Tracy Cowan

Managing Partner - St. Louis, MO

Tracy Cowan is the managing partner of the St. Louis office of Lewis Brisbois and is a vice-chair of the Toxic Tort & Environmental Litigation Practice. Tracy has a wide breadth of experience in litigation matters across the United States, which includes significant trial experience in multiple practice areas. He has extensive experience managing national mass tort litigation for corporate clients, including asbestos, toxic tort, products liability, and environmental matters venued in trial courts around the United States.

Tracy has spent his entire career defending corporations in products liability, mass tort and environmental litigation, serving in a national counsel role for several companies including a multinational oil & gas company, a multinational paint and coatings manufacturer, a class 1 railroad, an electrical motor manufacturer, and a refinery furnace manufacturer. He has a national trial practice in toxic tort and environmental litigation in which environmental or occupational exposures are alleged to have caused personal injury or death. Tracy has tried numerous product liability, toxic tort and environmental cases to verdict in multiple states from New York to California, including trying cases to verdict in Alameda County, California, Los Angeles County, California, Madison County, Illinois, Cook County, Illinois and the City of St. Louis, Missouri, all prominent “Judicial Hellholes” as identified by the American Tort Reform Foundation. His track record is consistently outstanding and he has obtained defense verdicts in multiple mesothelioma and personal injury matters.

Tracy has significant experience representing professionals in a wide variety of practice areas in professional liability matters both in Missouri and Illinois and regionally in the Midwest. In particular, Tracy has successfully represented individual health care providers and clinics, hospitals and long-term care facilities in personal injury matters based upon allegations of failure to exercise a standard of care in the treatment of individual plaintiffs. Tracy’s professional responsibility practice includes the representation of brokers, financial consultants, financial planners. lawyers, real estate brokers, insurance brokers and architects and engineers. This experience included obtaining significant favorable appellate decisions in securities litigation, establishing favorable precedent to brokers in “blue sky law” litigation.

Tracy routinely represents defendants in personal injury actions involving trucking accidents and general liability claims. Tracy obtained favorable trial results in trucking and general liability matters in Missouri and Illinois courts, with two recent extremely favorable verdicts in these arenas post-pandemic.

Tracy has represented banks, brokerage firms, partnerships, and the manufacturers of commercial and consumer products in business and commercial disputes in federal and state courts. His experience includes the representation of banks in business disputes brought by customers, manufacturers in actions brought against vendors, partnerships in dissolution proceedings, and corporations in actions brought by their distributors. Tracy has recently represented these same customers in data privacy and cyber-security claims against them.

Tracy’s success in litigation is based on taking a proactive and innovative strategy in representing his clients, with an eye towards an early resolution of the dispute if favorable to his clients, but with the experience and skills to aggressively advocate for his clients through trial when appropriate. Tracy has repeatedly disrupted the “status quo” in plaintiff friendly jurisdictions and in plaintiffs’ counsel’s efforts to target certain clients. Tracy was involved in a defense verdict in recent years in the City of St. Louis on behalf of an automotive distributor in which the American Tort Reform Foundation’s Judicial Hellholes publication noted:

But just as the city’s always competitive Cardinals don’t make the playoffs every year, asbestos plaintiffs in St. Louis don’t win every case, either. For example, in September 2016 a jury reached a defense verdict after a month-long trial against automakers alleging that the plaintiff had developed mesothelioma as a result of inhaling asbestos dust from the work clothing of her husband, a mechanic. In that instance, the plaintiff had sought $3.5 million in compensatory damages, plus $26 million in punitive damages.

Similarly, Tracy recently secured a defense verdict at the end of 2021 in a mesothelioma premises liability lawsuit in Cook County, Illinois in which Tracy’s client was the sole defendant and the defense verdict was on the tail end of an onslaught of Plaintiffs’ verdicts in Cook County, with $23 million and $5 million plaintiffs’ verdicts days before Tracy’s client’s defense verdict.

Tracy’s trial outcomes and resulting defense victories in jurisdictions in which Plaintiff friendly verdicts are the “norm” is strikingly characteristic of Tracy’s proactive and innovative approach to defend corporate clients in personal injury matters and the corresponding results he obtains for these clients, whether through trial, targeted defense strategies, or early resolution efforts. Regardless of the approach, Tracy strives to obtain the most favorable result possible for his clients and has achieved great success in doing so.

Community Activities

  • Atrek Dance Company–Past President, Board of Directors
  • St. Louis Art Museum
  • Missouri Botanical Garden

