Photo of Kathryn J. Humphrey

Kathryn J. Humphrey Member

Areas of Practice


Bar Admissions

  • Michigan, 1980

Court Admissions

  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan, 1981
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of Michigan, 1983
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 6th Circuit, 1984
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 3rd Circuit, 2003


Wayne State University, J.D., cum laude

Wellesley College, B.A.

Kathryn J. Humphrey is a member of the Firm's Products, Class Actions and Professional Liability Practice Group. Her practice includes wrongful death and personal injury matters in aviation, pharmaceuticals, automotive and industrial products and admiralty. She has wide experience in complex environmental litigation, and deals often with matters of commercial, employment, and antitrust.

Ms. Humphrey is a certified commercial arbitrator for the American Arbitration Association, and has served as a mediator and evaluator in dozens of matters in the state courts of Michigan. She is active in speaking, writing and teaching a variety of litigation and dispute resolution topics. She has served as Assistant General Counsel for the Firm.

Ms. Humphrey has been with Dykema since 1982.


Ms. Humphrey has successfully defended product liability claims concerning general aviation, airline, executive jet and cargo aircraft, automobiles, trucks, materials-handling equipment, speedboats, chemicals, natural gas, paper-making machinery and other heavy equipment.

She has represented airframe and aviation engine manufacturers, avionics manufacturers, automotive OEMs, aircraft operators and owners, forklift manufacturers, pharmaceutical companies, and manufacturers of heavy and industrial equipment.

She has defended banks, title insurance companies, standards-setting and testing organizations, nonprofit corporations and governmental entities.  Active in federal and state courts, she has handled multimillion dollar construction and contract laws disputes, trademark and RICO matters, bankruptcy trials, and professional negligence claims.

She is active as an arbitrator of technically complex cases. 

Ms. Humphrey's strength is in taking extremely complex technical issues and making them accessible to the fact-finder. Her client work has required her to learn—inside and out—a wide range of technologies, industries, disciplines, and businesses in addition to those involved in the design and manufacture of aircraft and automobiles. She has learned—and then taught judges, juries, neutrals, arbitrators, and mediators—issues related to:

  • Aircraft air frames, power plants and instruments,
  • Automotive systems,
  • Processing of food products,
  • Design of executive toys,
  • Use of "smart pigs" in gas and oil pipelines,
  • Fate and transport of chemicals in river water,
  • Design and manufacture of electrical circuitry in aircraft,
  • Wastewater treatment designs and operation,
  • Marine freight transport vessels,
  • Design and operation of forklifts and sideloaders,
  • Hospital digital record-keeping systems,
  • Landfill technology,
  • Natural gas delivery systems,
  • Two-way radios and pagers,
  • Plastics extrusion,
  • Public lottery and gaming systems, and other technologies.

Her clients include self-insured and insured entities. She applies the business lessons she has learned in management of the Firm to obtain successful outcomes for her litigation clients, mindful of their business objectives, assets and constraints. 

  • Hinkle v. Cessna, et al., 2004 Mich. App., LEXIS 2894 (Mich. Ct. App. 2004) 
  • Kalamazoo River Study Group v. Rockwell Int'l Corp., 274 F.3d 1043 (6th Cir. 2001)
  • W.R. Grace & Co. v. Goodyear Tire, 1999 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 22554 (W.D. Mich. 1999)
  • Attorney General v. Oakland Disposal, Inc., 226 Mich. App. 321; 573 N.W. 2d 300 (1997)
  • Wright v. Bond-Air, Ltd., 930 F. Supp. 300 (E.D. Mich. 1996)
  • City Envtl. v. United States Chem. Co., 814 F. Supp. 624 (E.D. Mich. 1993)

Memberships & Involvement

  • American Arbitration Association: Certified commercial arbitrator
  • Wayne County Mediation Tribunal: Approved case evaluator
  • Wayne State University Law School, Board of Visitors, 2002-present; now Chairperson of Board's Executive Committee
  • Federal Judicial Selection Committee, Member, 2013
  • Local Rules Advisory Committee to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, 1995-1998
  • Legal Aid and Defender Association of Detroit, President of the Board of Directors, 1996-1998
  • International Aviation Women's Association, Founding member
  • Detroit Metropolitan Bar Association

2013 Cook-Friedman Civility Award, awarded by the Federal Bar Association of Detroit

Named as "Lawyer of the Year" in Product Liability Litigation - Defendants by The Best Lawyers in America® in 2018 and 2020

Recognized in The Best Lawyers in America® for Product Liability Litigation Defendants and Aviation Law, 2013-Present. Copyright 2015 by Woodward/White, Inc., Aiken, SC

Named a Michigan Leading Lawyer in the areas of Aviation, Personal Injury Defense: General, and Personal Injury Plaintiff's: Product Liability Law by the Leading Lawyers Network, 2014-2017. Law Bulletin Publishing Company

Named one of only two Aviation Super Lawyers in Michigan, 2010 to present

Named one of the Top 50 Women Super Lawyers in Michigan, 2010

Named a Top Lawyer by dbusiness Magazine for Product Liability Litigation - Defendants, 2014-2018

Recognized in Michigan Super Lawyers® for Aviation and Aerospace, Utilities, Environmental Litigation, General Litigation, 2006, 2008, 2010-Present

Faculty MVP for Most Active Contributor to In-Firm Associate Training 2011

Honorary Order of the Coif, Wayne State University Law School, 2005

Wayne State University Law Alumni Association, Distinguished Service Award, 2004

Recipient of an AV® Preeminent™ Rating by Martindale-Hubbell