Jonathan is frequently asked to handle challenging cases involving consumer products, particularly those involving children and/or serious or fatal injuries to others. He also advises domestic and overseas manufacturers on their regulatory and product liability challenges across the United States, and continues to try cases in courtrooms across the United States.
As an analyst, Jonathan created Magnitude®, a Monte Carlo system designed to help cutting-edge companies condense legal advice into a series of potential outcomes. Magnitude® is particularly useful for valuing tort and IP litigation risks, but can assist with complex decisions of many kinds.
Jonathan is particularly focused on the growing role of Adaptive Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) in the automotive sector. Successful defense of ADAS, both within litigation and to the public, is much easier when counsel are as capable working inside modeling software as they are in a courtroom. Attorneys who already understand statistics and machine learning are best placed to hit the ground running when an ADAS issue arises.
From Agencies to Juries
Jonathan has extensive experience defending client interests during Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) investigations, and he helps product manufacturers and importers comply with the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA). He develops a unique vision for each case or investigation and turns to the engineers and experts best qualified to explain the client’s product and position.
Jonathan also acts as national coordinating counsel for companies seeking comprehensive product liability representation. He helps product sellers understand that there is no such thing as an isolated case, and that mistakes made in one case can haunt a company for years to come. In particular, he works to ensure that CPSC product investigations do not compromise the defense of related product liability lawsuits, and vice versa.
Jonathan utilizes his experience to help consumer product entrepreneurs launch their products safely and effectively. He provides these clients with vital legal information including standards for warning labels, instruction booklets and necessary product testing.
Clients benefit from Jonathan’s ability to advise them on proper insurance coverage, improved product labeling and product marketing campaigns. Additionally, he helps protect parent companies from the liabilities of their subsidiary investments. With a keen procedural acumen, Jonathan is respected for his knowledge of the sophisticated legal issues that affect consumer products, particularly when their performance is being challenged in court.
Jonathan has provided regulatory advice in relation to:
- Insurance regulatory fines and assessments
- Product Regulatory Safety Plans (PRSP)
- Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)
- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
- Washington Children’s Safe Products Act (CSPA)
- Health Canada (HC)
- Toys regulations (ASTM)
A Trusted Advocate
When defending clients, Jonathan draws upon his own technical knowledge as well as the expertise of engineers and others in the manufacturing industry. But most of all, he aims to succeed. He believes that too many lawyers fail to instill the confidence in their client that they can actually win the case. While many cases should be resolved, clients usually get a much better result once the opponent recognizes that their counsel is actually willing to take the case to trial if necessary.
Outside the Office
Jonathan is a highly visible presence in the online baseball community, where he creates advanced statistics and is a part-owner of Baseball Prospectus. Statistics for Catcher Framing, Deserved Run Average, and Deserved Runs Created all arose from statistical models Jonathan created. Many solutions originating in baseball problems can be used to similarly describe and address legal problems many clients face.
Jonathan has experience handling matters involving a wide variety of products, including child restraints and booster seats, appliances, cribs and bassinets, highchairs, bicycles and helmets, child deterrence products, and automotive components. He has also handled matters involving lead paint, crashworthiness, recalled products, product defect/recall investigations, alleged pharmaceutical contamination with nitrosamines (e.g., NDMA), and clothing flammability.
Examples of Jonathan’s recent achievements include:
- April 2022: A complete jury defense verdict for a manufacturer client in a child car seat case after a multi-week trial in Santa Fe, NM against Tab Turner and Mikal Watts.
- January 2017: A complete jury defense verdict for a manufacturer client in a recreational products case after a multi-day trial in Baltimore, Md.
- November 2015: A complete jury defense verdict for a manufacturer client in a child vehicle ejection case after a one-week trial in West Virginia. The plaintiffs asked for the jury for $4 million.
- March 2015: A complete jury defense verdict for a manufacturer client in a child drowning case after a one-week federal court trial in Missouri. The plaintiffs asked the jury for several million dollars.
- February 2013: A complete jury defense verdict for a manufacturer client in a child safety latch/drain cleaner ingestion case, after a six-day court trial in Dallas, Texas. The plaintiffs asked the jury for $30 million.
- November 2012: A complete jury defense verdict for a manufacturer client in a bassinet/crib child death case, after a one-week court trial in Muncie, Ind. The plaintiffs sought millions of dollars.
- March 2012: A complete jury defense verdict for a manufacturer client in a stroller finger-crush case, after a multi-day federal court trial in Philadelphia, Pa.
- November 2011: A complete jury defense verdict for a manufacturer client in a child car seat brain injury case, after a two-week federal court trial in Virginia. The plaintiff had asked the jury for $50 million.
- June 2011: A complete jury defense verdict for a manufacturer client in a child car seat head injury case, after a one-week trial in Iowa. The plaintiff had asked the jury for millions of dollars.
- April 2011: Summary judgment for a manufacturer client in a step stool product liability case.
- Throughout 2011: Multiple agreed product exemptions from CPSC for manufacturer/importer clients from burdensome new requirements of the CPSIA.
Publications, Presentations & Recognitions
- The Collateral Source Rule: A Compendium of State Law, (editor-in-chief) DRI Trial Tactics Committee (2012)
- "The Intersection of Regulation and Litigation," Practicing Law Institute Manufacturing and Consumer Products Law Institute, Conference (Apr. 12, 2023)
- “Overcoming Thorny Hearsay Issues,” (webcast) DRI Trial Tactics Committee (Jul. 8, 2013)
- “Defending Claims for Future Medical Expenses: New Approaches to Present Value and the Collateral Source Rule,” Defense Research Institute Trial Tactics Seminar, Las Vegas, NV (Mar. 18-19, 2010)
- Finalist, 2021 Legalweek Leaders in Tech Law Awards
Boards, Memberships & Certifications
- International Consumer Products Health and Safety Organization
- American Bar Association
- State Bar of Wisconsin
- Defense Research Institute, Trial Tactics Committee
- Law Clerk, Honorable David M. Lawson, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan (2001-2003)
Bar & Court Admissions
- Illinois Bar
- Wisconsin Bar
- US Court of Appeals, 4th Circuit
- US District Court, Northern District of Florida
- US District Court, Northern District of Illinois
- US District Court, Eastern District of Michigan
- US District Court, Western District of Michigan
University of Wisconsin Law School, JD, Wisconsin Law Review, Articles Editor, Symposium Editor; cum laude, 2001Lawrence University, BA, BMus, 1998