For more than two decades, Joe has represented many large manufacturers in litigation matters across the United States. Joe's caseload primarily consists of matters that involve chemicals, petrochemicals, biotechnology, industrial, agricultural, commercial and consumer products, and pharmaceuticals.
Joe is routinely selected by Fortune 100 companies in these industries to prepare and try toxic tort, product liability, intellectual property, mass tort, class action and commercial cases. In addition, he has regularly acted as lead trial counsel for multiple-defendant joint defense groups in some of the nation's most difficult jurisdictions, including Cook, St. Clair and Madison counties in Illinois and in the City of St. Louis, Mo.
Further, Joe serves as national coordinating counsel and regional trial counsel for a number of chemical, petrochemical and product manufacturers and technology companies. He has significant experience in mass tort cases, including the defense of class actions involving allegations of groundwater contamination and air emissions, as well as class action matters involving consumer products. Two of his long-term roles include:
•More than 20 years as a first-chair trial lawyer for Emerson, a diversified global manufacturing firm, handling class action, commercial litigation and product liability cases.
•More than 15 years acting as the lead trial counsel for an agricultural products manufacturer in patent infringement cases involving plant biotechnology. He has secured numerous jury trial victories in these cases and appeals from those trials have resulted in favorable new law in the areas of antitrust, patent misuse and patent damages methodologies.
As leader of the firm's Technology, Manufacturing & Transportation business unit, Joe directs a team of more than 100 lawyers who solve problems and deliver value for manufacturing, technology and transportation companies. He is active in various manufacturing, legal and agribusiness industry associations, such as the National Association of Manufacturers, the Defense Research Institute and the American Seed Trade Association. He is a frequent speaker on topics relating to trial tactics, product liability and toxic tort litigation and pretrial discovery techniques. He also is a member of the firm's Partner Board.
Awards and Recognitions
Benchmark Litigation, Local Litigation Star, 2011-2012
•The Best Lawyers In America, Mass Tort Litigation/Class Actions-Defendants, 2013-2015
•Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent
•Missouri & Kansas Super Lawyers, Personal Injury Defense: Products, 2009-2013
•Missouri Lawyers Weekly, Top 10 Defense Verdict
•Acted as lead trial lawyer representing an agricultural products manufacturer in a patent infringement lawsuit in the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Mississippi, in which jury found that the defendants' infringement was willful and rendered a verdict that resulted in a judgment for more than $15 million.
•Tried a toxic tort case in southern Illinois in which the plaintiff claimed that a chemical exposure caused her to suffer injury to virtually every organ system in her body and increased her risk of developing cancer. After being asked to award a minimum $5 million for lost wages, medical bills and future medical monitoring, the jury instead returned a defense verdict.
•Tried multiple plaintiff chemical emission case in southern Illinois and obtained a favorable jury verdict, which resulted in awards of no damages for most plaintiffs and a fraction of the damages sought for the few plaintiffs who recovered.
•Tried Verslues v. Emerson Electric Co., which involved a fatal accident captured on a surveillance video that was shown to the jury by plaintiff's counsel throughout the course of the two-week trial that resulted in a defense verdict and was named a Top 10 defense win in the Missouri Lawyers Weekly annual survey.
•Tried a patent infringement lawsuit in the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Missouri, in which jury award resulted in a judgment of $2.9 million and a finding of willful infringement.
•Obtained summary judgment in a lawsuit brought by residents of a town in Minnesota who claimed personal injuries and property-value diminution from exposures through groundwater contamination and air emissions from a former wood-treatment plant.
•Tried a breach of contract action that resulted in a jury award of $3 million.
