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Paul E. Benson



For more than 30 years, Paul has specialized in product liability defense, class action defense, multi-district litigation (MDL) defense, insurance litigation, 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, 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, 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, unfair competition, contract actions and Uniform Commercial Code disputes, employment actions, and real estate litigation. Additionally, some of the world’s leading insurance companies have turned to Paul for representation in cases involving claims under both individual and group insurance contracts. He has extensive experience litigating claims involving ERISA applicability, and has defended numerous clients against allegations of bad faith and breach of fiduciary duty in matters relating to claims handling and adjudication and insurance-agent conduct. He has also successfully prosecuted claims under policies involving commercial general liability insurance coverage, directors and officers coverage, environmental insurance coverage and professional liability coverage.

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.


Protecting a leader in consumer data collection

As lead national trial counsel, Paul is assisting the creator of one of the world’s best-known consumer databases of household information in vigorous efforts to combat data piracy. With his guidance, the company has initiated lawsuits across the country to prevent the misappropriation of data by third parties who obtain and resell this data illegally. Litigation is ongoing but has already resulted in numerous substantial settlements.

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.

Combating claims of false advertising

Paul is defending a major food producer and a national retailer against claims of false advertising and mislabeling of a dietary supplement. Defense of this case involves cutting-edge issues of Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FDCA) pre-emption and FDA primary jurisdiction.

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, FaB Wisconsin
  • Sustaining Member, Product Liability Advisory Council
  • Member, FaB Wisconsin (Food Safety Committee, Leader of Food Safety & Regulations Group)
  • 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



Community Involvement

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



Community Involvement

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