Each month, we like to feature one of our attorneys to help you get to know our team better. We sat down with the Manager of the Asbestos Resolution Team, Maura Kolb, to talk about her background in the legal field and what she is currently working on.
What led you to a legal career?
In a high school class called “Street Law”, I was chosen to be a defense attorney in a mock murder trial. In the years that followed I started to seriously consider going to law school. I minored in Criminal Justice and always thought I would work in criminal law, perhaps as a public defender to start my career. Then, as my final semester in law school approached, I was given the opportunity to work for a top-notch plaintiff law firm headed by John O’Quinn. It did not take long to realize that plaintiff law was my calling. I understand that it is cliché, but righting wrongs gives my life a purpose. It is not just a job.
What has been your most interesting or memorable case and why?
I have been lucky in that I have worked on several very memorable litigations. The individual case I remember most was representing a safety syringe manufacturer, Retractable Technologies. I was a young lawyer, and it was the first big case that I saw from beginning to end. Our goal was not only to get compensation for this company that had been systematically blocked from the hospital market, but also to make sure the incredible safety products it manufactured were available in hospitals going forward. We had a very good result in the case, but I learned the hard truth when fighting big companies, you often must keep fighting. Even after you think you have won. To this day, the company continues to have to fight to sell its products in hospitals.
The Vioxx litigation against Merck is the most memorable of my career. This drug was promoted in ads on television and print and through doctors’ offices without any mention of its very real risks, especially to its target market. I worked for years on these cases and was part of Mark Lanier’s trial team that successfully tried three cases to verdict. In turn, those verdicts were a driving force in the $4.85 billion global settlement that compensated thousands of victims. Spending years on one litigation with that type of result for so many people is not something you ever forget.
What litigation are you currently working on?
I am working on asbestos litigation, managing cases for clients who have been injured and, in most cases, died as a result of their exposure. The importance of holding companies accountable for their bad acts cannot be overstated. At the Lanier Law Firm, we represent so many people who were unwittingly exposed to very dangerous products. We work every day to get clients justice.
What are one or two things about you that most people don’t know?
Something people may not know about me is that my love of technology (such as the Apple watch, MyZone belt, and various fitness apps) has led me to embrace the health benefits of running. Because of all the data collected by my various devices, I can constantly set and reach new goals, and track my training for things like my half marathon run program. Something else that may surprise people is my first career choice to play professional basketball. Good thing I had a backup plan!