- Rock Hill Mechanical Inc. v. Liebert Corp., 707 F. Supp. 2d 988 (E.D.Mo. 2010)
- Bredemus v. International Paper Co., 2009 WL 3126451 (D.Minn. 2009)
- Bredemus v. International Paper Co., 252 F.R.D. 529 (D.Minn. 2008)
- Bogner v. Airco Inc., 353 F. Supp. 2d 977 (C.D.Ill., 2005)
- Arnold v. Louisville Ladder Group LLC, 2004 WL 5572033 (C.D.Ill. 2004)
- Haynes v. Louisville Ladder, 341 F. Supp. 2d 1064 (E.D.Ark. 2004)
- Marsh v. Exxon Mobil Corp., 2005 WL 2246006 (E.D.Mo. 2005)
- Fletcher v. Conoco Pipe Line Co., 323 F. 3d 661 (8th Cir. 2003)
- Monsanto Co. v. David, 516 F. 3d 1009 (Fed.Cir. 2008)
- Monsanto Co. v. McFarling, 488 F. 3d 973 (Fed.Cir. 2007) (McFarling III)
- Monsanto Co. v. Scruggs, 459 F. 3d 1328, 79 U.S.P.Q. 2d 1813 (Fed.Cir. 2006)
- Monsanto Co. v. Hill, 2006 WL 4864419 (E.D.Mo. 2005)
- Monsanto Co. v. McFarling, 363 F. 3d 1336 (Fed.Cir. 2004) (McFarling II)
- Monsanto Co. v. Ralph, 382 F. 3d 1374, 72 U.S.P.Q. 2d 1515 (Fed.Cir. 2004)
- Monsanto Co. v. Scruggs, 342 F. Supp. 2d 568 (N.D.Ms. 2004)
- Monsanto Co. v. Scruggs, 342 F. Supp. 2d 584 (N.D.Ms. 2004)
- Monsanto Co. v. Scruggs, 342 F. Supp. 2d 602 (N.D.Ms. 2004)
- Monsanto Co. v. McFarling, 302 F. 3d 1291 (Fed.Cir. 2002) (McFarling I)
3.04.14 Husch Blackwell's Joe Orlet Speaks at American Chemistry Council's GlobalChem Conference
Technology, Manufacturing & Transportation
3.04.14 Value Chain Chemical Assessment & Procurement Tools and Marketplace Initiatives, American Chemistry Council's GlobalChem Conference
Speaking Engagement Baltimore, MD
4.27.12 Dermal Exposure & Its Role In Quantitative Risk Assessment, HarrisMartin Benzene Litigation Conference
Speaking Engagement New Orleans, LA
10.19.11 The Art of Taking Depositions, The University of Mississippi School of Law
Speaking Engagement Oxford, MS
10.16.10 Mastering the Art of Taking & Defending Effective Depositions, The Missouri Bar
Speaking Engagement St. Louis, MO
5.24.10 Update on General Causation in Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia/Benzene Cases, HarrisMartin Benzene Litigation Conference
Speaking Engagement Las Vegas, NV
2.26.10 Mastering the Art of Taking & Defending Effective Depositions, The Missouri Bar
Speaking Engagement St. Louis, MO
2.27.09 The Art of War: Deposing The Expert Witness, The Missouri Bar
Speaking Engagement St. Louis, MO
7.28.08 The New Benzene Battleground From the Front Lines, Mealeys Benzene Conference
Speaking Engagement Marina Del Ray, CA
In The News
8.19.14 Husch Blackwell Boasts 106 Best Lawyers on 2015 List, Seven Lawyers of the Year
Energy & Natural Resources ; Financial Services ; Food & Agribusiness ; Healthcare, Life Sciences & Pharmaceuticals ; Real Estate, Development & Construction ; Technology, Manufacturing & Transportation
10.16.13 In Missouri, 76 Husch Blackwell Attorneys Named 2013 Super Lawyers & Rising Stars
10.15.13 Husch Blackwell Continues to Receive High Marks by Benchmark Litigation
Healthcare, Life Sciences & Pharmaceuticals
8.16.13 Best Lawyers 2014 Names 109 from Husch Blackwell, 13 Lawyers of the Year
Healthcare, Life Sciences & Pharmaceuticals ; Real Estate, Development & Construction ; Financial Services ; Energy & Natural Resources
11.06.12 Benchmark Litigation 2013 Names Husch Blackwell a Highly Recommended Firm
10.15.12 A Combined 84 Husch Blackwell Attorneys are Named 2012 Super Lawyers and Rising Stars in Missouri and Nebraska
8.23.12 2013 Best Lawyers Includes 106 Husch Blackwell Attorneys in 56 Practice Areas and 7 States
11.22.11 Husch Blackwell Recognized by Benchmark Litigation 2012 in Colorado, Missouri, Nebraska
10.19.11 Super Lawyers 2011 Names 71 Husch Blackwell Attorneys from Missouri and Nebraska; an Additional 15 Listed as Rising Stars
10.13.10 Missouri & Kansas Super Lawyers 2010 Names 64 Husch Blackwell Attorneys; An Additional 20 Listed as Rising Stars