News & Insights

Dykema Boosts National Automotive Litigation Practice with Major Additions in Michigan and Washington, D.C.

Accomplished Automotive Class Action and Appellate Lawyers Bolster Firm's Top Ranked National Automotive Capabilities

August 15, 2011

ANN ARBOR; WASHINGTON D.C.Dykema, a leading national law firm, today announced the additions of John M. Thomas and Terri S. Reiskin as members in the Firm's Litigation Department. Thomas will be located in the Firm's Ann Arbor office, and Reiskin will be located in the Firm's Washington, D.C office.

Thomas joins Dykema from Bryan Cave LLP where he served as of counsel in its Class and Derivative Actions practice handling pre-appellate, appellate, and class action work nationally for Ford and Volvo. Thomas previously worked in Ford Motor Company's Office of the General Counsel for 27 years where he supervised much of Ford's most significant appellate, class action and other complex litigation. Thomas is recognized nationally as a sophisticated class action and appellate practitioner.

Reiskin joins Dykema from Wallace King Domike & Reiskin PLLC where she was a member of the firm. She was a partner at Hogan & Hartson LLP (now Hogan Lovells) for many years prior to that. Reiskin's practice focuses on product liability litigation, class action defense, appeals, and other complex litigation, with an emphasis on automotive and related industries. Her product liability experience has involved a variety of products, including automobiles, trucks, pharmaceuticals, food products and medical devices, including breast implants, bone screws, latex gloves and pacemakers. She has served as national and regional counsel, and as first-chair trial and appellate counsel.

"John and Terri are among the most well-known and highly regarded automotive appellate and class action lawyers in North America," said Rex E. Schlaybaugh, Jr., Dykema's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. "They have earned a professional reputation as go-to counsel for high-risk, high-profile appellate and class action work on behalf of automotive manufacturers, and they will be instrumental as we continue to expand and diversify our appellate and class action capabilities in the automotive sector."

Advancing Dykema's Strategy

The addition of Thomas and Reiskin represents another important expansion of the Firm's appellate, class action, and product liability practice, which follows the additions this year of highly regarded litigator and appellate counsel Christopher Kratovil in Dallas and nationally accomplished trial lawyer Fred Fresard in Bloomfield Hills. These new attorneys join a very strong team of lawyers who focus their national practices on the automotive industry. Thomas and Reiskin strategically elevate and significantly increase the power of Dykema's appellate, product liability and class action practices.

Dykema grew up alongside the automotive industry, and its litigators represent OEMs and suppliers, including domestic, Asian and European manufacturers in commercial disputes, class actions, appeals and product liability matters in the highest profile cases. Dykema's lawyers have roles as lead trial, national, regional, specialty, and discovery counsel for a number of the largest OEMs, and it is one of the few firms in the U.S. that has successfully tried a number of automotive product liability class action cases for OEMs in recent years. The attorneys who make up Dykema's automotive defense team are known for tackling bet-the-company product liability lawsuits and taking them to verdict in some of the toughest jurisdictions in the country, including a $40 million jury verdict for Chrysler, and jury verdicts for Ford and Kia in class action cases.

About John Thomas

Thomas has briefed and argued appeals in courts throughout the country, including the Supreme Courts of Michigan and Virginia. He was named individually by The Legal 500 when it recognized Bryan Cave as a preeminent automotive firm in the product liability automotive/transport sector. While working at Ford Motor Company, Thomas developed Ford's acclaimed Advanced Motions program, designed to influence the long-term development of the common law, particularly product liability law, by integrating legal scholarship and appellate practice with successful trial strategy. That program was instrumental in Corporate Counsel's selection of Ford's legal team as the best corporate law department of 2006.

Thomas was one of the founding members of the Product Liability Advisory Council, and served as its second Chairperson. He is admitted to practice in the states of Michigan, Missouri and California, as well as the United States Supreme Court, the United States Courts of Appeals for the Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, Tenth and Eleventh Circuits, and the United States District Courts for the Northern District of California, the Central District of California, the Southern District of California, and the Eastern District of Michigan.

Thomas received a J.D., magna cum laude, Order of the Coif from the University of Pittsburgh Law School and a B.A., with distinction, from the University of Michigan

About Terri Reiskin

Reiskin has extensive experience handling class actions, appeals and complex litigation as regional and national counsel for automotive manufacturers, automotive suppliers and truck manufacturers. Her national counsel experience includes defending a major U.S. automobile manufacturer in occupant restraint litigation, and the defense of multiple, related class actions against automobile manufacturers and automotive suppliers. She has also served as national coordinating counsel on a fast-food chain's hot coffee litigation. Reiskin has defended dozens of class action suits in courts all over the country, both at the trial and appellate levels, including individual product liability suits—many involving catastrophic injuries and deaths. She has tried both class action and individual suits in state and federal courts.

In addition to her ongoing representation of a major U.S. automaker, Reiskin's medical device litigation practice has included the defense of cases involving silicone gel breast implants, bone screws, latex gloves, knee implants and pacemakers. She has also handled a variety of medical malpractice cases. In addition to trial work, Reiskin has briefed and argued numerous appellate cases and has extensive experience with various forms of alternative dispute resolution. She is also involved in counseling clients on product liability matters not involving litigation. She is also a member of the Product Liability Advisory Counsel.

Reiskin received a J.D., cum laude from Harvard Law School and an A.B., magna cum laude, from Princeton University. Following law school, she served as a judicial clerk to the Hon. Thomas Penfield Jackson on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.