William O. Martin, Jr. (known as Skip) is a Senior Partner of the Product Liability and Professional Liability Practice Groups, and serves as the leader of the Elder Care Practice Group. His practice is national in scope and focuses on the litigation and trial of product liability actions. He serves as national trial counsel for APV North America, Inc. and its various divisions, having successfully defended the products for various companies in over 30 states. He has represented other clients on both a regional and national basis.
“Haight has taken the time to truly understand our products, how we go to the market, and the technical issues involved in a very complicated industry. This experience is invaluable in effectively and economically handling cases,” Vice President and Director of Legal Affairs, APV Limited
Products in which Mr. Martin has significant experience include, but not limited to: all-terrain vehicles, personal watercraft, snowmobiles, conveyors, pneumatic conveyors, turbo expanders, nitrogen generators, film winders, wire winders, rotary cutters, rotary molders, packaging equipment, mixers, fabric-treating machines, printing presses, gear cutters, saws, diesel locomotive bearings, brakes on railroad cars, sporting equipment, automotive parts, plate heat exchangers, refrigeration equipment such as compressors and condensers, valves, freezers, air compressors, construction equipment such as back hoes, front end loaders and skid steer loaders, farm equipment, distillation systems, plastic blowmold machines, homogenizers, ovens, plastic extrusion equipment, traffic signals, asbestos, artificial turf, asphalt and the hard facing placed on the interior of valves.
“Throughout this case I felt confident that all issues and angles were examined and re-examined by you and your staff, to our benefit and I believe the end result bears this out,” Director, Risk Managment, Harris Chemical Group, Inc.
Mr. Martin has also successfully represented clients in fire cases, serious motor vehicle accidents, including automobiles, motorcycles and semi-tractor trailers, construction accidents, railroad crossing collision cases, FELA and Safety Appliance Act cases, asbestos cases and some commercial litigation involving his clients’ products.
“You did an exceptional job on this case. Presenting a client’s position to a jury is about finding the appropriate words and educating them on the merits of our case. You did that perfectly…,”Legal Counsel, Bombardier Recreational Products
Mr. Martin has written extensively, presented seminars and webinars and successfully defended cases involving “Warnings,” including issues of causation, the “heeding” presumption, the “uncertainty” principle and the “benign experience” principle.
Mr. Martin has also written and presented webinars on the use of Daubert to strike opposing experts, using Daubert to successfully challenge opposing experts in pretrial motions and at trial.
Mr. Martin has also been proactive in reducing or eliminating potential litigation for APV and other clients. He has provided numerous educational seminars to employees at facilities throughout the United States as well as England, Denmark and Germany in an effort to educate sales engineers, design engineers and field service technicians regarding the legal process, the differences between American standards such as OSHA and ANSI and European standards requiring a CE mark, design obligations created for manufacturers as a result of ISO 9001 certification, and preventing liability. As a result of his efforts, serious accidents resulting in litigation have been reduced approximately 50% for at least one client. Mr. Martin has also helped in designing an “early warning system” for investigation accidents. He oversees this program which allows the company to learn of a serious accident within 48 hours of the occurrence. Finally, he has helped develop risk/benefit analysis programs for manufacturers.
“Skip Martin, on his own has come to learn and educate himself, not only on the many products, but the company and its resources as well. He has delivered timely and cost effective services,” Vice President Administration and General Counsel, BBDP, Inc.
Mr. Martin also has extensive experience in medical malpractice defense. For over 15 years, Mr. Martin represented hospitals, physicians and nurses. The physicians included OB-GYNs, neurosurgeons, pathologists, anesthesiologists, ER doctors, surgeons, radiologists, internists, and otolaryngologists.
In order to help young associates improve courtroom skills, in 1991 Mr. Martin developed and implemented at Haight Brown & Bonesteel an intensive six‑week trial technique course. Taught by Mr. Martin every two years, the course covers voir dire, opening statement, evidence, direct examination, cross-examination and closing argument. Classes are two evenings per week, with the first session each week consisting of a lecture on the techniques to be used and the second session each week requiring the participants to demonstrate before a video camera and the other participants the techniques taught several days before.
University of Illinois (JD, 1973)
Monmouth College (BA, 1970)
Orange County Bar Association, 2013 Tort & Trial Section Chair
ALFA International, Practice Group Chairman, Product Liability Practice Group (2004-2006) & Program Chair, Product Liability Practice Group, 2002
Product Liability Advisory Council
Illinois Bar Association Member, Committee on Illinois State Bar, Committee on Civil Practice and Procedure, 1974-1978
Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel, Member Board of Directors, 1983-1988
Martindale Hubbell AV Preeminent Rated