Diane Fleming Averell

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Diane Averell co-chairs the Litigation Practice Group and is a member of the firm's Management Committee.  Diane strives to serve the best interests of her clients by understanding their business, products, and long-term goals.  She works to understand the business environment behind the case in order to define what will constitute a “win” for her clients.  Armed with this insight, Diane is a fearless advocate and works tirelessly to defend her clients while respecting their business objectives. 

Diane has handled business-to-business disputes and defended personal injury claims on behalf of publicly traded companies, privately held corporations, and family-owned enterprises.  Representing manufacturing companies, she has also defended failure-to-warn product liability claims related to prescription and over-the-counter drugs, industrial chemicals and minerals, petroleum products, power tools, and tobacco products.  Although she handles all aspects of complex litigation, her passion is working with toxicologists, epidemiologists, and physicians to defend her clients’ products on the issues of general and specific causation.  Diane has tackled medical and scientific literature related to a wide range of human cancers  (bladder, liver, kidney, prostate, breast, ovarian, uterine, lung, leukemia and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma) as well as stroke and cardiac disease.  The culmination of her careful research and preparation is the strategic and surgical depositions of the plaintiffs and their experts, always with an eye towards summary judgment or eliminating the claims remaining for trial.

 

Relevant Experience
  • Trial counsel for chemical manufacturer in the defense of product liability claims based on alleged exposure to aromatic amines.
  • Science counsel for chemical manufacturer in the defense of product liability claims arising out of alleged exposure to aromatic amines.
  • Counsel for two major chemical manufacturers in the New Jersey asbestos litigation, including product and premises liability claims.
  • Counsel for petroleum product manufacturers, specialty material manufacturers, and paint manufacturers in the defense of product liability claims arising from alleged exposure to benzene derivatives.
  • Lead counsel for flexible packaging manufacturer in commercial litigation.
  • Co-counsel for chemical manufacturer in the defense of product liability claims arising out of alleged exposure to dry cleaning solvents.
  • Lead counsel for specialty chemical manufacturer in the defense of product liability claims in federal district court for the Western District of New York.
  • Lead counsel for air spring manufacturer in the defense of product liability claims filed in Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas, Philadelphia County.
  • Co-counsel for HVAC system manufacturer and a design/installation company in the defense of commercial litigation arising out of alleged breach of contract and defect claims.
  • Co-counsel for power tool manufacturer in the defense of a product liability/subrogation claims related to an alleged defects in an air compressor.  
    Lead counsel for manufacturer of anti-corrosion products in the defense of product liability claims.
  • Co-counsel for major pharmaceutical company in the defense of product liability claims arising out of the ingestion of prescription hormone therapeutics.
  • Co-counsel for major pharmaceutical company in the defense of product liability cases arising out of the ingestion of over-the-counter cough/cold medications.
  • Co-counsel for major pharmaceutical company in the defense of product liability cases arising out of the ingestion of diet drug medications.
  • Co-counsel for tobacco company in the defense of wrongful death/product liability claims filed in Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas, Philadelphia County. 
Honors and Awards
  • Recognized on the New Jersey Super Lawyers List, Personal Injury - Products: Defense, 2016 - 2017
  • Recognized by New Jersey Law Journal in their annual "40 Under 40" list of attorneys, 2011
  • Recognized on the New Jersey Super Lawyers "Rising Stars" List, 2009 -2010, 2013

Honors and Awards

Organizations/Memberships
  • International Association of Defense Counsel, May 2014 - present. 
  • Defense Research Institute, Toxic Tort and Environmental Law Committee, Chair of Marketing for 2014 - 2016 Seminars.  

  • Defense Research Institute, Women in the Law Committee, 2010 to present.  Vice Chair of the Committee 2015 - present; Chair of 2015 Women in the Law Seminar; Vice Chair of the 2014 Seminar; Chair of Marketing for the 2013 Seminar; Vice-Chair of Marketing for 2012 Seminar; Networking Chair for Seminars in 2009 - 2011.

  • Defense Research Institute, Vice Chair of the Law in Transition Committee, 2015 - present.
  • Defense Research Institute, Center for Law and Public Policy, Member of the Issues and Advocacy Committee, 2013 - 2015.  

