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Gordon McKee
Gordon McKee (he, him, his) Partner | Toronto

About Gordon

Gord has more than 30 years of experience defending class action lawsuits and serious product liability claims. He leads the Blakes Class Actions team, recognized as one of the top class actions practices in Canada by Chambers and Partners, which produces international rankings for the legal industry.

Gord's current cases include acting as lead lawyer in Ontario and other provinces and managing litigation nationally for some of the world's largest manufacturers of prescription and over-the-counter medicines, medical devices, consumer goods and construction equipment. He has argued cases in trial and appellate level courts in Ontario and other provinces and has led the defence of class action common-issues trials in Ontario.

Gord is certified by the Law Society of Ontario as a specialist in civil litigation and is a fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers. He is recognized nationally and internationally as a leader in class-action and product liability/life sciences defence in Canada, receiving product-liability lawyer of the year awards from several leading legal directories on multiple occasions.

Gord's broad expertise extends to cross-border and multijurisdictional issues and cases that involve complex scientific, medical and technical evidence. He provides proactive advice to corporations on product warnings and recalls, litigation-related media issues and strategies designed to avoid litigation and class action suits.

Select Experience
  • Lead defence counsel in opposition to class certification motions in proposed class actions involving an acne medicine, a consumer powder product and a medicine for interstitial cystitis

  • Lead defence counsel in resolution of proposed class actions related to emission systems on diesel engines, pelvic mesh implants, metal-on-metal hip implants and a medicine for diabetes

  • Co-counsel for a leading manufacturer of appliances (front-loading washing machines) in the successful opposition of a multi-province consumer class action before all levels of the Ontario courts, and on a leave application to the Supreme Court of Canada

  • Lead trial counsel in the first medical products class action/common issues trial tried to verdict in Canada (146 trial days), successfully defending one of the world's leading manufacturers of life-saving cardiac devices in a national class action claiming more than a billion dollars in damages (awarded 2013 Canadian Product Liability Impact Case of the Year by LMG Life Sciences)

  • Lead trial counsel successfully defending one of the world's leading manufacturers of fire protection systems in some 20 claims and cross-claims resulting from a large factory fire, including a product liability/environmental class action claiming C$80-million in damages

  • Lead counsel representing multinational pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers in class actions involving a wide variety of medicines and devices

  • Lead counsel representing consumer goods manufacturers in national negligence, warranty and consumer protection class actions

Awards & Recognition

Gord is recognized as a leading Canadian lawyer in many Canadian and international publications including:

  • The Best Lawyers in Canada 2024 (Class Action Litigation, Product Liability Law)

  • Chambers Canada: Canada's Leading Lawyers for Business 2023 (Band 1 rankings in both Dispute Resolution: Class Action (Defence) – Nationwide, and Litigation: Product Liability – Nationwide); Gord is described in the guide as maintaining "a stellar reputation for his handling of class actions nationally, with notable experience acting for clients in the pharmaceutical and manufacturing industries. He is particularly well regarded for his role in high-stakes product liability class proceedings." One client interviewee noted: "Gordon is incredibly knowledgeable and a great partner to work with"; another said "he is a great lawyer with sound judgement. Gordon is a leading practitioner in this area in Canada." One 2023 interviewee noted: "Gordon has a wealth of knowledge and experience covering all aspects of litigation across provinces. There is almost no situation he has not encountered." Another said: "He is experienced, provides unparalleled legal advice and is a stellar advocate. He is truly a one-stop shop when it comes to Canadian products liability litigation."

  • Who's Who Legal: Thought Leaders Global Elite 2023 (Product Liability Defence and Life Sciences – Product Liability)

  • The Legal 500 Canada 2023 (Dispute Resolution – Ontario)

  • The Lexpert/American Lawyer Guide to the Leading 500 Lawyers in Canada 2023 (Class Actions and Litigation – Product Liability)

  • The Canadian Lexpert Legal Directory 2023 ("Most Frequently Recommended" in both Class Actions and Litigation – Product Liability; "Repeatedly Recommended" in Life Sciences & Health)

  • Benchmark Canada: The Definitive Guide to Canada's Leading Litigation Firms and Attorneys 2023 (Litigation Star – Class Action; Product Liability & Recall)

  • Benchmark Canada Awards 2023 (Product Liability Litigator of the Year for seventh time)

  • Who's Who Legal: Global 2023 (Life Sciences – Product Liability) (One of seven lawyers listed as "Global Elite Thought Leaders" for North America; described as "the first port of call for all things Canada" and "an extremely effective strategist")

  • Who's Who Legal: Global 2023 (Product Liability Defence) (One of 17 lawyers listed as "Global Elite Thought Leaders" for North America; comments from clients and peers include: "knows every facet of medical product liability practice in all of Canada")

  • Who's Who Legal: Canada 2022 (Product Liability Defence, Life Sciences, Commercial Litigation) (One of five listed in the most highly regarded category for Product Liability Defence: "hailed as 'an awesome senior practitioner' who is highly sought after thanks to his sterling reputation as a leading product liability specialist")

  • Thomson Reuters Stand-out Lawyers 2021 – Independently Rated Lawyers (As nominated by senior in-house counsel)

  • LMG Life Sciences Awards 2019 (Canadian Product Liability Attorney of the Year for the third time)

  • The Best Lawyers in Canada (Named Lawyer of the Year in 2018 and 2016 for Class Action Litigation and in 2015 for Product Liability Law)
Professional Activities

Gord is often invited to speak at local, national and international programs on class actions, product liability, advocacy and other litigation issues. He is a member of the Product Liability Advisory Council (PLAC) and the International Association of Defense Counsel (board member from 2015–2018 and chair of the Drug, Device and Biotech Committee from 2010–2012).  He is also a member of the Defense Research Institute (Drug and Medical Device Steering Committee SLC liaison), The Advocates' Society, Canadian Defence Lawyers and Christian Legal Fellowship.

In addition, Gord has been involved in bench and bar committees, and organizations interested in improving the civil justice system. He is a member of the board of the American College of Trial Lawyers Canadian Foundation and a member of the Ontario Bar Association's Civil Justice Reform Taskforce. He has also been a member of the Canadian Bar Association's National Class Action Task Force, where he helped to develop judicial protocols to manage overlapping, multijurisdictional class actions in Canada. As well, as a member of the board of the IADC Foundation, Gord chaired the IADC Canadian Class Action Project Task Force.

Professional Appearances
  • Presenter : Objection! The Game, The Strategy, The Win, The Cost – Plan, Don’t Guess Your Way to Victory
    IADC Annual Meeting, Waimea, Hawaii, July 13, 2023.
  • Moderator : Cross Country Check Up
    18th National Symposium on Class Actions, Osgoode Professional Development (virtual), Toronto, Ontario, April 29, 2022.
  • Moderator : Managing Adverse Foreign Judgments in Local Litigation and Settlement Discussions
    IADC Midyear Meeting, Scottsdale, Arizona, February 18, 2022.

Admitted to the British Columbia Bar – 2021
Certified by the Law Society of Ontario as a Specialist in Civil Litigation – 1998
LLM, Osgoode Hall Law School (Civil Litigation & Dispute Resolution) – 1998
Admitted to the Ontario Bar – 1988
LLB, Osgoode Hall Law School – 1986
Wilfrid Laurier University – 1981–1983

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