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Carl Rowley


St. Louis
314 552 6100 314 552 6100 direct

Carl is a trial lawyer who defends complex, high-profile cases. He is a member of the Product Liability Advisory Council, has been listed in The Best Lawyers in America® for 10 consecutive years, won Lawyers Media's Legal Champion and Top Defense Verdict of the Year Awards, was named one of America's Top 100 High Stakes Litigators® in 2023, was selected to Super Lawyers® in 2012-2016 and 2022-2023, and has been rated AV Preeminent by the Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings™ system for decades. Carl's cases and verdicts have been covered by the National Law Journal, the American Lawyer, the New York Times, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and other national media outlets. He first-chaired the largest defense jury verdict in the history of tobacco cost recovery litigation, a three-month trial with 49 witnesses prosecuted by 37 hospitals and hospital systems.

Carl has defended high-stakes business, personal injury, and class action lawsuits in courtrooms throughout the United States, including as lead trial counsel in the defense of billion-dollar damages claims. He has decades of experience in preparing and cross-examining expert witnesses on complex epidemiologic, biostatistical, damages model, causal inference, product design, addiction, and scientific issues. He has first-chaired complex commercial, wrongful death, individual smoking & health, and asbestos-synergy lawsuits. Carl has defended class actions, cases alleging false or misleading product labelling, consumer protection cases, targeted marketing lawsuits, mass consolidations of thousands of plaintiffs, environmental contamination lawsuits, and state attorneys general cases.

In addition to his current role as in-house counsel to the Firm, Carl has served on the Firm's Compensation Committee, Management Nominating Committee, Associate Review Committee, as chair of its Mass Tort Practice and Consumer Products Practice, and as co-chair of its Tobacco Practice. His books on jury instructions, now in their third edition, have been in continuous publication for more than 30 years.

Served as lead trial counsel for a major domestic cigarette manufacturer in a lawsuit tried against dozens of hospitals and hospital systems seeking more than $4 billion in compensatory damages. During the three-month trial, 26 jurors (including 14 alternates) heard testimony from 49 witnesses. Following seven days of deliberations, the jury returned defense verdicts on all claims by all plaintiffs. The National Law Journal described the win as "the largest defense victory in a tobacco cost-recovery suit to date."

Served as national trial counsel for major domestic tobacco manufacturers in a variety of lawsuits including class actions and multi-plaintiff smoking & health lawsuits.

Served as national trial counsel in asbestos litigation for a major consumer products manufacturer in mesothelioma cases.

Served as national coordinating counsel in mass tort litigation for one of the country's largest pneumatic power tool and equipment manufacturers, overseeing the defense of thousands of cases arising out of industrial and occupational exposures.

Served as national counsel for a major rail carrier in its hearing loss and cumulative trauma litigation, coordinating the defense of thousands of cases throughout the country.


ABA urges Congress to reform federal cannabis policy

Highlights from Missouri Cannabis Business Breakfast

Missouri medical cannabis business licensing: March 2019 status

Missouri’s 2018 medical cannabis initiatives: Part 2 – Business

Missouri’s 2018 medical cannabis initiatives: Part 1 – The basics

Top 5 warning signs for cannabis investors

Thompson Coburn takes stage at Cannabis Business Summit

Is San Francisco’s sugar-sweetened beverage rule watering down First Amendment rights?

UPDATE: Cannabis, pain reduction, and opioid abstinence

Weighing risks and benefits: Cannabis use and metabolic syndrome risk


"Just 1 Recreational Pot Dispensary in Metro East? Here's How Many More You Can Expect in 2020";
Quoted in the St. Louis Business Journal, December 31, 2019

"Missouri Cultivates 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' Tax Policy for Flood of CBD Sales";
Quoted in the St. Louis Post Dispatch, September 24, 2019

"What St. Louis Lawyers Say About Marijuana Work So far, What's Ahead";
Quoted in the St. Louis Business Journal, September 20, 2019

"ABA Urges Congress to Reform Federal Cannabis Policy";
Author, Tracking Cannabis, August 22, 2019

