Kaleo Legal’s attorneys have successfully litigated, tried, and resolved toxic tort cases in state and federal courts throughout the United States, including in some of the most plaintiff-friendly jurisdictions. As both lead and local counsel, we have gone and defeated some of the most well known plaintiff firms in the country, navigating thorny legal theories, defeating class certification, tackling complex technical and scientific issues, and managing difficult facts in the process.
Shep Wainger is a nationally recognized asbestos trial attorney, who routinely defends asbestos claims for some of the world’s largest automobile and chemical companies. He has a unique set of relationships with scientific expert witnesses across the country, which he leverages to his clients’ advantage, whether at the settlement table or in front of a jury.
Ryan Dougherty was a member of the team on the front lines of the litigation following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, defending claims by civil class action claimants. As a firm, we assess the unique challenges each case presents, identify litigation and resolution options, and implement strategies to resolve individual cases or litigation dockets – whether through trial, arbitration, mediation, or settlement – in a cost effective manner that accomplishes our clients’ business goals.
Toxic Tort Litigation Counsel Team:
Brian A. Wainger
Brian’s diverse experiences from twenty-five years practicing law provide a unique background for his work as a true general counsel.He began his career as an Assistant Attorney General and state prosecutor, before working in the commercial litigation department of an Am Law100 firm. From there, Brian served as the Chief Legal Officer of a NASDAQ-listed entertainment company, and started Kaleo Legal in 2008. Brian started Kaleo Legal to offer an innovative, lean approach to the practice of law. Although Brian has been named as a “Best Lawyer in America” from 2018-2023 for Commercial Litigation, he devotes an equal part of his practice to handling corporate and commercial transactional work for our clients on a fractional in-house counsel basis.
Years of Experience: 25
Awards & Honors: Best Lawyers Commercial Litigation 2018-2023
Bar Admissions: Virginia
William R. Poynter
Billy serves as the fractional General Counsel and Chief Intellectual Property Counsel for several companies, and he has a great deal of experience assisting software providers with their commercial needs, including drafting and negotiating licensing agreements, partner agreements, and services agreements of all kinds. As an extension of the in-house department, Billy supports software sales teams in all aspects of their legal needs, and is an integral part of their achieving sales and revenue quotas on a quarterly and annual basis.
He focuses his practice on intellectual property law, including IP assessment, creation, and enforcement; dispute resolution; and particularly the IP issues surrounding software creation, development, and implementation. In fact, he has extensive experience with drafting and negotiating commercial contracts of all kinds. And he has assisted in the acquisition and sale of technology companies for larger-scale clients, especially in the software industry.
Billy also maintains an active litigation practice at Kaleo Legal, mostly in the federal courts of the Eastern District of Virginia. As a full-time litigator for much of his career, Billy has handled IP cases involving a variety of technologies, including software, business methods, telecommunications technology, mechanical devices, chemical compositions, and electrical technology. He has litigated cases around the country, including in popular patent litigation jurisdictions such as the Central and Northern Districts of California, the Eastern District of Texas, and the District of Delaware. Billy has particular experience litigating patent, intellectual property, and other cases in the Eastern District of Virginia, also known as the “Rocket Docket,” as both lead and local counsel. He is extremely well versed in addressing the e-discovery issues that accompany complex litigation. Billy is a permanent member of the Fourth Circuit Judicial Conference.
After graduating from law school at UVA, Billy spent one year practicing at a large firm in Washington, DC, before clerking for The Honorable Alvin A. Schall, US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Before joining Kaleo Legal, he served as the co-chair of the Intellectual Property Litigation practice at Williams Mullen. Throughout his practice, Billy has represented domestic and international companies of all sizes and types, including startups, mid-sized companies, and Fortune 500 companies, in various industry sectors such as software, retail, manufacturing, telecommunications, and transportation.
Billy is listed in Virginia Super Lawyers, and has been regularly named as Virginia Legal Elite for Intellectual Property by Virginia Business. He has been ranked in Chambers USA since 2014 for Intellectual Property, has been named to Best Lawyers in America since 2015, and has an AV rating from Martindale Hubbell.
Billy maintains membership in the American Bar Association’s Intellectual Property Division and the Federal Circuit Bar Association, in addition to sitting on the committee of the Law Practice Management Division of the Virginia Bar Association. He currently serves on the Board of the Directors of the Norfolk Forum and is a member of the Greater Norfolk Corporation. He spent ten years as a member of the Board of Directors of the Virginia Opera, including as a member of the Executive Committee. In 2010, Inside Business named Billy to its list of the Hampton Roads “Top 40 Under 40.”
