Wisner Baum, PC
Michael L. Baum is the senior partner of Wisner Baum (formerly Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman). For 29 years he was Baum Hedlund’s managing partner until 2023 when he proudly turned over the reins to R. Brent Wisner. During his time at the helm, he led the firm through thousands of wrongful death and personal injury cases stemming from harmful major pharmaceutical drugs, consumer products, and commercial transportation.He began his career in 1985, primarily handling airline accidents and other commercial transportation disasters but then turned his focus to pharmaceutical product liability litigation, harmful, medical devices, dangerous herbicides, and consumer products.“When I became an attorney in 1985, we were the new kids on the block. We only had dreams of achieving the success we now enjoy,” Michael Baum says. “Our ethos from the beginning was pure and simple: we wanted to use the law to help people who had been wronged and make the world a better place. As much as we have grown over the years, that philosophy has remained, and out of it grew a culture that has attracted talented lawyers like Brent who share the same mission. He is exactly the kind of lawyer and leader that will take this firm to new heights. Wisner Baum is in good hands.”Under Michael’s leadership, we developed a reputation as a law firm that can be counted upon to go above and beyond what is needed to get the job done, a firm known for its cutting-edge, superior legal work in complex litigation. Michael’s ceaseless advocacy in pharmaceutical and consumer fraud litigation has brought our firm international recognition.Michael is very proud of the work we did in the tainted hemophilia medication litigation. In 1999, Michael served on the trial team in the only Hemophiliac AIDS case to go before a jury. Michael and the trial team represented Leo and Shirley Dixon, whose son, Ken Dixon, contracted the HIV virus and AIDS allegedly as a result of using hemophilia medication contaminated with HIV.Evidence presented at trial showed the medication Ken Dixon used was plasma-derived medication contaminated from the use of high-risk donors with the HIV virus. The jurors found that two of the medication manufacturers, Cutter Biological and Alpha Therapeutics, were strictly liable for product liability, negligence, and fraud. The jurors further found that after Ken Dixon initially was infected with the AIDS virus (which was not known to him at the time), the continued use of the contaminated products further aggravated Ken’s condition, exacerbating and accelerating the development of AIDS. The jury awarded Leo and Shirley Dixon $35.3 million in survival and wrongful death damages. Although the judge overturned the verdict based on a technical issue, the verdict provided essential justice for not only the Dixon family but for hemophiliacs across the country who have suffered and died as a result of their HIV-infected medication.Fast-forward twenty years later, to find Michael continuing to fight for those injured by Big Pharma products. The National Law Journal recognized Michael and his team as 2018 Elite Trial Lawyers and Pharmaceutical Litigation first place winners for their unprecedented jury verdict against a brand-name drug manufacturer (GSK) for the wrongful death of a man who took a generic form of Paxil.Michael served on the trial team for three of the first Monsanto Roundup lawsuits to go before juries. In the first trial, Michael and a team of lawyers represented Dewayne “Lee” Johnson, a Benicia, California school district groundskeeper, who alleged exposure to Monsanto herbicides caused him to develop terminal non-Hodgkin lymphoma. A jury in San Francisco unanimously awarded Mr. Johnson $289M in compensatory and punitive damages, finding that Monsanto acted with malice, oppression, or fraud. This award was later reduced to $20.5 million.In the wake of this groundbreaking verdict, The National Trial Lawyers Top 100 recognized Michael and his team as the 2019 Trial Team of the Year in the Mass Torts category.The second Roundup lawsuit to proceed to trial, Hardeman v. Monsanto Company, resulted in an $80 million jury verdict (later reduced to $25.2 million). In May of 2019, the third Roundup cancer trial culminated in a historic $2.055 billion verdict (later reduced to $87 million) in favor of a Bay Area couple who alleged years of exposure to Roundup weed killer caused them to develop non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The Pilliod verdict was the largest verdict in California and the second largest in the U.S. in 2019. It is also the ninth largest verdict in U.S. history. The Pilliod trial team has received numerous awards and accolades following this landmark verdict, including 2020 Elite Trial Lawyers Mass Tort Law Firm of the Year Finalist, Top 100 Verdicts 2019 by ALM and the National Law Journal and Daily Journal Top Verdicts 2019.In addition, his firm is known for successfully resolving major transportation disaster cases against companies such as Airbus, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Amtrak, Bell Helicopter Co., Beechcraft, Boeing, Cessna, China Eastern Airlines, Continental Airlines, Delta Airlines, EgyptAir, Ford Motor Co., McDonnell Douglas, Piper, Robinson Helicopter Co., Sikorsky, SwissAir, TACA Airlines, TWA, United Airlines, and US Airways, among many others.As part of the plaintiffs’ trial team for families who lost loved ones in the 1989 United 232 Sioux City, Iowa, crash, Michael found the smoking gun document that showed General Electric’s engineers’ graphs predicting the next DC 10 engine failure, which happened to be the date of the United 232 crash five years later.“Rigorously investigating and litigating the types of devastating cases we handle on a daily basis requires relentless focus and dedication to our clients’ causes. Approaching things from the perspective that every problem has an optimum solution waiting to be apprehended simplifies our team’s outlook on every aspect of each case we handle.”Michael was invited to speak before governmental and regulatory entities on several occasions concerning serious health hazards exposed, in part, due to his firm’s litigation. He testified in Brussels at a public hearing before the European Parliament’s Special Committee Hearing on the EU’s authorization procedure for pesticides (PEST), concerning environment impacts of pesticides, including Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer. He and Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. delivered the keynote address to members of the European Green Party at the start of their pesticides hearing during that same trip. He and his partner, R. Brent Wisner, also briefed members of Parliament of Canada’s Green Party about the first Roundup cancer verdict we helped obtain, as well as the evidence we presented at that trial. As a result of his groundbreaking work on the Monsanto Roundup cases, Politico EU chose Michael as one of five "changemakers" in the world making waves in pesticides policy.Medical officials from foreign governments in countries such as Ireland, Japan, Russia, and Taiwan have sought Michael’s advice and assistance with their countries’ public policies concerning consumer drug safety. They’ve done so after becoming aware of Michael’s impressive understanding of biomedical research, clinical trials, statistics, the pharmaceutical industry and marketing, as well as his firm’s successful and effective discovery procedures and extensive work with experts on complicated scientific issues related to our firm’s pharmaceutical litigation.