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 has extensive experience in complex litigation and pharmaceutical mass torts. She has been court appointed to national leadership positions in multidistrict litigations involving medical products across the United States, including the Southern District of New York, the Northern District of Ohio, the Southern District of Illinois. She has also acted as lead counsel and as trial counsel in class action cases. Ms. Abaray recently served on the Ohio Constitutional Modernization Commission, and currently serves on American Association for Justice Legal Affairs Committee.
Ms. Abaray began 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 served as Co-chair of the Science Committee in the Yaz/Yasmin Products Liability Litigation, MDL 2100, in the Southern District of Illinois, where she has been responsible for development of the epidemiologic and pharmacologic evidence. She was also court appointed as Co-Lead Counsel for Plaintiffs in the Depakote mass tort litigation in the Southern District of Illinois.
Ms. Abaray also represents plaintiffs in 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 also 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, 2005-2018. 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, and The Mass Tort Trial Lawyers Top 25. She has been recognized by Best Lawyers in America for Mass Tort Litigation since 2011.
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.