Anne Kimball is a graduate, magna cum laude, of Smith College and the University of Chicago Law School. At the legacy firm Wildman, Harrold, Allen & Dixon LLP, Anne has practiced since 1976 and has been a partner since 1982. At various times she has served on the firm's Management Committee and Compensation Committee and was the firm's General Counsel from 1996 to 2001.
Anne's practice focuses on complex litigation, particularly in the area of class actions, emerging theories of liability, and industry-wide defense. Anne has represented manufacturers of firearms, alcoholic beverages, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and other consumer products, both locally and on a national level. This representation has included trials before state and federal courts around the country, as well as counseling on issues such as product recalls, product warnings, design considerations, and trade association relations.
Anne has over the years of her practice represented a diverse group of manufacturers in Chicago state and federal courts, beginning with representing Eli Lilly in a large group of DES cases here in Chicago. She tried to a defense verdict in Chicago federal court a case brought by the estate of a hemophiliac who died of AIDS. In that matter she represented Alpha Therapeutic Corporation, the manufacturer of a blood clotting product used by hemophiliacs. She has defended cases for Novartis involving both prescription and over-the-counter products, including several cases involving Novartis's nicotine patch and an over-the-counter diet pill. She defended Cytodyne Technologies in a highly publicized case brought in the Circuit Court of Cook County by the estate of Rashide Wallace, a Northwestern football player who died suddenly during football practice. Cytodyne was alleged to have manufactured an energy drink used by Rashide. Most recently, in 2011-12, she succeeded in winning a dismissal in the Circuit Court of Cook County for a major Chicago law firm and had that dismissal affirmed on appeal.
Anne has served as primary outside counsel to the Beer Institute, a Washington-based trade association; a position she has held for 20 years. In this capacity she guides the major American brewers through a variety of challenges in the courts and regulatory and legislative forums. During the 1980's and early 1990's she coordinated the industry's successful defense of a series of lawsuits involving claims of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, alcoholism, and drunk driving. Those cases were either won at trial or dismissed before discovery. In no case was money paid to plaintiffs or their attorneys.
More recently, she has led the Beer Institute and brewers through three successful motions to dismiss class action lawsuits brought by David Boies, Jr. alleging that alcohol advertising causes young people to drink illegally. These lawsuits sought billions of dollars based on theories of consumer fraud, unjust enrichment, and conspiracy. Again, these cases have been won before discovery and with no payment to plaintiffs. As part of this effort, Anne has worked closely with industry representatives in the areas of public relations, assisting in developing public service advertisements, educational campaigns and public statements. More locally, on behalf of the Beer Institute, Ms. Kimball successfully represented an intervener beer distributor in a class action challenging on uniformity grounds the Illinois system of alcohol beverage taxation. The Illinois Supreme Court reversed the trial court and found, as advocated by the defendants, that plaintiff had no standing to sue.
Ms. Kimball has served as counsel to Smith & Wesson Corp. from the early 1980's until 2000. In that capacity she defended Smith & Wesson's firearms products around the country in numerous lawsuits alleging a variety of theories. In 1999, she successfully defended Smith & Wesson in a lawsuit tried before Judge Jack Weinstein in Brooklyn, New York claiming the negligent distribution of firearms caused criminal violence. She and others at the firm successfully argued numerous cases brought by municipalities in connection with the sale of firearms. These lawsuits were either dismissed before discovery or on summary judgment.
Like Anne's work for the Beer Institute, Anne's work for Smith & Wesson involved numerous issues concerning governmental agencies and public policy issues. She served as the national spokesperson for the firearms industry during the 1999 trial, speaking almost daily on National Public Radio, various national television networks, CNN and the like. In that connection, she also dealt closely with the print media. She was Smith & Wesson's public spokesperson for many years. Articles about Anne's work in this area have appeared in The American Lawyer, the ABA Journal, and The Chicago Tribune as well as other law media.
Currently Anne is focusing on major industry-wide litigation, including six class actions pending in Madison County, Illinois regarding claimed “contamination” from the agricultural chemical atrazine. Additionally, she has represented a large insurance company in defeating class actions in federal court in Trenton, New Jersey (age and gender) and Roanoke, Virginia (breach of fiduciary duty, securities fraud), which decision was later affirmed by the Fourth Circuit.
Anne has spoken before the American Chamber of Congress, the Federalist Society, the American Bar Association, and numerous other groups and symposia on issues such as governmental regulation and industry-wide liability. Anne is the author of numerous articles, particularly in the area of industry-wide liability. She authored, “When All Else Fails, Blame Madison Avenue: Negligent Marketing Claims in Firearm Litigation,” ABA's Tort and Insurance Law Journal, 2001 and “The Limits on the Use of Tort Law To Encourage Consumer Safety,” Loyola Consumer Law Review, 2000.
Anne is a member of the Board of Overseers of the Kent Law School and sits on the Packer Collegiate Institute Board of Trustees. She is an Adjunct Professor of Law at Northwestern Law School, teaching its trial practice course, and has served on the Visiting Committee of the University of Chicago Law School. Anne was recognized as one of the Top Fifty Female “Super Lawyers” in Illinois, in Benchmark's Top 250 Women in Litigation in America, as well as the 2014 Best Lawyers in America publication for Product Liability. She is admitted to numerous courts, both trial and appellate, around the United States.
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