Phil Goldberg has more than 25 years of experience on liability-related public policy, public affairs and public relations issues. Since joining Shook in 2003, Phil has assisted clients in addressing important litigation issues outside of the trial courts, often in front of Congress, state legislatures, appellate courts and the media.
As part of this work, he counsels Fortune 500 companies and their trade associations on a wide variety of liability public policy issues.
Phil focuses his practice on three areas:
- Development of the Common Law,
- Federal and State Legislation,
- Litigation Communications.
As co-chair of Shook’s Public Policy Practice Group, Phil has filed amicus briefs with courts at every level, from the U.S. Supreme Court to the U.S. Courts of Appeals and state appellate courts. He also has testified before state legislatures, authored legal scholarship, and spoken at judicial and attorney conferences on some of the highest-profile liability issues in the last decade.
He also has become a resource for reporters who write on liability issues. In 2015, he was named the director of the Progressive Policy Institute’s Center for Civil Justice, which provides a center-left voice on important civil justice issues.
The substantive issues Phil works on tend to impact repetitive or high-profile cases, and often involve unwise expansions of liability based on novel tort and product liability theories, as well as procedural gamesmanship.
In particular, he has worked extensively on unwise expansions of public attorney general and locality litigation, public nuisance theory, pharmaceutical and medical device liability, auto manufacturer liability, novel applications of the False Claims Act, international biotechnology liability, climate change tort litigation, liability in asbestos and other toxic tort cases, and damages in animal injury claims.
With respect to government litigation and public nuisance theory, Phil has become a leading voice for maintaining the traditional boundaries of the tort and not allowing it to become a catch-all theory of liability.
He has authored several articles explaining that public nuisance does not, for example, circumvent product liability law. He also authored amici briefs submitted to the U.S. Supreme Court in the 2011 climate change case Connecticut v. AEP and the Supreme Court of Rhode Island in Rhode Island v. Lead Industries Association.
The Supreme Courts of Rhode Island and New Jersey cited Phil’s articles in denying overly expansive public nuisance theories.
Phil has also been involved in cutting edge medical liability theories in pharmaceutical, medical device and physician litigation. His article on innovator liability has been cited by the U.S. Court of Appeal for the Sixth Circuit and the Supreme Court of Iowa to reject liability for branded medicine manufacturers when the harms were allegedly caused only by generic counterparts.
He also has participated in congressional and judicial briefings against innovator liability. Phil works with trade associations, including the National Association of Manufacturers, AdvaMed and the American Medical Association, to oppose similar unwise expansions of medical liability in their fields of law.
Through this work, Phil has developed a strength for communicating complex business legal issues in ways that resonate with lay audiences.
He handles “Fast Track” recalls for clients who manufacture consumer products and focuses on policies affecting public access to information in high-profile litigation, including media shield laws and attorney-client privilege with public relations firms.
He also counsels companies on external and internal communications strategies in high-profile litigation. Phil is a member of the American Law Institute, which publishes the Restatements of the Law for torts, product liability and other areas of law related to his practice.
He has received Shook’s Mosaic Award for his commitment to diversity in the legal profession and is Managing Partner for Shook’s Washington, D.C., office.
Before joining Shook, Phil spent eight years as an aide to three Democratic members of Congress and three years as a vice president of litigation communications for two leading public relations firms.
He received his law degree from George Washington University Law School, where he was Order of the Coif, and his bachelor of arts, cum laude, from Tufts University. He resides in Bethesda, Maryland, with his wife, three kids and their fun and energetic dog, Riley.
- J.D., George Washington University Law School, 2001
- B.A., cum laude, Tufts University, 1990
- District of Columbia
- New Jersey
- U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals, Third Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
- U.S. Supreme Court
- American Law Institute
- AdvaMed Legal Defense Academy Steering Committee
- American Bar Association
- International Association of Defense Counsel
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