Russell W. Budd is a driving force in the world of plaintiff’s attorneys, having devoted his entire career to championing the rights of people and communities harmed by corporate malfeasance. Budd currently presides over one of the nation’s largest plaintiffs’ firms, Baron & Budd, headquartered in Dallas, Texas, with offices in Los Angeles, California; San Diego, California; Baton Rouge, Louisiana; New Orleans, Louisiana; and Washington, D.C.
Budd, a shareholder of Baron & Budd since 1985 and president and managing shareholder since 2002, has expanded the firm from its cornerstone asbestos practice into the areas of pharmaceutical litigation, environmental law, qui tam, and consumer class action litigation. Baron & Budd represents hundreds of public entities in pharmaceutical litigation, consumer litigation, and water contamination cases and currently represents over 700 political subdivisions and 9 states in litigation against the manufacturers, distributors and dispensers of opioids.
Over the past two decades, Budd has played significant roles in asbestos litigation on a national level. As chair and member of several asbestos creditors’ bankruptcy committees, Budd has successfully resolved more than 100,000 victims’ claims with some of Wall Street’s biggest companies. Budd was the chief negotiator of a $4 billion national settlement with Halliburton that established a trust fund to protect present and future asbestos victims throughout the United States – the largest asbestos trust fund of its kind anywhere in the world. He was also on the committee that negotiated a $3.9 billion settlement with United States Gypsum to benefit future asbestos claimants and has participated in negotiations that led W.R. Grace to fund a bankruptcy trust for asbestos claimants with nearly $3 billion in cash and stock equity.
Budd has also been instrumental in conducting national negotiations for non-asbestos claims. Most recently, Budd was appointed by the Honorable Dan Aaron Polster (ND Ohio) to the Plaintiffs’ settlement negotiating team for In re National Prescription Opiate Litigation, MDL 2804 which has negotiated a proposed $26 billion settlement with three distributors and one manufacturer. This ongoing litigation is squarely focused on providing abatement and relief to states, cities, counties and municipalities nationwide combatting the opioid addiction crisis. Budd was a chief negotiator for the 2012 settlement with JPMorgan Chase in In Re Checking Account Overdraft Litigation, which resulted in $110 million in cash and more than $100 million in business practice changes benefiting Chase customers. Budd was a leader in the Overdraft litigation which led to the 2011 settlement of $410 million with Bank of America. Budd was one of the negotiators of a $177 million settlement for litigation brought on behalf of seven states’ attorneys general against GlaxoSmithKline regarding its fraudulent marketing of the diabetes drug Avandia. Budd was a key negotiator of settlements totaling more than $43 million for the states of West Virginia, Mississippi and Hawaii regarding certain financial institutions and credit card companies’ fraudulent marketing of payment protection plans.
Under Budd’s direction, Baron & Budd has frequently contributed resources and finances to a number of worthwhile nonprofit organizations, including a $3 million contribution to the International Mesothelioma Program at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization in addition to other contributions to the Lung Cancer Alliance, the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN), Attorneys Serving the Community (a Dallas-Ft. Worth area women’s attorney group), Genesis Women’s Shelter and the Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center. Budd previously served on the Foundation Board of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN).
Budd serves on the Board of Governors of the American Association for Justice (AAJ) and previously served on the Board of Directors and Executive Committee of the Texas Trial Lawyers Association (TTLA).
In 2010, Budd was awarded the prestigious Harry M. Philo Award Trial Lawyer of the Year Award from the American Association for Justice at the organization’s annual conference in Vancouver, B.C. The award was presented in recognition of his dedicated and consistent leadership in protecting the rights of individuals through the civil justice system. In 2007, he earned the Wiedemann Wysocki National Finance Council Award from AAJ, an award honoring attorneys for their commitment to the legal profession and their efforts to improve the civil justice system.
Under Budd’s leadership, Baron & Budd has garnered significant national recognition for cutting-edge litigation and settlements. Budd was selected by Lawdragon to its 2021 Lawdragon 500 Leading Lawyers in America, and he has been selected to The Best Lawyers in America every year since 2014. The firm’s Environmental Litigation group was named one of Law360’s 2020 Practice Groups of the Year for negotiating more than $1 billion in settlements with Pacific Gas & Electric for municipalities and individuals over wildfire damage in California, and with Bayer AG over water pollution caused by polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).
