Alex H. MacDonald

Alex H. MacDonald focuses his practice on representing plaintiffs in complex personal injury, medical malpractice, defective medical device, pharmaceutical, and products liability litigation.

He has been trial counsel in a number of leading plaintiffs’ tort cases, both in Massachusetts and nationally.


His cases include the January 28, 2000 then largest wrongful death recovery in Massachusetts’s history in the first Fen-Phen diet pill death case filed in the United States. For over a decade Mr. MacDonald has been elected by his peers nationally to membership in THE BEST LAWYER IN AMERICA in the areas of MASS TORTS, PLAINTIFF’S PRODUCT LIABILITY and PLAINTIFF’S PERSONAL INJURY litigation.

Mr. MacDonald’s thirty-seven year trial career is punctuated with many noteworthy courtroom outcomes, including a 1989 $4,600,000 (four million six hundred thousand) dollar recovery for a widow and her three children in a malignant hyperthermia medical malpractice death action; a 2003 $80,000,000 (eighty million) dollar accounting malpractice recovery; a 2013 $21,000,000 (twenty-one million) dollar wrongful death settlement and, since January 2000, over ten (10) stand alone personal injury cases in which sums of $10,000,00 (ten million) dollars or more were paid to Mr. MacDonald’s clients. In the same period, Mr. MacDonald obtained recoveries of $1,000,000 (one million) dollars or more in over 80 individual personal injury cases.

Between 2000 to 2013 the aggregate recoveries obtained by Mr. MacDonald in behalf of individual clients or their families against large corporate and/or pharmaceutical company defendants exceeds $325,000,000.

Beginning in December 1996, Mr. MacDonald undertook leadership of a five-member trial team in the nation’s first “Fen-Phen” pharmaceutical wrongful death action, Estate of Mary Linnen vs. American Home Products, (Middlesex Superior Court, Cambridge, MA) which involved the fatal disease Primary Pulmonary Hypertension.

In April 1998, he was appointed by the federal court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, overseeing the consolidated national diet pill litigation (MDL [multi-district litigation] #1203 In Re Diet Pill Litigation) to the Plaintiff’s Discovery and Expert Witness Committees, where he played a key role throughout the 1998 to 2001 period. Those efforts contributed to the successfully negotiated $6 billion global settlement of 70,000 Fen-Phen diet pill claims pending in the federal court MDL. That settlement, judicially approved by the federal court on August 30, 2000, is among the largest mass tort resolutions in United States history.

In the years since conclusion of the Linnen trial, Mr. MacDonald has been lead trial counsel in over fifty-five (55) additional Primary Pulmonary Hypertension (PPH) wrongful death cases arising from Fen-Phen pharmaceutical exposure. These PPH cases in Massachusetts, Texas, Louisiana, Colorado, Kentucky, New York, Utah, Pennsylvania, Indiana and Illinois, involve litigation widely acknowledged in the trial bar to comprise among the most sophisticated and serious variety of pharmaceutical/products liability litigation. Mr. MacDonald filed his most recent Fen-Phen related PPH case on November 18, 2013 in Philadelphia. It is anticipated to be reached for trial in early 2015. The pivotal role played by Mr. MacDonald and the trial team he led in the national Fen-Phen litigation is chronicled in the book Dispensing with the Truth: The Battle over Fen-Phen (St. Martin’s Press, 2001) by Alicia Mundy. Ms. Mundy is the reporter for The Wall Street Journal who covers and reports upon the Food & Drug Administration (FDA).

Between 2001 and 2006, Mr. MacDonald prosecuted cases across the country on behalf of stroke and death victims of the drug Phenylpropanolamine (PPA), which was withdrawn from the United States marketplace by order of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on November 6, 2000. The team led by Mr. MacDonald filed the first-in-the-nation wrongful death case arising from PPA use on February 13, 2001, Estate of Ziolkowski vs. Novartis (Federal District Court for The District of Massachusetts). On January 17, 2002, Mr. MacDonald was appointed by Judge Barbara Jacobs Rothstein as one of the twelve (12) Plaintiff Steering Committee lawyers charged with overseeing and prosecuting the national PPA Litigation; MDL #1407, In Re: Phenylpropanolamine (PPA) Products Liability Litigation, pending in the Federal District Court in Seattle, Washington.

Mr. MacDonald favorably resolved over twenty-five (25) PPA cases between June 2003 and mid-2006, including two catastrophic pediatric stroke cases — one in Portland, Maine and the other Boston, Massachusetts. The June 2003 eight-figure, eve-of-trial settlement in the Portland case is the largest personal injury recovery ever obtained in the State of Maine. Additional one million to ten million dollar recoveries for PPA stroke victims were obtained by Mr. MacDonald in death and near-death cases in Massachusetts, Tennessee, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Between September 2006 and October 2012, Mr. MacDonald led, along with his partner Kenneth Rothweiler, a team of trial lawyers from his firm in fourteen (14) scientifically complex wrongful death cases in federal or state courts in Massachusetts, Illinois, Utah, New Jersey, Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Georgia arising from fatal Fentanyl drug overdoses resulting from leakage defects in the transdermal “Duragesic Patch,” a potent pain relief medical device manufactured and marketed by subsidiaries of Johnson & Johnson. Each case was successfully resolved in behalf of the families of the law firm’s deceased clients.

Currently, in addition to a number of pending PPH Fen/Phen Diet Pill cases, Mr. MacDonald and his MacDonald Rothweiler Eisenberg LLP colleagues represent plaintiffs in a number of nationally significant and well publicized wrongful death cases against major defendants including large medical device or pharmaceutical company defendants.

Since February 2014 the firm has taken a national and leadership position in the evolving pharmaceutical mass tort arising from heart attack, stroke and related serious injuries arising from the use of the prescription drug Testosterone (e.g., AndroGel, Axiron, etc.).


Mr. MacDonald, a graduate with distinction from Boston University and Harvard Law School, is a frequent invited lecturer on tort law, trial technique, and mass tort legal issues at Continuing Legal Education seminars across the United States.

In addition, he and his trial team colleagues are regularly sought as co-counsel by other experienced trial attorneys in the United States who are engaged in complex or mass tort pharmaceutical or medical device litigation.


Mr. MacDonald is an active member of the Boston Bar Association, where he chaired its Membership Committee from 1992 to 1998, and the Association of Trial Lawyers of America. Since 1989, he has served on the board of directors of the Greater Boston Legal Services, Inc., an antipoverty legal agency, and it’s Executive Committee from 1992 to 1999.

Professional Presentations

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