James W.  Ozog

James W. Ozog

Partner

Practice Groups

Jim Ozog has more than three decades of experience in product liability defense and commercial litigation. He has achieved national recognition for his litigation experience, which includes handling cases in 28 states and trying product liability cases to verdict in nine states. Jim serves as national product liability defense counsel for a number of national and international manufacturers in fire, explosion, and catastrophic burn cases, and he defends several food and beverage manufacturers. He also has significant experience defending toxic tort cases, including those involving exposure to asbestos, silicosis, welding fumes, and benzene. He also represents the transportation industry and affiliated insurance carriers as well as vehicle/component part manufacturers in catastrophic accidents and product liability cases.

Jim frequently speaks on product liability defense issues for organizations like the Chicago Bar Association and Propane Gas Defense Association, and at noted industry seminars including the Defense Research Institute (DRI) Fire and Casualty Seminar, the National Fire Prevention Association National Conference, and DRI’s Product Liability Conference.  

In addition, Jim is a frequent author on product liability defense for leading industry publications like DRI’s The Voice and the Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel’s IDC Quarterly

A small sampling of his experience includes: 
  • Prevailing on a motion for summary judgment in the defense of a design engineer against the owner and subrogating property insurance carriers in an $87 million casino complex fire based upon the enforcement of  waiver of subrogation provisions in the project construction contracts
  • Acting as regional defense counsel for a chemical manufacturing company in the defense of plant worker asbestos cases
  • Successfully defending a nationwide consumer class action over a recalled children’s toy, a Seventh Circuit decision which set favorable precedent for cases involving defective products
  • Successful defense of transporters and vehicle/component part manufacturers in cases involving tires/wheels, tread separations, truck brakes, cruise controls, seat belts, commercial drivers' seats, and alleged unintended acceleration
  • Obtaining summary judgment in favor of a gas valve component manufacturer in a personal injury case involving an explosion at a youth festival that resulted in severe burns to four minors by convincing a Pennsylvania court to apply Texas law
  • Winning summary judgment dismissal through Daubert exclusions of expert testimony in fire and trucking product liability cases, including wrongful death and property damage claims in the case of Presley v. Lakewood Co. 702 F3d 450 (8th Cir. 2012), recently cited and relied upon in the 2014 edition of the Federal Evidence Manual
  • Winning summary judgment and Daubert exclusion of plaintiffs’ experts in a $2 million-plus Arkansas consolidated property loss/fire case involving the destruction of a theater and other businesses in a downtown historic district
  • Establishing that summary dismissal was a correct sanction for a plaintiff’s spoliation of evidence in a products case 
  • Recent product liability trial defense of a space heater manufacturer in a Cook County trailer fire case involving four deaths and two personal injuries, a case which successfully resolved at the conclusion of trial through a high/low agreement
  • Successful defense of a retailer in civil and wrongful death litigation arising from the 1982 Tylenol murders
  • Defense of all Illinois cases as regional defense counsel regarding multi-district litigation concerning a dietary supplement
  • Leader of the multi-state (Illinois, Indiana, and Iowa) defense team defending a food company in Salmonella milk poisoning cases that, at the time, were the largest food poisoning outbreaks in the U.S.
  • Food poisoning defense for two major national retailers in a number of cases related to freshness issues
Honors
  • Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Rating: AV Preeminent 
  • Illinois Super Lawyers (Product Liability Defense), 2015-2017
  • Illinois Leading Lawyers: Products Liability Defense Law and Commercial Litigation
Professional Affiliations
  • American Bar Association
  • Illinois State Bar Association
  • Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel
  • Defense Research Institute: Former Chair, Consumer Products Specialized Litigation Group
  • Propane Gas Defense Association: Former Member, Board of Directors
  • Claims and Litigation Management Alliance 
Admitted to Practice
  • Illinois
  • U.S. District Courts for the Northern, Central, and Southern Districts of Illinois
  • U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan
  • U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas
  • U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Seventh and Eighth Circuits 
Community Involvement
  • Director, Western Golf Association/Evans Scholars Foundation
  • Old St. Patrick’s Church Choir: Singer and Volunteer
  • Evans Scholars Alumni Association and Bar Association 
  • Village of Glen Ellyn Plan Commission: Member
  • Illinois State Bar Association Task Force on Law School Curriculum
Education
  • Washington University, J.D., 1977
  • Northwestern University, B.S., 1974

 

Publications/Presentations
  • Co-Author, The Eroding Distinction Between Strict Liability and Negligence in Illinois Product Liability Cases,” IDC Quarterly, June 2017
  • Co-Author, “The Distributor’s Statute: Proof Necessary to Reinstate Product Liability Claim,” Illinois Association of Defense Counsel Quarterly, Vol. 25, No. 2, Second Quarter 2015
  • Co-Author, “The Role of Medical Examiners and Forensic Pathologists in the Defense of Wrongful Death Cases,” The Voice, Defense Research Institute, July 16, 2014
  • Presenter, “The Evolving Field of Concussion Litigation and the Impact on Consumer Product Litigation — Manufacturers and Insurers Beware,” American Conference Institute Consumer Products Regulation and Litigation Conference, Chicago, June 12, 2014
  • Presenter, “The Defense Attorney at the Fire/Explosion Scene,” Propane Gas Defense Association, April 2013
  • Presenter, “Presenting Expert Opinions in Court: Educating Average Jurors,” Chicago Bar Association, June 2011
  • Presenter, “Don’t Cross Me — Successful Techniques and Considerations for Deposing Plaintiff’s Experts in Fire/Explosion Cases,” DRI Fire and Casualty Seminar, November 2010