BY: Joseph H. Bourgon | IN: Firm News
We are pleased to announce senior shareholder Robert B. Sickels has been selected to Michigan Lawyers Weekly’s 2023 “Hall of Fame” Class.
“The Hall of Fame program recognizes Michigan’s legal leaders who are over the age of 60 or who have been in practice for 30 years for their successful careers and valuable contributions to the community. These legendary lawyers have made their mark, either in the courtroom or the boardroom, in their law firms or legal departments, with community organizations, and with local, state and national bar associations.”
For more than 40 years, Robert Sickels has been a tenacious warrior, fighting for people inside and outside the courtroom who have been seriously injured or in need of basic assistance to survive and progress in life.
During his legal career, Rob has achieved numerous million-dollar verdicts and settlements for his clients harmed by medical negligence or defective products. These results are remarkable because he has obtained them in the face of increasingly restrictive tort reform and widespread bias against victims of institutional wrongdoing.
Rob served as the Michigan chair in the multi-state litigation and bankruptcy proceedings involving a Boston based compounding pharmacy that sold contaminated injectable steroids to physicians and clinics in numerous states. The national litigation resulted in the creation of a tort trust funded with millions of dollars to compensate victims who suffered debilitating spinal infections or death.
In the past decade, Rob has developed expertise in defective medical devices, particularly defective hip implants. He was the first attorney in Michigan to file suit against Kalamazoo-based Stryker Corporation (and successful in preventing removal of the cases to federal court), claiming that its Rejuvenate and ABG II hip replacement systems caused patients to suffer metal poisoning and forced them to undergo revision surgery to remove and replace the implants. Rob has also successfully pursued litigation against other hip implant manufacturers, notably those that made and marketed metal-on-metal implants, including claims against DePuy Orthopedics, a division of Johnson and Johnson, Wright Medical Technologies, and Biomet. Rob’s efforts in hip implant litigation have resulted in more than 100 settlements and millions of dollars in compensation for Michigan residents victimized by these unsafe and inadequately tested products.
However, Rob’s commitment to injured plaintiffs does not end in the courtroom. Rob is an emeritus board member of the Michigan Association for Justice (MAJ) and is actively involved in the association. He is also a member of the American Association for Justice (AAJ), where he participates in four AAJ litigation groups dealing with defective medical implant devices. He has served on Sommers Schwartz’s board of directors for the past six years and is an inaugural member of the “Sommers Schwartz Serves” Committee, which coordinates the firm’s community involvement and philanthropy efforts.
A leader in the firm, Rob makes it a priority to share his knowledge with fellow attorneys. While still actively handling medical malpractice and product liability cases, he mentors the next generation of Sommers Schwartz litigators and has often spoken to the legal community about medical device litigation.
More important to him than his career accomplishments, Rob sits on the board of directors for Cass Community Social Services, a Detroit-based agency dedicated to providing food, housing, health services, and job programs. The organization has been a pioneer in the urban “Tiny Home” movement and has completed several new homes with more scheduled to be built. For the past four years, Rob has chaired or co-chaired the committee organizing the Cass Charity Golf Scramble; under his watch, the four events have raised over $200,000 for the charity.
Please join us in congratulating Rob on this well-deserved recognition!
View all posts byJoseph H. Bourgon
Joe Bourgon serves as the firm’s Chief Executive Officer, overseeing the firm’s operations and stewarding its continued growth and profitability.