Simmons Hanly Conroy LLC
Jayne Conroy is a named shareholder at Simmons Hanly Conroy and oversees practice areas in the Complex Litigation Department. Under her leadership, the firm has become one of the country’s largest plaintiff law firms dedicated to helping those injured by corporate wrongdoing.
With a legal career spanning more than three decades, Jayne has earned a superb national reputation as an elite trial lawyer, skilled strategist and decisive negotiator. She has consistently helped secure billions of dollars in verdicts and settlements for thousands of individuals, families and communities in numerous courtrooms nationwide.
“We are a threat to defendants because we are everywhere,” Jayne said while talking about the depth of experience in her department. “They know they have to deal with us, and we are prepared to try cases.
”Jayne focuses her practice on helping plaintiffs exclusively in mass torts, class actions, product liability, pharmaceutical and sexual abuse litigation. She serves or has served on dozens of court-appointed leadership committees in complex legal actions of national scope. These complex mass tort cases, called multidistrict litigations or MDLs, involve thousands of cases originating from state courts around the country and consolidated before a single federal judge.
Fighting the Opioid Epidemic
Jayne and the firm are at the forefront of unprecedented litigation that seeks to resolve the ongoing opioid epidemic. The litigation seeks to secure meaningful funds for communities that incurred millions in costs related to dealing with the estimated 400,000 opioid-related deaths since 1996.“Every one of those communities has a story about how the opioid epidemic has devastated the families who live there,” Jayne said. “The opioid litigation allows us to get some relief to these communities faster, which could actually help someone who has not been hurt yet.
”National Prescription Opiate MDL
Jayne has a long track record of holding opioid manufacturers accountable for misleading marketing. In 2003, she and Shareholder Paul Hanly, who served as co-lead of the ongoing opioid MDL, represented more than 5,000 individuals against Purdue Pharma, the manufacturer of OxyContin.
By implementing a successful discovery plan, Jayne and her legal team uncovered evidence proving the full extent of Purdue’s criminality and its fraudulent marketing campaign designed to persuade physicians that OxyContin was not addictive. Following a 3-year battle, which included Jayne, Paul and the firm filing more than 1,200 cases in various courts across the country, Purdue Pharma settled the litigation for a significant confidential settlement in 2007.The litigation also led to a Department of Justice investigation that resulted in Purdue Pharma paying more than $600 million in fines. Three of its executives also pled guilty to criminal charges that they misled regulators, doctors and patients about the drug’s risk of addiction and personally paid millions of dollars in fines.
After Paul Hanly’s untimely passing in early 2021, Jayne took over as co-lead counsel of the Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee (PEC) that leads the ongoing National Prescription Opiate MDL. After years of advocating for their over 3,000 community clients, Jayne and the PEC endorsed a $26 billion global settlement with opioid manufacturer Johnson & Johnson and the “Big 3” drug distributors AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health and McKesson.
As part of the MDL, Jayne and her legal team secured a historic jury verdict in November 2021 that held pharmacy chains CVS, Walgreens and Wal-Mart responsible for their role in the opioid epidemic in Lake and Trumbull County in Ohio. This result is the first jury verdict in an opioid case nationwide.
New York State Opioid Trial
In addition to her work on the national opioid MDL, Jayne serves as lead counsel for Suffolk County in the New York State opioid trial, whose defendants encompass the entire opioid supply chain.
As part of the New York State trial, Jayne and her team secured over $1.7 billion in settlements from multiple major opioid manufacturers and distributors for Suffolk and Nassau County as well as the state of New York, its counties and New York City. The NY trial plaintiffs were the first to finalize the Big 3 and J&J settlement, serving as a catalyst for the remainder of the country.
Building upon that success, Jayne and her team secured a landmark verdict in December 2021 that found the remaining defendants, opioid manufacturer Teva Pharmaceuticals and distributor Anda, liable for their role in the opioid epidemic.
This is the first opioid case to be heard before a jury and is considered to be one of the largest and longest jury trial proceedings in U.S. history.
Helping Victims of Child Sexual Abuse
Jayne has helped hundreds of victims of sexual abuse secure justice from the institutions responsible for their abuse. In 2019, she helped achieve a landmark $60 million class action settlement on behalf of 170-plus Haitian boys harmed by a convicted pedophile and former school administrator associated with a Jesuit school in Connecticut. In 2013, the same defendants paid $12 million to settle similar claims brought by 24 other young men victimized when they were children.
Protecting Rights of Patients Injured by Hip Implants
Jayne previously served on the Plaintiff Executive Committee in the DePuy Pinnacle federal litigation involving more than 9,000 patients injured by Johnson & Johnson’s metal-on-metal hip replacement device. As a member of the trial team, she secured three consecutive 9-figure bellwether trial verdicts, including a $1 billion result for six families.
In early 2019, amidst a retrial led by Jayne and her legal team, Johnson & Johnson agreed to a significant global settlement to resolve all pending litigation.
Litigating on Behalf of Volkswagen Owners and Dealers
A member of the Volkswagen MDL Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee, Jayne has been on the front lines of helping thousands of VW and Audi diesel owners impacted by the emission scandal. The litigation recently resolved with VW agreeing to pay more than $16 billion in fines and buybacks to thousands of car owners impacted by the company’s deceitful actions.
Jayne also leads the firm’s efforts in representing dealers who were in competition with Volkswagen and lost sales as a direct result of the company’s misleading advertising efforts and falsified emissions reports.
Beyond the Courtroom
Whether in or out of the courtroom, Jayne is instantly recognizable by her vintage couture style and can often be seen wearing beautifully constructed suits from the 1940s in the courtroom and around the New York office where she is based. She credits her innate sense of style to her mother and grandmother who was a master sewer and made most of her clothes growing up.
Jayne currently resides in New York City and Cape Cod.