Ron Motley made his mark early in his legal career when he took on insulation maker Johns Manville and the asbestos manufacturers. With pioneering litigation, he brought to light the harmful and disabling effects of asbestos exposure in occupational, environmental and household settings. Ron then spearheaded the historic litigation against the tobacco industry and served as lead trial counsel for 26 states’ Attorneys General in the ensuing lawsuits. The resulting Master Settlement Agreement which reimbursed states for smoking related health care costs was the largest civil settlement is U.S. history at $246 billion. He also served as lead counsel on behalf of 6,500 family members of victims of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks against al Qaeda.
Ron was known as a magnificent legal thinker, with fellow attorneys saying that he was able to make connections in cases that no one else could have seen — and he was able to do it on the fly. Defense attorneys said that if Motley ever sat near them, they could almost literally “feel” him thinking, a testament to how intense his focus was on the case at hand.