John Ewald is a trial lawyer with a particular emphasis on mass torts and product liability.  

John plays a critical role in Orrick’s ongoing representation of Johnson & Johnson as national coordinating counsel in lawsuits alleging that the company's talcum powder products causes mesothelioma and ovarian cancer. John serves as trial counsel in those cases and also is responsible for developing and coordinating the company's national scientific and medical defense.

In October 2019, John served as lead trial counsel for Johnson & Johnson in a suit seeking at least $25 million that alleged the company’s talc products caused the plaintiff’s mesothelioma.  After a five-week trial, a Los Angeles state court jury rejected all of plaintiffs’ claims and returned a complete defense verdict for Johnson & Johnson. 

John was also trial counsel in November 2018 for Johnson & Johnson in South Carolina state court where a jury reached a second mistrial in a case that sought $63 million in compensatory damages against the company for allegedly causing the plaintiff's fatal mesothelioma. Law360 cited the case as one of the “Top Product Liability cases of 2018.” 

John was recognized in The Legal 500 United States for Product Liability, Mass Tort and Class Action: Toxic Tort - Defense in 2018–2019.  John was also recognized by New York Super Lawyers as a “Rising Star” from 2013 to 2019 for class action and mass torts. 

John actively participates in Orrick's pro bono program. He received the 2010 Orrick Pro Bono Award for significant pro bono contributions, including his representation of a Guantanamo Bay detainee before the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. As counsel of record, John drafted the briefs and argued the case in the D.C. Circuit. Awad v. Obama, 608 F.3d 1 (D.C. Cir. 2010).

Before joining Orrick as an associate, he was a summer associate in the New York office in 2002.

  • John's representations and experience include:

    • Lead counsel for Orrick team that successfully defeated class certification on behalf of The Dow Chemical Company and Union Carbide Corporation in West Virginia federal court. Plaintiffs were seeking certification of a putative class of more than 8,000 individuals who were allegedly exposed to substances emitted from a metals plant formerly owned by Union Carbide.
    • Counsel for The Dow Chemical Company in which Orrick successfully obtained complete dismissal of a mass tort case before the West Virginia Mass Litigation Panel.   
    • Lead counsel for the largest lead/zinc smelter in North America in which Orrick successfully obtained dismissal of class action litigation for environmental personal injuries. 
    • Counsel for The Dow Chemical Company and Union Carbide in property damage and groundwater contamination cases.
    • Trial counsel for DISH Network in telemarketing-related litigation in the Central District of Illinois and Middle District of North Carolina.
    • Member of Orrick team that successfully obtained dismissal of complaint brought against China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation (Sinopec). The plaintiff claimed $5.2 billion damages plus treble and punitive damages alleging claims under the Alien Tort Statute and RICO, among others. 
    • Member of the Orrick team that served as national counsel to Wyeth (now Pfizer) throughout the United States in nearly 400 product liability cases involving claims that childhood vaccines containing the preservative thimerosal caused autism in some vaccinated children. John was one of the primary drafter of briefs in appellate and trial courts across the country concerning the scope of Vaccine Act preemption, culminating in a favorable decision by the Supreme Court of the United States in Bruesewitz v. Wyeth LLC, 131 S. Ct. 1068 (2011). 
    • Member of the Orrick team that defended Wyeth in a New York state action involving personal injuries allegedly resulting from the administration of an anti-nausea prescription drug. 
    • Member of Orrick team that successfully represented a major German manufacturer in a confidential ICC arbitration concerning contract and indemnification issues, obtaining substantially all of the relief requested.