January 21, 2019: Emily Smith-Lee, attorney and owner of the Sharon law firm slnlaw, was named one of Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly 2018 Lawyers of the Year. The award recognizes Smith-Lee’s precedent-setting victory at the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, announced in March 2018, which opened the door for consumers of generic drugs to seek a remedy if they are injured by inadequate warnings on the drugs.
Once a downtown Boston lawyer who represented pharmaceutical companies defending personal injury claims, Smith-Lee took this case in 2012, recognizing that her client was among the approximately 80% of pharmaceutical consumers who use generic drugs, and under existing precedent were entirely without a remedy if the manufacturers failed to warn of dangerous side effects. In November 2017 she made the case to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court that this result was inconsistent with established principles of tort law and fundamentally unjust, and in March 2018 the SJC issued an opinion in her client’s favor, breaking from over 100 cases in other jurisdictions that had closed the courthouse doors to plaintiffs like him.
Though slnlaw primarily focuses now on business and employment disputes and estate planning, the story speaks volumes about our willingness to stand up to much larger opponents and persist in making sure the laws protect the people they are intended to protect.