Justin Howard is a trial lawyer who defends manufacturers and distributors in product liability claims. He also represents businesses in a wide range of other litigation matters, including labor and employment disputes and actions involving alleged breach of contract, business torts, professional malpractice, financial services fraud, and toxic torts. He handles complex litigation in state and federal courts and has represented corporations and individuals at trial in a variety of matters.
Justin has defended leading companies in a wide range of industries, from banking to waste management. He leads national and regional defense teams of leading manufacturers and regularly trains business leaders and research and development professionals in risk management. He also assists the firm's energy lawyers in litigating matters on behalf of clients before courts and utilities commissions.
Justin has served on the board of directors of The Purple Promise Foundation to End Melanoma and on the board of directors of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Wake County.
Martindale-Hubbell has recognized Justin with their AV Preeminent peer rating. Woodward/White, Inc. has included Justin in its list of Best Lawyers in America in the areas of Commercial Litigation and Product Liability Litigation-Defendants. He also has been listed in “North Carolina Super Lawyers” and Business North Carolina’s "Legal Elite" lists. In 2011, he was the recipient of Business Leader Magazine's Mover and Shaker Award for Dedication to Community and Excellence in Leadership.
Prior to entering law school, Justin served on active duty in the U.S. Marine Corps for four years.
Defends product manufacturers and distributors in claims for personal injury, wrongful death and property damage in state and federal courts throughout the United States.
Leads the national litigation team for a leading manufacturer of outdoor power equipment.
Defended a manufacturer and distributor of dietary supplements in a lawsuit alleging that the product caused a cerebrovascular accident resulting in permanent brain injury.
Defended a leading manufacturer of valves and controls in property damage claims allegedly caused by product defects.General Litigation
Defended an underground excavation company at trial in a personal injury action arising from the explosion of a ruptured natural gas main line. Defense verdict.
Represented a commercial trucking company and its employee driver at trial in an action arising from the collision of three tractor-trailers on Interstate 95 in North Carolina. Verdict for plaintiff and for defendant client against co-defendant during liability phase of bifurcated trial; case settled during damages phase.
Defended a leading producer of pork products and its former employee driver at trial in an action arising from a collision between one of the company’s tractor-trailers and a bicyclist in a crosswalk in a busy intersection. Defense verdict.
Defended a publisher of an international scientific journal and its employees in a lawsuit for defamation and related claims arising from alleged postings to the publisher's website. Motion to dismiss granted.
Defended a family farm and its employee driver in two personal injury lawsuits arising from a collision between one of its tractor-trailers and an SUV that allegedly resulted in permanent injury to the driver of the SUV and to her child who was a passenger. Settled.Energy Litigation
Assisted team of McGuireWoods energy, corporate and litigation attorneys with trial preparation and support in the firm's representation of a leading power company in proceedings before utilities commissions in two states to obtain approval of the company's sale of natural gas companies.
Defended an owner and operator of a hydroelectric co-generation facility in a lawsuit for an alleged breach of a repair services agreement brought by a company that sold and repaired its high-pressure feed pump motors. Settled.Financial Services Litigation
Defended one of the world’s largest financial institutions in a variety of lawsuits involving claims of fraud, constructive fraud, negligent misrepresentation, intentional misrepresentation, and unfair and deceptive trade practices in connection with consumer lending.
Defended a leading lender in the mortgage banking industry against claims for alleged fraud, predatory lending, unfair and deceptive trade practices, violations of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, and violations of the Truth in Lending Act.Labor & Employment
Defended a leading waste removal, recycling and environmental services company at trial in a North Carolina Wage and Hour Act claim brought by a former employee for an alleged failure to pay sales commission. Defense verdict.
Defended one of the world's largest banks in a purported class action in federal court brought on behalf of current and former employee credit managers, senior credit managers, assistant managers and loan processors for alleged violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act and alleged violations of the North Carolina Wage and Hour Act.
