Los Angeles, California, January 10, 2023 -- Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman, PC, one of the country’s leading plaintiffs law firms with billions in recoveries, has changed its name to Wisner Baum, LLP. The announcement comes as the firm enters its 50th year representing clients across a broad range of practice areas.
Vice president R. Brent Wisner, Baum Hedlund’s lead trial attorney, will serve as Wisner Baum’s new managing partner. At the age of 39, Wisner is perhaps the youngest attorney in America to take the reins of a nationwide plaintiffs’ law firm of Baum Hedlund’s size and stature.
Wisner’s age belies an incredible track record of success in major cases after only 11 years of lawyering. He is the youngest attorney in U.S. history to win a multi-billion-dollar verdict, which he achieved with a massive $2 billion jury verdict against Monsanto (Bayer) in 2019, less than a year after obtaining the first Roundup cancer verdict of $289 million against Monsanto in 2018. So far, he has negotiated mass tort settlements in excess of $1 billion.
He has received numerous awards and recognition, including “Civil Plaintiffs Trial Lawyer of the Year” by the National Trial Lawyers and has been named a “Titan of the Plaintiffs Bar” by Law360 and one of “America’s 50 Most Influential Trial Lawyers” by The National Law Journal and a “West Trailblazer” by The American Lawyer. Wisner is consistently recognized in the Daily Journal’s “Top Plaintiffs Lawyers” and “Top 100 Lawyers” in California.
“I am honored to have the opportunity to lead this firm into its next chapter and eager to continue the legacy that Michael Baum, Paul Hedlund, Clark Aristei, and Ron Goldman built,” says Wisner. “Standing on the shoulders of giants, and I am very optimistic that the firm’s best days are ahead of us.”
Michael L. Baum, who served as the firm’s managing partner from 1993 to 2022, will continue his work at Wisner Baum as one of the firm’s three senior partners. Under Baum’s stewardship, the firm grew from a small boutique law firm to one of the nation’s leading plaintiffs’ litigation firms that is now known for its cutting edge, superior legal work. Baum Hedlund’s success in challenging cases and precedent-setting legal rulings has helped shape the law for the benefit of those harmed in commercial transportation accidents and by dangerous pharmaceuticals and consumer products.
Staying true to their mission of raising public awareness about important safety issues, in the majority of their mass tort litigation, Baum Hedlund has succeeded in getting troves of documents out from under seal and shared with various entities, including regulatory agencies in the EU, the FDA, Congress, DOJ, academics, media and the public.
Baum’s ceaseless advocacy in pharmaceutical and consumer fraud litigation has brought Baum Hedlund international attention and acclaim.
“When I became an attorney in 1985, we were the new kids on the block. We only had dreams of achieving the success we now enjoy,” Michael Baum says. “Our ethos from the beginning was pure and simple: we wanted to use the law to help people who had been wronged and make the world a better place. As much as we have grown over the years, that philosophy has remained, and out of it grew a culture that has attracted talented lawyers like Brent who share the same mission. He is exactly the kind of lawyer and leader that will take this firm to new heights. Wisner Baum is in good hands.”
The firm also announced the retirement of longtime vice president, secretary, and senior shareholder, Ronald L. M. Goldman, who retired today, on his 60th lawyer anniversary. The other named partners—Paul J. Hedlund and J. Clark Aristei—retired from the firm in 2018. Aristei passed away in 2021.
Wisner Baum Leading Several Major Litigations in 2023
Wisner Baum has a busy 2023 as the firm’s attorneys prepare for several major bellwether trials involving Zantac and heavy metals in baby food.
First Zantac Trial in February 2023
R. Brent Wisner will serve as co-lead counsel in the first ever Zantac trial, which is scheduled for February 27, 2023 in Oakland, California. He also serves on the plaintiffs’ leadership in the consolidated Zantac cases in California state court (Ranitidine Product Cases JCCP 5150, Example Case No. RG20061705) where Wisner has concentrated the firm’s Zantac litigation, avoiding some of the pitfalls encountered in the consolidated federal litigation. The cases allege Zantac (generic: ranitidine) manufacturers failed to warn consumers that the drug can degrade into a cancer-causing substance called N-Nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) when taken as directed.
