At its annual meeting on May 25, 2022, the Woman Lawyers Association of Michigan, Wayne Region, is presenting its first-ever Friend of WLAM award to Weitz & Luxenberg’s Detroit, Michigan, attorneys. This is because of the “amazing support” the firm has provided to the organization over the past year. According to Kirsten Silwanowicz, the group’s president, Weitz & Luxenberg has made it possible for the organization to host its meetings in person, “with a virtual component.”
As a result, the organization has “been able to thrive. … So much so, in fact, that the State Board of WLAM is recognizing us with the Regional Leadership Award this year. We sincerely appreciate [W&L’s] support, and as a result want to recognize [Weitz & Luxenberg] at our Annual Meeting.”
Being Part of the Community
W&L’s associate attorney Paulina Kennedy, in the firm’s Detroit office, is a board member for the group. She and her coworkers arranged for the organization to hold its monthly meetings in the firm’s Detroit office. During COVID, W&L’s Detroit office helped the meetings go remote.
Ms. Kennedy stresses the importance of working with others in the legal field in Michigan. She says it is hard to verbalize, “How much I appreciate working for a firm that supports and encourages community engagement and the development of female attorneys.”
W&L’s Growing Presence in the Midwest
Weitz & Luxenberg chose to open an office in Detroit in 2017, just five years ago. We recognized a growing need for a strong physical presence of a national plaintiffs’ law firm in the Midwest, particularly to take on class action, antitrust, environmental, and consumer protection litigation specific to that region.
Opening the Detroit office gives us “boots on the ground,” so to speak. We’re able to represent clients harmed by the actions not only of corporations but also institutional offenders, such as the Flint, Michigan, water crisis.
Our office is headed by Michigan native and former Michigan Assistant Attorney General Paul Novak. In recent years, our Detroit team has pursued multiple complex class action suits as well as mass tort litigation. We have focused on these concerns among others:
- National opioid crisis. W&L is representing more than 60 Michigan cities and counties, as well as San Francisco, California, and Native American tribes in lawsuits filed against numerous pharmaceutical manufacturers, distributors, and retailers. We believe their actions have endangered multiple communities and the lives of thousands across the country.
- Flint water litigation. This case involves lead-contaminated water. We continue to fight on behalf of families who have been exposed to lead-contaminated drinking water. The State of Michigan and the City of Flint have agreed to pay $620 million to settle claims from people harmed by their actions. We are also litigating against two environmental engineering firms who are alleged to have contributed to the crisis.
- PFAS water contamination. Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances found in Michigan groundwater continues to threaten the health of thousands of people across the region. So far, we have filed class action lawsuits against Wolverine World Wide, 3M Corporation, and Waste Management, Inc., asserting they dumped toxic waste and polluted groundwater in Kent County.
- Insulin price gouging. W&L initiated a class action lawsuit against three manufacturers we believe acted at the forefront of outrageous price hikes that potentially endangered hundreds of lives.
- Sex trafficking. We have focused our efforts on targeting the hotel industry, which has turned a blind eye to and profited from the sex trafficking that occurs across the major brands.
W&L Is Proud to Support Women
Since its founding, Weitz & Luxenberg has recognized the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Perhaps most notably, we owe much of our success to the highly accomplished women attorneys in our firm. They have elevated our standing in the legal community through their leadership. That number only continues to grow.
Some of our leading woman attorneys are partners in the firm and head key litigation areas. They have been making their mark for decades, and more and more W&L women attorneys are joining their ranks every day.
- Lisa Nathanson Busch joined the firm in 1994. She now manages the firm’s Bankruptcy Department. She is responsible for more than 50 bankrupt trusts and works on behalf of thousands of our clients. She participates on the Asbestos Creditor’s Committees and Trust Advisory Committees and is the chair in many of these creditor’s committees. Ms. Busch also manages all claims filed with the trusts, and oversees all new asbestos exposure cases W&L accepts, as well as all lien resolution.
- Ellen Relkin chairs the firm’s Drug and Medical Device Litigation practice group. She is admitted to practice law in multiple states as well as in federal trial and appellate courts. In addition to receiving numerous honors and accolades, she has often been appointed by federal and state judges to serve in key leadership roles involving national multidistrict (MDL) litigation.
- Robin Greenwald joined Weitz & Luxenberg in 2005. She is one of the firm’s distinguished attorneys and manages our Environmental, Toxic Torts, and Consumer Protection practice group. She has litigated and served in leadership roles on complex environmental cases for more than 36 years. She is a former Assistant U.S. Attorney and Assistant Chief of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Environmental Crimes Section.