Cozen O’Connor: Flax, Jillian Thornton

Jillian Thornton Flax

Member

Philadelphia

(215) 665-2034

(215) 665-2013

Jillian is an experienced litigator who focuses her practice on products liability prevention and defense and commercial litigation matters. She successfully represents clients in the home safety product, medical device, transportation safety product, consumer goods, and retail industries. She serves as national coordinating and trial counsel for a consumer safety product manufacturer and roadside safety product manufacturer in products liability matters throughout the United States. Jillian has significant experience litigating cases in the federal and state courts throughout the United States, where she has achieved results ranging from full defense verdicts to summary judgment dismissals on behalf of her clients.

In addition, Jillian has represented private companies, public companies, and individuals, including banks, insurance companies, and health services providers, in complex commercial litigation cases involving breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and professional malpractice. She has defended clients in shareholder derivative actions, partnership disputes, securities litigation cases, arbitrations, and class action suits.

Based on Jillian’s trial skills, she was selected to serve as an assistant district attorney as part of the Cozen O'Connor Partners Program. In this role, Jillian worked as prosecutor in the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office, effectively handling hundreds of criminal trials and preliminary hearings.

Jillian devotes a substantial amount of time toward pro bono cases. She recently represented a juvenile defendant previously sentenced to life without the possibility of parole in obtaining a new, constitutional sentence. Jillian currently serves as a board member of the Legal Clinic for the Disabled, a nonprofit organization that provides free legal services to low-income, persons with disabilities in the Philadelphia region.

Jillian earned her law degree from Harvard Law School and her undergraduate degree, summa cum laude, from the University of Pittsburgh.

Experience

News

$120M State AG Deal With GM Preludes More State Actions

October 20, 2017

Jillian Thornton Flax, a member in Cozen O'Connor's Commercial Litigation Department, was quoted in Law360's recent article, "$120M State AG Deal With GM Preludes More State Actions."

GM Faces Potential Mountain of New Claims in Ignition MDL

July 14, 2016

Jillian Thornton Flax, a member of Cozen O'Connor's Products Liability practice, discusses the new claims that GM is facing in Law360.

Jillian Thornton Flax Named to Billy Penn’s 2015 “Who’s Next in the Law”

June 18, 2015

Jillian Thornton Flax has been named to Billy Penn’s “Who’s Next in the Law,” a list of 18 young leaders making a difference in Philadelphia’s legal community.

Publications

8th Circuit Reverses to Uphold Successor Liability Defense, Highlighting The Importance of Consistent, Clear Descriptions Of Acquisitions To Avoid the de facto Merger Exception [Products Liability Prevention & Defense Blog]

June 01, 2018

On April 5, the Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit wiped out a jury verdict in a products liability action and $13 million punitive damages award against a manufacturer and its wholly owned subsidiary on the basis that the parent company manufacturer could assert a successor liability defense....

FDA releases draft guidance on expansion of abbreviated 510(k) Program [Products Liability Prevention & Defense Blog]

May 01, 2018

On April 12, the FDA released draft guidance discussing an expansion of its Abbreviated 510(k) program for medical devices. This new guidance would allow a submitter to establish substantial equivalence by demonstrating that a new medical device meets certain performance criteria, rather than by...

Proposed Legislation to Relax Rules on Medical Device Reporting Passes U.S. House [Products Liability Prevention & Defense Blog]

July 17, 2017

On July 13, 2017, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that would triple the amount of time in which medical device manufacturers are required to report certain malfunctions of some products to the Food and Drug Administration.  Companies currently must report product malfunctions within...

The Harbor Might Not Be Safe: Failure To Update Generic Drug Labels Can Invite a Storm of State-Law Claims [Products Liability Prevention & Defense Blog]

August 30, 2016

The New Jersey Supreme Court ruled on August 22 that consumers’ state-law claims that manufacturers of a generic Reglan, a heartburn medication, did not adequately warn about its risks are not preempted by federal law.[1] Under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, manufacturers of brand-name...

New FDA Draft Guidance on Benefit-Risk Factors Affecting Medical Device Compliance, and Enforcement [Products Liability Alert]

August 08, 2016

Abby Sacunas and Jillian Flax discuss the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently released draft guidance to clarify the benefit and risk factors it may consider in compliance and enforcement actions involving medical devices.

New FDA Draft Guidance on Updates to Certain Generic Labeling [Products Liability Prevention & Defense Blog]

July 18, 2016

On July 8, 2016, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration released draft guidance amending the process for manufacturers to update labeling of generic drugs in situations where the reference drug labeling has been withdrawn for reasons other than safety or effectiveness. The FDA generally requires a...