Defended a leading provider of food and support services in an age discrimination lawsuit brought by a former employee, who alleged that she was terminated in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967. Settled.Professional Malpractice
Defended a leading university health system, its chief of gastrointestinal and colorectal surgery, and its former chief resident at trial in a medical malpractice lawsuit involving post-surgical complications following colorectal surgery. Defense verdict.
Defended a hospital and its employee nurse anesthetist at trial in a medical malpractice action for wrongful death arising from a post-extubation cardiac arrest and severe brain injury. Directed verdict for the defense.
Defended a hospital and its employee nurse anesthetist at trial in a medical malpractice action arising from an intraoperative extravasation injury that allegedly caused permanent injury and impairment to the patient's dominant arm. Defense verdict.
Defended a regional medical center at trial in a lawsuit for alleged failure to suspect and report child abuse. Confidential high-low settlement agreement triggered by verdict for the plaintiffs.
Defended a leading university health system's ophthalmology practice and its employee occuloplastic surgeon in a medical malpractice lawsuit involving post-surgical complications following levator release and entropion repair surgery. Dismissed without settlement.
Defended a regional medical center in a wrongful death lawsuit for alleged medical malpractice in response to complications arising after gastric bypass surgery. Settled.
Defended a regional medical center in a medical malpractice lawsuit involving an alleged failure to diagnose an esophageal tear in the emergency department. Dismissed without settlement.
Defended one of the largest anesthesiology groups in the country and its employee anesthesiologist in a wrongful death lawsuit for alleged medical malpractice in the administration of general anesthesia. Dismissed without settlement.
Defended two emergency medicine physicians and their practice group in a wrongful death lawsuit for alleged failure to diagnose a hemorrhagic stroke in an emergency department. Dismissed without settlement.
Defended an internal medicine physician in a wrongful death claim involving the deaths of both a mother and her child during the 27th week of pregnancy allegedly caused by a rare blood disorder. Dismissed without settlement.
Defended a plastic surgeon in a lawsuit for alleged medical negligence in performance of elective abdominoplasty, commonly referred to as a "tummy tuck" procedure, which allegedly resulted in post-surgical complications. Summary judgment for the defendant.Toxic Torts
Defended a leading chemical manufacturer in a wrongful death action arising from alleged exposure to chromic acid and potassium bichromate. Dismissed without settlement.
Defended a manufacturer of synthetic industrial lubricants in a third-party claim asserted in a wrongful death action arising from alleged exposure to benzene and toluene. Dismissed without settlement.
Defended manufacturers in the automotive, power tool and paper products industries in cases of alleged exposure to asbestos-containing products resulting in asbestosis and mesothelioma.
Member, International Association of Defense Counsel
Member, Federal Bar Association
Member, Wake County Bar Association
Member, The Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies
Member, North Carolina Bar Association
Member, Virginia Bar Association
Past Chair, Trial Tactics and Technology SLG, Product Liability Committee, Defense Research Institute
Past Member, Board of Directors, North Carolina Association of Defense Attorneys
Past Chair, Products Liability Section, North Carolina Association of Defense Attorneys
Past Co-Chair, Ethics Committee of the Litigation Council, North Carolina Bar Association
Past Member, Board of Directors, Boys & Girls Clubs of Wake County
Past Member, Board of Directors, The Purple Promise Foundation to End Melanoma
AV Rated, Martindale-Hubbell
Selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America, Commercial Litigation, 2014-2019, Product Liability Litigation - Defendants, 2017-2019, Woodward/White, Inc.
Named a “Local Litigation Star,” Product Liability, Benchmark Litigation, 2015, 2016, 2018
Named to "Legal Elite," Litigation, 2011-2017; Young Guns, 2009-2010, 2012-2013, Business North Carolina
Named to "North Carolina Super Lawyers," Super Lawyers, Thomson Reuters, 2014-2018
Named to "North Carolina Rising Stars," Super Lawyers, Thomson Reuters, 2009-2013
Recipient, Mover and Shaker Award for Dedication to Community and Excellence in Leadership, Business Leader Magazine, 2011
Named to "Top Lawyers," The North Carolina Legal Guide, Business Leader Magazine, 2009