New York Law School, J.D., 1977
New York University, B.S., 1971
- New York, 1977
- United States District Court, Southern District of New York
- United States District Court, Eastern District of New York,
- United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
- New York State Trial Lawyers Association
- American Association for Justice
- The Summit Council
Named by the National Law Journal as one of the nation’s top 50 women litigators, Denise M. Dunleavy dedicates her practice to plaintiffs in personal injury and products liability cases. Although she handles a variety of cases, her passion is obtaining civil justice for victims of preventable crimes.
Dunleavy has won more than $20 million on behalf of crime victims in lawsuits involving property owners with inadequate or defective security, becoming one of the first lawyers in New York to develop an expertise in this area. Many of these cases involved women who were sexually assaulted and/or raped due to inadequate building security. As a result of her work in this area, victims as well as neighbors, visitors, the property owners, and the community at large, are now more aware of this widespread problem across the nation. More importantly, security in these cases has been corrected and improved.
Well known for her litigation involving women’s health issues, Dunleavy is a pioneer in breast implant litigation. She is the only lawyer to receive a punitive damage award in a products liability case against a breast implant manufacturer by a federal judge following a bench trial. In addition, she tried the first breast implant case alleging and proving that breast cancer resulted from the polyurethane foam of a particular implant. In that case, she won a $4.5 million dollar verdict for her client and was instrumental in getting the product removed from the marketplace within six weeks after the verdict. Dunleavy has published numerous articles and has spoken frequently on this subject.
Dunleavy also focuses her energy on cases involving sexual assault, birth trauma, sexual harassment, product liability, wrongful death, auto/trucking accidents, brain injury, civil rights law, as well as construction law and labor law which focus on those who suffer preventable injuries in the workplace. She also handles cases in which pharmaceutical companies introduce and market drugs to women that pose significant health risks.
One of Dunleavy’s biggest successes came in 1999, when she took on the seemingly impenetrable gun industry on behalf of seven families of gunshot victims in Brooklyn, N.Y. In February of that year, a federal jury for the first time found a gun manufacturer liable for injuries caused by a handgun. The case (Hamilton v. Accu-tek), which received international media attention, exposed in detail how the gun industry’s negligence in marketing and distribution allowed weapons to flow illegally to states with strict anti-gun possession laws. Dunleavy’s passionate arguments in the case helped focus national attention on how loosely regulated gun shows in the South have led to numerous gunshot victims, including many children and teens.ac
For her work on this case, she was named Trial Lawyer of the Year from the Trial Lawyer for Public Justice. And, as a result of her efforts in the Hamilton v. Accu-tek case, the NAACP also quickly retained Dunleavy in 1999 in a pending lawsuit against 100 gun makers in an attempt to change the way firearms are marketed and distributed.
Some other career highlights include:
- Serving as a lead attorney in products liability litigation involving the lactation-suppressing drug Parlodel.
- Winning a $2.25 million verdict in 2001 against a plastic surgeon for unauthorized and unnecessary removal of lymph nodes during the surgical removal of silicone breast implants.
- Representing a client who alleged that doctors failed to adequately diagnose breast cancer caused by a carcinogen.
- Representing a client who alleged that the failure of a hospital and certain doctors to detect Group B Streptococcal Disease (GBS) resulted in permanent injuries to a child after birth.