Paul J. Napoli
Paul J. Napoli is a nationally renowned personal injury, medical malpractice, and mass tort litigation attorney with more than 25 years’ experience in the field. He aggressively defends the rights of his clients in courtrooms throughout the country, fighting to ensure they get the maximum amount of compensation they deserve. Trusted by those he represents and respected by his colleagues in the legal field, he has a well-earned reputation for integrity and honesty, and a dedication to ensuring justice is served.
With his well-documented track record in achieving the most successful outcomes in legal cases, Mr. Napoli rates a score of 10 out of 10 on AVVO, the highest possible ranking from the nation’s leading lawyer referral and rating service. He is well known for consistently achieving jury awards and settlements involving multiple millions of dollars for plaintiffs, and he brings his particular brand of excellence, his high powered legal skill, and his tenacious approach work on behalf of clients at Napoli Shkolnik, PLLC, where he has led the legal team in a number of breakthrough legal cases.
Representing Injured Workers and First Responders from 9/11
Mr. Napoli is a Founding partner of the Napoli law firms headquartered in New York City, one of the leading law firms in Manhattan, with offices in multiple states across the United States. He became particularly well known in the aftermath of 9/11, through the work he did both in contributing to recovery efforts, as well as in assisting those demolitions workers and first responders who were injured on the site.
On 9/11, the Napoli firm had its NYC offices across the street from the World Trade Center, and its employees were eyewitnesses to the terrorist attacks on lower Manhattan. Paul was appointed by the United States District Court as Co-Liaison Counsel representing more than 11,000 first responders and other rescue and recovery workers who became ill or were injured during the rescue, recovery and debris-removal activities at the World Trade Center site in the months following 9/11. Paul was instrumental in obtaining settlements that are today valued at more than $900 million for his clients and others.
His efforts on behalf of 9/11 workers and their families left him with a deep, abiding passion to work towards changes in the existing social and legal system. He became heavily involved in 9/11 charitable organizations and advocacy groups, while speaking out on the legal issues facing victims and their rights pertaining to settlements after 9/11.
In addition to his personal efforts and using his skill as an attorney to help those impacted, Paul also lobbied New York State and the U.S. Congress for two important pieces of legislation to assist WTC-injured workers and downtown residents and office workers. These include:
- An amendment to New York’s General Municipal Law §50-I, (known as “JIMMY NOLAN’S LAW”), that provided a one-year savings statute for otherwise time-barred first responder claims. This effectively extended the amount of time for those injured in 9/11 rescue, clean up and recovery efforts to seek compensation from public corporations.
- The JAMES ZADROGA 9/11 HEALTH AND COMPENSATION ACT OF 2010 (“Zadroga Bill”), which extended the World Trade Center (WTC) Health Program Fund indefinitely and allowed individuals and family members of deceased workers to continue to file claims for compensation under the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund of 2001. This provides for medical monitoring, medical treatment and cash awards for injured first responders and other WTC survivors, local office workers and community members injured by the post-9/11 fallout of over $2.8 billion dollars.
While passing this legislation played an important role in ensuring victims of the 9/11 attacks received the financial support they and their families deserved while they recovered, Mr. Napoli’s efforts did not stop there. Paul has been a generous contributor to the 9/11 Memorial, the 9/11 Memorial Museum and other organizations working to support first responders and other WTC-injured workers.
The National September 11th Memorial Museum
As a strong supporter of the National September 11 Memorial Museum, Mr. Napoli’s efforts help to ensure that the event that occurred that fateful day and the lives that were lost or changed forever are not forgotten.
The Memorial itself, which is directly on the WTC site, serves to help remember and honor the thousands of people murdered by the acts of terrorism, both in the first attack that occurred there on February 26, 1993, and as a result of the devastation resulting from 9/11. It recognizes the site as a sacred place, in the hopes that the lives lost and the acts of bravery and deeds of courage that took place there will inspire us all to have a deeper respect for life, to work harder to defend our freedoms, and to continue to confront hatred and intolerance, wherever it occurs.
Also located on the site is the National September 11th Memorial Museum, which serves as the country’s principal institution to chronicle the events of that fateful day and how those events continue to impact the world in which we live. The Museum honors victims and those involved in recovery and cleanup efforts through a series of interactive displays and a growing collection of artifacts, personal stories, photos and videos.