For his part, Wisner is confident that he and his colleagues have prepared a strong case. “I have every confidence that our experts will pass muster, which means this case will be decided by a jury, as it should be. Once a jury hears the evidence, I don’t think they’ll be able to deny that Zantac causes cancer.”
Wisner became a well-known name in the legal field for his work in the Monsanto Roundup litigation, where he won two landmark verdicts totaling over $2.3 billion. These court victories helped pave the way for a series of settlement agreements worth roughly $11 billion. Wisner was an active participant in the settlement negotiations.
First Toxic Baby Food Trial in May 2023
In addition to the Zantac trial, Wisner Baum will try a first-of-its-kind baby food lawsuit on May 2, 2023. Wisner will co-try the case with attorney Pedram Esfandiary to represent plaintiffs Melissa and Lorenzo Cantabrana in the case of N.C., a minor, v. Hain Celestial Group, Inc. et al., Superior Court for the State of California, County of Los Angeles (Case No. 21STCV22822). Wisner and Esfandiary previously worked together during the Monsanto litigation.
Gardasil HPV Vaccine Leadership
Wisner Baum is also co-leading the Gardasil human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine litigation on behalf of claimants throughout the country who developed severe auto-immune injuries after receiving Gardasil. In August of 2022, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) issued an order to consolidate dozens of Gardasil claims in an MDL before a federal judge in North Carolina. The order allowed Gardasil lawsuits filed throughout the country to move into coordinated discovery and pretrial proceedings. In October of 2022, a federal judge overseeing the Gardasil MDL 3036 appointed Wisner Baum senior partner Bijan Esfandiari to serve as co-lead counsel for plaintiffs.
About Wisner Baum
Wisner Baum currently represents more than 18,000 clients in a broad range of practice areas, including accidents involving aviation, trucking, buses and trains, wildfire claims, school shootings, police misconduct, class actions, whistleblower claims and mass tort litigation involving Monsanto’s Roundup, Zantac, talcum powder, Gardasil vaccines, ECT and IVC filter medical devices.
The Wisner Baum team is composed of 108 staff, including 17 attorneys (three of counsel). The newly named team will continue to be dedicated to ensuring justice and maximum compensation for its clients. The firm has earned a reputation for breaking new legal ground, holding Fortune 500 companies accountable, influencing public policy, and raising public awareness about important safety issues.
Wisner Baum has successfully won more than $4 billion in verdicts and settlements.
Law360 recognized the firm with the 2021 California Powerhouse award and praised the firm as being “driven by a long-standing sense of responsibility to represent the little guy or gal against powerful corporate interests as a means to enact greater change.” The firm has also been recognized in (among many others):
- Best Lawyers in America®
- U.S. News - Best Lawyers® Best Law Firms, 2014-2023
- Martindale-Hubbell®, the highest AV® Preeminent Peer Review Rating available
- Elite Trial Lawyers Mass Tort Trial Team of the Year, 2018, 2019
- The Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers™
- Product Liability Practice Group of the Year, 2020, Law360
- Verdicts Hall of Fame, The National Law Journal
Many of the country’s top legal publications have recognized Wisner Baum for notable verdicts and settlements. Some of these accolades include:
- Largest California Product Liability Jury Verdicts Two Years in a Row 2018-2019
- Top 10 National Jury Verdicts Two Years in a Row 2018-2019
- Top 10 Most Impressive Plaintiff Verdicts 2019
- Top 10 Illinois Product Liability Jury Verdicts 2017
- Top 10 Illinois Wrongful Death Jury Verdicts 2017
- Top 50 Illinois Jury Verdicts 2017
- Top 100 National Wrongful Death Jury Verdicts 2017