Professional Presentations

  • "Managing Digital Production and Discovery/Dark Web/Cyber Security," HarrisMartin's MDL Conference: Current Mass Torts from E-Discovery Through Exit Strategies - Navigating "Game-Changing" Dynamics Agenda, New York, New York (November 2018)
  • "Examining the Resurgence of Personal Jurisdictional Challenges Impacting Asbestos Cases in the Wake of Bristol-Myers Squibb," American Conference Institute's 23rd National Forum on Asbestos Claims & Litigation, Chicago, Illinois (May 2018)
  • "Jurisdictional Update: Status of the Litigation and Recent Decisions," Perrin Mid-Atlantic Asbestos Seminar, Wilmington, Delaware (June 2017)
  • "National Coordinating Counsel Roundtable," Defense Asbestos Lawyers Seminar (DALS), Orlando, Florida (June 2017)
  • "The Evolution of Talc Litigation," Hilton Head, South Carolina (May 2017)
  • "Challenges of Working as a Team," Hawkins Parnell Thackston & Young LLP Attorney Training Retreat, Montalba, Texas (February 2017)
  • Accredited CLE Presentation, Resolute Management In-House Presentation, Boston, Massachusetts (January 2017)
  • Defense Asbestos Litigation Seminar (DALS 2016 & 2017)
  • "Legal Aspects of Talc Litigation," Cardno ChemRisk Asbestos Science Seminar, Las Vegas, Nevada (June 2016)
  • Mock Opening/Closing Presentation, Sherwin-Williams In-House Presentation, Las Vegas, Nevada (June 2016)
  • "Update on Daimler Impact in Various Jurisdictions," Hilton Head, South Carolina (May 2016)
  • Accredited CLE Presentation, Resolute Management In-House Presentation, Chicago, Illinois (March 2016)
  • Accredited CLE Presentation, Resolute Management In-House Presentation, Boston, Massachusetts (January 2016)
  • Accredited CLE Presentation, Liberty Mutual In-House Presentation, Dover, New Hampshire (January 2016)

Admissions

  • State Bar Admissions
    • Arkansas
    • Illinois
    • Missouri
  • United States District Courts
    • United States District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas
    • United States District Court for the Western District of Arkansas
    • United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
    • United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois
    • United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan
    • United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri
    • United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri
    • United States District Court for the District of Nebraska
    • United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas
    • United States District Court for the District of Utah
    • United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin
  • United States Courts of Appeals
    • United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit

Admissions

Arkansas

Illinois

Missouri

United States District Court for the Eastern and Western Districts of Missouri

United States District Court for the Southern and Northern Districts of Illinois

United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan

United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin

United States District Court for the District of Nebraska

United States District Court for the District of Utah

United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas

United States District Court for the Western and Eastern Districts of Arkansas

United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit

Associations

  • Illinois State Bar Association
  • The Missouri Bar
  • Arkansas Bar Association
  • The Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis
  • American Bar Association
  • DRI
  • Missouri Defense Lawyers
  • National Association of Railroad Trial Counsel

Awards & Honors

AV Preeminent® Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell®

Education

University of Missouri School of Law

Juris Doctor, 1992

  • Missouri Law Review (1990–1992) 

University of Missouri–Columbia

Bachelor of Arts, 1987

Representative Matters

  • Recently secured a defense verdict in a premises liability mesothelioma lawsuit pending in Cook County, Illinois in which Tracy’s client was the sole defendant – one of the first three matters reaching verdicts in Cook County Courts after they re-opened in late Fall 2021 and the only defense verdict, with the other two verdicts in favor of Plaintiffs for $23 million and $5 million.
  • Recently obtained a defense verdict in a bench trial in Jackson County, Missouri in a personal injury lawsuit alleging respiratory and dermal injuries from mold exposures.
  • Recently obtained summary judgment on behalf of a chemical manufacturer on all product liability claims against our client in a multi-plaintiff lawsuit pending in mid-state Missouri alleging respiratory injuries from metalworking fumes.
  • Secured a successful defense verdict on behalf of an automotive manufacturer in a living mesothelioma lawsuit venued in the City of St. Louis.
  • Obtained a favorable jury verdict in the City of St. Louis in an admitted fault trucking collision lawsuit in which the nature and extent of plaintiffs’ injuries were in dispute.
  • Secured a favorable verdict in suburban Kansas City in a premises liability traumatic injury lawsuit alleging traumatic brain and back injuries – the jury awarding minimal damages and rejecting most of plaintiff’s claimed injuries and damages.
  • Prevailed on a premises liability lung cancer lawsuit alleging asbestos exposures on behalf of a Class I railroad in Douglas County, Nebraska by obtaining a mistrial at the close of Plaintiffs’ case – the case shortly thereafter resolved for very favorable terms for Tracy’s client.
  • Served as lead trial counsel in an incredibly complex environmental exposure lawsuit in Alameda County, California in which the plaintiffs alleged that our client’s premises, which was an EPA Superfund site, caused environmental exposures which led to the development of their cancer. The trial lasted four months and resulted in a significantly favorable verdict for the client.
  • Secured a mistrial at the close of jury selection in a mesothelioma matter pending in Sacramento County, California.
  • Represented industrial hog producers in multiple cases in which neighbor plaintiffs alleged private nuisance and loss of use and enjoyment claims, among others, against the clients relating to soil, noise, and air contamination from the defendants’ operations. These series of cases resulted in a favorable trial outcome and led to the resolution of the remaining lawsuits against the client.
  • Represented an electrical motor manufacturer in a multibillion-dollar lawsuit alleging groundwater contamination in Orange County, California resulting in significant expenses to the Orange County Water District. This matter was resolved for extremely favorable terms to the client.
  • Represented a leading Canadian investment banking company in a suit brought under the Kansas Securities Act for the sale of unregistered securities. Tracy obtained summary judgment on behalf of the investment firm on two occasions and twice argued the appeal before the Kansas Supreme Court, which sustained the judgment in favor of Tracy’s client on the second appeal and established favorable “Blue Sky Laws” precedent for brokers.
  • Obtained a favorable verdict in mid-state Illinois on behalf of a bank in a suit brought by the beneficiaries of a trust alleging breach of fiduciary duty.
  • Successfully defended a motors and generators company in federal court in Wisconsin following the termination of its distributors.
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