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Kimberly Dougherty knew from an early age that she wanted to help people. She volunteered for Big Brother Big Sister in college and quickly became passionate about issues facing women and children. Kim then earned a master’s degree in social work and worked in child protective services, but recognized that many people needed more. They needed a legal advocate. That’s when she decided to become an attorney.
Her law practice quickly turned to the people who needed the help most: ones severely injured by corporations who put profits before people. Today, she is a leading attorney in complex pharmaceutical, medical device mass tort, personal injury and medical malpractice litigation.
Kim is a partner and the Managing Attorney of Andrus Wagstaff’s Boston office. She is also a volunteer advocate as Immediate President of the Massachusetts Women’s Bar Association, and has regularly testified at the State House on laws to protect the rights of women and children, and lobbying legislators on those laws, as well as the importance of increasing gender diversity in the judiciary and elected office.
LEADERSHIP IN DEFECTIVE MEDICAL DEVICE CASES
Kim has also been a leader in the transvaginal mesh litigation. From 2005 to 2011, hundreds of thousands of women were implanted with transvaginal mesh (TVM), seeking to end their problems brought on by weakened pelvic muscles that could no longer support internal organs, and for leaky bladders. The devices were failing at an alarming rate and adverse reports to the FDA started surfacing almost immediately. Although approved by the FDA to repair abdominal hernias, the manufacturers were able to use an FDA process that allowed them to skip any testing on women for use of the products in a very different area of the body.
As a result of her leadership and experience in the TVM litigation, Kim has negotiated resolution of over 1000 cases on behalf of over 30 law firms, resulting in multiple millions of dollars in settlement funds for women injured by the device.
FINDING EVIDENCE BEFORE IT COULD BE COVERED UP
Kim’s intuition was very strong in the New England Compounding Center (NECC) tainted steroids case. In 2012, NECC distributed tainted steroids that had been produced in their facility. Hundreds of people all over the country became seriously ill, and many died. The quicker experts got inside the building to start looking for potential contamination sources, the quicker they would know what happened and who was responsible. After countless hours, overnights and weekends, preparing with experts for one of the most important arguments for the Court would hear, she was ready to fight for the victims. Before a holiday weekend, Kim urged a federal judge to allow plaintiffs’ experts access to the facility. The company fought hard against Kim’s efforts, but ultimately the Court ruled in her favor and crucial evidence was uncovered and the company was in trouble.
In 2013, Kim was appointed to the seven-person plaintiffs’ steering committee for the NECC multidistrict litigation (MDL) related to the fungal meningitis outbreak from contaminated steroids. Her work leading to the inspection of NECC’s facility, securing world-renowned experts and obtaining crucial evidence was integral to securing a $200 million settlement with NECC, its affiliates and other responsible parties in 2015. For these efforts, she was honored as The Massachusetts’ Lawyer of the Year by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly in 2015.
DANGEROUS DRUGS, CLASS ACTION LAWSUITS AND MASS TORTS
In December 2015, Kim was appointed as Co-Liaison Counsel in litigation involving GlaxoSmithKline’s off-label marketing of anti-nausea drug Zofran, to pregnant women causing serious birth defects.
Another mass tort case that Kim is also currently involved in, and is a natural progression from her transvaginal mesh work, is the defective hernia mesh litigation against Atrium C-Qur, Ethicon Physiomesh and others. Many of the hernia mesh devices have been recalled because they degrade and cause serious side effects, including mesh erosion, infections, adhesions, bowel or intestinal blockage and twisting, organ perforation, allergic reactions, nerve damage, and severe pain, all which ultimately may lead to corrective surgery.
Kim is also managing the firms metal on metal mass tort hip cases. Many of these devices have also been recalled, as they cause toxic, high levels of cobalt and chromium in the bloodstream, pseudotumors, hip stem fractures, and often require corrective surgery. These cases involve defendant manufacturers DePuy Orthopaedics, Stryker, Smith & Nephew, Biomet, Zimmer, Wright Medical and others.
Prior to joining Andrus Wagstaff, Kim practiced mass tort product liability, medical malpractice, wrongful death, antitrust and consumer protection class-action lawsuits. She has litigated cases involving: