Malcolm E. Wheeler - Wheeler Trigg O

Malcolm E. Wheeler

Listed in Best Lawyers since 2003
Phone: 303-244-1870

Malcolm Wheeler is a founding partner of Wheeler Trigg  O’Donnell LLP in Denver, Colorado.  He has specialized in civil litigation, especially the defense of complex and pattern product liability litigation, consumer class actions, and antitrust, contract, patent, trademark, and unfair competition cases.  He is a Fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers, in the International Academy of Trial Lawyers, and has been one of the trial lawyers in several high-profile cases, including the defense of Howard Hughes in the Maheu libel suit against Mr. Hughes, the defense of Ford Motor Company in the Pinto criminal prosecution, the defense of the first “no-airbag” product liability trial, and the defense of the damages phase of the

Kearns intermittent windshield wiper patent litigation.  He has tried cases to verdict in fourteen states; appeared in trial courts in more than 40 states; and briefed and argued cases in the United States Supreme Court and other federal and state appellate courts throughout the nation.  He has served as Chief Counsel to the United States Senate Select Committee on Undercover Operations of the Department of Justice and as a Professor of Law at the University of Iowa and the University of Kansas.  He received an S.B. degree in 1966 from M.I.T. and a J.D. degree in 1969 from the Stanford Law School.

Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyStanford University School of LawJ.D. 1969
American Bar AssociationProduct Liability Advisory CouncilAmerican Law InstituteAmerican College of Trial Lawyers

Case History

Gray v. Ford Motor Co. (Cal. Super. Ct. 2007) — When I entered as lead trial counsel, the court had certified a state-wide class of hundreds of thousands of owners of 1991-2001 Explorers on a theory of diminished value caused by an alleged defect.  Plaintiffs sought more than $2 billion at a time when the company had severe financial problems.  After a several-month trial, Plaintiffs settled a nationwide class on the day of closing arguments for certificates that cost the company less than $74,000. 
Geier v. American Honda Motor Co., 529 U.S. 861 (2000) — This was the first case in which the Supreme Court held any product-liability claim preempted by the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966 and the regulations promulgated under it by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.  It has been the basis of many subsequent preemption rulings in a variety of areas.
State of Indiana v. Ford Motor Co. (1980) — This was the Pinto criminal case in which Ford was accused of reckless homicide.  In essence, the state sought to criminalize ordinary product-liability law.  At the time the New York Times called it the most important economic case of the century.

Client Comments

"Mal Wheeler is simply the best. He is extremely knowledgeable (legal knowledge, business acumen, and industry knowledge) and always responsive. His advice is consistently sound, appropriate, and practical. He has excellent judgment and is a joy to work with in every way. Mal truly is exceptional!"

-Marsha Tolchin
Associate General Counsel
Illinois Tool Works

Office Location

370 Seventeenth Street, Suite 4500
Denver, CO 80202-5647
United States

Lawyer of the Year Awards

2012 Lawyer of the Year in Personal Injury Litigation - Defendants of the Denver Metro Area
Malcolm E. Wheeler has earned a Lawyer of the Year award for 2012!

Practice Areas

Personal Injury Litigation - Defendants (Product Liability)
Product Liability Litigation - Defendants