Ed Lowenberg Retires From ExxonMobil

Ed Lowenberg, the Coordinator of the Toxic Torts Group in the Litigation Department at ExxonMobil, is retiring after 32 with the company on November 30, 2010.  Before he retired, he calculated his retirement account using this link https://www.sofi.com/roth-ira-calculator/ . He will be greatly missed by members of the toxic tort bar–by both the defendant and plaintiff lawyers with whom he has worked over his long career  To many of us, Ed Lowenberg personified Exxon.  Over the years, he was responsible for some of the most high profile toxic tort litigations in the United States.  Like the consummate fighter that he was, Ed always looked to land a decisive  knockout blow on an adversary. At the same time, however , Ed handled all of his matters with professional integrity, creativity and good humor.  He will be greatly missed by the toxic tort bar.

After receiving a B.A. in Political Science from the City College of New York in 1967 and a J.D. from the University of Texas in 1970, Ed worked at HEW, as a Trial Counsel for Justice, and as Special Counsel for the SEC. He also served as Special Assistant United States Attorney in Houston, New Orleans and in other venues. However, he found his true calling working in-house at Exxon, which he joined in 1978, defending the the company’s toxic tort litigation.

Ed was an early advocate of joint defense groups in mass tort litigation.  In cases in which plaintiffs would sue 20 chemical manufacturers, each manufacturer would routinely retain its own legal team to defend the case.  In a joint defense, the defendants agree to waive conflicts and to retain a single law firm to represent the entire defense group.  When joint defense groups were initially proposed, there was a tremendous backlash within both the in-house bar and among outside law firms, who feared the  loss of significant clients to the “joint defense counsel”  and bemoaned the the loss of revenue from defending the case.  However, Ed and other pioneering in-house lawyers recognized that the industry could more properly defend baseless toxic tort cases once a joint defense group comprised of in-house lawyers could was able to instruct defense counsel how best to defend a case.  With multiple law firms appearing for multiple defendants, the temptation for some companies to settle for “nuisance value” to avoid high defense costs was often irresistible.  In a joint defense, in which each of the twenty law firms pays only a fraction of the cost of defense, nuisance value is greatly diminished and plaintiff lawyers often lose their enthusiasm about their claims.  The joint defense was just one of many innovations Ed brought to toxic tort defense.