Mara Cusker Gonzalez

mara-cusker-gonzalez

Mara Cusker Gonzalez

Counsel

New York | Three Bryant Park, 1095 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY, United States of America 10036-6797
+1 212 641 5665 | +1 212 698 3599

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Mara Cusker Gonzalez represents manufacturers in complex product liability and mass tort cases in federal and state courts. She has extensive experience litigating personal injury, consumer fraud, RICO, and False Claims Act cases filed by individuals, third-party payors, class action lawyers, and attorneys general. She specializes in counseling pharmaceutical manufacturers in national litigations involving the marketing and labeling of FDA-approved medicines, and she has in-depth knowledge of federal multidistrict litigation (MDL) practice. Ms. Cusker Gonzalez has managed hundreds to thousands of cases involving statins, antidepressants, anticonvulsants, pain medications, and chemotherapy. She has also represented major chemical manufacturers and home builders in cases alleging environmental exposure. She is a member of Dechert’s nationally recognized team of product liability and mass tort lawyers, named in 2019 as Practice Group of the Year for Product Liability (Law360) and Litigation Department of the Year for Product Liability (New York Law Journal).  

Ms. Cusker Gonzalez works hand-in-hand with her clients to identify early strategic goals and opportunities to establish credibility with judges and juries. She negotiates key case management procedures to proactively shape the course of a litigation, provides real-time client advice on internal and external communications, and builds teams who are adept at efficiently handling the demands of large-volume matters and coordinating across jurisdictions. She also helps develop strong trial records by preparing and defending witnesses, taking depositions, and working with experts to master critical scientific issues.  

Ms. Cusker Gonzalez regularly leads the briefing of complex dispositive motions and appeals, including successful jurisdictional and venue motions and motions to dismiss in qui tam and consumer fraud class actions. She has also drafted winning motions to exclude experts and for summary judgment and helped obtain related appellate victories, including a decision affirming summary judgment orders that shut down an entire MDL in In re Lipitor (Atorvastatin Calcium) Marketing, Sales Practices & Products Liability Litigation (No II) MDL 2502, 892 F.3d 624 (4th Cir. 2018). 

Ms. Cusker Gonzalez has successfully argued on behalf of clients in New York and federal courts. She has been recognized for her work on pro bono immigration, employment and housing cases, and for her dedication in training and mentoring junior lawyers.

Ms. Cusker Gonzalez is a member of the International Association of Defense Counsel (IADC) and the Defense Research Institute (DRI), and she contributed to Duke Law School’s Guidelines and Best Practices for Large and Mass-Torts MDLs (2018).  

Prior to joining Dechert, Ms. Cusker Gonzalez was of counsel at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan and an associate with Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom.

Experience

Significant Representations

  • Pfizer as national counsel in nationwide litigations, including multidistrict litigations (MDLs) involving several of the company’s leading prescription medicines. This includes successful representation in MDLs alleging that an antidepressant caused birth defects and that a statin medication caused diabetes, both of which were dismissed on summary judgment after Daubert rulings excluding plaintiffs’ causation experts. Also secured affirmances on appeal. See In re Lipitor (Atorvastatin Calcium) Mktg., Sales Practices & Prod. Liab. Litig. (No II) MDL 2502, 892 F.3d 624 (4th Cir. 2018); In re Zoloft (Sertraline Hydrochloride) Prod. Liab. Litig., 858 F.3d 787 (3d Cir. 2017). 
  • Purdue Pharma L.P.  in nationwide opioid litigation filed by attorneys general, local governments, and other entities and individuals alleging false and misleading marketing and creation of a public nuisance.
  • Amgen Inc. as national counsel in an MDL involving anemia medications, including obtaining dismissal of a consolidated nationwide consumer fraud class action complaint, and the entire MDL, at the pleadings stage before any discovery. See In re Epogen & Aranesp Off-Label Mktg. & Sales Practices Litig., 590 F. Supp. 2d 1282 (C.D. Cal. 2008); Epogen & Aranesp Off-Label Mktg. & Sales Practices Litig., No. MDL 08-1932 PSG, 2009 WL 1703285 (C.D. Cal. June 17, 2009), aff’d sub nom. United Food & Commercial Workers v. Amgen, Inc., 400 F. App’x 255 (9th Cir. 2010).

Includes matters handled at Dechert or prior to joining the firm.

Education
  • The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, B.S., 1998, Phi Beta Kappa
  • New York University, M.U.P., 2001
  • Columbia Law School, J.D., 2005, Stone Scholar, Managing Editor of Columbia Journal of Transnational Law
Admissions
  • New York
  • United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York
  • United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
  • United States District Court for the Western District of New York
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit