HPTY Elects Eight New Partners

August 15, 2018

ATLANTA, August 15, 2018 – Hawkins Parnell Thackston & Young LLP is pleased to announce the election of eight attorneys to its partnership from offices in California, Georgia, New York, and Texas.

Kathleen M. Benton (Los Angeles, CA) specializes in the defense of complex product liability and toxic tort litigation. She represents large national clients, including premises owners, manufacturers, and retailers of construction, automotive, consumer, and industrial products. Katie earned her J.D. from Pepperdine University and her B.A., magna cum laude, from the University of Southern California. 

Joseph R. Connelly III (Buffalo, NY) focuses on defending high-value insurance claims, product liability, and toxic tort litigation related to asbestos and cosmetic talcum powder. He represents large manufacturers of construction materials, industrial equipment, automotive products, naval equipment, and consumer goods, in addition to premises owners and retailers. Joe earned his J.D. from the University of California Hastings College of the Law and his B.A. from Fordham University.

Phil J. Montoya, Jr. (Los Angeles, CA) has more than 25 years of experience in the areas of employment law, contract litigation, and personal injury. Phil has tried cases as first-chair and obtained favorable outcomes for a variety of clients from employees accused of trade secret theft to companies in employment and contract disputes, and catastrophic injury. He received his J.D. and B.S. from the University of Southern California. 

Paula D. Pendley (Los Angeles, CA) is a trial lawyer, with a focus on products liability, contracts, premises liability, toxic tort, and environmental litigation. She has experience in trying toxic tort cases to verdict, serving as second-chair during four trials. She also defends a major manufacturer in automobile product liability cases.  In addition to litigation, Paula has represented clients on commercial disputes involving intellectual property, with a particular focus on licensing matters. She received her J.D. and her B.A., cum laude, from Pepperdine University.

Ashley R. Presson (Austin, TX) has a national practice with a heavy emphasis on defending product and premises liability and environmental and toxic tort litigation. She has represented aluminum, joint compound, drywall, boiler, and motor manufacturers as well as industrial premises owners. She received her J.D., cum laude, from St. Mary’s University School of Law and her B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin. 

Bartek Rejch (Los Angeles, CA) focuses on representing industrial premises owners and manufacturers and distributors of products in toxic tort and product liability litigation. He has defended cases involving joint compound, aluminum, paint, automotive parts, cosmetics, HVAC equipment, plastics, and electrical equipment. He has also defended and advised clients in catastrophic injury, employment, and contract matters. He received his J.D. from University of California, Davis School of Law and his B.A. from the University of California, San Diego.

Douglas R. Simek (Dallas, TX) is a trial lawyer and manages complex product liability and toxic tort litigation nationwide. Doug has extensive experience in trial and appellate courts defending personal injury and wrongful death cases involving toxic exposures to asbestos, silica, talc, benzene, vinyl chloride, and various chemicals. His clients include product manufacturers, distributors, suppliers, and professional service providers. He received his J.D. from Cleaveland-Marshall College of Law at Cleveland State University and his B.A. from the University of Dayton.

Zachary M. Wilson III (Atlanta, GA) defends a wide variety of litigation arising from catastrophic injury and wrongful death involving premises liability, product liability, and transportation. Zach represents clients in these matters ranging from individuals to the nation’s largest trucking companies, retailers, and manufacturers of dozens of products. He received his J.D., cum laude, from Georgia State University and his B.A. from Rhodes College.

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