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Ethel J. Johnson is a trial lawyer with more than 31 years of experience and notable victories for clients. She has tried upwards of 35 civil cases (jury and bench trials) in state and federal courts across the United States related to products liability/life sciences, mass torts, employment law, commercial/business disputes, personal injury, ADA Accessibility, and tax matters. She has arbitrated more than 75 additional cases related to labor disputes. Ethel holds the distinction of being Board Certified in Labor and Employment Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.

Since early in her legal career, Ethel focused on employment law matters and regularly litigated single and multi-plaintiff discrimination, retaliation, harassment, disability, FMLA, defamation, ERISA, breach of contract, wage and hour, TRO/injunctive relief, trade secret, and non-competition disputes. Her practice also includes EEOC administrative matters (including Commissioner’s Charges), employment law advice and counsel, training, workplace investigations, and drafting employment policies, practices, procedures, and employee handbooks. In the last several years, Ethel’s practice has pivoted and expanded significantly to focus on pharmaceutical/life sciences, products liability, mass torts, and complex business disputes. She has been co-lead counsel in several multiweek pharmaceutical/products liability trials in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for Johnson & Johnson and Janssen Pharmaceuticals involving the antipsychotic medication, Risperdal. She has also been co-lead counsel in a major vehicle rollover trial defending Toyota Motor Sales, North America in Phoenix, Arizona. 

Capabilities

Experience

  • Co-lead in an ADA Title III Accessibility bench trial for a ridesharing company in the Northern District of California, Stephen Namisnak, Scott Crawford, et al v. Uber Technologies, Inc., et al, where Plaintiffs from New Orleans, Louisiana, and Jackson, Mississippi, sought to force the company to offer wheelchair accessibility vehicle service (WAVS) in two markets in which the Company offered no such service. Defense verdict at trial.°
  • Defended online travel companies (OTCs) in a sales tax bench trial in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where the State of Louisiana, the cities of New Orleans and Baton Rouge, and the surrounding parishes in both cities sought to impose sales taxes on facilitation services fees the OTCs charge consumers, seeking 20 years of retroactive payments. Defense verdict at trial.°
  • Kimberly Robinson, Secretary of the Department of Revenue for the State of Louisiana, City of New Orleans Department of Finance, et al v. Priceline.com, et al; 19th Judicial District Court in the Parish of East Baton Rouge, State of Louisiana (Sales tax matter).°
  • In Re: Risperdal Litigation; T. Moroni and Brenda Tinkham v. Janssen Pharmaceuticals, et al; In the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas for the 5th Judicial District Circuit, Civil Trial Division (Plaintiff claimed the antipsychotic, Risperdal, caused the minor boy to develop gynecomastia – the growth of female breast tissue in males).°
  • In Re: Risperdal Litigation; Michael Herman, et al v. Janssen Pharmaceuticals, et al; In the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, Civil Trial Division (Plaintiff claimed the antipsychotic, Risperdal, caused the minor boy to develop gynecomastia – the growth of female breast tissue in males).°
  • In Re: Risperdal Litigation; Nicholas Murray, et al v. Janssen Pharmaceuticals, et al; In the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, First Judicial District of Pennsylvania, Civil Trial Division (Plaintiff claimed the antipsychotic, Risperdal, caused the minor boy to develop gynecomastia – the growth of female breast tissue in males).°
  • In Re: Asbestos Personal Injury Litigation Coordinated Docket; Dwaine and Janice Waters v. Johnson & Johnson, et al; In the County of Richland and the State of South Carolina (Plaintiff claimed J&J’s baby powder contained asbestos, causing her to develop ovarian cancer).°
  • Stephanie Dupont, Kelli Cross, and Michael Hardt v. Toyota Motor Sales, USA, et al; No. CV-2016-010265; In the Superior Court of the State of Arizona in and for the County of Maricopa (Vehicle rollover matter claiming defectively designed seatbelts, door locks and rear door panel).°
  • Walied Shater v. Shell Oil Company; Civil Action No. 4:20-cv-01465; In the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas – Houston Division (Plaintiff, an American citizen of Arab/Middle Eastern (Egyptian and Sudanese) race and national origin, claimed discrimination after a white, British colleague was promoted to a position Plaintiff sought).

°The above representations were handled by Ms. Johnson prior to her joining Greenberg Traurig, LLP.

Recognition & Leadership

  • Listed, The Best Lawyers in America, Employment Law – Management, Labor Law - Management, 2010-2020, 2022-2023
    • Top Woman Lawyer, 2017
  • Listed, Chambers USA Guide, 2005-2011, 2021-2022
  • Listed, LMG Life Sciences, “Life Sciences Star – Non-IP Litigation & Enforcement,” 2020-2022
  • Listed, The Legal 500 United States
    • Labor and Employment - Labor and employment litigation disputes (including collective actions) - defense, 2017-2019
    • Dispute Resolution: Product liability, mass tort and class action: pharmaceuticals and medical devices – defense, 2018-2019
    • Labor and Employment -Workplace and employment counseling, 2017
  • Listed, Super Lawyers magazine, Texas Super Lawyers, 2003-2022
  • Listed, Human Resource Executive magazine and Lawdragon, “Most Powerful Employment Attorneys,” 2011-2012
  • Listed, Texas Diversity Council, 2022 Texas Legal Diversity Summit Top Women Lawyer Award, September 27, 2022
  • Adjunct Professor, Howard University School of Law
  • Member, American Bar Association
    • Member, Section of Labor and Employment Law
  • Member, Houston Bar Association
  • Member, National Order of Barristers
  • Member, State Bar of Texas
    • Member, Section of Labor and Employment Law
  • Past Board Member, Houston Area Women’s Center

Credentials

Education
  • J.D., University of Texas School of Law, 1991
  • B.S., Siena Heights College, 1987
Admissions
  • Texas
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas
  • U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit