Ben Barnett, co-chair of the firm’s complex commercial litigation practice, is an accomplished trial attorney and a nationally recognized expert on eDiscovery. Chambers USA 2012 identifies Ben as “a very capable eDiscovery lawyer” with a “sophisticated practice.” Since 2009, The Legal 500 has classified Ben as “an absolute expert on discovery.”
Since joining Dechert from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Mr. Barnett has served as trial counsel in a number of significant matters:
- Second Baycol case tried in Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas
- Wrongful death suit involving MLB pitcher Steve Bechler
- Smoking and health case slated for trial in Philadelphia
- Multi-defendant lawsuit alleging workplace exposure to tungsten
In preparing for these trials, Mr. Barnett was responsible for the full panoply of pre-trial work including taking lead plaintiff depositions, preparing and defending senior company executives (including apex depositions), and developing key expert witnesses on a broad range of topics from inhalation toxicology to former MLB general managers.
Prior to joining Dechert, Mr. Barnett served as an Assistant United States Attorney, initially in the District of Columbia and later in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. As an AUSA, Mr. Barnett gained broad and extensive first-chair experience in federal courts, including arguments before the District of Columbia and Third Circuit Courts of Appeal, and defending the United States and its agencies in numerous trials, hearings, and arbitrations.eDiscovery Experience
Starting in 2001, Mr. Barnett has acted as the lead attorney responsible for coordinating nationwide discovery in several significant matters, many involving parallel proceedings.
In 2001, Mr. Barnett had lead responsibility for developing a system for the collection, review, and production of documents and data for GlaxoSmithKline in the national Baycol litigation. Both during and subsequent to the Baycol litigation, Mr. Barnett continued to counsel GSK on eDiscovery issues.
Following his work for GSK, Mr. Barnett was selected by Merck & Co., Inc. to be the lead attorney responsible for national discovery strategy and coordination following the withdrawal of Vioxx in September 2004. Mr. Barnett and his small management team were responsible for national discovery coordination in the Vioxx MDL, the coordinated state jurisdictions, and the full spectrum of parallel Vioxx matters.
Mr. Barnett regularly appeared in both federal and state courts to defend Merck with respect to discovery issues, negotiated master discovery orders and agreements, defended depositions of key company IT employees, and worked to defeat efforts by opposing counsel to expand Merck’s discovery obligations. In 2007, Mr. Barnett and his team were asked to play the same strategic and coordination role with respect to the Vytorin litigation for Merck and Schering-Plough.
Mr. Barnett also played a critical role in re-engineering the eDiscovery processes that had resulted in the entry of a sanctions order against a multi-national pharmaceutical company in a MDL proceeding. Mr. Barnett and his team were also instrumental in developing and implementing the hearing strategy that led to the confidential resolution of that ruling.
In addition to his extensive eDiscovery litigation experience, Mr. Barnett regularly counsels pharmaceutical, financial, manufacturing, and telecommunication corporations regarding eDiscovery issues. Mr. Barnett and his team have worked with several clients to develop pro-active systems to prepare for and limit the cost of electronic discovery in litigation or investigations, including record retention policies, litigation hold programs, eDiscovery risk assessments, and RFPs.
Kenyon College, B.A., 1984
The Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law, J.D., 1993, Note & Comment Editor on the Catholic University Law Review; awarded American Jurisprudence Awards for Criminal Law and Administrative Law; member of the Thurgood Marshall American Inn of Court
United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
United States District Court for the District of Maryland
United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
District of Columbia