"An 'Eye-Popping' Number of Applications File for Medical Marijuana Licenses";
Quoted in the St. Louis Business Journal, August 20, 2019

"How Stiff is the Competition for Missouri Marijuana Business Licenses?";
Quoted in the St. Louis Business Journal, August 15, 2019

"Cannabis-derived CBD Shops are Turning Up All Over St. Louis, As Laws, Science Try to Catch Up";
Quoted in the St. Louis Post Dispatch, July 21, 2019

"With Relaxed Rules, More Missouri Marijuana Applications Likely";
Quoted in the St. Louis Business Journal, May 30, 2019

"Missouri Medical Cannabis Business Licensing: March 2019 status";
Author, Tracking Cannabis, March 4, 2019

"Cannabis Packaging and Labeling: Recommendations for Sensible and Consistent Regulations Across States and Nations";
Reviewer, National Cannabis Industry Association, February 2019

"How a High-Profile St. Louis Trial Lawyer Became Expert in Cannabis Law";
Profiled in the St. Louis Business Journal, December 17, 2018

"What Marijuana Business Investors Need to Know";
Quoted in the St. Louis Business Journal, December 6, 2018

"Missouri's 2018 Medical Cannabis Initiatives";
Author, Tracking Cannabis, November 2018

"Top 5 Warning Signs for Cannabis Investors";
Author, Tracking Cannabis, September 2018

"Is San Francisco’s sugar-sweetened beverage rule watering down First Amendment rights?";
Author, Asia IP 2016

"Cannabis Product Liability";
Quoted in Bloomberg BNA, November 2016

"Thompson Coburn Takes Stage at Cannabis Business Summit";
Tracking Cannabis, July 6, 2016

"Am Law 200 Firms Grow National Pot Practices";
Quoted in The American Lawyer, June 2016

"Blazing Billables: State Laws Expand Pro-Pot Legal Work";
Quoted in The American Lawyer, April 2016

"UPDATE: Cannabis, pain reduction, and opioid abstinence";
Author, Tracking Cannabis, March 24, 2016

"Limiting Tort Liability for Cannabis: Failure to Warn Part I – the LivWell Lawsuit";
Author, Tracking Cannabis, October 14, 2015

"Limiting Tort Liability for Cannabis: Dram Shop-type Laws";
Author, Tracking Cannabis, September 21, 2015,

"Winning: In Defending Tobacco Companies, Less was More";
Mentioned in The National Law Journal, June 13, 2011

"How They Won It: Taking Big Tobacco to the Jury";
Mentioned in Law360, May 11, 2011

"$1 billion on the Line as Missouri Hospitals Take on Tobacco";
Mentioned in the St. Louis Business Journal, November 26, 2010

"Illinois Non-Pattern Jury Instructions – Annotated IPI Companion - (Third Edition)";
Author, Book, West Group, New York, 2001

"Enemies List: A Vigilant Journalist’s Plea for a Renewed Red Scare";
Contributor, in P.J. O’Rourke, Atlantic Monthly Press, New York, 1996

“Medico-Legal Aspects of Head Injury”;
Author, Book Chapter, in Head Injury & Post-Concussive Syndrome, Churchill Livingstone, Inc., New York, 1995

"Illinois Non-Pattern Jury Instructions - (Second Edition)";
Author, Book, Lawyer’s Cooperative Publishing Company, New York, 1991

“Missouri’s Federal Employers Liability Act Verdict Director Denies Railroad Defendants a Fair Trial”;
Author, St. Louis Bar Journal, Fall, 1989

“Intrastate Forum Non Conveniens in Missouri”;
Author, 47 Journal of the Missouri Bar II, January-February, 1991

“Distinctive Aspects of Litigation Under the Federal Employers Liability Act: An Overview”;
Author, The St. Louis Bar Journal, Fall, 1989

"Illinois Non-Pattern Jury Instructions";
Author, Book, The Lawsource Publishing Company, Chicago, 1987

“Federal Employers Liability Act Cases -- Instructing on Sole Cause”;
Author, Journal of the Missouri Bar, April-May, 1988