Simmons Hanly Conroy LLC
Attorney Jo Anna Pollock is a shareholder at Simmons Hanly Conroy in the Complex Litigation Department, where she focuses on public nuisance, class actions, sex abuse and environmental litigation. She devotes her practice to representing people, county governments and businesses that have been harmed through the wrongdoing of others.
Jo Anna works on cases nationwide through all stages of the litigation process. She has spent the last 20 years in trial and appellate courts across the country securing more than a billion dollars on behalf of her clients.“Every day, I wake up determined to give a voice to people who would not otherwise have one,” Jo Anna said. “No case is too difficult, and no defendant too big for us. We will go anywhere to find the justice that our clients deserve.”
Fighting the Opioid Epidemic
Currently, Jo Anna represents the interests of governmental bodies across the country in the national opioid litigation MDL pending in the Northern District of Ohio (MDL 2804) and in the coordinated New York state court litigation, Index No. 400000/2017 In re: Opioid Litigation, Supreme Court of the State of New York, County of Suffolk.
Leading up to the New York trial’s opening arguments, several original defendants, including Johnson & Johnson and the pharmacies CVS, Walgreens, Rite-Aid and Wal-Mart, were severed from the trial. After a seven-month trial, the team recovered more than $1.7 billion in settlements against opioid manufacturers and distributors.
Key results included:
The three largest U.S. drug distributors — McKesson Corporation, Cardinal Health Inc. and AmerisourceBergen Drug Corporation — settled claims with New York State for a combined $1.18 billion.
Endo Pharmaceuticals and its subsidiaries agreed to a settlement with New York State, and Suffolk and Nassau Counties, totaling $50 million.
Johnson & Johnson settled with the state of New York for $263 million, and as part of their agreement, the company agreed to stop making opioids.
Former opioid manufacturer Allergan settled on the eve before closing arguments for $200 million.
These settlements provided recoveries for Suffolk and Nassau counties, the state of New York and numerous other New York counties the firm represents. The trial concluded in December 2021 with a plaintiffs’ verdict against opioid manufacturer Teva Pharmaceuticals and its subsidiaries and the distributor Anda, Inc.
Helping Child Abuse Victims
Jo Anna has worked tirelessly on behalf of sexual abuse victims located in Haiti and in the United States. In 2019, she helped achieve a landmark $60 million class action settlement on behalf of 170 Haitian boys harmed by a convicted pedophile and former school administrator associated with a Jesuit school in Connecticut. She stood by their side throughout the entire litigation process to help ease their burden.
“It’s important to look at a case from all angles with compassion and common sense,” she said. “I fight for people from all walks of life and dive into the details because I am determined to secure the best outcome for them.”
Protecting Neighborhoods and Towns
In the area of environmental litigation, Jo Anna has served as class counsel on behalf of victims against the largest industries, such as steel mills and refineries, whose negligence threatens the environment, groundwater and neighborhoods where neighboring residents live.
In 2014, Jo Anna helped lead the Bridgeton Sanitary Landfill litigation, where a federal district court approved a settlement that required the owners of the landfill to pay residents living near the site nearly $7 million.
In 2017, she served as class counsel for the Village of Roxana, Illinois, a small community outside of St. Louis, and surrounding properties. In this case, a lawsuit was brought against the Wood River Refinery and Shell Oil for the contaminated groundwater emanating from the refinery. This resulted in a nearly $6 million settlement for the Village of Roxana and area property owners.
In the same year, she served as class counsel and secured a $4.26 million settlement for a class action lawsuit on behalf of plaintiffs whose homes were polluted by emissions coming from a Granite City, Illinois, steel mill.
“Our clients can expect regular, consistent communication and a team approach,” Jo Anna said. “We will use every tool we have at our disposal to fight for them and to recover the justice they deserve.”
Beyond the courtroom, Jo Anna serves in leadership positions in the community. At Lindenwood University, Jo Anna serves on the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees and chairs the Academic Affairs Committee. She also serves on the Board of Directors for the Illinois Bar Foundation, which is a philanthropic organization whose mission is to ensure access to the justice system and to assist lawyers who can no longer care for themselves due to incapacity.
Missouri Lawyers Weekly recognized Jo Anna as an Up & Coming Young Lawyer in 2015. She also was named an Illinois Rising Star by Super Lawyers from 2012-2015. In 2018, Missouri Lawyers Weekly again honored her with a Women’s Justice Award, a recognition given to female litigators who demonstrate leadership, professionalism and a passion for improving the quality of the justice system.
From 2020 to 2022, The Best Lawyers in America, one of the most highly regarded attorney referral publications, recognized Jo Anna in the area of Mass Tort Litigation/Class Actions – Plaintiffs. Most recently, Jo Anna was selected as a 2022 Illinois Super Lawyer in environmental litigation.
Background and Education
Jo Anna earned her Bachelor of Arts degree, magna cum laude, from Lindenwood University and her law degree from St. Louis University Law School, where she graduated with honors and served as an editor for The Journal of Health Law. She has penned several articles about practicing law for various publications, and she speaks at law conferences on various topics concerning trial work.
Representative Cases Include
In re: National Prescription Opiate Litigation, MDL 2804 (N.D.Ohio 2018)
$1.7 billion in settlements | In re: Opioid Litigation, case number 400000/2017; County of Suffolk v. Purdue Pharma LP et al., case number 400001/2017; County of Nassau v. Purdue Pharma LP et al., case number 400008/2017; and State of New York v. Purdue Pharma LP et al., case number 400016/2018, in the Supreme Court of the State of New York, County of Suffolk
$60 million settlement | Louis v. Perlitz et al., case number 3:13-cv-01132, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut. (Class action settlement on behalf of 170 Haitian nationals alleging negligent supervision on part of Connecticut-based defendants of convicted pedophile, resulting in sexual abuse)
$6.8 million settlement | Buck et al. v. Republic Services, Inc., et al. No. 4:13CV00801 TCM (E.D. Mo. Apr. 17, 2014). (Class action on behalf of 600 residents affected by the Bridgeton landfill)
$6 million settlement | Parko et al. v. Shell Oil Company et al., case number 3:12-cv-00336, in the Southern District of Illinois, 2014. (Case representing Roxana residents and property owners whose land was contaminated by a benzene spill at the Wood River Refinery.)
$4.26 million settlement | Peggy Keltner, Jerome and Beverly Johnson and Melinda Duniphan, Plaintiffs, vs. SunCoke Energy, Inc. and Gateway Energy & Coke Company, LLC and United States Steel Corporation, Defendants (No. 2014-L-1540). (Class action representing more than 4,000 residents affected by pollution from the Granite City, Illinois steel mill and coke plant)