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Williams Kastner Member

Nicole R. MacKenzie

Nicole R. MacKenzieMember
Education & Bar Admissions

Northwestern School of Law of Lewis & Clark College
J.D., 1997

Yale University
B.A., Political Science, 1994

California

Oregon

Virginia

Washington

Nicole R. MacKenzie

About

Nicole MacKenzie is Managing Director of Williams Kastner, and a Member in the firm’s Seattle office. Her practice focuses on product liability and mass torts. Ms. MacKenzie manages several accounts, serves as local trial counsel for multiple clients and is a lead member of the National Coordinating Counsel team for several clients. She served as Vice Chair/Chair of the firm’s Products Liability and Mass Torts group from July 2015 through December 2020. Ms. MacKenzie is adept at developing and implementing defense strategies in state and federal courts for national asbestos products manufacturers, suppliers, and contractors. Additionally, she has participated in numerous committees to provide input on proposed court procedures, general orders, case management orders, and general asbestos case management protocols for designated defense counsel.

  • Williams Kastner, Member | 2017 – Present
  • Williams Kastner, Of Counsel | 2014 – 2017
  • Hassard Bonnington LLP, Partner | 2002 – 2014
  • McNamara, Dodge, Ney, Beatty, Slattery & Pfalzer, LLP, Senior Associate | 2000 – 2002

 

Memberships

  • American Bar Association
    • Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section
    • Environmental, Energy and Resources Section
  • Defense Research Institute
    • Toxic Torts and Environmental Law Committee
    • Women in the Law Committee
  • International Association of Defense Counsel
  • King County Bar Association
  • Washington Defense Trial Lawyers
  • Washington State Bar Association
  • Oregon State Bar
  • Virginia State Bar
  • California State Bar

Community Involvement

  • Lake Washington Schools Foundation
    • Trustee, 2014 – 2017
    • Co-Chair Governance Committee | 2014 – 2017
  • Peter Kirk Elementary School PTSA President/Vice President | 2012 – 2013

Recognitions & Awards

Northern California Super Lawyers Rising Star (2011-2012), Super Lawyer (2013)

Presentations & Seminars

  • Panelist, “Recent Asbestos Trials” Washington Defense Trial Lawyers 2018 Asbestos Law CLE
  • Presenter, “The Last & Ultimate Wave in Asbestos Litigation: Keys to Winning the Spontaneous Mesothelioma Case,” “The 5-Star Road Map for Building an Allocation of Fault Case against Bankrupt Entities that will hold up at Trial (in both CA and NY),” and “Cutting-Edge Strategies for Defending a Talc Defendant” Asbestos/Toxic Tort Hot Topics Resolute Management, Inc., August 2017.