FDA Issues Final Ruling Allowing Medical Device Manufacturers to Use Stand-Alone Symbols on Labels [Products Liability Prevention & Defense Blog]

June 20, 2016

This week, on June 14, 2016, the FDA issued a final ruling revising its medical device and certain biological product labeling regulations to allow, for the first time, manufacturers to use graphical representations of information on its labeling without adjacent explanatory text (known as...

Bellwether Trials: What Manufacturers Can Learn from the GM Ignition Claim MDL [Products Liability Prevention & Defense Blog]

May 02, 2016

As product liability multidistrict litigation becomes more prevalent, it is important for manufacturers to understand how the bellwether trial process works and how to use it to their advantage.  The ongoing bellwether trials in the GM faulty ignition switch MDL have generated a significant amount...

The FDA’s New Guidance on Cybersecurity Risks for Medical Devices [Corporate Counsel]

March 03, 2016

Jillian Thornton Flax and Abby Sacunas, both members of Cozen O'Connor's Products Liability practice, discuss the FDA's new guidance on cybersecurity risks for medical devices in Corporate Counsel.

Roadmap for a Successful Product Inspection [Products Liability Prevention & Defense Blog]

February 22, 2016

One of the tasks manufacturing companies frequently face is having their products inspected and tested as part of the pre-litigation or litigation process.  While this may sound routine, it is important to have a detailed roadmap for conducting a successful inspection. Start Here—Preservation and...

Road Map For A Successful Product Inspection [Law360]

February 22, 2016

Amy Alderfer and Jillian Thornton Flax, both members of Cozen O'Connor's Products Liability practice, discuss a road map for a successful product inspection in Law360.

Preventing the Leak of Embarrassing Information Online [The Legal Intelligencer]

September 17, 2014

In an article published in the Legal Intelligencer, Hayes Hunt, a member of Cozen O’Connor’s Commercial Litigation Department, and Jillian Thornton, an associate in the Commercial Litigation Department, discuss the steps companies should take if compromising information on an employee is stolen and posted online.

The Effects of Social Media on the Workplace [The Legal Intelligencer]

September 26, 2012

The Effects of Social Media on the Workplace - The Legal Intelligencer - Giving your opinion on politics or complaining about the boss via Facebook is so commonplace and rampant that few people probably stop to think about the consequences of their posting.

Predicting the Future of Predictive Coding [The Legal Intelligencer]

June 27, 2012

Predicting the Future of Predictive Coding - The Legal Intelligencer - The article discusses the changing technology employed in case law, more specifically predictive coding, which is being used to run algorithms that allow for computer characterization of a massive set of electronic data for a fraction of the cost of more traditional methods. Hayes Hunt and Jillian Thornton note that the difficulty with implementing processes such as predictive coding is that the methods are so new that they are fairly untested in court.

Third Circuit Sends Mixed Messages on Class Action Settlements [The Legal Intelligencer]

November 30, 2010

Third Circuit Sends Mixed Messages on Class Action Settlements - The Legal Intelligencer - The Third Circuit has issued three decisions, within a three-month span, about class
action settlements. The three cases send different signals about the trial court’s role in reviewing
class action settlements.

The Second Circuit Issues an Important Decision Regarding the Scope of the Bespeaks-Caution Doctrine [Securities and Financial Services Litigation and Securities Regulation Alert!]

September 29, 2010

The Second Circuit Issues an Important Decision Regarding the Scope of the Bespeaks-Caution Doctrine - Securities and Financial Services Litigation and Securities Regulation Alert! - In a recent decision, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit made clear that the bespeaks-caution doctrine applies to forward-looking statements only and not to characterizations that communicate present or historical facts. Any company that makes public statements should take heed. Disclosures about risks will cover forward-looking statements; but where a plaintiff can show that an allegedly false or misleading statement pertains to present or historical facts,

Can Financial Services Companies Be Liable for Third-Party Fraud? The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit Says...Maybe [Litigation Alert!]

March 22, 2010

Can Financial Services Companies Be Liable for Third-Party Fraud? The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit Says...Maybe - Litigation Alert! - Financial services companies, such as investment companies, banks, and brokers, must be alert to potential red flags arising from their customers’ transactions or risk being potentially liable for fraud committed by third parties. The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled that New York law confers a duty on investment companies, banks, and brokers to ensure that the customer transactions they process are properly authorized. In a matter of first impression, the

Education

  • Harvard Law School, J.D., 2008
  • University of Pittsburgh, B.S., summa cum laude, 2005

Awards & Honors

JD Supra’s Readers’ Choice Award Top Authors Medical Device Industry 2017

BillyPenn.com “Who’s Next in the Law: 18 young leaders making a difference in Philly’s legal community”

  • Pennsylvania
  • U.S. District Court -- Eastern District of Pennsylvania

Legal Clinic for the Disabled board member

Pennsylvania Bar Association Commission on Women in the Profession