Richard J. Arsenault (born August 2, 1954) is an American trial lawyer known for his representation of plaintiffs in multidistrict litigation (MDL) proceedings. Arsenault served as lead counsel in a lawsuit against Eli Lilly and Takeda over the prescription diabetes drug Actos and its link to bladder cancer. The 11-week trial resulted in a jury verdict that awarded $9 billion in punitive damages to the plaintiffs. Mr. Arsenault also served on the team that negotiated a $2.4 billion settlement with Takeda.
Arsenault lives in Alexandria, Louisiana, where he is the founding partner at the law firm of Neblett, Beard & Arsenault. He was selected by Trial Lawyer Magazine as one of America's 50 Most Influential Trial Lawyers in 2016. The Wall Street Journal described Arsenault as having “national notoriety,” and the New York Times observed that Arsenault has “repeatedly played a leading role in mass cases.”
Arsenault was born in Bay Shore, New York to Canadian immigrant parents. Arsenault graduated from Brentwood High School in Suffolk County on Long Island. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the State University of New York at Stony Brook in 1977. He received his Juris Doctor degree from Louisiana State University Law Center in 1980. Arsenault worked for Local 66 General Building Laborers while completing his education.
Arsenault is married to Pauline Arsenault, they have one daughter.
Arsenault was admitted to the Louisiana State Bar Association in 1980. He was admitted to the State Bar of Texas in 1992 and the Colorado and District of Columbia bars in 1991. He has been admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Cort (1984), and the U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals, including the Fifth Circuit (1980), the Eleventh Circuit (1981), and the Third Circuit (2013). Arsenault is also admitted to practice before a number of U.S. District Courts in Louisiana, Texas, and Colorado. He has appeared before many other District Courts on a pro hac vice basis.
Founding Of Neblett, Beard & Arsenault
Arsenault co-founded the law firm of Neblett, Beard & Arsenault in 1980. Arsenault assisted in growing the three-person firm to its current composition with twelve attorneys. Arsenault's legal practice includes a focus on multi-district litigation involving dangerous drugs and medical devices, automotive defects and other mass tort matters.
Verdicts and Settlements
Arsenault has helped secure large verdicts in a number of notable matters. The National Law Journal ranked the jury verdict of $9 billion in the Actos MDL trial and settlement negotiations involving prescription drug Actos “among the largest punitive damages awards on record.”
Arsenault served on the team that secured a $247 million verdict on behalf of plaintiffs in the fourth bellwether trial related to the DePuy hip litigation. He also served as a member of the Executive Committee and Trial Teams that secured a $502 million verdict for plaintiffs in connection with the DePuy litigation in March 2016 and over $1 billion for plaintiffs in December 2016.
Arsenault served as Chair of the Executive Committee in the Genetically Modified Rice MDL Litigation and was involved in seven trials that produced verdicts exceeding $200 million. The litigation was partially resolved for $750 million.
Other Activities & Media Coverage
He has appeared in the “Best Lawyers in America” publication (1993 to date) and Louisiana Super Lawyers (2007 to date). Arsenault was selected by the National Trial Lawyers Top 100 Trial Lawyers as Trial Lawyer of the Year Civil Plaintiff Finalist in 2014, and he was named by the American Trial Lawyers Association (ATLA) Top 100 Trial Lawyers in Louisiana. He was nominated for the 2015 Trial Lawyer of the Year Award by the Public Justice Foundation. In 2010, Arsenault was interviewed on National Public Radio’s Morning Edition about the litigation over sudden acceleration in Toyota products.
In addition to his legal practice, Arsenault has served as a past president of the Alexandria Bar Association (1991-1992) and a past president of the Crossroads Chapter of the American Inns of Court (1992-1993).