Representative Experience

  • Jerry and Evelyn Crawford v. Celanese Corp., et al., South Carolina Court of Common Pleas in the County of Spartanburg, 2018. MacKenzie obtained a significant victory on behalf of a leader in motion and control technologies and a manufacturer and distributor of automotive parts. In this asbestos case, a Texas based law firm had filed a spoliation motion seeking to establish de facto that the plaintiff had been exposed to our clients’ asbestos containing brakes despite no evidence of such exposure.  It bears noting that this firm obtained an $81 million verdict in Pierce County in 2017.  Given recent rulings in this and other cases with this judge, Ms. MacKenzie and the Williams Kastner team had good reason to believe Plaintiffs’ motion might be granted.  The firm’s opposition brief left the court virtually no option but to grant the motion.  As a result, the Plaintiffs opted to dismiss our clients rather than proceed on the motion.  The result was significant not just for securing a “no-pay” dismissal, but for avoiding a finding of spoliation against our clients that would have had substantial repercussions nationally in the litigation against them.
  • Barbara Barr v. A-1Clutch, et al., Alameda County, California, 2018. MacKenzie was one of a three attorney trial team on this personal injury matter involving a confirmed mesothelioma in a woman whose only alleged exposures were from work her prior husband performed at the auto parts and maintenance shop they operated from 1979 to 1988 and some home remodeling work.  She claimed to have been exposed to asbestos containing brakes sold by our clients despite never having performed any work with brakes herself.  She admitted that the shop would have had to comply with OSHA and CalOSHA and that she had no information that she was ever around any grinding or buffing of the clients’ brakes or the use of compressed air on brake assemblies where the clients’ brakes had been in use.  Plaintiff’s father had worked at Hunters Point Naval Shipyard while she was growing up but plaintiff and her counsel refused to provide his personnel records or authorizations to obtain such records and the court denied defense motion to compel and refused to allow our clients to introduce any evidence or expert opinions that based on her father’s job and the years he worked there on a more likely than not basis he was exposed to amphibole containing insulation which he brought home on his person and thus caused plaintiff to be exposed.  The jury found for plaintiff and further inexplicably found sufficient evidence to support an award for punitive damages against one of the clients.  Ms. MacKenzie’s closing argument in the punitive damages phase was effective in limiting the punitive award to more than 30% less than the compensatory award, perhaps the only time a punitive award has not been at least equal to the compensatory award.  The verdict is pending a decision from the Court of Appeals.
  • Henry and Geraldine Barabin v. AstenJohnson, et al., United States District Court Western District of Washington, 2018. MacKenzie assisted national counsel in the re-trial of an asbestos case against our client, a manufacturer and supplier of dryer felts.  Decedent had admitted working with and around miles of thermal insulation at a refinery in Texas, yet alleged his work around dryer felts caused his mesothelioma.  The case was originally tried to verdict in 2009 against our client and another dryer felt manufacturer, for a $10 million verdict.  The verdict was appealed on several grounds, including failure to conduct a proper Daubert review in allowing the testimony of certain of plaintiffs’ experts.  The re-trial was successful in excluding one of plaintiffs’ experts and significantly limiting two others on Daubert challenges.  The jury trial lasted approximately two weeks, with the jury returning a plaintiff verdict where the economic damages had been stipulated to $750,000 and just $306,000 in non-economic damages were awarded.  The award was completely offset by prior settlements and judgment was entered in the amount of $0.  The decedent died while the first verdict was on appeal.  His wife filed a separate wrongful death case in King County Superior Court, Washington while the retrial in federal court was pending.  We successfully obtained a stay of the state court matter pending resolution of the federal matter.  After the federal matter resolved, we moved for summary judgment on the basis the federal court case was tried and presented to the jury as a survival and wrongful death matter and thus the state court case was barred by collateral estoppell.  The motion was granted except as to the claims asserted for the benefit of decedent’s surviving children since the jury in the federal court trial had not been asked to consider their damages.  Client was prepared to appeal that issue but plaintiffs decided they did not want to continue with the case at that point and dismissed the remaining claims.
  • David and Patricia Hoff v. Certainteed Corp., et al., Multnomah County, Oregon, 2016, (2nd chair). This personal injury matter involved a confirmed mesothelioma in a career carpenter.  Plaintiff claimed exposure to asbestos from defendant’s chrysotile containing joint compound between 1973 and 1978.  Despite lung tissue digestion study finding no chrysotile fibers but levels of amphiboles above background in plaintiff’s lungs and evidence that client’s products had asbestos warnings on them during the entire time he potentially worked with them and that they became asbestos free by 1975, jury returned a verdict in favor of plaintiffs, assigning 35% liability to client defendant.  Client filed an appeal, which was argued in June 2020 and decision is pending.
  • David Rudesill and Tannis Moore v. DAP, Inc., et al., Pierce County, Washington, 2014, (2nd chair). This personal injury matter involved a 65-year old gentleman with confirmed mesothelioma.  He claimed asbestos exposure from defendant’s joint compound during his career as a carpenter from 1973 to 2013.  The case settled during jury deliberations for multiple millions of dollars less than the demand going into trial.  Polling of the jury revealed they were deadlocked 6-6 on question one, whether the product was unsafe.
  • Charles Duncan v. 3M Co., et al., Los Angeles, California, 2010, (2nd chair). Confirmed mesothelioma with claimed exposure to defendant’s product. There was one other defendant remaining at the time of verdict.  The jury returned a complete defense verdict based on finding that plaintiff was not exposed to asbestos from any of defendants’ products.
  • David and Patricia Hoff v. Certainteed Corp., et al., Multnomah County, Oregon, 2016, (2nd chair). This personal injury matter involved a confirmed mesothelioma in a career carpenter. Plaintiff claimed exposure to asbestos from defendant’s chrysotile containing joint compound between 1973 and 1978. Despite lung tissue digestion study finding no chrysotile fibers but levels of amphiboles above background in plaintiff’s lungs and evidence that client’s products had asbestos warnings on them during the entire time he potentially worked with them and that they became asbestos free by 1975, jury returned a verdict in favor of plaintiffs, assigning 35% liability to client defendant. Client filed an appeal, which was pending when it filed for bankruptcy.
  • David Rudesill and Tannis Moore v. DAP, Inc., et al., Pierce County, Washington, 2014, (2nd chair). This personal injury matter involved a 65-year old gentleman with confirmed mesothelioma. He claimed asbestos exposure from defendant’s joint compound during his career as a carpenter from 1973 to 2013. The case settled during jury deliberations for multiple millions of dollars less than the demand going into trial. Polling of the jury revealed they were deadlocked 6-6 on question one, whether the product was unsafe.
  • Charles Duncan v. 3M Co., et al., Los Angeles, California, 2010, (2nd chair). Confirmed mesothelioma with claimed exposure to defendant’s product. There was one other defendant remaining at the time of verdict. The jury returned a complete defense verdict based on finding that plaintiff was not exposed to asbestos from any of defendants’ products.