Joan specializes in the defense of complex, multi-plaintiff personal injury actions for product manufacturers and health care service providers. She has represented clients in state and federal courts in more than two dozen states at all stages of litigation, including notching multiple successful civil jury trials and appellate decisions. With a background in mathematics and significant experience in mass tort litigation, Joan is highly regarded for her successful work with medical and technology experts to distill their analyses into opinions that are clear, concise, and helpful for clients, judges and juries.
Prior to joining McGuireWoods LLP in 2012, Joan practiced for six years in the San Francisco and Silicon Valley offices of an international law firm. While she now enjoys living in North Carolina, Joan maintains a California law license so that she can easily assist clients facing threatened or filed litigation in a state where many mass tort actions originate, and Joan has spent a significant portion of her time working out of the firm’s downtown Los Angeles office.
Joan champions various diversity initiatives within the firm and in the community. As a member of McGuireWoods’ firmwide Diversity & Inclusion Committee, she actively promotes the Firm’s commitment to recruit, develop, retain, and promote women, lawyers of color, LGBTQ attorneys, and veterans, ensuring the firm’s litigation teams fully represent the clients they serve and the communities in which they live.
A leader in community diversity and inclusion initiatives, Joan serves as the Raleigh-Durham coordinator for the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD) 1L Mentorship Program, recruiting volunteers to mentor diverse first-year law students at area law schools. In this role, she organizes events where mentors and mentees come together, share experiences, and hear from speakers. Joan also has served for three consecutive years on the planning committee for the Raleigh Chamber of Commerce’s annual Diversity, Equality and Inclusion Conference, which draws approximately 800 attendees.
Joan maintains a commitment to pro bono service and serves as the pro bono coordinator for the firm’s Raleigh office, helping organize clinics and connect other attorneys with projects of interest to them. She currently leads an initiative to help local small businesses challenge the denial of business interruption insurance coverage so that they can obtain funds intended to compensate them for losses, including payments made to hourly workers during closures and restrictions related to COVID-19. She also partners with North Carolina Legal Aid helping victims of domestic violence obtain orders of protection against their abusers.
Lead counsel for major food and beverage distributor and retailer facing numerous multi-plaintiff lawsuits alleging serious illness and death caused by allegedly contaminated bottled alkaline water.
Lead nationwide defense counsel for manufacturer and distributor of medical device in multi-state litigation alleging injuries caused by device used in gynecologic surgeries.
Obtained summary judgment in favor of automobile manufacturer in putative class action filed in California federal court alleging defective minivan parts.
Represented major financial institution in successful defense of thousands of personal injury lawsuits New York federal district court arising out of the September 11, 2001 World Trade Center collapse.
Defeated motions for class certification on behalf of major food manufacturer in cases filed in California federal court challenging the use of “all natural” label claims.
Achieved dismissal of California state-court litigation against major vaccine manufacturer alleging distribution of contaminated vaccines.
Won numerous defense verdicts in jury trials for a leading academic medical center in complex medical negligence actions.
Provide expert witness development assistance to medical device and consumer product manufacturers in high-exposure product liability litigation.
Member, American Bar Association
Member, North Carolina Bar Association; Women in the Profession Committee
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Selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America, Product Liability Litigation - Defendants, Woodward/White, Inc., 2023
Selected for inclusion in “Legal 500 United States,” Product Liability, Mass Tort and Class Actions – Automotive/Transport – Defense; Product Liability, Mass Tort and Class Action – Defense: Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices, 2022
Selected for inclusion into the North Carolina Pro Bono Honor Society, 2020, 2021
Named to "North Carolina Rising Stars," PI - Products: Defense, Super Lawyers, Thomson Reuters, 2016
Firm Sponsors Raleigh Chamber’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusivity Conference 2020
September 4, 2020