Eric Rothschild is a partner in the Litigation and Dispute Resolution Department of Pepper Hamilton LLP, resident in the Philadelphia office. He is a member of the firm’s Health Effects Litigation and Commercial Litigation practice groups.
Mr. Rothschild’s practice focuses on product liability litigation brought in federal and state courts against prescription drug manufacturers by individuals claiming personal injuries, state attorneys general and private payers.
Mr. Rothschild has argued several appeals before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second and Third Circuits and before federal district courts and the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court. He has tried several major arbitrations.
Mr. Rothschild has a varied pro bono practice. He served as lead counsel for the plaintiffs in Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District, the first case in the nation to test whether “intelligent design” may be introduced into the curriculum of public high school science classes. In a sweeping victory for the plaintiffs, Judge John E. Jones, III ruled on December 20, 2005 that the Dover policy violated the First Amendment, holding that intelligent design is clearly religious in nature and is not science.
The case received extensive media coverage, including a feature article in The New Yorker (December 5, 2005), which reported that Mr. Rothschild cross-examined intelligent design proponent Michael Behe with “cheerful mercilessness.” In another article, Judge Jones called Mr. Rothschild’s cross-examination of Professor Behe, “as good a cross-examination of an expert witness as I have ever seen. It was textbook.” (The Pennsylvania Lawyer, July/August 2006.) The trial was the subject of the PBS documentary Judgment Day and several books. Mr. Rothschild has done extensive public speaking about the Kitzmiller case.
For their efforts in the Kitzmiller case, Mr. Rothschild and his Pepper colleagues received the 2006 Civil Libertarian of the Year Award from the ACLU of Pennsylvania and the Clarence Darrow Award and Friends of Darwin Award from the National Center for Science Education.
Mr. Rothschild also represented the plaintiffs in Selman v. Cobb County School District in a challenge to an anti-evolution policy adopted in Cobb County, Georgia. That case was resolved on December 19, 2006 by a consent decree requiring the school district to stop their anti-evolution policy.