He earned his undergraduate degrees from Washington & Lee University in 1998, a bachelor of science in chemistry and a bachelor of arts in medieval and renaissance studies, magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa. He earned his juris doctor from the University of Virginia School of Law in 2002.
Years of Experience: 18
Past Work Experience: Hunton & Williams, Clerk – US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, Williams Mullen
Professional Affiliations: ABA, VBA, VSB, DC Bar, FCBA, Fourth Circuit Judicial Conference, FBA
Awards & Honors: Phi Beta Kappa, Magna Cum Laude, AV Rating from Martindale Hubbell, Best Lawyers, Chambers USA, VA Legal Elite, VA Superlawyers, Top 40 Under 40, Inside Business Entrepreneurial Excellence
Bar Admissions: Virginia, District of Columbia
Shep is not your traditional litigator. He is a true trial lawyer with more than 25 years of experience trying and winning big cases before juries in Hampton Roads and around the country. Shep started his career as an Assistant and then Deputy Commonwealth Attorney in Virginia Beach where he was in court every day, trying thousands of cases. Ultimately, Shep supervised the presentation of all violent crime in Virginia Beach, trying many rape, robbery and murder trials himself. Shep then joined Kaufman and Canoles in Norfolk, Virginia, spending 10 years there as an associate and equity partner in the litigation section. Shep focused on product liability, toxic tort commercial litigation, civil rights litigation, including Section 1983 cases and municipal matters, and personal injury and traumatic brain injury cases. His representations included the defense of police officers in excessive force and wrongful death cases, the defense of hotels and businesses in premises liability cases, and the defense of a video producer in unauthorized use of name and image cases.
Shep then joined McGuireWoods where he continued his product liability and civil rights practice, focusing on the defense of asbestos related mesothelioma and lung cancer cases. For the last 10 years, Shep has served as national coordinating counsel for an American automobile manufacturer, managing the scientific defense of thousands of asbestos-related claims. Shep serves as Daubert/Frye counsel in asbestos litigation and as lead trial counsel throughout the country, obtaining numerous defense verdicts, including in Pennsylvania, Virginia, South Carolina and Arkansas. Shep joined our firm in 2018.
Ryan V. P. Dougherty
Ryan focuses his practice on state and federal court litigation in Virginia and the District of Columbia. Ryan developed his practice at two AmLaw 100 law firms. At Arnold & Porter in Washington, DC, Ryan defended a company involved in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill against class action claims by businesses allegedly injured by the spill. Additionally, he maintained an active pro bono practice, including co-drafting an amicus curiae brief to the United States Supreme Court on behalf of the American Bar Association.
After moving to Norfolk, Ryan joined McGuireWoods’ commercial litigation department, where he represented clients in a wide variety of industries – from Fortune 100 financial institutions to local entrepreneurs – at all levels of the Virginia state and federal court system. For every case, Ryan focused on developing an assertive and effective litigation strategy in line with each client’s business goals, and he continues to do so as a member of Kaleo Legal.
Ryan graduated from the University of Virginia School of Law, where he was a Dillard Fellow for Legal Research & Writing. Prior to attending law school, Ryan earned his B.A. in art history from the College of William & Mary and his M.A. in art history from the University of Delaware. In the course of his art history studies, Ryan held internships at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. and the Guggenheim Foundation in Venice, Italy.
Ryan is a member of the American Bar Association and the Norfolk & Portsmouth Bar Association. He is admitted to practice before the courts of Virginia and the District of Columbia; US District Courts for the Eastern District of Virginia, Western District of Virginia, and the District of Columbia; the US Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Virginia; and the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.
Years of Experience: 10
Past Work Experience: McGuireWoods LLP, Arnold & Porter LLP
Professional Affiliations: American Bar Association, Norfolk Portsmouth Bar Association
Awards & Honors: Dillard Fellow for Legal Research & Writing
Bar Admissions: Virginia, District of Columbia
Verena is a litigation paralegal with many years of experience in product liability cases, focusing on the defense of asbestos-related mesothelioma and lung cancer cases. She works primarily with national coordinating counsel and trial counsel for an American automobile manufacturer, supporting the scientific defense of asbestos-related claims nationwide.
Prior to joining Kaleo in 2018, she was an environmental and toxic torts litigation paralegal at McGuireWoods, providing discovery and trial preparation assistance on lead paint, benzene, and mesothelioma cases. She moved to McGuireWoods after several years as an analyst at BrownGreer PLC, where she reviewed opt-out cases for benefit eligibility under the terms of a multi-billion dollar diet drug class action settlement agreement.
Outside of work, Verena is a sustaining member of the Junior League of Norfolk-Virginia Beach, and enjoys travelling, photography, and volunteering in her local community. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in biology from the University of Richmond.