmacologic Drugs Advisory Committee meeting concerning the FDA’s Review of Suicidality Data in Adult Antidepressant Studies‚ December 13‚ 2006

Lectures/Speeches:

Defense Psych Exam‚ 46th Annual Convention‚ Consumer Attorneys of California (CAOC)‚ San Francisco‚ November 9-11‚ 2007

FDA and Preemption‚ Pharma and Beyond: Litigation Today with Special Guest Mark Lanier‚ American Association for Justice (AAJ)‚ New York City‚ October 29‚ 2007

"Preemption in Pharmaceutical Cases‚" Preemption Law Litigation Group Panel: Preemption Updates and Roundtable Discussion‚ American Association for Justice (AAJ) Annual Convention‚ Chicago‚ July 14-18‚ 2007

"Avandia: Timeline / Event / Background‚" Mealey’s Avandia Litigation Conference‚ Chicago‚ July 13‚ 2007

"Avandia: The Liability Story; FDA; Clinical Studies; Recent publications in NEJM‚" Avandia Teleseminar‚ American Association for Justice Education‚ June 28‚ 2007

"Homicide and Psychotropic Drugs‚" 30th International Congress on Law and Mental Health – The International Academy of Law and Mental Health (IALMH)‚ Padua‚ Italy‚ June 25-30‚ 2007

Panel Moderator and speaker for documentary screening‚ "Money Talks: Profits Before Patient Safety‚" shown at the 4th Annual Pacific Palisades Film Festival‚ Social Justice Program‚ presented by Friends Of Film and Palisades Enrichment Programs‚ Pacific Palisades‚ California‚ May 19‚ 2007

"Preemption and Negligent Pharmacovigilance" ATLA – Association of Trial Lawyers of America — ATLA Education Seminar — Protecting the Public: Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Litigation‚ Las Vegas‚ Nevada‚ November 17-18‚ 2006

"SSRIs and Suicide in Children" ACAM — American College for Advancement in Medicine — "Neurorestoration: Integrative Approaches to Brain Health‚ Palm Springs‚ California‚ November 1-5‚ 2006

"Identifying The Emerging Areas of Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Litigation" Antidepressant Paxil: Allegations of suicide connected with the use of this antidepressant and the current status of the national class action‚ Mealey’s Teleconference: Emerging Drugs and Medical Devices August 17‚ 2006

"Update on Discovery Tools: FDA/Regulatory Discovery" ATLA Education Program Section on Toxic‚ Environmental‚ and Pharmaceutical Torts (STEP) Panel – 2006 ATLA- Association of Trial Lawyers of America Annual Convention‚ Seattle‚ Washington‚ July 15-19‚ 2006

"Protecting the Public: Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Litigation – Panel: Drug Update – Zoloft‚ Wellbutrin‚ and other SSRIs" 2006 ATLA Winter Convention‚ Honolulu‚ Hawaii‚ February 18-22‚ 2006

"Best Practices in Plaintiff-oriented Pharmaceutical Litigation – Lessons for Canada" Strategic Panel Discussion and Master Class – "Drug Safety‚ Best Practices‚ Litigation Update‚ Regulatory Developments" Insight Information-ALM‚ Toronto‚ Canada‚ January‚ 23-25‚ 2006

"Science‚ Regulation and Litigation Issues Regarding the SSRI-Antidepressants" – "Drug Safety‚ Best Practices‚ Litigation Update‚ Regulatory Developments" Insight Information-ALM‚ Toronto‚ Canada‚ January‚ 23-25‚ 2006

"Antidepressant SSRI-induced Suicide Risks‚ Public Forum on Antidepressant Drugs: Risks‚ Benefits and Alternatives‚" The Recovery System’s Clinic‚ Mill Valley‚ CA‚ December 6‚ 2005

"Class Actions and MDLs – Hot Topics in Class Actions" – "The Future of Class Action Litigation in America" American Bar Association‚ Washington‚ D.C.‚ November 9-11‚ 2005

"The FDA’s Dilemma – Safety Failures‚ Public Scrutiny and Industry Influence" Topic: What’s Wrong at the FDA?‚ ATLA’s Pharmaceutical Seminar‚ "Trends and Hot Topics in Pharmaceutical Litigation‚" Las Vegas‚ NV‚ September 16-17‚ 2005

