Debbie Rouen joined Adams and Reese in 1983 and has extensive experience in defending class actions, mass torts and complex litigation involving tobacco, refineries, pharmaceuticals, crop fertilizer and Hurricane Katrina and Road Home suits. She is the former leader of the Class Action/Complex Litigation team and focuses her practice on defense of product design, toxic tort, environmental, maritime, fraud, misrepresentation, conspiracy and punitive damages.
Debbie has acted as liaison counsel for defendants and has successfully defeated class certification in both federal and state courts. She is experienced in partnering with clients to handle major litigation in order to achieve quality solutions through the efficient use of resources, technology and case management.
Her other significant contributions include:
- A strong track record of early case dismissals through developing and advancing novel legal arguments in motion practice.
- Defense of clients in nationwide class action litigation involving “lights” cigarettes. Her creative argument regarding the Louisiana law of redhibition led to denial of remand and ultimately set up a split in the federal circuit courts of appeal on the issue of preemption.
- Leading successful defense in a three-week trial involving three deaths in a refinery tank explosion. The United States Fifth Circuit upheld a defense verdict on a 2-1 decision on a narrow evidentiary issue.
- Aggressive representation of clients in complex cases involving fraud, misrepresentation, conspiracy and punitive damages.
After serving a three-year term as the first woman elected to the Executive Committee at Adams and Reese, Debbie was appointed Chair of the firm’s Diversity Committee and served in that role from 2006-2012. She worked to expand cultural inclusion, partnered with clients to meet diversity requisites, improved recruitment, mentoring and retention of women and minority lawyers; obtained firm recognition in national rankings of women and minority lawyers and increased firm support of minority-sponsored legal, cultural and social events. She has frequently participated in client-sponsored diversity conferences, panels and roundtables.
Debbie serves as Vice President of the Board of the New Orleans Bar Foundation and is a former board member of the New Orleans Chapter of the Federal Bar Association. In the community, she serves as President of the Board of the Jefferson Performing Arts Society. She coordinates the firm’s participation in the Dress for Success program.
Debbie is the mother of three children, and in her free time keeps up her skills as a classical pianist. She also enjoys playing tennis, cooking, and international travel.