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A Better Partnership

Janet L. Ramsey

Partner | Email

  • Grand Rapids

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Biography

Janet specializes in complex commercial litigation and her definition of this specialty is simple – any case that feels like a combination of drinking from a firehose while simultaneously trying to untangle a bundle of Christmas lights large enough to fill a warehouse.
 
Overall, complex commercial litigation takes on a number of different forms, but regardless of the issue at hand the defining characteristics remain the same: (i) implementation of a wide array of litigation rules and procedures across jurisdictions and forums, (ii) legal and factual complexities that require sophisticated and tightly managed coordination of a broad range of counsel, (iii) rapid and effective simplification of complex issues and processes for judges and juries, and (iv) extraordinarily high stakes.
 
Throughout her career, Janet has specialized in this type of high profile and high value litigation across a wide range of substantive areas, from mass tort and environmental litigation to allegations of false advertising and unfair competition. The skill set she brings to these cases can be difficult to define, but brings the type of value that is immeasurable and invaluable: (i) managing processes across counsel and vendors to ensure cost-effective, high value and successful client-focused solutions, (ii) coordinating and implementing factual and legal strategies, often months in advance, to ensure the desired result while avoiding duplication of work and costs, (iii) working with substantive experts across a range of issues to simplify the highly technical and complex issues for judges and juries, and (iv) ensuring that the litigation stays focused on the desired solution and does not become litigation for litigation’s sake.

Janet’s favorite part of this highly challenging work is the storytelling. She recognizes that the story has already been written by the time the jury is picked. So, from day one, Janet focuses on crafting the best story possible, whether in how a scheduling order is drafted or discovery is proffered, all the way through taking the deposition of a plaintiff in a bellwether case or arguing a motion for summary judgment in multi-million dollar litigation. Janet prides herself on implementing factual and legal strategies over months, if not years, to craft the winning story.

Janet's experience and expertise has not gone unnoticed. Year over year she is listed Best Lawyers in America and Michigan Super Lawyers. She also routinely teams with AmLaw 50 firms across the country to achieve results for national clients and deeply values these highly collaborative relationships.

Industries

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Education

  • Indiana University School of Law - Bloomington J.D. 1999 magna cum laude and Order of the Coif
  • Indiana University B.A. 1996 Political Science

Admitted

  • 2001, Michigan
  • 2002, Indiana

Courts

  • U.S. District Court, Western District of Michigan in 2001
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana in 2002
  • U.S. District Court, District of New Hampshire in 2004
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana in 2004
  • U.S. District Court, Central District of Illinois in 2007
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of Pennsylvania in 2007
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of Washington in 2007
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan in 2008
  • U.S. District Court, District of Colorado in 2009
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Ohio
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois in 2011

Bar Associations

  • American Bar Association
  • Federal Bar Association
  • State Bar of Michigan
  • State Bar of Indiana
  • Grand Rapids Bar Association

Teaching and Lecturing

  • Steering Committee Member and Faculty Member; Hillman Advocacy Program

Honors & Awards

  • Best Lawyers in America, Commercial Litigation, 2013-Present
  • Named to Michigan Super Lawyers, 2013-Present
  • Named as a Michigan Super Lawyer Rising Star, 2009-2012
  • Named "Up and Coming Lawyer for 2008" by Michigan Lawyers Weekly
  • Order of the Coif

Experience

Mass Tort/Environmental
  • In re Nylaan Litigation (Kent County Circuit Court, Grand Rapids, Michigan 2017). Lead counsel in consolidated litigation involving over 250 families alleging PFAS exposure from potential groundwater contamination. Defeated dispositive motion on public nuisance liability, as well as multiple motions related to far-reaching discovery, including back-up tapes. Managed and implemented discovery and motion practice for the four bellwether cases as well as the full inventory of over 250 cases.
  • Debski v. Wolverine World Wide, Inc. and 3M Company (Kent County Circuit Court, Grand Rapids, Michigan 2018). Lead counsel in bellwether case involving potential groundwater contamination. Obtained summary disposition of all claims.
  • McNaughton v. Wolverine World Wide, Inc. and 3M Company (Kent County Circuit Court, Grand Rapids, Michigan 2017). Lead pretrial counsel and trial team member in bellwether case involving potential groundwater contamination. Obtained summary disposition on multiple claims prior to trial, including personal injury (elevated high cholesterol and miscarriage), medical monitoring, battery, negligent infliction of emotional distress, and ultra-hazardous activity.
  • Hula, et al. v. Wolverine World Wide, Inc. and 3M Company (Kent County Circuit Court, Grand Rapids, Michigan 2017). Lead counsel in litigation involving potential groundwater contamination. Defeated motion that would designate subject plaintiffs as a bellwether case.
  • Zimmerman, et al. v. The 3M Company and Wolverine World Wide, Inc. (Western District of Michigan 2017). Member of defense team for Wolverine World Wide, Inc. in putative class action related to potential groundwater contamination from historical tannery operations.
  • Dykehouse, et al. v. The 3M Company and Georgia-Pacific LLC (Western District of Michigan 2018). Member of defense team for Georgia-Pacific LLC in putative class action related to potential groundwater contamination arising from historical paper mill operations.