The firm has been named by the National Law Journal to its “Hot List” of exemplary plaintiffs’ firms in the United States eight times and was also named in 2014 to the list of America’s Elite Trial Lawyers by The National Law Journal, which recognized fifty law firms achieving significant results for clients within the previous year with an established track record. In 2012, Attorneys Serving the Community (ASC) honored Baron & Budd with the organization’s inaugural “Friend of the Community” award for the firm’s long-standing history of charitable donations to ASC. Baron & Budd has also been selected as a finalist for the Public Justice Foundation’s “Trial Lawyer of the Year” award four times – most recently in 2013 – and was awarded the honor in 2006 for its work on a decades-long case fighting water contamination in Tucson, Arizona. Budd, along with Baron & Budd colleagues and co-counsel from other firms nationwide, was named a finalist for the 2012 Public Justice award for work on In Re Checking Account Overdraft Litigation.
Mr. Budd and his wife, Dorothy Budd, are very involved in the community and one of the causes closest to his heart is Habitat for Humanity, which gives hardworking Dallas families a chance at first-time homeownership. He has personally contributed generously to the “Building on Faith” project, a collaborative initiative between the Dallas Faith Communities Coalition (DFCC), the City of Dallas, and Habitat for Humanity to build 100 affordable single-family homes in West Dallas. In addition, Mr. Budd has donated land to the City of Dallas that enabled the completion of a massive bike and hike trail.
In 2014, Mr. and Mrs. Budd donated $2.5 million to Southern Methodist University in Dallas to endow The Budd Center for Involving Communities in Education. The Center is a radical concept that works closely with numerous non-profit organizations to help children exit poverty through education. Though the program is initially focused on West Dallas, the program hopes to create a template for the nation in promoting truly substantial change. In addition to his involvement in The Budd Center, Mr. Budd serves on the Executive Board of the Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development at Southern Methodist University.
In 2017, Mr. and Mrs. Budd endowed $3 million to the University of Texas School of Law to create The Budd Innocence Center, with the goal of improving the criminal justice system by helping prevent injustice and protecting the innocent. The Center sponsors events to highlight issues related to wrongful convictions, and as its main project, supports the education of law school students through the Actual Innocence Clinic. Clinic students and experienced faculty work together to provide legal assistance to prisoners with claims that they are innocent of the crimes for which they were convicted. Clinic students typically screen and investigate claims, interview witnesses, review transcripts, prepare motions and pleadings, and conduct factual and legal research.
- Speaker, “Multidistrict Litigation in Texas,” Texas Bar Association’s 28th Annual Advanced Civil Trial Course, September 28, 2005.
- Panelist, “Anatomy of a Successful Asbestos Bankruptcy,” Mealey’s Asbestos Bankruptcy Conference, June 10, 2005.
- Speaker, Andrews’ Asbestos Litigation 2005 Conference, April 28, 2005.
- Panelist, “Overview of 2004 and Anticipating 2005 on State and Federal Legislation Front,” Mealey’s Asbestos Bankruptcy Conference, December 6, 2004.
- Co-Chair, “Wall Street Forum: Asbestos,” Mealey Publications & Conferences Group, April 20, 2004.
- Panelist, “Critical Issues in Mass Tort Litigation,” Law.com, April 9, 2003.
- Owens-Corning Fiberglas Corp. v. Malone, 972 S.W.2d 35 (Tex. 1998).
- Pace v. Armstrong World Industries, Inc., 578 So.2d 281 (Ala. 1991).
- McCleary v. Armstrong World Industries, Inc., 913 F.2d 257 (5th Cir. 1990).
- Dow Chemical Co. v. Alfaro, 786 S.W.2d 674 (Tex. 1990) cert. denied, 498 U.S. 1024 (1991).
- Brisboy v. Fibreboard Corp., 418 N.W.2d 650 (Mich. 1988).
- Gibson v. Armstrong World Industries, Inc., 648 F.Supp. 1538 (D. Colo. 1986).
- Larson v. Johns-Manville Sales Corp., 427 Mich. 301, 399 N.W.2d 1 (Mich. 1986).