Mr. Napoli’s charitable and civic involvement, his advocacy efforts, and his legal work on behalf of 9/11 victims has led him to become nationally recognized as an expert on the various issues surrounding that day. Mr. Napoli was profiled in the published book “City of Dust,” a journalistic account of the rescue, recovery and debris removal activities at the site of the World Trade Center following the September 11, 2001 attacks, authored by former New York Times columnist Anthony DePalma. Due to his extensive knowledge of the attacks, the cleanup and recovery efforts, and the legal obstacles in obtaining settlements, his name is now synonymous with 911 responder claims.
Paul Napoli has deep roots and strong personal and professional ties to the city of New York, where he began his legal education and career. Paul is a 1992 graduate of St. John’s University School of Law and holds a B.S. from Fordham University (1989) in accounting. He is admitted to practice both in New York and Illinois, and holds “pro hac vice” admissions in several other states.
Protecting the Public
Prior to Mr. Napoli’s work with 9/11 victims and their families, he broke ground in becoming one of the leading voices for patient advocacy in debates over the safety of diet pills and the responsibility of physicians in providing their patients with these medications. The controversy focused on the diet drug Fen Phen, which the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reports has been linked with cases of cardiovascular disease in patients.
In groundbreaking litigation involving thousands of clients, Mr. Napoli played a critical role in holding the drug manufacturers and the physicians who prescribed these drugs accountable, netting roughly $22 billion in settlements for victims.
Paul Napoli’s passion is to shine a light on issues that put the well-being of the public in danger, and sharing his knowledge and experience to inform others in the legal field has been a hallmark of his career. Mr. Napoli has written on physician liability for diet drug injuries, which was published in the New York Law Journal, and on “The Cost of Contamination” for the American Water Works Association Journal, November 2012.
As a leader in the fight to protect the public against potential dangers due to unsafe and potentially illegal practices, he has extensively litigated on behalf of municipal clients for contamination to land and water supplies resulting from petroleum and related chemical spills. While easy access to safe, clean drinking water is crucial to the health of us all, numerous reports in recent years have brought to light concerns over contamination. Once water is tainted, it is often impossible to completely eradicate the problem, and it is crucial for water suppliers to take a proactive approach in monitoring and addressing potential problems. As part of Napoli Shkolnik PLLC’s litigation over contaminated water supplies, Paul Napoli successfully led the team, which obtained more than $50 million on behalf of numerous municipalities whose drinking water was affected.
A Life Dedicated To Helping Others
In pursuing a career in the legal field, Mr. Napoli follows in the footsteps of his father Joseph Napoli, himself a highly successful and well known personal injury attorney who has played a critical role in assisting clients involved in cases in the New York State and Federal Court of Appeals.
It was while Paul Napoli was seeking his legal degree at St. John’s University that he met his future wife, Marie. Alongside her husband, Mrs. Napoli has over 20 years’ experience in handling personal injury, medical malpractice, and mass tort matters involving complex litigation skills, and her proven track record of success led to her becoming one of the very few female partners in a mass tort litigation firm.
Together, Mr. and Mrs. Napoli have made significant impacts on the legal community in general, and have contributed generously to their alma mater. Their commitment to each other, to their family, and to the principle of helping others was highlighted in an SJU alumni magazine issue entitled ‘Heart to Heart’. It outlined how they met on campus, their illustrious careers since, and their generous contribution in establishing the Paul and Marie Kaiser Napoli Lecture Hall in the SJU School of Law. Today, the Napolis and their children remain active members of their local community, and continue to forge new legal ground in their work for Napoli Shkolnik.
- Bar Admissions
- New York
- United States District Court, Eastern District of New York
- United States District Court, Southern District of New York
- United States District Court, Northern District of New York
- United States District Court, Western District of New York
- United States District Court for the District of Colorado
- United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
- United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
- United States Supreme Court
- St. John’s University School of Law, J.D.