Advertising and Marketing/Complex Commercial
  • LG Electronics USA, Inc. v. Whirlpool Corporation, (Northern District of Illinois 2010). Trial team successfully obtained a no damages jury verdict in favor of Whirlpool in false advertising case seeking $85 million in damages.
  • Wrench LLC v. Taco Bell Corp. (Western District of Michigan 2003). Warner team obtained largest judgment in the history of the Western District of Michigan ($42 million) for the theft of the Taco Bell Chihuahua advertising campaign.
  • Dyson, Inc. v. BISSELL Homecare, Inc. (Northern District of Illinois 2010) Member of defense team in multi-million dollar false advertising case regarding HEPA vacuum products.
  • Falcon Waterfree Technologies, LLC v. Ecotech Resource, Inc., et al. (Western District of Michigan 2007). Obtained preliminary injunction requiring disclaimer on all of competitor's products and marketing materials in case involving Lanham Act false advertising and breach of contract claims.
  • Akorn, Inc. v. Fera Pharmaceuticals and Perrigo Company PLC (Southern District of New York 2015) Member of counterclaim defense team in dispute among pharmaceutical companies involving claims of antitrust and tortious interference with a business relationship arising from an asset purchase agreement.
  • Whirlpool Corp. v. Grigoleit Co. (Western District of Michigan 2008). Represented appliance manufacturer through trial in supply dispute.
  • Regularly counsel a wide of range of clients in litigation avoidance solutions, ranging from presuit investigation, negotiation and resolution to innovative presuit ADR processes, all designed to decrease the need and/or life cycle of future litigation.

Intellectual Property
  • Warrior Sports, Inc. Represented leading lacrosse manufacturer in patent infringement litigation against multiple competitors.
  • Great Lakes Intellectual Property. Represented inventor in patent infringement litigation against multiple parties across the country.
  • LMI Technologies, Inc. Represented manufacturer in patent infringement litigation across the country.
  • Sherman v. Jones. Obtained dismissal of copyright infringement action in lawsuit involving New York Times bestselling author Edward Paul Jones's book, The Known World
  • Bricor, Inc. v. Ecotech Resource, Inc. Represented plumbing manufacturer in patent litigation lawsuit against competitor.
  • Spartan Stores Distribution, LLC v. Organ. Obtained temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction against former employee in case involving claims of trade secret misappropriation, breach of employment duties and tortious interference with the contract and business relationship.
  • Fowler v. Zondervan. Obtained dismissal of action alleging violations of constitutional and civil rights against publisher of King James Bible.

Appellate/Other
  • Cuno v. DaimlerChrysler Corp., 126 S. Ct. 1854 (2006). Primary drafter on Warner team that was successful in amicus curiae representation in United States Supreme Court's decision to vacate Sixth Circuit decision that held investment tax credits unconstitutional
  • Morales v. Auto-Owners Ins. Co., 672 N.W.2d 849 (Mich. 2003). Successful amicus curiae representation in the Michigan Supreme Court's decision to overrule longstanding line of authority denying statutory prejudgment interest during interlocutory appeal periods, resulting in $7 million benefit to client
  • A&M Farm Center, Inc. v. AGCO Finance, LLC (Indiana Court of Appeals 2010). Successfully represented John Deere dealership in reversal of trial court's adverse grant of summary judgment
  • Yoder v. Waterfield Financial Corp., et al. (Western District of Michigan 2007). Obtained summary judgment on all of plaintiffs' claims in case involving allegations of violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act and Equal Credit Opportunity Act

News

Leadership

Community Affiliations

  • Leadership Grand Rapids Participant
  • Hillman Advocacy Program
    Steering Committee Member and Faculty Member
  • Women's Resource Center
    Member, Board of Directors (2017-Present)
  • Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park
    Member, Board of Directors (2011-Present)
  • Inforum - a Professional Women's Alliance
    Executive Leadership (2009-10)

Speaking Engagements

  • Frequent lecturer on various topics, including advertising and marketing law, eDiscovery and intellectual property litigation
  • "Automotive Impact of Recent SCOTUS IP Decisions," Emerging Intellectual Property Legal Trends for 2017 and Beyond, OESA seminar, November 7, 2017, Troy, Michigan
  • OESA Marketing Summit: Global, Social and Legal Considerations for Suppliers, July 13, 2016, Troy, Michigan

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