Janet Gilligan Abaray acts as managing shareholder for the Cincinnati office of Burg Simpson Eldredge Hersh & Jardine, P.C. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Cincinnati, graduating Phi Beta Kappa and summa cum laude. She graduated Order of the Coif from the University of Cincinnati School of Law where she was Business Manager of the Law Review. She is admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of Ohio, the United States Courts of Appeals for the Third, Sixth, Tenth and Eleventh Circuits and the United States Supreme Court.
Ms. Abaray is one of 20 public members of a Commission chosen from over 300 applicants that has been formed by the State of Ohio to consider modernization of the Ohio constitution. Ms. Abaray was selected to serve on the Commission by a 12-person, bipartisan group, of six Ohio State Representatives and six Ohio State Senators. Other public members of the Commission include former public office holders, including Governor Robert Taft, as well as judges, professors, attorneys and community leaders.
Ms. Abaray was recently named the Chair of the Judicial Branch and Administration of Justice Committee for the Ohio Constitutional Modernization Commission. This Committee will be responsible for reviewing the Ohio Constitution in regard to issues affecting the judicial system, and providing recommendations to the full committee for consideration.
Ms. Abaray has litigated extensively in the area of pharmaceutical products liability, beginning her career as defense counsel for Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc. in the Bendectin products liability class action and multi-district litigation (MDL), where she acted as third chair trial counsel. Since 1987, she has represented plaintiffs in many over-the-counter and prescription drug cases, including the L-Tryptophan MDL, the Copley Albuterol class action litigation, where she acted as co-lead trial counsel, and the Fen-Phen/Redux diet pill class action and MDL, where she acted as lead trial counsel for plaintiffs at the Interneuron class action fairness hearing. Ms. Abaray and Michael Burg were appointed by the Court in 2005 as Co-Lead Counsel for Plaintiffs in the Ortho Evra Birth Control Patch Multidistrict Litigation in the Northern District of Ohio. In 2008, Ms. Abaray was appointed by the Court to the Executive Committee for the Heparin Product Liability Multi-District Litigation in the Northern District of Ohio. Ms. Abaray also served as Plaintiffs’ Liaison Counsel and a member of the Plaintiffs’ Coordinating Committee for the Ephedra Products Liability Multidistrict Litigation in the Southern District of New York. Ms. Abaray is Co-chair of the Science Committee in the Yaz/Yasmin Products Liability Litigation, MDL 2100, currently pending in the Southern District of Illinois, where she has been responsible for development of the epidemiologic and pharmacologic evidence. Her current focus is on mass tort claims involving the drug Depakote which are pending in several courts across the country.
Ms. Abaray also represents plaintiffs in many insurance and contract disputes. She was the co-lead trial counsel on behalf of 8000 farmers in the Chubb drought insurance class action litigation, participated as trial counsel on behalf of 2000 Cincinnati area physicians in the ChoiceCare HMO litigation, and represented Cincinnati area newspaper carriers in consolidated actions against the Cincinnati Enquirer. She represented 40,000 season ticket holders of the Cincinnati Bengals football team in a successful class action concerning their seat licenses in Paul Brown Stadium. Ms. Abaray has established national precedent in the area of employment discrimination, successfully arguing in litigation against Ernst & Young to broaden the scope of persons protected by the federal age discrimination statute.
Cincinnati Magazine recognized Ms. Abaray as one of Cincinnati’s best litigation attorneys in 1995, and she has been named an Ohio Super Lawyer, 2005-2014. She was named Trial Lawyer of the Year by the Carl B. Rubin Legal Society in 2013. Ms. Abaray has achieved the highest rating from her peers for quality of legal work, professionalism, and ethics by receiving an “AV” rating by Martindale-Hubbell. Ms. Abaray is also listed in the Bar Register of Preeminent Women Lawyers. Ms. Abaray has also met the standard of excellence for selection as one of The National Trial Lawyer’s Top 100 Lawyers.
Ms. Abaray has been selected by members of the national legal community as one of the Best Lawyers in America for Mass Tort Litigation since 2011. Best Lawyers publishes a book each year listing those individuals who are recognized as professionals who continue their education in an effort to stay current in their chosen profession and continue to distinguish themselves among their peers. The book is considered to be, professionally, the definitive guide to legal excellence in the United States. Ms. Abaray was chosen as a member of this distinguished group because she has displayed an exemplary commitment to her profession, her community and to her clients.
Ms. Abaray has served as a faculty member of the National Institute of Trial Advocacy and lectures frequently in the areas of products liability litigation, trial techniques and epidemiology. She has published articles in journals of the American Bar Association, Litigation Section, the Ohio Academy of Trial Lawyers Association, the University of Cincinnati Law Review and the University of Dayton Law Review.