Gretchen M. Callas is a trial lawyer and the leader of the Firm’s General Litigation Practice group. She routinely represents publicly traded companies in significant matters involving products liability, class actions, and industrial disasters. She practices out of the Firm's office in Charleston, West Virginia.
Gretchen is an integral part of the Jackson Kelly team. She was the Firm’s first female assistant managing member from 2007 to 2011 and first lawyer to be elevated to equity status while on a reduced work schedule.
West Virginia can be a complicated jurisdiction to navigate when a bet-the-company trial is on the horizon. Gretchen has successfully moved clients through complex matters across the State, and most recently was in trial for several months representing a defendant in one of the first cases in the country tried on the theory that the distribution of opioids constitutes a public nuisance and successfully defended her client in the landmark ruling.
Gretchen’s courtroom skills haven't gone unnoticed – both Chambers USA and Best Lawyers® have recognized Gretchen for her mass litigation and class action work. She was named “Lawyer of the Year” by Best Lawyers® for Charleston, West Virginia in the category of Mass Tort/Class Actions. Gretchen has defended companies in class actions brought under the West Virginia Wage Payment and Collection Act and financial services companies and pharmaceutical companies from claims arising under the West Virginia Consumer Credit and Protection Act.
Gretchen's experience is extensive and wide-ranging, and her cases often involve both legal and logistical complexities. She defended a heavy equipment manufacturer against claims involving decades of occupational noise exposure, served as liaison counsel on behalf of 20 defendant companies before the West Virginia Mass Litigation Panel, and managed the discovery phase of cases involving hundreds of depositions. She also has extensive trial and appellate experience related to these representations.
Her work has taken her to many unexpected places, including underground mine sites. Gretchen knows these on-site investigations are crucial to understanding her clients' cases, where she takes the time to talk to clients and employees, review documents, and get a working knowledge of the physical location. Gretchen put these on-site investigation skills to work while serving as a leader of the defense team that handled the civil litigation resulting from the 2010 Upper Big Branch mine disaster.
Gretchen does more than work, though – she also gives back to the legal community. From 2010 to 2013, she served as a chairperson in the Campaign for Legal Aid of West Virginia and has been a member of the Visiting Committee for the West Virginia University College of Law since 2016. When Gretchen manages to find some free time, she loves spending it outdoors – she's an avid skier.