Leslie M. Kroeger is a partner in and the co-chair of the Cohen Milstein’s Complex Tort Litigation practice. She focuses on complex, high-profile product liability, environmental toxic torts, consumer mass and class actions, wrongful death, and managed care abuse litigation.
Ms. Kroeger is a highly accomplished trial attorney who began her legal career in the courtroom as an Assistant Public Defender for the 18th Judicial Circuit of Florida and later became an Assistant State Attorney in Miami-Dade County, Florida. She then moved into private practice where she continues to handle a variety of complex civil litigation before state and federal courts in Florida and nationwide.
Ms. Kroeger is a Past President of the Council of Presidents for the American Association for Justice (AAJ), and is honored to represent the Council on the AAJ Executive Committee. She is also a Past-President of the Florida Justice Association (FJA), one of the nation’s premier plaintiffs trial associations. She was the second female President in the history of the association.
Currently, Ms. Kroeger is litigating the following notable matters:
- In re Flint Water Cases (E.D. Mich.): Cohen Milstein was court-appointed Interim Co-Lead Class Counsel to oversee a group of toxic tort class actions filed on behalf of Flint, Michigan residents and businesses harmed by exposure to toxic levels of lead and other contaminants in the city’s drinking water. On November 10, 2021, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan granted final approval of a landmark $626.25 million settlement against the State of Michigan. Litigation against two private engineering firms, Veolia North America (VNA) and Lockwood, Andrews & Newnam (LAN), both charged with professional negligence, and separate litigation against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, continues before the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. On August 11, 2021, Judge Levy granted class certification on liability claims in the ongoing litigation against LAN and VNA.
- Underwood v. Meta Platforms, Inc. (Facebook) (Sup. Crt. Cal., Alameda Cnty): On January 6, 2022, Cohen Milstein filed a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of Angela Underwood Jacobs, the sister of Dave Patrick Underwood, against Meta Platforms, Inc., formerly Facebook, Inc., alleging that by connecting users to extremist groups and promoting inflammatory, divisive, and untrue content, the company bears responsibility for the tragic murder of Mr. Underwood.
Edwards v. Tesla (Sup. Crt. Cal., Alameda Cnty.): On June 25, 2020, Cohen Milstein filed a product liability lawsuit against Tesla, Inc. on behalf of Kristian and Jason Edwards. Ms. Edwards sustained catastrophic injuries as a result of the failure of the airbags to deploy in her Tesla Model 3 during an accident.
Edenville and Sanford Dam Failure Litigation (Mich. Crt. of Claims; Cir. Crt., Cty. Saginaw, Mich.): On June 24, 2020, Cohen Milstein filed two separate property damage lawsuits against Michigan State Government agencies, including the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes & Energy and Michigan Department of Natural Resources for blatantly mismanaging and failing to properly maintain the Edenville and Sandford dams, which catastrophically failed on May 19, 2020. Cohen Milstein is representing more than 300 residents and businesses in Midland County and Saginaw County, Michigan and the surrounding areas, including, Arenac, Gladwin, and Iosco counties.
- Bernardo, et al. v. Pfizer, Inc., et al. (S.D. Fla.): On February 20, 2020, Cohen Milstein filed a false advertising, medical monitoring, and personal injury class action against Pfizer, Inc., Boehringer Ingelheim, Sanofi, and other pharmaceutical companies on behalf of multiple plaintiffs and putative class members across the United States who, as a result of taking Zantac (ranitidine), may have been afflicted with cancer or may now be subjected to an increased risk of developing cancer.
- United States ex rel. Long v. Janssen Biotech, Inc. (D. Mass.): Cohen Milstein represents the plaintiff-relator in a whistleblower/qui tam lawsuit against Janssen Biotech (a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson), alleging that the manufacturer of the rheumatoid arthritis drugs Remicade and Simponi ARIA violated federal law by engaging in a scheme through which it provided physicians free practice management and infusion business consulting services over an extended period to induce the physicians to purchase Remicade and Simponi ARIA and administer these drugs to patients, including Medicare beneficiaries, via infusions performed in their offices.
Ms. Kroeger has successfully litigated the following lawsuits:
- Lindsay X-LITE Guardrail Litigation (State Crts: Tenn., S.C.): Cohen Milstein represented more than five families of decedents and victims of catastrophic injuries in a series of individual products liability, wrongful death and catastrophic injury lawsuits in Tennessee and South Carolina state courts against the Lindsay Corporation and several related entities for designing, manufacturing, selling, and installing defective, X-Lite guardrails on state roadways.
- Ratha, et al. v. Phatthana Seafood Co. (C.D. Cal.): Cohen Milstein represented seven Cambodian plaintiffs in a cross-border human rights lawsuit, involving human trafficking, forced labor, involuntary servitude, and peonage by factories in Thailand that produce shrimp and seafood for export to the United States.
- Quinteros, et al. v. DynCorp, et al. (D.D.C.): Cohen Milstein represented over 2,000 Ecuadorian farmers and their families who suffered physical injuries and property damage as a result of aerial spraying of toxic herbicides on or near their land by DynCorp, a U.S. government contractor. A bellwether trial on behalf of the first six Ecuadorian clients came to a conclusion in April 2017, when the ten-person jury unanimously determined that DynCorp was responsible for the conduct of the pilots with whom it had subcontracted to conduct the chemical spraying after April 2003. This resolution allowed for a successful case settlement.
