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Douglas E. Wagner

Partner | Email

  • Grand Rapids

    t. +1.616.752.2130

    f. +1.616.222.2130

  • Muskegon

    t. +1.616.752.2130

    f. +1.616.222.2130

Biography

Doug Wagner is a litigation attorney with diverse experience in commercial contracting, product liability and regulatory compliance. He has served as lead counsel in a wide array of high stakes cases that require expertise across a variety of subject matters, and has an impressive vita of trial wins over the course of his 30+ years in practice. Known as an innovator, Doug approaches each case with tenacity and optimism. As the former managing partner for Warner Norcross, he created and implemented strategic decisions that have positioned the firm as a leader in cutting-edge practice areas and industries. In addition, Doug brought a focus to diversity and inclusion, creating a more unique and balanced work environment for the firm and its employees. Today, Doug enjoys an active practice primarily focused on service as a mediator in a wide variety of complex disputes.

Industries

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Education

  • Wayne State University J.D. 1976 magna cum laude
  • Albion College A.B. 1974 cum laude

Courts

  • Michigan State Courts in 1977
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of Michigan in 1977
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit in 1981
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan in 1982
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Texas in 1995
  • Circuit Court of Cook County in 1997
  • Circuit Court, Madison County, IL in 1998
  • U.S. District Court, District of Wyoming in 2002
  • Circuit Court, Greene County, MO in 2003
  • U.S. District Court, District of Columbia in 2005

Bar Associations

  • American Bar Association
    Litigation Section, Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section
  • Federal Bar Association
    Western District of Michigan, President (1995-1996), Treasurer (1994-1995)
  • State Bar of Michigan
    Standing Committee, United States Courts (1995-1996)
  • Grand Rapids Bar Association

Teaching and Lecturing

  • Law Practice Management, Adjunct Faculty Member, Michigan State Unviersity School of Law, January 2017
  • Faculty Member, National Institute of Trial Advocacy, National Session held at University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado, 1994, and at Midwest Regional held at Northwestern University and Loyola University, Chicago, Illinois, 1987-2005
  • Visiting Law Faculty, Trial Techniques, Emory University School of Law, 1996
  • Member, Steering Committee and Faculty, Hillman Advocacy Program (Trial Skills Workshop sponsored by the United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan), 1990-2012
  • Hillman Advocacy Program Chairperson, 1993 and 1994
  • Instructor on topic of “General Motion Practice” for the Institute of Continuing Legal Education, 1994
  • Lecturer on “Pretrial and Discovery Procedures” for the Institute of Continuing Legal Education, 1981

Experience

  • Chief trial counsel for Monsanto Company in case of Stahl v. Monsanto Company, obtaining defense verdict in case alleging product defects in the astroturf installation at the Pontiac Silverdome
  • Product liability counsel for Hart & Cooley, Inc., involving multimillion-dollar recall of a vent pipe product, as well as the defense of multiple lawsuits alleging wrongful death  
  • Counsel for Amway Corporation in class action litigation involving an alleged product defect in water treatment systems
  • Counsel for GR Spring & Stamping, Inc., in a lawsuit involving claim for reimbursement of automotive recall expense
  • Represented German manufacturing company in sales/distribution dispute before the International Chamber of Commerce International Court of Arbitration in Paris, France
  • Statewide representation of Georgia-Pacific Corporation in toxic tort cases arising from exposure to formaldehyde contained in plywood used to construct mobile homes, as well as several other personal injury, wrongful termination and government contract litigation matters  
  • Litigation counsel for Upjohn Company in product liability cases involving the prescription sleep medication Halcion®, as well as two significant environmental cases  
  • Trial counsel for Whirlpool Corporation in product liability cases involving home appliances
  • Counsel for Velsicol Chemical Corporation, responsible for handling defense of dozens of toxic tort, product liability cases arising from exposure to PBB  
  • Trial counsel for Consumers Energy Corporation in cases alleging damage to dairy farm from "stray voltage"
  • Trial counsel for Hart & Cooley, Inc., of Holland, Michigan, in nine-million-dollar insurance coverage dispute against Wausau Insurance Companies arising from flood damage
  • Consultant and monitoring attorney for many business clients with regard to CPSC reporting responsibilities, product liability issues and risk management  
  • Since receiving certification as a facilitative mediator by the Federal District Court, Western District of Michigan in 1995, Doug has assisted parties by mediating settlements in more than 50 cases pending in Michigan state and federal courts

Honors & Awards

  • Elected to Fellows of the American College of Trial Lawyers, 2005
  • Best Lawyers in America, Bet-the-Company Litigation and Commercial Litigation, 1995-Present
  • Named a Top Litigator in Michigan by Benchmark Litigation, 2009-2010
  • Named as one of the Top 100 Michigan Super Lawyers 2009
  • Named to Michigan Super Lawyers 2006-Present
  • Leading Lawyers Michigan, 2014
  • Named as one of the 2011 Leaders in the Law by Michigan Lawyers Weekly
  • Elected as Fellow of the Litigation Council of America, 2009
  • Fellow, American Bar Foundation
  • Certified as a Fellow of the Michigan State Bar Foundation, 1993
  • AV Preeminent Peer Review Rated, Martindale-Hubbell

News

Publications

  • "Tough times offer some lessons for businesses," quoted in Detroit Free Press, 2/20/2011
  • "The Court of Law vs. The Court of Public Opinion: Considerations for Winning in Both," Trial Practice (Fall 2003) and Minority Trial Lawyer, Spring/Summer 2004
  • "Protecting Your Company From Product Recall Liability,” Fastener Technology International, Aug/Sept. 2002

Leadership

Professional Affiliations

  • Product Liability Advisory Council (PLAC) (2005-2009)
  • Grand Rapids Inns of Court
    Founding Master (1995)

Community Affiliations

  • The Right Place Program
    Member, Board of Directors (Jan. 2006-Dec. 2015)
  • D.A. Blodgett - St. John's Home
    Homes and Hope for Children since 1887; Member, Advisory Board (2012-Present); Board of Directors (Jan. 2009-Dec. 2011)
  • Inforum - a Professional Women's Alliance
    Member, West Michigan Honorary Committee (Jan. 2006-Present)
  • Leadership West Michigan (2004)

Speaking Engagements

  • "Business Development," hosted by Wayne State Law Alumni Association, June 12, 2012
  • Various demonstrations at trial practice teaching programs including direct and cross-examinations of lay and expert witnesses, final arguments and opening statements
  • Seminar presentations on product recalls, product regulation, insurance coverage disputes and commercial contract issues to various trade and professional associations and companies, including the Precision Metalforming Association, The International Fasteners Institute, the Society of Mechanical Engineers and the Spring Manufacturers Institute

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