Farrell & Farrell, L.C. was formed in 1995 when Mike Farrell, Paul Farrell and Tammy White joined together to create a boutique litigation firm which specialized in high risk and complex litigation.
At the time, Paul was completing his term as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of West Virginia. In that capacity, he managed the acclaimed Drug Task Force, for which his office received national recognition. Mike and Tammy had practiced together at another Huntington, West Virginia firm, Jenkins, Fenstermaker, Kreiger, Kayes, Farrell & Agee, where Mike had been Chief of the Litigation Section since 1979. Tammy, a nurse and former hospital administrator, collaborated with Mike in defending medical malpractice and product liability claims. Tammy had graduated Phi Beta Kappa and was awarded Order of the Coif.
In its first months, the Firm was consumed with the defense of a major pharmaceutical product liability claim in the United States District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia, which involved Bayer Aspirin. The successful resolution of that litigation was the springboard to a stream of pharmaceutical product liability defenses in West Virginia for Bayer and many other pharmaceutical clients.
The original concept of a boutique litigation firm became unrealistic with the increasing demand for representation. West Virginia became a magnet for mass litigation, including Fen-Phen actions, hearing loss cases and other drug product claims. The Firm was appointed defense liaison counsel for one of the defendant classes early in the Fen-Phen litigation, launching a long and successful practice in the Mass Litigation Panel (“MLP”) arena, which remains one of the Firm’s strengths today.
Firm growth was marked by the recruitment of the third Farrell brother, Joe. He had been a partner in the firm of Hunt, Lees, Farrell & Kessler, where his practice concentrated on plaintiffs' personal injury claims and criminal law. He answered the call to join his brothers’ growing practice in 1996, assumed the role of defense counsel. The Firm was renamed Farrell, Farrell & Farrell, L.C and later Farrell, Farrell & Farrell, PLLC.
Erik Legg, a West Virginia University College of Law graduate, joined the firm as an Associate in May 2000 as a lateral hire, having worked for two (2) years at another West Virginia defense firm. He quickly distinguished himself in the Baycol litigation, which involves a series of mass litigation cases filed in West Virginia's state and federal courts. He also has extensive experience in medical malpractice and employment law litigation. Erik became a Member in 2007.
In 2011, Governor Earl Ray Tomblin appointed Paul to serve as a Circuit Judge for the Sixth Judicial Circuit. Judge Farrell is one of four Circuit Court Judges who has general jurisdiction. The Firm was renamed Farrell, White & Legg PLLC (“FWL”). Today, the six members are Mike, Joe, Tammy, Erik, Bernard and Megan.
Bernard S. Vallejos, a distinguished graduate of the University of Notre Dame and Boston University School of Law, became an Associate at the Firm in 2005. Bernard's practice focused on client-advisory matters and defense litigation. Bernard became a Member in 2013.
Megan Farrell Woodyard, a West Virginia University College of Law graduate, became an Associate in August 2009. Megan's practice includes pharmaceutical, medical and product liability cases with emphasis on complex, mass litigation and class action matters. Megan became a Member in 2017.
Because of its growth, the Firm has been able to provide representation to its clients involved in class actions and mass litigations pending in West Virginia, including Fen-Phen, Rezulin, Oxycontin, Baycol, hearing loss, tobacco price-fixing/antitrust, chemical spill, flood-damage and float sink (Perchloroethylene) cases. These experiences with the West Virginia Mass Litigation Panel, statewide class actions and federal multi-district litigation establish FWL as the preeminent defense counsel in West Virginia for complex mass litigation.
The Firm's products liability practice is intertwined with its health care and medical malpractice defense practices. To meet the medical issues which arise, FWL is staffed with a cadre of experienced litigators and nurse paralegals who can dissect voluminous and complex medical records and identify the facts which will support both standard of care and causation defenses for its clients. Years of trying medical malpractice cases on a statewide basis has honed the medical detective skills of the FWL team.
West Virginia and Kentucky are coal states and mine-related litigation has been a central focus for the Firm throughout its existence. FWL is proud of its role as General Counsel for J.H. Fletcher & Co., the world's leading designer and manufacturer of roof bolting equipment. It successfully represented a client in the Sago Mine Disaster cases.
As proud as the Firm is of its attorneys' successes in the courtroom, it is equally proud of the counseling it is able to provide clients to keep them out of the courtroom. The cost of litigation for individuals and corporations can be far more than merely attorneys' fees and court costs. Risk management general advisory for clients is a cornerstone of FWL's practice. The Firm also assumes a proactive role educating professionals and non-professionals about evolving aspects of the law and how to navigate through the complexities of state and federal regulations. FWL attorneys regularly make presentations and publish articles regarding changes in the law and defense practice as part of meeting their professional responsibility to their colleagues, the courts and clients.
For years, Martindale-Hubbell has consistently listed the Firm in its Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers in recognition of FWL's adherence to the highest professional legal and ethical standards. Similarly, for several years Mike, as founding and managing Member, has been recognized by his peers through his selection to the American College of Trial Lawyers and The Best Lawyers in America. In 2003, Tammy received the honor of being elected to the International Association of Defense Counsel, an honor not previously given to any female lawyer in West Virginia. Most of the members have been recognized by The Best Lawyer's in America. Three of the named partners are members of the International Association of Defense Counsel. These accolades have served to inspire FWL's young lawyers to continue pursuing the ideals of the Firm's Mission and provide the best representation they can to the Firm's clients.