STUART H. SMITH
Chief Legal Strategist
Stuart H. Smith, along with his partner Barry Cooper, is co-founder of the Cooper Law Firm, a New Orleans-based practice of plaintiff attorneys licensed to focus on environmental law, toxic torts, and medical malpractice suits in the U.S. and across the globe. Mr. Smith, who is recognized internationally as a crusader against major oil companies, polluters associated with radioactive oilfield waste, as well as a champion of individuals whose health has been harmed by the careless practices of corporations, has been lead counsel on more than 100 oil pollution cases, which focus primarily on damages caused by the wastewater and sludge discharged by oil companies into the environment. He currently is one of the lead legal strategists in on-going national litigation regarding the nation’s drug-industry manufactured opioid crisis, having led the nation-wide effort to have the crisis’ impact on opioid-dependent born children recognized as a special class deserving of dedicated, long-term response from those who caused the epidemic in the United States.
He was lead counsel in representing commercial fishermen in 2010, whose livelihoods continue to be devastated by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and won the second largest verdict against an oil company in 2001 for exposing the cancer-causing soil contamination left behind in Harvey, Louisiana by ExxonMobil. He is also an award-winning preservationist, particularly for his defense of the residential character of the New Orleans French Quarter. He is author of Crude Justice: How I Fought Big Oil and Won.
As Chief Strategist for Cooper Law Firm, Mr. Smith has practiced law for nearly 30 years litigating against corporations for damages associated with waste and abuse. Smith also has extensive jury trial experience in both federal and state courts in addition to handling multi-district litigation (“MDL”) civil cases, including the Deepwater Horizon Spill, Vioxx Products Liability Litigation, and the Propulsid Product Liability Litigation. Smith is well known for his role as lead counsel in an oil field radiation case that resulted in a verdict of $1.056 billion against ExxonMobil and is one of the largest donors to the Loyola University New Orleans College of Law and founder of the Stuart H. Smith Law Clinic and Center for Social Justice at the university’s Broadway campus. The law clinic’s purpose is to provide third-year law students experience as legal counsel to area residents and organizations in need of expert advice and representation.
Born September 15, 1960, Mr. Smith has been a practicing plaintiff attorney for 30 years, litigating against oil companies and other corporations for damages associated with environmental pollution, defective pharmaceuticals, and other dangerous products. Mr. Smith’s well received book titled, Crude Justice explores his extensive jury trial experience in both state and federal courts, where he built a reputation for pioneering the field of Technologically Enhanced Radioactive Material (TERM) oilfield waste litigation and achieving record verdicts for his clients. The book reviews landmark litigation such Street vs. Chevron, a jury trial which lasted six and a half months resulting in one of the longest civil jury trials in United States history, and the largest single verdict obtained by Smith as lead counsel in a 2001 oilfield radiation that ExxonMobile to pay hundreds of millions in damages.
Smith has also worked on numerous multi-district litigation (“MDL”) civil cases, such as:
1. Oil Spill by the Oil Rig “Deepwater Horizon”, 10-MD-2179 (Hon. Carl J. Barbier) – Smith represented 4,000+ victims of the BP Oil Spill, including working throughout the Gulf Coast developing sophisticated science evidence related to the spill and impact on victims of the worst oil spill in U.S. History.
2. Vioxx Products Liability Litigation, 05-MD-1657 (Hon. Eldon E. Fallon) – Pharmaceutical company Merck paid out nearly $6 billion to settle 35,000 Vioxx lawsuits, federal charges, and criminal & civil claims. Smith successfully represented several hundred plaintiffs against Merck. 3. Propulsid Product Liability Litigation, 00-MD-1355 (Hon. Eldon E. Fallon) – A group of consumers brought a product liability action against the pharmaceutical manufacturer of Propulsid (Cisapride) as well as certain pharmacies that sold the product. The plaintiffs alleged that the prescription drug carried the risk of serious cardiovascular side effects.