Leigh O'DellPrincipal | Medical Devices and Drugs
Leigh O’Dell practices in our Mass Torts section. Currently, her focus is on product liability actions involving talcum powder, transvaginal mesh and Gardasil.
Leigh was recently selected to serve as Co-Lead Counsel for consolidated Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) in New Jersey federal court concerning talcum powder’s link to ovarian cancer. It is estimated that 14,000 women die from talc-related ovarian cancer each year. One medical expert calculates that this use of talcum powder leads to nearly 10 percent of the new ovarian cancer cases reported annually. The lawsuits allege defendant Johnson & Johnson is liable for personal injuries or wrongful deaths that resulted from ovarian or uterine cancer in women who used the company’s talc products for feminine hygiene. More than 70 cases are pending in the MDL.
Transvaginal mesh is used to repair conditions such as pelvic organ prolapse (POP) and stress urinary incontinence (SUI). The mesh is implanted through the vagina and is used to shore up pelvic organs that have become displaced due to age, childbirth, hysterectomy or obesity. According to the FDA, reported complications from of the transvaginal placement of the mesh include erosion of the mesh into the vaginal tissue, organ perforation, pain, infection, painful intercourse and urinary and fecal incontinence. Often women require surgery to remove the mesh. In some cases, this can require multiple procedures without successful removing all of the mesh. Currently, Leigh is investigating cases involving mesh manufactured by American Medical Systems, Bard, Boston Scientific, Caldera, and Johnson & Johnson.
The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation granted motions to create consolidated MDLs against seven transvaginal mesh manufacturers: Boston Scientific Corp., C.R. Bard, Coloplast, Cook Medical, and Johnson & Johnson, and Neomedic International under Chief Judge Joseph R. Goodwin in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia. Judge Goodwin appointed Leigh as a member of the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee for these MDLs.
Gardasil is a vaccine manufactured and marketed by Merck & Co. Inc. for the prevention of cervical cancer. The vaccine targets four types of human papillomavirus (HPV), a sexually transmitted virus linked to the development of cervical cancer. However, since Gardasil’s introduction in 2006, the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) has received more than 20,000 reports of adverse side effects reportedly related to Gardasil. These reports include serious adverse side effects including Guillain Barŕe, lupus, seizures, rheumatoid arthritis, and multiple sclerosis, among others. There also have been 92 reported deaths among girls who received the vaccine.
Prior to her involvement with Gardasil and transvaginal mesh litigation, Leigh devoted more than six years to the Vioxx litigation. She was a member of the trial team for five of the 17 bellwether trials that took place throughout the country. Leigh also served on various MDL committees, including the law and briefing, trial package and settlement liaison committees.
Leigh began practice at Beasley Allen in 1994. In 1998, she left the firm for full-time ministry, first with Focus on the Family as Director of Women’s Ministries and then six years with Anne Graham Lotz as Director of Revivals. These years of working with God’s people around the world gave Leigh not only the opportunity to witness thousands of lives changed for God’s glory, but to grow in her love for Jesus as she walked by faith through many challenging and stretching situations. Her years of “adventuring” with the Lord in vocational ministry have been transformational as she continues to serve Him in law practice. Leigh returned to the firm in 2005 to join the Vioxx litigation team.
Leigh earned a degree in Accounting from Auburn University in 1990. She graduated from law school at the University of Alabama School of Law, in 1993. While in law school, Leigh served as Managing Editor of the Alabama Law Review and received the Dallas Sands Outstanding Senior Award. Following law school, Leigh had the honor of serving as a law clerk for the late Honorable Ira DeMent, United States District Judge for the Middle District of Alabama.
She is a member of the Alabama State Bar, where she is a member of the Federal Court Practice Section; Alabama Association for Justice, Alabama Law Foundation, Montgomery County Trial Lawyers Association, American Bar Association, Christian Legal Society and the Federal Bar Association. Leigh also is a member of the American Association for Justice and serves on the AAJ Transvaginal Mesh Litigation Group.
Leigh was selected for inclusion on the Best Lawyers in America list. In 2013, Leigh was selected as Beasley Allen's Mass Torts Section Lawyer of the Year. In 2014, Leigh was named Beasley Allen Litigator of the Year. The Litigator of the Year award is presented to the attorney or attorneys who demonstrate exceptional professional skill throughout the course of the year. In 2015, Leigh was selected as the recipient of the Chad Stewart Award. This honor was created in memory of Beasley Allen lawyer Chad Stewart, who passed away unexpectedly in April at the very young age of 41. In addition to being a dedicated lawyer who worked hard for his clients, Chad truly modeled Christ in his daily walk. The Chad Stewart Award was created to recognize an attorney who best exemplified Chad’s spirit of service to God, his family and the practice of law in the service of “helping those who need it most.”
Leigh is originally from Prattville, Alabama. The daughter of the late Billy O'Dell and Beverly O'Dell Malone, Leigh enjoys spending time with her large family, reading, tennis, as well as participating in other sporting activities.
- Alabama (1993)
- United State District Court for the Middle District of Alabama (1994)
- United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit (1995)
- Alabama State Bar (Federal Court Practice Section)
- Alabama Association for Justice
- Alabama Law Foundation
- Montgomery County Trial Lawyers Association
- American Bar Association
- Christian Legal Society
- Federal Bar Association
- American Association for Justice (Transvaginal Mesh Litigation Group)
- Best Lawyers
- Beasley Allen Mass Torts Section Lawyer of the year (2013)
- Beasley Allen Litigator of the year (2014)
- Chad Stewart Award (2015)
- University Alabama School of Law (J.D. 1993)
- Auburn University (B.S. 1990)
- Leigh O’Dell talks about Beasley Allen Law Firm’s mission
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- Transvaginal mesh implants may lead to serious, life-threatening injuries
- Leigh O'Dell discusses Transvaginal Mesh and other defective medical devices
- Transvaginal Mesh complications discussed by Beasley Allen lawyer Leigh O'Dell
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- Leigh ODell on Gardasil
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