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"Thank you, Melissa Merlin and Husch Blackwell, for the superb job you did in helping MidWest U.S. China Association. Your expertise was thorough and professional. USHCA can now move forward due to your great work."

Bob Holden, Chairman, United States Heartland China Association; Governor of Missouri 2001-2005

Overview

Melissa focuses on product liability, commercial, and employment litigation. She works closely with product manufacturers and automotive suppliers to defend wrongful death and catastrophic injury cases across the country.

Melissa's results-driven counsel and exceptional client service ensures the best possible outcomes in product liability lawsuits, contractual disputes, insurance coverage matters, professional liability claims, and employment disputes.

Melissa has actively litigated numerous federal and state court cases throughout the United States, including federal multi-district litigation. Examples of Melissa’s legal work include:

  • Serving on the national counsel product liability team for one of the world’s largest airbag electronic component suppliers.
  • Representing consumer product manufacturers in fire cases involving death and catastrophic injury.
  • Serving on lead and local counsel teams in product liability cases involving occupant restraint systems, accelerator systems, truck and car tires, electrical equipment, and overhead cranes.
  • Representing clients in employment cases involving retaliation and discrimination under state and federal law.
  • Representing insurance companies in coverage matters and litigation.

Melissa prides herself on her client service and has been recognized nationally by BTI Consulting Group for her delivery of outstanding client service.

"Thank you, Melissa Merlin and Husch Blackwell, for the superb job you did in helping MidWest U.S. China Association. Your expertise was thorough and professional. USHCA can now move forward due to your great work."

Bob Holden, Chairman, United States Heartland China Association; Governor of Missouri 2001-2005

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Industries

Services

Recognition

  • BTI Consulting Group, Client Service All Star Award, 2009
  • FOCUS St. Louis, Leadership St. Louis, Class of 2009-2010
  • Missouri Lawyers Weekly, “Up and Coming Lawyer,” 2009

Education

  • J.D., Washington University School of Law
      • Order of the Coif
      • ABA-BNA Award for Excellence
      • CALI Excellence for the Future Award for Labor Law, Alternative Dispute Resolution and Trusts and Estates
      • Washington University Journal of Law and Policy, executive notes and projects editor
  • B.A., Vanderbilt University
    • Anthropology
    • magna cum laude
      • Phi Beta Kappa

Admissions

  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Missouri
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of Illinois
  • Missouri
  • District of Columbia
  • Illinois

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • The Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis
  • Defense Research Institute, Fire Science Litigation Seminar Steering Committee, 2014
  • The District of Columbia Bar
  • The Illinois Bar
  • The Missouri Bar

Clerkships

  • The Hon. Judge David R. Herndon, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Illinois, 2003-2005
  • The Hon. Catherine D. Perry, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Missouri, 2000
Experience
  • Defended a wrongful death lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas. Plaintiffs alleged the late deployment of airbag caused the death of their daughter. Developed testimony and other evidence to show Plaintiffs had no evidence of a “defect” in client’s product, nor had Plaintiffs presented the requisite evidence to prove alternative design under Texas law. The court granted summary judgment in favor of client, and excluded certain testimony proffered by Plaintiffs’ airbag expert. Flynn v. American Honda Motor Co., Inc., No. 11-cv-3908, 2014 WL 6964655 (S.D. Tex. Dec. 8, 2014); and Flynn v. American Honda Motor Co., Inc., No. 11-cv-3908, 2015 WL 75270 (S.D. Tex. Jan. 6, 2015).
  • Defended a retaliatory discharge case against a tire manufacturer in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois. Obtained summary judgment on behalf of client in the district court and prepared briefing before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. The Seventh Circuit affirmed the lower court’s summary judgment dismissal in a reported decision, Phillips v. Continental Tire the Americas, LLC, 743 F.3d 475 (7th Cir. 2014).
  • Defended an automotive component part supplier in a product liability suit in Madison County, Illinois. Successfully argued and briefed forum non conveniens motion and obtained dismissal of client.
  • Defended case in which Texas Medical Center, four of its member institutions and Thermal Energy Corp. filed suit against the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County and the firm's client, one of the contractors hired to construct the Houston light-rail transit system. Plaintiffs alleged that stray electrical voltage leaked from the rail line. Argued summary judgment motion and obtained dismissal in client’s favor.
  • Defended leading automation technology client in two product liability cases in state court in Denver. Plaintiffs alleged permanent injuries from a malfunction of a high-rise escalator at Coors Field when the escalator began speeding. The client supplied a component of the escalator, which inspector’s report concluded caused the malfunction. Developed testimony and other evidence that client’s component had nothing to do with the malfunction of the escalator. After depositions of Plaintiffs’ expert and the inspector, Plaintiffs dismissed client from both cases with prejudice.
  • Defended product liability claim involving allegations that a light-rail vehicle was defective because of an insufficient horn and bell warning system. Plaintiff was hit by light-rail vehicle and was injured. The court granted motion for summary judgment because client complied with specifications provided by the local public transportation provider, a co-defendant.
Community Leadership
  • Center of Creative Arts (COCA), Board of Directors, 2016-present; COCAcabana Co-Chair 2016; Richard Barron Leadership Circle, 2013-present
  • FOCUS St. Louis, 2009-2012
  • Jewish Federation of St. Louis, Cardozo Society, Co-Chair, 2012
  • St. Louis Art Museum, Friends Board, 2015-present; Young Friends Steering Committee, 2008-2012; Beaux Arts Council, 2010-present
  • United Way of Greater St. Louis, Women’s Leadership Cabinet, 2008-present