James P. Muehlberger is the Founding Co-Chair of Shook’s Class Action Practice Group and the Co-Chair of Shook’s Food & Beverage Practice Group. He has more than three decades of experience successfully defending class actions and multidistrict litigation throughout the country.
The leader of numerous litigation teams, Jim has successfully defended more than 100 individual and third-party payor class actions alleging false advertising, unfair business practices, consumer fraud, product liability and RICO.
Jim has tried class actions, successfully argued class action appeals, and resolved purported class actions early and efficiently. He teaches and lectures on class actions and is widely recognized for his experience defending class actions as well as legal and trial strategy.
After interviewing general counsel and legal decision-makers, BTI Consulting Group named Jim a “2016 and 2017 Client Service All-Star,” one of approximately 300 attorneys nationwide to receive the honor. BTI’s Client Service All-Stars are leaders in their field who receive this designation because corporate counsel singled them out for “outperforming all other attorneys” in client service.
Jim has represented ConAgra Foods, Inc., Goya Foods, Inc., The J.M. Smucker Company, Pinnacle Foods Group LLC, Source Naturals, Inc., Unilever United States, Inc., Allergan, Inc., Aventis Pharmaceuticals Inc., Bayer Corporation, Bausch & Lomb Inc., Delta Air Lines, Inc., GlaxoSmithKline LLC, Lindsay Manufacturing Co., Lorillard Tobacco Company, Inc., Nissan North America, Inc., Pfizer Inc., Philip Morris USA Inc., 7-Eleven, Inc., QuikTrip Corp., Sanofi Synthelabo Inc., and Simon & Schuster Inc., among others, in class action litigation.
As first chair trial counsel, Jim successfully defended what may be the first Rule 23(c)(4) issue class action jury trial involving state consumer fraud allegations in the country, in which the jury returned a unanimous defense verdict. Wilson v. Ampride, Inc. (In re Motor Fuel Temperature Sales Practices Litig.), 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 145976 (D. Kan. Sept. 24, 2012).
He served as trial counsel for Lorillard Tobacco Company in a statewide class action trial in which the jury rejected plaintiffs’ medical monitoring claim, in one of the first medical monitoring cases to go to trial. Scott v. American Tobacco Co., 949 So.2d 1266 (La. Ct. App. 2007).
Jim enjoys looking for creative and cost-effective ways to resolve class action litigation. Recently, he persuaded plaintiffs’ counsel to dismiss several purported class actions alleging improper food labeling, based on an analysis of the appropriate regulations.
His clients appreciate his creative and common sense approach to problem solving. Jim’s philosophy is to focus on the early resolution of matters before trial, to minimize the cost and business disruption to his clients.
Jim is a former chair of Shook’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee. He is also very involved in pro bono efforts, having led a team in securing a significant civil rights victory for a class of 11,000 special needs foster and adopted children.
Senior U.S. District Judge Scott O. Wright observed that the suit was among the most important cases he has addressed in his 27-year career on the bench. Utilizing an attorneys’ fee award donated by the firm, Jim then established “Lawyers for Kids,” a charitable foundation which has contributed more than $250,000 to foster and adopted children and their parents.
Missouri Lawyers Media recognized Jim as a 2012 Legal Champion for his role in the successful defense of fuel retailers in the nationwide “Hot Fuel” litigation.
- J.D., University of Kansas School of Law, 1982
- B.A., cum laude, University of Kansas, 1978
- U.S. District Court, District of Kansas
- U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Missouri
- U.S. District Court, Western District of Missouri
- U.S. Court of Appeals, Third Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit
- U.S. Supreme Court
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