  • Defense Research Institute, Vice Chair of the Partnering with Industry Groups Task Force, 2013 - 2015.

  • E. I. du Pont de Nemours & Company Primary Law Firm Network - Litigation Principal, New Jersey; Member of Marketing and Referral Committee.   DuPont Women Lawyers Network; Co-Chair of Marketing and Referral Committee.
  • LJN's Product Liability Law & Strategy Newsletter, Member of the Board of Editors, 2014 - present.

 

Publications
  • "Tooey's Trail of Trepidation: The Impact of the Tooey Decision on Asbestos-Related Claims against Employers," IADC Toxic and Hazardous Substances Litigation Committee Newsletter, March 2016.
  • "Location, Location, Location: Drafting Enforceable Forum-Selection Clauses under Atlantic Marine," IADC Business Litigation Committee Newsletter, February 2015.
  • "Medical Monitoring - A Recent Ruling in New York," LJN's Product Liability Law & Strategy Newsletter, Vol. 32, No. 12, June 2014.
  • "Independent Cause of Action for Medical Monitoring Not in the "New York State of Mind"," DRI The Voice of the Defense Bar, Strictly Speaking Newsletter, May 12, 2014.
  • "The Year In Review: Significant Judicial Decisions And Litigation Trends In Toxic Torts And Environmental Law of 2013," DRI Toxic Tort and Environmental Law Committee, February 2014.
  • Editor, "The New Reality of Sales Force Behavior and Management," FDLI Monograph Series, Vol. 2, Num 6, June 2011.
  • "Deposition of Plaintiff's Expert - Getting Behind the CV," LJN's Product Liability Law & Strategy Newsletter, Vol. 29, No. 6, December 2010
  • "Protecting and Enforcing Protective Orders: Easier Said Than Done," Defense Counsel Journal, April 2004.
Speaking Engagements
  • "Managing Strategic Partnerships/Joint Ventures," Business Owners Symposium Series, Morristown, NJ, April 7, 2017.
  • Panelist, "Corporate Litigation Update," NJ Corporate Counsel Institute, New Brunswick, NJ, February 17, 2017. 
  • "Preparing for Electronic Discovery in Litigation," National Business Institute, Newark, NJ, December 7, 2016.
  • "Social Media Legal Issues for Owners - Take off Your Marketing Hat and Put on Your Owner Hat," Business Owners Symposium Series, Morristown, NJ, June 17, 2016.
  • Moderator, "Partnering with Your Clients," 2016 DRI Toxic Tort and Environmental Law Seminar, New Orleans, LA, March 17, 2016.
  • "Cyber Security," The New Jersey Law Journal's In-House Counsel CLE program, Florham Park, NJ, September 15, 2015.
  • Moderator, "The Year In Review: Significant Judicial Decisions And Litigation Trends In Toxic Torts And Environmental Law of 2013," 2014 DRI Toxic Tort and Environmental Law Seminar, New Orleans, LA, February 20, 2014.
  • Moderator, "Don’t Waste Our Money: Advice from In-House Attorneys on How to Manage a New Matter in a Shifting Legal Environment," 2012 DRI Women in the Law Seminar, Scottsdale, AZ, February 23, 2012.
  • "Preparing for the Deposition of Plaintiff’s Expert: Getting Behind the CV," Defense Research Institute, New York, NY, May 12, 2005.

Practice

Industries

Related Media

Bar Admissions

  • New Jersey, 2000
  • Pennsylvania, 2000
  • United States District Court, District of New Jersey, 2000
  • United States District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania, 2002

Education

Villanova University School of Law, Villanova, Pennsylvania, J.D., 2000

  • Champion, 1999 National Family Law Appellate Moot Court Competition
  • Best Brief, 2000 National First Amendment Appellate Moot Court Competition

Villanova University, Villanova, Pennsylvania, B.A., cum laude, 1997

  • Phi Kappa Phi National Honor Society
  • Phi Sigma Alpha National Political Science Honor Society

 

Contact Address

100 Southgate Parkway

Morristown, NJ 07962-1997

Phone: 973.538.4006

Fax: 973.538.5146

  • Averell, Diane