ELIZABETH CHIARELLO is a partner in the firm’s Chicago office, focusing on the defense of companies in class action, products liability, mass tort and other complex litigation matters. Beth has successfully defended class actions and products liability cases on behalf of Fortune 500 companies in a variety of industries, including clients in the electronics, financial services, transportation, cosmetics, food, nutritional supplements, pharmaceutical, and medical device industries. Beth has extensive experience with multi-district litigation and has served as national coordinating counsel in a variety of putative nationwide class actions filed in federal and state courts across the country.
Beth has trial experience, having given opening statements and conducted direct and cross-examination of witnesses, as well as voir dire. She has extensive experience at all stages of class and products liability litigation, including motions to dismiss, summary judgment, all facets of discovery (including international discovery issues), working with class and merits experts, Daubert motions, motions for class certification, and interlocutory and other appeals. Beth frequently advises and advocates on behalf of clients in matters related to the governance, preservation and discovery of electronically stored information and is a member of Sidley’s Electronic Discovery Task Force. Beth has also helped her clients negotiate nationwide class action settlements, and has successfully defended contested and uncontested class action settlements in state and federal courts.
Beth is a frequent speaker at a number of acclaimed conferences, including ACI’s Annual Legal, Regulatory and Compliance Forum on Cosmetics and Personal Care Products; Grocery Manufacturer’s Association Legal Conference, ABA Food and Supplements Conference, and Momentum’s Food and Beverage Conference. She has given webinars to the Association for Corporate Counsel, the Natural Products Association and the Council for Responsible Nutrition.
Beth has received numerous accolades in response to the high quality of her work. The Legal 500 US recommended Beth in the categories of Product Liability and Mass Tort defense: Automotive/Transport, as well as in Consumer Products (2015). In 2016, she was selected by the Lawyers for Civil Justice (LCJ) to receive the inaugural “Outstanding Contributor” award for her volunteer advocacy efforts on behalf of LCJ’s membership. She is currently a member of Law360’s Editorial Advisory Board for Products Liability and has served for two years as the co-chair of the Consumer Products Subcommittee of the ABA. In addition, Law Bulletin’s Leading Lawyers recognized Beth as one of their Leading & Emerging Women Lawyers in Class Action/Mass Tort Defense Law and Products Liability Defense Law (2018).
Representative matters have included the defense of:
- Putative class actions brought by multiple plaintiffs’ firms and nearly three dozen plaintiffs alleging that aloe vera gels sold by some of the nation’s largest retailers do not contain detectable aloe vera. The Northern District of Illinois granted summary judgment in the clients’ favor and denied as moot plaintiffs’ motion for class certification.
- A roofing shingle manufacturer in putative class action litigation alleging that, over the course of nearly 30 years, the company sold millions of defective roof shingles and misrepresented the shingles’ expected useful life. After eight years of litigation, the court denied certification of a class of shingle purchasers in a 185-page opinion, siding with the manufacturer on each of its arguments under Rule 23. On March 19, 2018, the Third Circuit affirmed the decision denying class certification.
- A cosmetics company in a putative class action alleging false advertising and improper drug classification. The United States District Court agreed with the cosmetic company that FDA had primary jurisdiction and instituted a unique reporting requirement, ordering the plaintiff to report back if she decides to pursue the FDA’s drug classification process. The court further held that the plaintiff did not sufficiently allege false representation, but allowed her to seek leave to replead a single count. The FDA did not agree with Plaintiff, and the District Court ultimately dismissed the case.
- Multiple putative consumer fraud class actions alleging that probiotics were falsely labeled and advertised. In 2017 and 2012, separate courts granted summary judgment in Beth’s client’s favor in the various sets of cases.
- A company that removed a case to federal court, arguing a forum defendant was fraudulently joined. Creating new law in the Seventh Circuit, the District Court agreed that the fraudulent joinder doctrine applies to forum defendants, and that removal was proper. Having concluded that it retained jurisdiction, the District Court then granted the Defendants’ motion because personal jurisdiction was lacking and for failure to state a claim.
- A pharmaceutical manufacturer in class action and products liability litigation in which plaintiffs alleged that a fertility medicine was subpotent because the company conducted a Class III recall.
- Putative class actions alleging that aloe vera gels sold by some of the nation’s largest retailers do not contain detectable aloe vera.
- A putative class action alleging that OTC drug products expired longer than advertised, thereby requiring the consumer to “waste” product. In 2013, the District Court granted Defendants’ motion to strike the class allegations, and the Plaintiff decided to voluntarily dismiss.
- Putative class actions challenging representation that calcium supplement used “slow release” technology to dispense calcium. This case was dismissed on the pleadings.
- Putative class actions challenging a national chicken franchise’s promotion on the Oprah Winfrey show.
- Putative class actions challenging allegations that chicken was “raised without antibiotics.”
Beth clerked for United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit from 2005 to 2007.
Admissions & Certifications
- U.S. Court of Appeals, 3rd Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals, 7th Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals, 8th Circuit
- U.S. District Court, N.D. of Illinois - General
- University of Iowa College of Law, J.D., 2005 (with high distinction, Order of the Coif)
- University of Iowa, B.A., 2002 (with honors, with highest distinction)
- U.S. Court of Appeals, 7th Circuit (2005 - 2007)