- Fordham University, BS
- Awards and Honors
Mr. Napoli’s dedication, success, and service to his clients is well known throughout the legal community and he has been honored throughout his illustrious career to have received many awards from his peers and commendations from professional organizations. These include:
- The National Association of Distinguished Counsel, 2016 & 2017
- American Institute of Personal Injury Attorneys (AIOPIA), Member
- Lawyers of Distinction, 2016
- Litigator Awards, 2015 & 2016
- Litigation Counsel of America, The Trial Lawyer Honorary Society, Senior Fellow
- Million Dollar Advocates Forum
- Legal Leaders, which lists Mr. Napoli in their directory of the top-rated lawyers in each state throughout the country;
- Martindale-Hubbell Top Rated Lawyers 2014, a designation considered as the gold standard for peer and client reviews;
- The Legal 500 United States, Top Tier 2014, which uses extensive background information and research to determine the top 500 lawyers and law firms each year;
- America’s Elite Trial Lawyers, 2014, which recognizes the major and notable victories attorneys have achieved for clients;
- New York Super Lawyers 2007-2017, which uses a multi-phase selection process to determine the best lawyers in the New York area,
- Top 100 Attorneys in the New York Metro Area, 2007, 2010, 2012, 2013 and 2014, American Trial Lawyers Association, which recognizes excellence in legal practice based on peer reviews and client feedback;
- Top 100 Trial Lawyers, 2008, 2016, 2017; Top 100 Trial Lawyers: New York (The American Trial Lawyers Association), which recognizes a high degree of success in litigating cases;
- Top 50 Elite Trial Lawyer from the National Law Journal, a prestigious honor awarded to a select number of attorneys for having the highest total recoveries.
As a recognized leader in the application and practice of law, Mr. Napoli shares his experience and skill with others in the legal field, and uses his vast knowledge to further the pursuit of justice for victims. He was honored to have served on the Board Of Directors of the New York Trial Lawyers Association, is active in numerous bar associations, has been interviewed on numerous television shows, in newspaper and magazine articles and is frequently consulted by attorneys around the country on a variety of legal issues.
- Professional Affiliations
- National September 11 Memorial & Museum (Board Member)
- Member, Diversity Law Institute
- Member, Trial Law Institute
- American Association for Justice
- Member, New York State Bar Association
- St. John’s Loughlin Society (Benefactors’ Council)
- St. John’s University School of Law Dean’s Advisory Counsel
- Fordham University President Council
- Speaking Engagements
- Speaker, “Opioids – The Latest Information and Strategies”, Masters of Mass Tort Seminar (January 17-19, 2018)
- Speaker, “Flint Water Crisis: Get in the Know about Lead Poisoning and How It’s Litigated”, Perrin Conferences
- Media Appearances
NY Counties in State Opioid Litigation Allowed Discovery, New York Law Journal (1/16/18)
With Trump MIA on Opioids, Here Come the Lawyers, BloombergView (1/12/18)
Judge Sees Forum Shopping in Class Bid to Move Pollution Case, New York Law Journal (12/20/17)
Yaphank, New York residents file suit over alleged contamination of water supply, Legal Newsline (12/14/17)
Alabama man files suit against John Crane Inc. over father’s alleged asbestos exposure injuries, Madison-St. Clair Record (12/1/17)
How we got here: A history of the opiate epidemic, Long Island Business News (November 7, 2017)
Cuyahoga County files lawsuit accusing drug companies of racketeering,leading to opioid epidemic, Cleveland.com (October 27, 2017)
Fulton County filing lawsuit against companies that make, distribute opioids, Fox 5 (October 23, 2017)
Fulton County to sue drug manufacturers in fight against opioid epidemic, WSB-TV2 Atlanta (October 23, 2017)
Fulton County to file suit against opioid manufacturers, distributors, AJC.com (October 23, 2017)
NY Counties Sue Pharmaceutical Companies Over Opioid Epidemic, WABC-7 Eyewitness News Exclusive (September 27, 2017)
Schuyler county attorney to crack down on manufacturers, distributors of opioids, Press & Sun-Bulletin [Part of The USA Today Network] (August 17, 2017)
- Opioid Crisis Costs: Is There a Cause of Action?, The New York Law Journal (November 16, 2017)
- The Emerging Crisis of PFAS Exposure, The New York Law Journal (October 6, 2017)
- The Cost of Contamination, American Water Works Association Journal, What’s New in Water and Waste Water, November 2012
- Compensation through legislation for 9/11 responders and victims: An analysis of Zadroga (Co-Author Brian Crosby), Westlaw Journal – Toxic Torts, Volume 29, Issue 8 / June 2011
- Physician Liability In Diet Drug Litigation, New York Law Journal (April 20, 1998)
- Profiled in:
- Mundy, Alicia, Dispensing with the Truth: The Victims, The Drug Companies, and the Dramatic Story Behind the Battle Over Fen-Phen, St. Martin’s Press, 2001.
