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Marlene Goldenberg
Marlene Goldenberg

Breaking the Ice: Big medication cases enliven liability practice

Name: Marlene Goldenberg

Title: Partner, Goldenberg Law

Education: B.A., international relations, political philosophy and Spanish, Syracuse University; J.D., William Mitchell College of Law; Graduate Diploma in Law; BPP Law School, London


Marlene Goldenberg, partner at Goldenberg Law, is serving on plaintiffs’ leadership groups in multidistrict litigation involving heartburn medication Zantac and high blood pressure treatment Valsartan.

Goldenberg, who received the appointments in May, said the Zantac case, in the Southern District of Florida, is expected to be one of the largest multidistrict litigations in pharmaceutical history.

The Food & Drug Administration has recalled both drugs because of contamination with a probable carcinogen known as NDMA, according to reports. The Valsartan litigation is in the District of New Jersey.

“I’ve been spending a lot of time getting those cases up and running,” Goldenberg said.

Goldenberg has worked at the family’s products liability and personal injury firm since her teens.

Goldenberg received the Member of the Year Award from the Minnesota Association for Justice in 2018 for creating the Women’s Trial Lawyer Conference, a yearly networking and referral event. She said she came up with the idea with Goldenberg Law partner Laura Pittner and Robins Kaplan partner Holly Dolejsi. Robins Kaplan associate Elizabeth Fors and attorney Karen Kingsley help them run the conference.

As a volunteer attorney for the Children’s Law Center, Goldenberg advocates for the interests of children who are placed in foster care.

Q: What’s the best way to start a conversation with you?

A: I’m happy to talk with anyone who has questions about this practice area. I love to travel, my side passion is learning about real estate and I love to be outside and spend time with the kids, so any of those things.

Q: What prompted you to study law and pursue it professionally?

A: I announced I was going to be a lawyer at my bat mitzvah. That was always the plan. I used to work for my dad’s partner for a few years because I didn’t want to tell people I worked for my dad, but ultimately it’s been a nice relationship and I’ve gotten to do a lot.

Q: What books are on your bedside table or e-reader?

A: The truthful answer is I just finished maternity leave with my daughter and we did all seven Harry Potter books on Audible.

Q: What are your favorite aspects of being an attorney?

A: If I do my job well then products get safer and my clients’ lives get better. And I love learning about new things and the products that I work on.

Q: Least favorite?

A: It can be stressful at times knowing that we have to win, and being a small family business there’s a little pressure there. But it’s also a good incentive to make sure that we do our jobs well. I enjoy that my and my clients’ interests are mutually aligned.

Q: What’s a favorite activity outside your job?

A: Travel, spending time with my kids. I love to sail. Learning about real estate on the side.

Q: If someone visits you in your hometown, what would you take them to see or do?

A: I would probably take them around on a Saturday morning to the Mill City Farmers Market, go for a walk around the Stone Arch Bridge and maybe stop by the sculpture garden at the end.

Q: Is there an attorney or judge, past or present, whom you admire most?

A: Everyone loves Ruth Bader Ginsburg but how can you not?

Q: What is your favorite depiction of the law, the legal professional in popular culture?

A: We do enough of that during the day, so I try not to watch lawyer TV shows. But the closest thing is that I’m a huge fan of “The West Wing,” even though it’s an older show.

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