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Deborah B. Rouen

Partner and Products Liability Team Leader

I like to check in frequently with clients. I ask them, specifically, “Tell me how we’re doing. Tell me what we’re doing right, and tell me where we need improvement.” With regular feedback, I can implement changes and make sure that when the client gets the bill, they feel they’re getting good value.

Deborah B. Rouen has more than 30 years experience defending class actions, mass torts and complex litigation involving tobacco, pharmaceuticals, refineries, crop fertilizer and Hurricane Katrina and Road Home suits. She focuses on products liability, toxic tort, environmental, fraud, misrepresentation, conspiracy and punitive damages matters.

She has served as national counsel and liaison counsel for defendants, has successfully defeated class certification in both federal and state courts and has a strong track record of early case dismissals through advancing novel legal arguments in motion practice. Debbie has defended pharmaceutical and tobacco companies from suits brought by attorney generals in multiple states, defended tobacco companies in foreign sovereign litigation and led teams of lawyers in defending clients in multi-district litigation.

Debbie serves as leader of the firm’s Product Liability Team. After serving a three-year term as the first woman elected to the firm’s Executive Committee, Debbie was appointed Chair of the firm’s Diversity Committee and served in that role for five years. She worked to expand cultural inclusion, partnered with clients to meet diversity requisites, improved recruitment, mentoring and retention of women and minority lawyers, obtained firm recognition in national rankings of women and minority lawyers and increased firm support of minority-sponsored legal, cultural and social events. She is also the former leader of the Class Action/Complex Litigation team.

I love serving as a creative thought partner with my clients. Together we look not simply to replicate past legal strategy but to identify the best strategy for now and going forward.

Education

  • Loyola University New Orleans College of Law, J.D., 1983
  • Loyola University, B.Mus., 1977

Bar Admissions

  • Louisiana

Court Admissions

  • United States Supreme Court
  • Louisiana
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
  • United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana
  • United States District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana
  • United States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana

Community Involvement

In the community, she serves as Past President of the Board of Directors of the Jefferson Performing Arts Society. She frequently provides pro bono services at homeless shelters throughout the New Orleans area.

Acknowledgements

  • Best Lawyers® Lawyer of the Year - New Orleans Product Liability Litigation - Defendants, 2019
  • Best Lawyers® - Commercial Litigation, Personal Injury Litigation - Defendants, Product Liability Litigation - Defendants
  • Best Lawyers® Lawyer of the Year – Product Liability Litigation - Defendants, 2013
  • AV® Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell
  • Best Lawyers® - Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants, Product Liability Litigation – Defendants, Commercial Litigation
  • Leadership in Law - New Orleans CityBusiness
  • Women of the Year, Hall of Fame (Three-Time Recipient) - New Orleans CityBusiness
  • Most Powerful and Influential Women of Louisiana - National Diversity Council
  • Executive Committee, 2003-2006
  • Hiring Committee, Former Chair
  • Comments Editor - Loyola Law Review
  • Louisiana Super Lawyers® (by Thomson Reuters) Class Action 2018-2019

Professional Affiliations & Memberships

Debbie has served on the planning committee for DRI Drug and Medical Device conferences, on the DRI Women in the Law Committee, and as Vice President of the Board of the New Orleans Bar Foundation. She is a former board member of the New Orleans Chapter of the Federal Bar Association.

  • Served as national counsel for major tobacco company in Florida Engle Mass Tort Litigation.
  • Serving as local counsel in large pharmaceutical MDL
  • Obtained summary judgment in contraceptive drug litigation under Learned Intermediary Doctrine.
  • Defended pharmaceutical company in Attorney General action alleging unfair trade practices and consumer fraud.
  • Successfully defended nationwide class action litigation involving consumer products; obtained denial of remand and ultimately set up a split in the federal circuit courts of appeal on the issue of federal preemption.
  • Obtained a defense verdict in a lengthy trial involving multiple deaths in a refinery tank explosion; the United States Fifth Circuit upheld the verdict on a 2-1 decision.