- Depalma, Anthony, CITY OF DUST: ILLNESS, ARROGANCE AND 9/11, FT Press, 2010
- Court Appointments
- Liaison Counsel in the Colorado PFOA / PFOS Toxic Tort Litigation (Bell, et al. v. The 3M Company, et al., No. 1:16-cv-02351-RBJ) by the Honorable Judge R. Brooke Jackson of the United States District Court for the District of Colorado.
- Co-Lead Counsel in the New York Opioid Cost Recovery Litigation by Judge Jerry Garguilo of the Supreme Court of the State of New York for Suffolk County
- Appointed by the Supreme Court of the State of New York as a Liaison Counsel for the New York State Consolidated Diet Drug litigations In re: Diet Drug (Phentermine, fenfluramine, dexfenfluramine) Products Liability Litigation
- Plaintiffs’ Discovery Committee for In re: MTBE (Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether) Products Liability Litigation (MDL-1358), United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (Judge Shira Scheindlin) on Environmental Contamination of Municipal Water Supplies of MTBE by Petroleum Refiners and Retailers
- New York Court Appointed Member of the Plaintiff’s Steering Committee for In re Rezulin Products Liability Litigation (removed from the US market 3/21/2000)
- Plaintiff’s Co-Liaison Counsel for In re: World Trade Center Disaster Site Litigation, 21 MC 100 (AKH) settled in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York by Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein
- Representative Cases and Settlements of Note
- In re: World Trade Center Disaster Site Litigation, 21 MC 100 (AKH), United States District Court, Southern District of New York. Appointed Plaintiffs’ Liaison Counsel. Napoli negotiated a historic settlement of more than ten thousand workers’ claims against the City of New York, its contractors and other defendants in the mass tort litigation where first responders, construction workers and laborers became ill as a result of toxic exposures suffered during the debris removal and clean up operations at the World Trade Center and related sites following the September 11, 2001 attacks.
- In re: MTBE (Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether) Products Liability Litigation, MDL 1358, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. Napoli attained more than $50 million in settlement with ExxonMobil Corporation and other defendants on behalf of numerous municipalities and municipal water districts whose potable drinking water sources were endangered and contaminated by leaks of petroleum additive.
- In Re: Nassau County Consolidated MTBE (Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether) Products Liability Litigation, Master Docket No.: 601516/09
- Theodore Garille, Exec. Dir. for the Pascoag Util. Dist. v. Exxon Mobil Corp., et al. Providence Superior Ct., Case No. 02-2437 (Janice St. Ours v. Exxon Mobil Corp., et al. Providence Superior Ct., Case No. PC03-0079);
- Gladys Marshall, et al., v. CSX Transportation, Inc., et al.;
- In re: Diet Drug (Phentermine, fenfluramine, dexfenfluramine) Products Liability Litigation, United States District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Achieved a half-billion dollar settlement on behalf of thousands of plaintiffs injured as a result of their ingestion of defective diet medications.
- $52 Million Dollar Settlement For Environmental Contamination Of Municipal Water Supplies Of MTBE By Petroleum Refiners And Retailers
- $875 Million Dollar Settlement On Behalf Of Users Of A Pharmaceutical That Caused Heart Defects
- $118 Million Dollar Settlement On Behalf Of Users Of A Pharmaceutical That Caused Heart Defects
- $220 Million Dollar Settlement On Behalf Of Users Of A Pharmaceutical That Caused Heart Defects
- $712.5 Million Dollar Settlement Of Injuries Sustained By Rescue And Recovery Workers At Ground Zero From Toxic Dust.
