Janice W. Howe

Janice W. Howe has been a trial lawyer in both civil and criminal cases for the past 30 years and has tried more than 100 jury trials in state and federal courts. She has experience trying complex cases, many involving intricate scientific and medical concepts. The trial and investigative skills Janice developed during her 13 years as a prosecutor in Massachusetts provided an invaluable foundation for her transition to civil litigation and trial practice. She lectures nationally on trial practice, mass torts and class actions, Daubert challenges and the use of expert testimony, and investigative techniques.

Her strategy of mastering all issues — scientific, legal and factual — often results in the disposition of tough cases without the necessity of trial. Her obvious willingness to try any case to conclusion provides significant leverage for the defense. Janice’s ability to cross-examine plaintiffs, expert witnesses and other key witnesses has laid the ground work for successful motions for summary judgment, Daubert motions, oppositions to class certification and voluntary dismissals.

Janice has represented clients in product liability cases involving pharmaceuticals, medical devices, chemicals, sporting goods and food products, as well as toxic tort cases involving beryllium and benzene. In addition to litigation, she has conducted internal investigations for international and regional corporate clients and has performed due diligence in the context of acquisitions and financing of pharmaceutical, dietary supplement and medical device manufacturers.

During the many years that Janice represented Wyeth (now Pfizer) in the fen-phen diet drug litigation, she was the sole lawyer responsible for working with pulmonary pathology experts in the defense of cases around the country. As such, in addition to developing that aspect of the scientific defense and taking and defending scores of depositions in jurisdictions throughout the country, Janice was assigned to several trial teams. Those assignments required that she become thoroughly familiar and conversant with the relevant medical and scientific literature as well as the literature and past testimony of the experts.

Janice’s civil trials have included a wrongful death case in the Middlesex Superior Court in Cambridge, Massachusetts involving claims that the decedent’s pulmonary arterial hypertension was caused by ingestion of fenfluramine. During pre-trial, she was instrumental in developing the legal and scientific strategies, as well as uncovering the factual foundation for a critical spoliation motion against the Commonwealth’s Office of the Chief Medical Examiner and plaintiff’s expert.

Janice also tried a case in the Court of Common Pleas in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in which the two plaintiffs alleged that the diet drug(s) caused their valvulopathy necessitating valve replacement surgery. As one of three members of the trial team, she was responsible for, among other things, the direct and cross-examination of the medical experts as well as cross-examination of the plaintiffs.

During her tenure as a prosecutor, Janice had extensive experience in cases involving allegations of child and adult sexual assault. As an assistant district attorney in Massachusetts, she directed homicide and sexual assault investigations by state and local law enforcement agencies. As deputy chief of the Sexual Assault Unit, she screened and supervised hundreds of cases, interviewed scores of adults and children, and tried numerous child and sexual assault cases.

While at Bingham, Janice defended Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center in Hartford, Connecticut in 150 cases arising from claims that a now-deceased physician employee had sexually abused pediatric patients and other children over a 30-year period. She guided, conducted and managed the internal investigation that had to be performed within a short period of time in order to defend the mounting number of lawsuits and constant media coverage.

Janice is the supervisor of Bingham’s pro bono Domestic Violence Protection Program that provides legal representation for victims of abuse seeking restraining orders and other relief. She recently tried a pro bono case in the federal court in New Hampshire brought under the International Child Abduction Remedies Act of the Hague Convention. She successfully defended a mother who had fled from Turkey with her two daughters because of fears of sexual abuse of the children by their father. A unanimous First Circuit panel, ruling on an issue of first impression, affirmed the district court’s decision.

Good to know

Areas of Practice 1) Commercial Litigation, 2) Consumer Products Litigation, 3) Intellectual Property, 4) Life Sciences, 5) Trial Practice and 6) White Collar Investigations and Enforcement
Law School Suffolk University Law School, J.D., 1981
Education Connecticut College, B.A., 1973
Bar Member / Association Massachusetts State Bar Association
Most recent firm Bingham McCutchen LLP
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