Donald F. “Fritz” Zimmer, Jr. is a partner in King & Spalding’s Tort and Environmental Litigation Group and is Managing Partner of the firm’s San Francisco office. His practice is primarily focused on the defense of pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and toxic substances. He also represents clients in environmental, commercial, intellectual property, and employment litigation, along with disputes involving consumer products and industrial equipment. Mr. Zimmer has served as national, regional and trial counsel for a variety of pharmaceutical and other companies in mass tort litigation. He also represents companies in chemical spill and other toxic substance exposure matters. He has been a member of national trial and science teams dating back to the silicone breast implant and fen-phen litigation and more recently in connection with gastrointestinal, antipsychotic, and diabetes medications. Prior to joining the firm in 2008, he was a partner at Drinker Biddle & Reath and was previously a founding partner in Preuss Shanagher Zvoleff & Zimmer LLP.
Fritz was named a “Lawyer of the Year” in 2014 for Product Liability Litigation by Best Lawyers in America, a Northern California “Super Lawyer” for the past several years and rated Tier 2 by Legal 500 in Product Liability and Mass Tort Defense Litigation. Who’s Who Legal selected Fritz as one of the top 10 most highly regarded individuals in the United States for Product Liability Defense in 2015 noting that “peers and clients are effusive, claiming he has an exhaustive knowledge of the market and is peerless in court” and in 2014 observed that he is “counsel of choice for some of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world, and a ‘leading light’ in this field.” He has served as national, regional and trial counsel for a variety of pharmaceutical, environmental, and other products-based companies in mass tort litigation, including for AstraZeneca and Bristol-Myers Squibb, who he currently represents as national counsel in the Onglyza Type 2 diabetes drug litigation. Fritz is a past member of the Board of Directors of the International Association of Defense Counsel (IADC), served as Director of the 2016 IADC Trial Academy at Stanford, and is an active member of the Defense Research Institute (DRI).
He is a member of the Buck Advisory Council (BAC) for The Buck Institute for Research on Aging and is a former Chairman of the Board of the American Diabetes Association’s Golden Gate Chapter. He is a frequent speaker and writer on topics related to product liability and litigation strategy.
- International Association of Defense Counsel (IADC)
- Member, IADC Board of Directors (2007-2010) and former Vice President of IADC Foundation
- Director, 2016 IADC Trial Academy and Faculty Member, 2002 IADC Trial Academy
- Defense Research Institute (DRI)
- Member, DRI Drug & Medical Device Steering Committee
- Member, Buck Advisory Council (BAC); The Buck Institute for Research on Aging
- British Institute of International and Comparative Law (BIICL)
- Past Chairman, Golden Gate Chapter, American Diabetes Association (ADA)
- “Medical Device Litigation – What Really Matters” – Medical Device Summit, Speaker, Washington, DC, October 2016.
- “Pharma Innovation and Litigation Avoidance Strategies” – Pharma U West, Speaker, San Francisco, CA, March 2015.
- “Evaluating Evidence Used for Pharmacovigilance Signal Detection and Legal Causation Assessments”– – ABA Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section – Life Science Legal Summit, Speaker, San Francisco, CA, March 2015.
- “Product Liability Trends and Hot Topics” – Medical Device Summit, Speaker, Palo Alto, CA, September 2014.
- “The Duty to Warn Goes Digital” – DRI Drug & Medical Device Seminar, Speaker, Washington, DC, May 2014.
- “Duty to Warn in a Digital Age” – Pharma U West, Speaker, San Francisco, CA, March 2014.
- “Showing Leadership in a High Profile Case” – IADC International Corporate Counsel College, Speaker, Paris, France, November 2013.
- “View From the Bench: Current Judicial Views on Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Litigation” -- ACI Drug and Medical Device Litigation Conference, Moderator, New York, December 2012
- “Social Media – A Double-Edged Sword in Managing Crises” – IADC International Corporate Counsel College, Speaker, London, England, October 2012.
- “Not Your Product? I Still Say You are Liable: Plaintiffs’ Efforts to Target Branded Manufacturers When Generic Medications Are Used” – IADC Drug, Device and Biotechnology Committee Webinar, Speaker, August 2012.
- “The Learned Intermediary Doctrine Under Attack” - DRI Drug & Medical Device Seminar, Speaker and author of paper, San Francisco, May 2010
- “Hot Topics: Preemption, HIPAA, CAFA, State AG Investigations, and E-Discovery” - DRI Drug & Medical Device Seminar, Speaker and author of paper, San Francisco, May 2007
- “Who Pays for Electronic Data Translation? A Case Analysis of FRCP 34 and CCP 2031”- IADC Drug, Device and Biotech Committee Newsletter, March 2005
- “Lessons Learned in 10 years of Mass Torts” - Panel Presentation on MDL coordination procedures - IADC Annual Meeting; Maui, HI, July 2003
- “Hot Topics: Federalism, Privacy, Preemption and Discovery”- DRI Drug & Medical Device Seminar, Speaker and author of paper, San Francisco, May 2002
- “California Summary Judgment Standards in Toxic Tort Cases: Look Before You Leap” - IADC Toxic and Hazardous Substances Committee Newsletter, January 2001
- “A Medicolegal Evaluation of Reversible Contraceptives” - Contemporary OB/GYN, Vol. 45, No. 5, May, 2000
- “California’s Anti-SLAPP Statute and Pharmaceutical Free Speech” - IADC Drug, Device and Biotech Committee Newsletter, April, 2000
- “How to Avoid, Control and Limit Depositions of Top Executives” - American Conference Institute (ACI) Drug & Medical Device Litigation Seminar - New York, December, 1997
- “Dealing with the Co-Defendant Physician: A Manufacturer’s Perspective” - American Conference Institute (ACI) Drug & Medical Device Litigation Seminar, New York, December, 1996
- “Avoiding Litigation in a New Age of IUDs” - Obstetrical & Gynecological Survey, Vol. 51, No. 12, December 1996