Jessalyn H. Zeigler
As a seasoned litigator and crisis management strategist, Jessie Zeigler has represented clients in some of the nation’s most high-profile cases over the last 25 years. From her defense of precedent-setting opioid cases, high-stakes wildfire litigation and class action defense across numerous industries, Jessie has returned successful results nearly 100% of the time in the cases she has handled.
Recognized by Chambers USA (in both the Environment and Litigation: General Commercial categories), Benchmark Litigation, and others as a leader in the field, Jessie is widely regarded as one of the top product liability and environmental lawyers in the country. As chair of the Products Liability & Torts Practice at Bass, Berry & Sims, Jessie leads a cross-office team in representing clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to privately-owned businesses.
Jessie approaches every new case with an attention to detail, diligence and agility that enables her to quickly master the science behind the product as well as the product’s history, attributes and value to formulate effective strategies to meet even the most complex and aggressive legal challenges.
Jessie’s counsel has saved clients millions in losses across various industries – including pharmaceutical/life sciences, medical device, automotive, chemical, consumer products, food and beverage, healthcare, manufacturing, and pulp and paper – as they have faced claims related to crisis management, environmental, health and safety, products liability, healthcare liability, or business disputes. Jessie also represents clients in claims related to deceptive business practices under the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).
Jessie recently served as local counsel in a precedent-setting opioid litigation and win at the Tennessee Supreme Court, defending an international pharmaceutical company in court rooms across Tennessee, Kentucky and Virginia in litigation that made national headlines. She also argued the first-ever Tennessee Supreme Court Zoom hearing and, along with a joint defense group, won a huge victory for her product manufacturer client, and product manufacturers generally, in a ruling that held that a product manufacturer cannot be held liable in Tennessee for failing to warn about the risks of another product manufacturer’s products. In addition, she successfully obtained summary judgment in nine consolidated cases on behalf of a tree company against allegations of negligence and nuisance in wildfire litigation in which the plaintiffs sought approximately $45 million in claims. She argued the appeal, and the appellate court upheld the summary judgments.
Her practice involves:
- Products Liability & Mass Torts – Handling class action claims, multi-district litigation (MDL), and single-action claims for various types of product and mass tort cases including pharmaceutical, medical device, food, supplements, asbestos and automotive companies; conducting quality assurance audits of trial team preparations for MDL cases set for trial nationwide; handling warranty/Magnuson-Moss claims; and conducting compliance assistance and handling government investigations by regulatory authorities including recalls and food liability claims under the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) watch.
- Environmental, Health & Safety and Toxic Torts – Representing clients in litigation and non-litigation matters related to water rights, contamination (including voluntary programs and federal or state Superfund sites), mold claim defense, toxic torts, citizens suits, FEMA funding appeals, compliance investigations and citations in actions involving the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), citizen suits and private rights of action.
- Crisis Management/Catastrophic Loss – Providing timely counsel with a plan of action when a crisis hits, such as death and significant injury events at manufacturing plants, including handling OSHA or other governmental notifications and investigations; notifying and working with insurance providers; immediate identification of necessary experts; evidence preservation; litigation holds; public relations assistance; getting the facility operational; review and updating of health and safety plans; preparation of crisis management plans; and advising and assisting with all actions necessary to prepare for the possibility of litigation.
- Wildfire Litigation – Providing strategic advice to minimize liability and potential exposure; providing timely counsel with a plan of action when a fire occurs; notifying and working with insurance providers; immediate identification of necessary experts; evidence preservation; litigation holds; witness interviews; causation and alternate causation analyses; public relations assistance; advising and assisting with all actions necessary to prepare for litigation; aggressively defending litigation including seeking case consolidation, if appropriate, and pursuing dispositive motions on matters of law/early resolutions.
- Natural Gas – Handling of disputes related to unauthorized natural gas hedging charges, including allegations of breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty and deceptive business practices under the TCPA and the FCA.
- Appeals – Routinely litigating in state and federal courts with three recent Tennessee Supreme Court victories, three state court of appeals wins, and a string of federal circuit court victories; providing strategic thinking, creative arguments, and skilled oral advocacy.
Jessie is actively involved in the legal profession and currently holds leadership positions in the International Association of Defense Counsel (IADC) and the Network of Trial Lawyers.
International Association of Defense Counsel — Board of Directors (2022-2025); Board of the Foundation (2019-2023); 2020 Annual Meeting, CLE Chair; Product Liability Committee, Chair (2017-2018), Vice Chair (2013-2017)
The Trial Network — Chair (2017), Executive Committee (2016-2018); Women’s Initiative Network, Chair (2020-present)
Governor’s Council for Judicial Appointments (2020-present)
Nashville Bar Association — Federal Court Committee, Co-Chair (2012, 2013)
Nashville Bar Foundation — Fellow (2016)
American Bar Association — Products Liability Committee; Women in Products Liability Subcommittee, Past Co-Chair; Food & Supplements Subcommittee, Past Co-Chair; Products, Mass Torts and Environmental Joint CLE Program, Co-Chair (2015-2018)
Defense Research Institute — Drug & Medical Device, Medical Liability and Health Care Law Committee; Product Liability Committee; Toxic Torts and Environmental Law
Federal Court Magistrate Judge Nominating Committee, selected by Chief Judge Kevin Sharp (2015)
American Health Law Association (AHLA)
Belmont Inns of Court (2022-2023)
Media Mentions & Firm News
Chambers USA — Litigation: General Commercial (2023); Environment (2020-2023), Recognized Practitioner (2016-2019)
Benchmark Litigation — Local Litigation Star: Tennessee (2019-2024)
Best Lawyers® — Nashville Litigation: Environmental “Lawyer of the Year” (2021)
The Best Lawyers in America© — Environmental Law; Litigation: Environmental; Natural Resources Law; Product Liability Litigation: Defendants (2007-2024)
Expert Guides: Women in Business Law — Product Liability Category (2021-2022)
Nashville Business Journal — “Best of the Bar” (2023)
Nashville Business Journal — “Women of Influence, Trailblazer Category” (2015)
Nashville Bar Association — President’s Award (2014)
Mid-South Super Lawyers (2009-2023)
Top 50 Women Mid-South Super Lawyers (2011-2012, 2016, 2020-2021, 2023)
Top 50 Nashville Super Lawyers (2021, 2023)
Top 100 Tennessee Super Lawyers (2020-2021, 2023)
Phi Beta Kappa