- $24.5 Million Dollar Settlement Of Injuries Sustained By Rescue And Recovery Workers At Ground Zero From Toxic Dust At Fresh Kills Landfill
- $28 Million Dollar Settlement Of Injuries Sustained By Rescue And Recovery Workers At Ground Zero From Toxic Dust While Working On The Barges And Piers
- $47.5 Million Dollar Settlement Of Injuries Sustained By Rescue And Recovery Workers At Ground Zero From Toxic Dust Recovered From The Port Authority Of New York And New Jersey
- Civic Engagement and Philanthropic Pursuits
Through his numerous civic and philanthropic pursuits, Paul Napoli has shown his dedication in giving back to his community. As an active and well respected alumnus of St. John’s Law School, Mr. Napoli remains active on campus and in the school’s academic administration, and is on the St. John’s Law Dean’s Advisory Council, St. John’s Loughlin Society (Benefactors’ Council); and the St. John’s University School of Law Alumni Association.
Paul’s experience in legal proceedings and his acumen in handling cases is widely recognized by administrators and law makers within the state and federal court systems. In addition to his appointment by the United States District Court for the 9/11 litigations, Mr. Napoli was appointed by the Supreme Court of the State of New York as the Liaison Counsel for the Consolidated Diet Drug litigations and for the New York State Rezulin litigations.
In addition to his academic and professional activities, Mr. Napoli has served as a fierce advocate and enthusiastic supporter in numerous charitable endeavors and civic pursuits. Along with his dedicated work with the National September 11th Memorial and Museum and his participation and support for 9/11 Memorial 5K Run/Walk, he has partnered with philanthropic efforts on behalf of Napoli Shkolnik PLLC, lending his heartfelt support to the following:
- The Bone Marrow Foundation: In 2014, Paul Napoli was diagnosed with leukemia and was told he would need a bone marrow transplant in order to recover. Through the guidance and support provided by the BMF, Paul ended up receiving the lifesaving transplant from his younger brother, and made a full recovery from the disease. As a proud supporter, Mr. Napoli works to ensure other families going through similar ordeals get the help and support they need.
- Save the Children: Through his work with 9/11, Mr. Napoli is keenly aware of the issues that occur when disaster strikes a community. Through his support of Save the Children, he is proud to help ensure children in disaster torn areas in the U.S. and throughout the world get the services they need to ensure a healthy start in life.
- New York City Marathon: As a proud New Yorker, support for the yearly marathon is a given. In 2015, the year after Mr. Napoli’s battle with leukemia, this support become even more personal, when his wife ran in his honor, raising more than $50,000 in pledges.
- New York City Police Museum: Mr. Napoli and the partners at Napoli Shkolnik are actively committed to assisting the Police Museum in its mission to preserve history and provide educational programming and exhibits to raise awareness on the services offered and sacrifices made in protecting the local community.
- The Police Athletic League (PAL) – NYC: As the largest independent youth development non-profit organization, PAL operates a variety of diverse programs to help enrich the lives of inner City children, while encouraging them to reach their maximum potential.
- Mental Health Association Of Nassau County: Mr. Napoli is proud to support the MHA in its work to improve the mental health of residents of Nassau County through direct services, education, advocacy, and program development.
- Long Island Go Red For Women: Heart disease is one of the leading health concerns in our country, and through contributions to the Long Island chapter of Go Red, Mr. Napoli supports the mission of the American Heart Association to raise awareness and promote longer, healthier lives.
- Swing For A Cure: Mr. Napoli and his colleagues at Napoli Shkolnik participate in and sponsor a tee at this yearly golf event, which helps to raise money for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
- PENCIL: Transforming Schools. Together®: Mr. Napoli is passionate in his support of PENCIL, a leading organization in our area that promotes innovative and impactful collaborations between the business and educational communities.
- Trey Whitfield Foundation, INC.®: Mr. Napoli is a proud supporter of this foundation, which encourages and supports the dreams of children and young adults across the country to continue their education.
- Nassau County Law Enforcement Exploring Program: Implementing character-building activities that emphasize career opportunities, life skills, citizenship, character education and leadership experience, Mr. Napoli is proud to contribute time, money, and energy to this program encourages responsible choice to help make young adults more responsible citizens.
Along with the above, Mr. Napoli and the Napoli Shkolnik firm participate in the Holiday Mail For Heroes Program, which sends letters and card to military members overseas, as well as annual food drives benefiting local shelters, soup kitchens, and the Meal on Wheels program in New York.
- Other Experience
- Napoli Bern Ripka Shkolnik LLP