Holly Werkema is a shareholder in our Dallas office who manages Baron & Budd’s Pharmaceutical Litigation Group, where she represents clients and their families adversely affected by dangerous prescription drugs and defective medical devices. She joined Baron & Budd in 2012 in the firm’s general litigation group, representing homeowners throughout the southeast affected by toxic Chinese drywall installations in their homes. Following the successful resolution of the Chinese drywall cases, Ms. Werkema has represented Baron & Budd’s clients in complex multi-district and consolidated litigations involving Fresenius’ GranuFlo/NaturaLyte dialysis products, DePuy Orthopeadics’ ASR and Pinnacle hip implants, Stryker V-40 hip implants, Biomet Magnum hip implants, Janssen Pharmaceuticals’ Risperdal, Johnson & Johnson’s Power Morcellator, Gilead Science’s tenofovir drugs, and Bayer’s Essure birth control device, to name a few.
Ms. Werkema has always had a passion for bringing justice to people harmed by pharmaceutical companies that market their products as safe when they are not or when they have misrepresented the efficacy and toxicity of their medical commodities. Over the course of her career, Ms. Werkema has worked tirelessly representing clients in complex multi-district litigation involving a number of high-profile pharmaceutical defendants. She is dedicated to obtaining just compensation for the firm’s clients from pharmaceutical corporations that put dangerous drugs and/or devices on the market.
In 2016, Ms. Werkema and the Baron & Budd pharmaceutical litigation team significantly contributed to obtaining a $250 million settlement In Re: Fresenius Granuflo/Naturalyte Dialysis Products Liability Litig. (D. Mass., MDL No. 2428), which involved sudden, fatal heart attacks caused by drugs used to neutralize the buildup of acid in the body during kidney dialysis. Plaintiffs alleged that Fresenius knew the risks to their patients but failed to warn or protect them from heart attacks, sudden cardiac arrests and other serious cardiovascular problems. That same year, she participated in negotiations leading to a successful settlement in In Re: Ethicon, Inc., Power Morcellator Products Liability Litigation (D. Kansas, MDL No. 2652), involving the manufacture of power morcellators, a device used during surgery to remove fibroids or the entire uterus during a hysterectomy which was found to increase the risk of spreading undiagnosed uterine cancer throughout the abdominal cavity.
Since 2016, Holly Werkema has managed the litigation of individual lawsuits and was an instrumental player in bellwether trial preparation against Bayer AG, manufacturer of the Essure permanent birth control device, which has been linked to several serious health complications in women, including device migration, fallopian tube perforation and vaginal bleeding. In 2020, Bayer announced it would pay $1.6 billion to settle 90 percent of the nearly 39,000 U.S. claims.
Ms. Werkema was also deeply involved in complex litigation against Janssen Pharmaceuticals, the manufacturers of the antipsychotic drug Risperdal, which was found to cause breast enlargement in adolescent males. Ms. Werkema and the Baron & Budd team successfully settled hundreds of lawsuits in this matter.
Since 2015, Ms. Werkema has also managed the firm’s cases against DePuy Orthopaedics, Wright Medical, Biomet/Zimmer, Stryker, and Smith & Nephew, which involve injuries caused by design flaws in hip implants. These implants have been linked to serious health problems, including nervous system damage, metal poisoning and infections in thousands of patients. Ms. Werkema has successfully resolved defective hip implant cases on behalf of Baron & Budd clients totaling several million dollars.
Ms. Werkema also manages the firm’s lawsuits against Gilead Sciences, Inc. for failing to warn thousands of HIV/AIDS patients about life-threatening physical harm, kidney problems and bone loss caused by emtricitabine and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate, the active ingredients in Truvada, a pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, drug.
She likewise manages ongoing litigation against Bayer-AG for Monsanto’s manipulation of studies on glyphosate, the active ingredient in its RoundUp weed killer. Plaintiffs allege that Monsanto doctored its research in order to make it seem that the chemical is safe to use, when the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research determined in 2015 that glyphosate was probably cancerous to humans. Litigation is ongoing in this complex action in which plaintiffs assert that Monsanto and Bayer-AG failed to warn consumers of the cancer risks associated with use of its weed killer. Recently Bayer-AG has announced its intention to settle RoundUp claims in the range of ten billion dollars.
Ms. Werkema also manages litigation on behalf of a large group of plaintiffs in cases involving severe and permanent injuries caused by hernia mesh implants. Ms. Werkema routinely navigates the intricate issues which frequently present themselves in complex mass torts. She works closely with other plaintiffs’ attorneys to build consensus and bring a coordinated approach to litigation.
Prior to joining Baron & Budd, Ms. Werkema served the State of Florida Department of Financial Services as an attorney in the Prosecution and Enforcement Litigation Group. There she developed significant litigation skills representing the Department in enforcement proceedings, rule challenge proceedings, property claim denial proceedings and garnishment proceedings.
Florida State University College of Law, (J.D. 2009) Magna Cum Laude
Central Michigan University (B.S. 2004) Cum Laude
Bar & Court Admissions
U.S. District Courts, Middle & Southern District of Florida