KARA McCALL focuses her practice on the defense of companies in class action litigation, product liability and mass torts, toxic torts, and commercial litigation and disputes matters. Most recently, her practice has focused on the defense of foods, beverages, nutritional supplements and construction products in class action litigation arising out of alleged mislabeling or other deceptive trade practices. She is also experienced in defending companies facing personal injury, wrongful death and property damage lawsuits arising out of fires, explosions, train derailments and other crises. She is also actively involved in the representation of life sciences companies including pharmaceutical drugs and medical devices, and has successfully participated in the defense of pharmaceutical manufacturing companies in class actions and multi-district proceedings. She has also helped companies deal with “battle of the form” issues and other contractual issues relating to indemnity, warranties and limitations on liability or damages.
Recent examples of this representation include:
- Counsel for a contract sterilizer of medical devices in ongoing toxic tort litigation in the Circuit Court of Cook County as well as in Georgia. Plaintiffs claim that exposure to a chemical used by the sterilizer led them to develop cancer and other injuries.
- Counsel for a cosmetics company in a putative class action alleging false advertising and improper drug classification. The United States District Court stayed the claim 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.
- Counsel for the defendant in five consumer fraud class actions based on allegations that a dietary supplement did not provide the claimed benefits.
- Counsel for a major pharmaceutical and consumer health company in class action lawsuits involving probiotic dietary supplements, based on allegations that the supplement did not provide the claimed digestive and immunity health benefits.
- Counsel for a construction products company in class action lawsuits involving roofing shingles, based on allegations that the shingles do not perform as advertised, leading to property damage.
- Counsel for a beverage company defending wrongful death lawsuits arising out of the alleged misbranding of an alcohol product.
- Counsel for a tank car manufacturer in litigation arising out of a train derailment that resulted in significant death and property damage.
- Counsel for a chemical company defending wrongful death, personal injury, and property damage litigation arising out of dust explosions resulting from misuse of the chemical in manufacturing processes.
- Counsel for a chemical company defending against premises liability claims resulting from injuries to truck drivers delivering or loading chemicals.
Clients often come to Kara with their most important products liability, mass tort, and toxic tort class actions, as well as personal injury, wrongful death, and property damage arising out of fires, explosions, or chemical exposure. Kara works closely with a multidisciplinary crisis management team to quickly and effectively address issues arising out of recalls, natural disasters, equipment failure and environmental leaks and spills. She works closely with regulatory lawyers at Sidley to harness our knowledge of the regulatory and litigation issues facing manufacturers of regulated products like foods, beverages and supplements. Kara has also developed experience in the various state consumer protection statutes, having handled class action consumer fraud cases pending all over the country.
Kara is instrumental in the development of discovery plans and protocols to minimize discovery prior to the class certification phase, and has successfully defeated class certification in state and federal courts. Kara has also handled class action arbitration proceedings, and has briefed issues of first impression regarding the appropriateness of class actions in the context of American Arbitration Association proceedings. Where settlement is appropriate, Kara has helped her clients negotiate nationwide class action settlements that have been approved by federal courts.
Kara’s leadership and relationships with her clients have earned her recognition by Chambers USA, Who’s Who Legal, Law360, the National Law Journal, The Legal 500 and BTI Consulting. Her product liability work was selected by the Daily Journal as a “Top Defense Result” in its 2020 “Top Verdicts” feature. Chambers USA 2021 ranked Kara for Product Liability: Consumer Class Actions – Nationwide, with clients noting that “Kara is outstanding” and “responsive and technically sound.” In addition, Kara has been repeatedly recognized in Who’s Who Legal: Product Liability Defence and Who’s Who Legal: Life Sciences - Product Liability, most recently in 2022. In 2016, Chicago Lawyer selected Kara for their 40 Under Forty listing. Law360 named Kara as a Rising Star in the publication’s 2013 annual list of the top lawyers nationwide under 40, one of only five products liability lawyers named. Additionally, the National Law Journal named Kara a rising star in Chicago’s 40 Under 40 Special Report and shares clients comments that she is “a calm, tough, creative problem solver. She gets results for us. We’ve been working together for four years on a products liability class action in addition to other products liability issues…[McCall] consistently stakes out defensible positions and is very persuasive in her advocacy with the court, our opposition and internal stakeholders.” Kara has also been recognized by The Legal 500 US 2010–2017. She is currently recommended in Product liability and mass tort defense: automotive/transport as well as in the consumer products categories. She is described as “an unusually skilled writer and an engaging advocate.” In the same publication, in connection with the defense of consumer product companies, she was noted to have “extensive litigation experience” and recommended as “actively involved in consumer fraud cases.” She was also lauded for being a “very smart lawyer” and, along with group head Mike Davis praised for “tak[ing] on their clients’ problems as their own” in the pharmaceutical and medical device defense category. Kara was also named a 2014 “Client Service All Star” by BTI Consulting Group.
Kara joined the firm in 2001 after having served as a law clerk for the Honorable Diane P. Wood of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. She earned her law degree from the University of Chicago Law School, where she graduated Order of the Coif and served on Law Review. She graduated summa cum laude from Butler University.