- Ridling v. Armstrong World Indus., et al., 627 F.Supp. 1057 (S.D. Ala. 1986).
- Pittsburgh Corning Corp. v. Thomas, 668 S.W.2d 876 (Tex. App. Houston [14th Dist.] 1984, no writ).
- Myers v. John-Manville Sales Corp., 600 F. Supp. 977 (D.Nev. 1984).
- Privitt v. City of Irving, 666 S.W. 2d 541 (Tex. App. Corpus Christi 1983, writ ref’d n.r.e.).
- Oliver D. Smith & Peggy Ann Bowen Smith v. Crane Co. et al., No. 06CV1393 (122nd Jud. Dist. Ct., Galveston County, Texas).
- Martin, et al. v. Owens-Corning Fibreglas Corp., No. 91-08017-H (160th Jud. Dist. Ct., Dallas County, Texas).
- Stone v. Owens-Corning Fibreglas Corp., No. 92-16996A (201st Jud. Dist. Ct., Travis County, Texas).
- Hurley, et al. v. Owens Corning Fiberglas Corp., No. 92-09252-A (200th Jud. Dist. Ct., Travis County, Texas).
- Wasiak, et al. v. Owens Corning Fibreglas Corp., No. 92-02238-A (200th Jud. Dist. Ct., Travis County, Texas).
- Mason, et al. v. Keene Corp., No. 88-9327-A, 88-11246-A, 89-09636-A, (14th Jud. Dist. Ct., Dallas, County, Texas).
- Yeager, et al. v. Keene Corp. and Owens Illinois, Inc., No. 88-11287-G (134th Jud. Dist. Ct., Dallas County, Texas).
- consolidated with Sigler, et al. v. Keene Corp., No. 89-04989-G (134th Jud. Dist. Ct., Dallas County, Texas).
- Gardner v. Keene Corp., No. 89-10242-H (160th Jud. Dist. Ct., Dallas County, Texas).
- consolidated with Sykes, et al. v. Keene Corp., No. 89-10326-H (160th Jud. Dist. Ct., Dallas County, Texas).
Asbestos Creditors’ Bankruptcy Committees
Bankrupt Entities with Confirmed Plans
- Armstrong World Industries – Trust Advisory Committee
- ACMC – Trust Advisory Committee
- Babcock & Wilcox – Trust Advisory Committee
- Combustion Engineering – Trust Advisory Committee
- Fuller Austin – Trust Advisory Committee – Chair
- Johns Manville – Selected Counsel for the Beneficiaries
- JT Thorpe Co. (TX) – Trust Advisory Committee
- Owens Corning/Fibreboard – Trust Advisory Committee
- Swan Transportation – Trust Advisory Committee – Chair
- USG – Trust Advisory Committee
Bankrupt Entities without Confirmed Plans
- ASARCO – Asbestos Creditors Committee
- Federal Mogul – Asbestos Creditors Committee
- G-I Holdings – Asbestos Creditors Committee
- NARCO – Asbestos Creditors Committee
- Pittsburgh Corning Corporation – Asbestos Creditors Committee
- WR Grace – Asbestos Creditors Committee – Co-Chair
University of Texas (J.D. 1979)
Trinity University (B.A., cum laude, 1976)
Bar & Court Admissions
United States Supreme Court
United States Courts of Appeals for the Fifth, Ninth, and Eleventh Circuits
United States District Courts for the Northern and Western Districts of Texas
Harry M. Philo Award Trial Lawyer of the Year Award (American Association for Justice, 2010)
Wiedemann Wysocki National Finance Council Award (American Association for Justice, 2007)
Texas Super Lawyers (Thomson Reuters, 2003-2022)
Top Ten Texas Super Lawyers (Thomson Reuters, 2006)
The Best Lawyers in America – Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions & Personal Injury Litigation (Best Lawyers, 2014-2022)
Lawyer of the Year – Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions (Best Lawyers 2015, 2017)
Top 100 Civil Plaintiff Trial Lawyers (National Trial Lawyers, 2017)
American Bar Association
American Board of Trial Advocates
Association of Trial Lawyers of America
Dallas Bar Foundation – Life Fellow
Dallas Trial Lawyers Association
Texas Trial Lawyers Association
Trial Lawyers for Public Justice
Trial Lawyers Care, Inc.