Paul Benson Photo

Paul E. Benson

Partner

Overview

For more than 30 years, Paul has specialized in product liability defense, class action defense, multi-district litigation (MDL) defense, and other complex commercial litigation. He is particularly well known for his work in the class action and food and beverage sectors, where he is a nationally and locally recognized speaker and thought leader on product liability issues and regulatory trends.

In all of these areas, Paul has established a reputation for outstanding results. He has used motion practice to obtain summary judgment and/or dismissal in more than half of the cases he has defended in Wisconsin State and Federal Court. He has argued multiple cases before the Wisconsin Supreme Court and the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, and handled numerous matters that have resulted in reported decisions across the country.

Paul’s national product liability defense practice is extremely diverse. He has defended clients against claims of injuries involving industrial and construction equipment, consumer products (including matters invoving Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recalls), drugs and pharmaceuticals, medical implements and devices, petroleum products, food and beverage products, and toxic chemicals and substances. He has successfully litigated significant exposure cases involving industrial accident liability, automobile liability, toxic tort liability, product recalls, and all types of general negligence and strict liability claims.

 

He has defended clients in a variety of class actions, collective actions and MDL cases. Paul is lead defense counsel in class actions involving allegations of deceptive advertising and consumer fraud, violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), and violations of the consumer protection laws of various states. He has handled FLSA collective actions concerning wage and hour claims, employee versus independent contractor disputes, and disputes over employee exemption status. He also has substantial experience in MDL matters, serving as lead Wisconsin counsel for medical device manufacturers and pharmaceutical companies, consumer products companies, and chemical companies in major cases.

Paul has prosecuted and defended a wide variety of complex commercial cases, including those involving all types of torts, fraud, false advertising, defamation, unfair competition, contract actions and Uniform Commercial Code disputes, employment actions, and real estate litigation.

Paul’s work in the food and beverage sector includes not only litigation, but a range of activities that help companies stay ahead of the regulatory and litigation curves. He has defended personal injury and property damage claims, as well as class action cases, and has overseen and assisted with food product recalls and related litigation. He is often sought out as both an author and speaker by various food and beverage trade associations on topics including safety, regulatory compliance, nanotechnology, false advertising, and claims related to labeling and packaging.

Experience

Defending a precedent-setting class action

As lead trial counsel for one of the world’s largest independent iron foundries, Paul is defending a “hybrid” collective action and class action involving claims under the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and Wisconsin state law that production employees should be compensated for time spent “donning” and “doffing” the protective gear required for work in an environment allegedly containing silica dust. The only case of its kind in the country, its outcome hinges on the safety of the work environment and will set an important precedent.

Defending cutting-edge toxic tort lawsuits

Paul is lead national trial counsel for a flavor and fragrance company, defending it in cases brought against companies industry-wide involving the butter-flavoring chemical diacetyl, which allegedly causes respiratory injury to workers and consumers. Paul is also Wisconsin trial counsel defending one of the world’s best known chemical companies, currently being sued in over 170 cases in Wisconsin state and federal courts for allegedly selling lead pigment decades ago. The cases are being brought under Wisconsin’s “risk contribution” theory of liability, making these cases unlike any others in the country.

Honors & Recognitions

  • Leading Litigation: General Commercial Law, Chambers USA, 2019-Present
  • FaBfive Award Recipient, FaB Wisconsin, 2019
  • Litigation Star, Benchmark Litigation, 2013-present
  • Who’s Who Legal: Product Liability Defense, ABA Section of International Law, 2014-present
  • Martindale-Hubbell® AV Preeminent Rated
  • The Best Lawyers in America©, Commercial Litigation, Mass Tort Litigation/Class Actions – Defendants, Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants and Product Liability Litigation – Defendants, 2007-present
  • The Midwest’s Best Lawyers©, Commercial Litigation, Mass Tort Litigation/Class Actions – Defendants, Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants and Product Liability Litigation – Defendants, 2021
  • Ranked Top Rated Lawyer in litigation by Martindale-Hubbell®, 2015-present
  • Included in Wisconsin’s Best Lawyers: A Guide to Wisconsin’s Top Attorneys
  • "Leading Lawyers" list, Milwaukee’s M Magazine
  • Leaders in the Law, Wisconsin Law Journal, 2010

Professional Activities

  • Board of Directors, Vice Chair, Milwaukee Bar Association Foundation
  • Member, The Fellows of the American Bar Foundation
  • Council Member and Food Safety Co-Chair, FaB Wisconsin
  • Sustaining Member, Product Liability Advisory Council
  • Member, American Bar Association (multiple sections)
  • Member, Defense Research Institute (multiple sections)
  • Member, Food and Drug Law Institute
  • Member, Midwest Food Processors Association
  • Member, Seventh Circuit Bar Association
  • Member, Wisconsin Association for Justice
  • Member, Wisconsin Bar Association (multiple sections)
  • Member, United States Supreme Court Historical Society
  • Law360 Product Liability Editorial Advisory Board Member, 2012-2017
  • Former Board Member, Milwaukee Bar Association
  • Former Board Member, Eastern District of Wisconsin Bar Association

Education

Bar Admission

Court Admissions

Community Involvement

  • Member, Milwaukee Athletic Club
  • Council Member, Lector and Usher, Fox Point Lutheran Church
  • Volunteer, The Gathering

Education

Bar Admission

Court Admissions

Community Involvement

  • Member, Milwaukee Athletic Club
  • Council Member, Lector and Usher, Fox Point Lutheran Church
  • Volunteer, The Gathering
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