- Mincey v. Takata (Cir. Crt., Duval Cty., Fla.): Cohen Milstein was lead counsel in a lawsuit brought on behalf of Patricia Mincey and her family. Patricia Mincey sustained catastrophic injuries that rendered her a quadriplegic in 2014 when the driver’s side airbag in her Honda Civic deployed too aggressively during a collision due to a product defect. She passed away in early 2016 due to complications from her quadriplegia caused by the problematic airbag. The suit charged that Takata, the manufacturer of the airbag system, knew of the airbag defect and hid the problem from consumers. Evidence uncovered by the firm showed that Takata concealed the defective nature of the airbag system for more than a decade. The case was resolved in July 2016.
- Quinlan v. Toyota Motor Corporation (S.D. Fla.): Cohen Milstein was lead counsel in a product liability case filed against Toyota, alleging that manufacturing defects in the defendant’s car caused the car being driven by the plaintiff to suddenly accelerate and go out of control, resulting in catastrophic injuries that left Quinlan a quadriplegic. The defendant entered into a confidential settlement. Ms. Kroeger was engaged in all aspects of the litigation.
- In re: Caterpillar, Inc. Engine Products Liability Litigation (D.N.J.): Cohen Milstein was co-lead counsel in a nationwide product liability class action lawsuit, alleging Caterpillar sold diesel engines with defective exhaust emissions system that resulted in power losses and shutdowns. Ms. Kroeger was involved all aspects of the litigation.
- John Doe v. Sunz Insurance Company and CorVel Corporation (State Crt., Fla.): Cohen Milstein successfully represented John Doe in a workers’ compensation arbitration against his workers’ compensation carrier and third-party administrator for breach of fiduciary duty and intentional infliction of emotional distress relating to their denial of medically necessary cervical spine surgery, recommended by a carrier-approved orthopedic surgeon, and their termination of his workers’ compensation benefits.
Since 2001, Ms. Kroeger has been an active member of FJA, serving on the Executive Committee from 2011-2021 and more recently as FJA’s President in 2019-2020. She is a past Chair of the Women’s Caucus.
FJA has also recognized Ms. Kroeger for her leadership and advocacy efforts. In 2017, 2018 and 2019, she was presented with FJA’s Cornerstone Award in recognition of her leadership and efforts in recruiting new members to the organization. In 2015, Ms. Kroeger was awarded FJA’s Champion of Consumer Safety Award for her lobbying efforts before the Florida legislature, resulting in passage of SB 518, a state law requiring children under age five to be secured in federally-approved child-restraint devices.
Ms. Kroeger also currently serves on the Board of Directors of Communities Connected for Kids, and she oversees the Cohen Milstein/Safe Kids bi-annual booster seat giveaway. She is Past-President and Founder of the Martin County Chapter of the Florida Association for Women Lawyers. She also served seven years on the Florida Bar Professional Ethics Committee.
Ms. Kroeger is widely recognized for her leadership and legal skills. Lawdragon has named her to its “500 Leading Lawyers in America” (2020, 2021) and “500 Leading Plaintiff Consumer Lawyers” (2019-2022) lists. In 2020 and 2018, Ms. Kroeger was named Daily Business Review’s “Distinguished Leader,” and in 2018, Best Lawyers in America recognized her as “Lawyer of the Year” in West Palm Beach for Mass Tort Litigation /Class Actions. Annually, Ms. Kroeger is annually recognized by Best Lawyers in America in the areas of Consumer Protection Law; Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions; Personal Injury Litigation; Product Liability Litigation, as well as by Florida Super Lawyers, Palm Beach Illustrated, and Florida Trend’s Legal Elite. Ms. Kroeger is AV rated by Martindale-Hubbell.
Ms. Kroeger often speaks and writes on a range of issues dealing with litigation strategies and tactics from addressing the standards for expert witness testimony in light of the Supreme Court’s Daubert ruling to delivering compelling opening statements and other trial skills, as well as legal trends related to automotive negligence, roadway safety and guardrail systems, managed care abuse, and denial of workers’ compensation claims. She is frequently invited to speak at the Florida Workers’ Advocates Annual Conference, the Annual Trial Lawyers Summit, and Florida Justice Association seminars and conventions throughout the year. In 2016, Ms. Kroeger was named to Law360’s Product Liability Editorial Advisory Board.
Ms. Kroeger graduated with high honors from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, and obtained her law degree from the Cumberland School of Law, Samford University. Following law school, she served in a trial clerkship in Miami.
- Past-President of the Council of Presidents, American Association for Justice, 2021-2022
- President, Florida Justice Association, 2019-2020
- Professional Ethics Committee Member, Florida Bar, 2011-2019
- President Elect, Florida Justice Association, 2018-2019
- Treasurer, Florida Justice Association, 2017-2018
- Secretary, Florida Justice Association, 2016-2017
- Executive Committee Member, Florida Justice Association, 2011-Present
- Board Member, Past-President and Founder, Florida Association for Women Lawyers, Martin County Chapter
- Women's Caucus Chair, Florida Justice Association, 2011-2012