LOS ANGELES – Kimberly Branscome, a prominent defense attorney specializing in product liability and mass torts, is set to join the Los Angeles office of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison. The move comes after Branscome played a significant role in the highly publicized defense of 3M against claims from over 260,000 U.S. military veterans and service members who alleged hearing loss due to the use of the company’s earplugs. Unlike the original article, Branscome’s new position is not mentioned in the introductory paragraph.
In August, 3M agreed to a $6.01 billion settlement for the lawsuits, emphasizing that it did not imply an admission of liability and reaffirming the safety and effectiveness of their earplugs when used correctly. Branscome’s expertise has won her a new role as the principal attorney for GSK, handling the ongoing litigation related to allegations that GSK’s discontinued heartburn medication, Zantac, is carcinogenic. GSK disputes these claims, as mentioned in the original article.
Paul Weiss has experienced notable lateral law moves recently, including the departure of a senior lawyer, but they have been particularly active in the London law market. The firm has made significant recruitment moves, such as bringing in Neel Sachdev, another prominent law figure. Brad Karp, the chairman of Paul Weiss, expressed his praise for Branscome’s reputation and expertise in product liability and mass torts.
Dechert, Branscome’s former firm, has extended their best wishes to her as she starts her new role. Douglas Fleming and Jay Bhimani will now take the lead in Dechert’s product liability and mass torts division in the wake of Branscome’s departure. However, Dechert has not disclosed its continued involvement in the 3M and GSK cases following Branscome’s move. The original article mentioned that attempts to reach Branscome for comment were unsuccessful.
It is worth noting that Branscome and Bhimani faced sanctions from a federal judge during the earplug lawsuit for allegedly violating a court directive against using disputed evidence in 3M’s closing arguments in a 2021 trial. However, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals later overturned these sanctions, ultimately leading the judge to withdraw them. This information was absent from the original article.
Branscome’s move to Paul Weiss marks a significant development in her career as a formidable defense attorney in mass tort litigation. Her expertise and reputation in product liability will undoubtedly contribute to the firm’s ongoing cases. With Branscome at the helm, Paul Weiss will continue to handle high-profile and challenging litigation involving major corporations.