"Federal Preemption How the U.S. Food & Drug Administration Has Become an Advocate for the Drug Industry Against the Consumers It Has a Duty to Protect" – SSRIs and Collisions Between Medical‚ Legal and Regulatory Worlds‚ Presented to the 29th International Congress On Law and Mental Health‚ Paris‚ France‚ July 2-8‚ 2005

Pharmaceutical Update: Vioxx and SSRIs – SSRIs: The Connection Between Antidepressants‚ Violence and Suicide‚ Association of Trial Lawyers of America TeleConference‚ October‚ 2004

"FDA Oversight of Drug and Medical Devices and Preemption‚" The American Bar Association Health Law Section and The ABA Center for Continuing Legal Education TeleConference‚ October‚ 2004

The Rising Tide of Pharmaceutical Lawsuits‚ What the Practitioner Needs to Know About the Future of Psychiatric Drug Litigation‚ Safe Harbor’s Third Annual Medical Conference: Non-Pharmaceutical Approaches to Mental Disorders‚ Glendale‚ CA‚ June‚ 2004

Case Management and Electronic Discovery in Pharmaceutical Litigation‚ Association of Trial Lawyers of America‚ Dallas‚ TX‚ July‚ 2003

SSRI Drugs: Suicide‚ Homicide‚ Seizures‚ Dependency‚ A Scientific Symposium‚  Extant Medical Legal Consulting‚ LLC‚ Philadelphia‚ PA‚ October‚ 2002

Successful Handling of Wrongful Death Cases in California‚ Lorman Education Services‚ Los Angeles‚ CA‚ August‚ 2001

Publications:

Focus on Facts to Defeat Preemption‚ TRIAL‚ March 1‚ 2007

"Preemption and Negligent Pharmacovigilance" ATLA Education Seminar‚ Protecting the Public: Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Litigation‚ November‚ 2006

Birth Defects and Other Threats to Mom and Baby Associated with Paxil‚ Mealey’s Litigation Report: Antidepressant Report‚ October 2006

"Discovery of FDA and Other Regulatory Agency Evidence‚" ATLA Education Reference Materials‚ ATLA 2006 Annual Convention

"Preamble to FDA Final Rule: FDA s Latest Effort To Immunize Drug Manufacturers From Tort Liability At The Expense of Consumer Safety" Mealey’s Emerging Drugs & Devices‚ February 2006; Mealey’s Litigation Report: Antidepressant Report‚ February 2006

"Preemption and the FDA — Politics as Usual" ATLA Annual Conference‚ February‚ 2006

"Internet Disclaimers: Do they waive the attorney-client privilege protection?" ABA Conference "The Future of Class Action Litigation in America"

"The FDA’s Dilemma: Safety Failures‚ Public Scrutiny‚ and Industry Influence" ATLA Education‚ 2005

"A Cure Worse Than the Disease – Recent FDA actions and newly disclosed research on the link between antidepressants and suicide especially among young people are strengthening plaintiffs’ claims against drug makers" TRIAL‚ 2005

The Antidepressant Controversy: The Growth Of A New Area Of Litigation‚ Mealey’s Litigation Report Antidepressant Drugs‚ 2004

"The Fox in the Chicken Coop" FDA’s Recent Intervention in Pharmaceutical Litigation‚ ATLA Education‚ 2003

"Biting the Magic Bullet: A Look at the SSRI Litigation" Harris Martin’s Columns: Drugs & Supplements. August 2002

"Successful Handling of Wrongful Death Cases in California: Quirks of Courts" Lorman Education Services‚ January‚ 2002

Published Cases:

  • Prudential Home Mort. Co. v. Superior Court‚ 66 Cal.App.4th 1236 (1998)
  • Motus v. Pfizer‚ Inc.‚ 127 F.Supp.2d 1085 (C.D. Cal. 2000)
  • In re Paxil Lit.‚ 218 F.R.D. 242 (C.D. Cal. 2003)
  • Cartwright v. Pfizer‚ Inc.‚ 369 F.Supp.2d 876 (E.D. Tex. 2005)
  • Barton v. United States District Court for Central Dist. of Cal.‚ 410 F.3d 1106 (9th Cir. 2005)
  • Witczak v. Pfizer‚ Inc.‚ 377 F.Supp.2d 726 (D. Minn. 2005)
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