Overview

Jonathan Judge is a trial lawyer who believes that analytics are an important part of cutting-edge legal advice. Jonathan is frequently asked to handle challenging cases involving consumer products, particularly those involving children and/or serious or fatal injuries to others.

As an analyst, Jonathan publishes statistical models that outline "fair" levels of government agency fines; uses analytics to demonstrate the effectiveness of client strategy changes, and employs machine learning to separate legal coincidences from legal facts.

Jonathan is particularly focused on the growing role of Adaptive Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) in the automotive sector. Successful defense of ADAS, both within litigation and to the public, is much easier when counsel are as capable working inside modeling software as they are in a courtroom. Attorneys who already understand statistics and machine learning are best placed to hit the ground running when an ADAS issue arises.

From Agencies to Juries

Jonathan has extensive experience defending client interests during Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) investigations, and he helps product manufacturers and importers comply with the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA). He develops a unique vision for each case or investigation and turns to the engineers and experts best qualified to support his argument.

Jonathan also acts as national coordinating counsel for companies seeking comprehensive product liability representation. He helps product sellers understand that there is no such thing as an isolated case anymore, and that mistakes made in one case can haunt a company for years to come. In particular, he works to ensure that CPSC product investigations do not compromise the defense of related product liability lawsuits, and vice versa.

Ongoing Counsel

Jonathan utilizes his experience to help consumer product entrepreneurs launch their products safely and effectively. He provides these clients with vital legal information including standards for warning labels, instruction booklets and necessary product testing.

Clients benefit from Jonathan’s ability to advise them on proper insurance coverage, improved product labeling and product marketing campaigns. Additionally, he helps protect parent companies from the liabilities of their subsidiary investments. With a keen procedural acumen, Jonathan is respected for his knowledge of the sophisticated legal issues that affect consumer products, particularly when their performance is being challenged in court.

Jonathan has provided regulatory advice in relation to:

  • Insurance regulatory fines and assessments
  • Product Regulatory Safety Plans (PRSP)
  • Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)
  • National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
  • Washington Children’s Safe Products Act (CSPA)
  • Health Canada (HC)
  • Toys regulations (ASTM)

A Trusted Advocate

When defending clients, Jonathan draws upon his own technical knowledge as well as the expertise of engineers and others in the manufacturing industry. But most of all, he aims to succeed. He believes that too many lawyers fail to instill the confidence in their client that they can actually win the case. While many cases should be resolved, clients usually get a much better result once the opponent recognizes that their counsel is actually willing to take the case to trial if necessary.

  • Experience

    Jonathan has experience handling matters involving a wide variety of products, including child restraints and booster seats, cribs and bassinets, highchairs, bicycles and helmets, child deterrence products, and automotive components. He has also handled matters involving lead paint, crashworthiness, recalled products, and product defect/recall investigations.

    Examples of Jonathan’s recent achievements include:

    • November 2015: A complete jury defense verdict for a manufacturer client in a child vehicle ejection case after a one-week trial in West Virginia. The plaintiffs asked for the jury for $4 million.
    • March 2015: A complete jury defense verdict for a manufacturer client in a child drowning case after a one-week federal court trial in Missouri. The plaintiffs asked the jury for several million dollars.
    • February 2013: A complete jury defense verdict for a manufacturer client in a child safety latch/drain cleaner ingestion case, after a six-day court trial in Dallas, Texas. The plaintiffs asked the jury for $30 million.
    • November 2012: A complete jury defense verdict for a manufacturer client in a bassinet/crib child death case, after a one-week court trial in Muncie, Ind. The plaintiffs sought millions of dollars.
    • March 2012: A complete jury defense verdict for a manufacturer client in a stroller finger-crush case, after a multi-day federal court trial in Philadelphia, Pa.
    • November 2011: A complete jury defense verdict for a manufacturer client in a child car seat brain injury case, after a two-week federal court trial in Virginia. The plaintiff had asked the jury for $50 million.
    • June 2011: A complete jury defense verdict for a manufacturer client in a child car seat head injury case, after a one-week trial in Iowa. The plaintiff had asked the jury for millions of dollars.
    • April 2011: Summary judgment for a manufacturer client in a step stool product liability case.
    • Throughout 2011: Multiple agreed product exemptions from CPSC for manufacturer/importer clients from burdensome new requirements of the CPSIA.
  • Credentials

    Education

    • University of Wisconsin Law School, J.D., 2001, cum laude
      Wisconsin Law Review, Articles Editor, Symposium Editor
    • Lawrence University, B.A., Government, 1998, with honors
      B.Mus., Piano Performance

    Bar Admissions

    • Illinois
    • Wisconsin
    • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
    • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
    • U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado
    • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida
    • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
    • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan
    • U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin

        Clerkships

        Honorable David M. Lawson, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan (2001-2003)

        Professional Memberships

        International Association of Defense Counsel

         

        American Bar Association

         

        State Bar of Wisconsin

         

        Defense Research Institute

        Trial Tactics Committee

      • Insights

        TITLE
        Blog Post

        The Dangers of Partial CPSC Reports: The Kawasaki Penalty

        Schiff Hardin Product Liability & Mass Torts Blog

        Blog Post

        Spinning Out of Control? Fidget Spinner Regulation and Safety

        Schiff Hardin Product Liability & Mass Torts Blog

        Blog Post

        The Troubling Increase in CPSC Penalties

        Schiff Hardin Product Liability & Mass Torts Blog

        Blog Post

        Truly Exonerated? NHTSA’s Tesla Autopilot Investigation

        Schiff Hardin Product Liability & Mass Torts Blog

        In The News
        Article

        Other Publications

        • The Collateral Source Rule: A Compendium of State Law, (editor-in-chief) DRI Trial Tactics Committee (2012)

        Speeches & Presentations

        • “Overcoming Thorny Hearsay Issues,” (webcast) DRI Trial Tactics Committee (Jul. 8, 2013)
        • “Defending Claims for Future Medical Expenses: New Approaches to Present Value and the Collateral Source Rule,” Defense Research Institute Trial Tactics Seminar, Las Vegas, NV (Mar. 18-19, 2010)
      • Citizenship

        Pro Bono Activities

        Jonathan has represented several clients pro bono in post-conviction criminal proceedings through the Illinois Appellate Defender's office.

      Product Liability and Mass Torts Blog

      The Dangers of Partial CPSC Reports: The Kawasaki Penalty

      Consumer product companies that suspect a product either contains a defect or poses an unreasonable risk of injury are required to report that fact to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) within 24 hours of reaching that conclusion – or risk a civil penalty, like Kawasaki received earlier this month. The CPSC announced in a...… Continue Reading

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