Ruth Anne French-Hodson is a partner at Sharp Law focusing on the firm’s complex consumer class actions and appeals. She has served in leadership roles in numerous class actions and has experience in all aspects of case development from investigation and filing to discovery disputes to dispositive motions to bench and jury trials to post-trial motions and appeals. And she has seen all of these phases play out from the perspective of the federal judges she clerked for, the defense side as an associate at a large international defense firm, and now on the plaintiffs’ side.
Ruth Anne brings an analytical and scholarly rigor to the legal issues faced by her clients. Her doctorate in American political and legal development—especially outside the urban cores—provides important and unique perspectives on many legal disputes. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, she is pragmatic and practical. Growing up on a farm, problems were not esoteric but required prompt and practical thinking. She has brought this practicality to the law, and it has been strengthened by her experience seeing the tough decisions federal district court judges must make daily as well as understanding the perspectives of both her large corporate clients and individual consumers, farmers, and landowners.
Ruth Anne has brought this leadership and practicality to serve her clients in her cases at Sharp Law including:
- In re SoClean, Inc. Marketing, Sales Practices, & Product Liability Litigation (W.D. Pa.): Ruth Anne serves as co-lead counsel in this multidistrict litigation related to alleged false marketing of ozone cleaners for CPAP breathing machines;
- In re Crop Inputs Antitrust Litigation (E.D. Mo.): Ruth Anne serves on the Executive Committee in this multidistrict litigation related to overpricing in the crop inputs market due to coordinated, anticompetitive market activity;
- In re Philips Recalled CPAP, Bi-Level PAP, & Mechanical Ventilator Products Liability Litigation (W.D. Pa.): Ruth Anne was appointed to the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee in this multidistrict litigation involving personal injury and economic loss actions related to the June 2021 recall of certain CPAP, BiPAP, and ventilator devices manufactured by Philips which contain sound abatement foam that may degrade or off-gas under certain circumstances.
- In re EpiPen (Epinephrine Injection, USP) Marketing, Sales Practices, and Antitrust Litigation (D. Kan.): As part of the co-lead team in In re EpiPen, Ms. French-Hodson assisted in major briefing including summary judgment, the pretrial order, and in limine motions as well as all aspects of trial preparation.
- Appellate experience: Ruth Anne has led briefing and argued before the Tenth Circuit, Kansas Court of Appeals, and Missouri Court of Appeals.
- Ruth Anne also currently leads cases involving fraudulent billing practices by natural gas marketers during Winter Storm Uri and an alleged scheme to defraud by major baby food manufacturers related to concealment of toxic heavy metals.
Ruth Anne is also firmly committed to providing pro bono services in a wide range of areas from voting rights to representing individuals fighting wrongful criminal convictions to assisting parents facing abuse and neglect allegations. Notably, she led an appellate team that secured a significant Missouri state appellate court victory ensuring that custodians of children who are entitled to counsel can access that help and that hearings in family court are full and fair for all participants. She also secured habeas relief for an individual incarcerated in Kansas state prisons who failed to receive constitutionally adequate counsel during his state court proceedings.
Before joining Sharp Law, Ms. French-Hodson worked at a national defense firm representing major consumer and pharmaceutical companies in both mass and class actions at all stages including experience as trial and appellate counsel. Ms. French-Hodson also clerked for the Honorable Jon O. Newman of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and the Honorable Michael A. Ponsor of the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts.
Ms. French-Hodson is a graduate of Yale Law School, the University of Oxford, and the University of Kansas. At Yale Law School, Ruth Anne was active in Yale Law Women, serving on the board as Community & Outreach chair and co-chairing a nationally publicized report on gender and legal education, Yale Law School Students and Faculty Speak Up about Gender: Ten Years Later. Through her clinic, she spent two years assisting the New Haven Corporation Counsel with affirmative projects related to housing conditions, accessible taxis, and immigration detainers. Before attending law school, Ruth Anne was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship, which supported her graduate education in political science at the University of Oxford.
She lives in Kansas City, Kansas, with her husband, son, and two rescue coonhounds. While she may live in the city, Ruth Anne is actively involved in thinking about the future of agriculture and sustainability. She is Vice-Chair of the board of The Land Institute, an international nonprofit in Salina, Kansas, committed to researching and developing food production methods and perennial grain crops that sustain the land and soil. She also regularly volunteers with BikeWalkKC, the American Association of Rhodes Scholars, and the Rhodes Trust. Starting in the summer of 2022, she will also co-teach a course on civil RICO with Ryan Hudson at the UMKC Law School.
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
- U.S. District Court for the Districts of Kansas, Colorado, and the Eastern District of Missouri
Publications and Speaking Engagements
- Kansas Book Festival, A Kansas Farm Boy’s Take on a Sustainable Society (moderator of conversation with Wes Jackson, co-founder of The Land Institute), September 2021
- Lecturer, Civil RICO and Consumer Protection, University of Kansas Law School, Lawrence, KS (April 20, 2021)
- Shook, Hardy & Bacon Client Update, Review of Notable Decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court, 2018-2019, and Preview of Upcoming Term (with John Barkett and Bill Martucci), September 2019
- Shook, Hardy & Bacon Update of the Law CLE, Class Action Law – Update (with Andrew Trask and Tom Sullivan), June 2019
- Lecturer, Expert Skills Workshop, University of Kansas Law School, Lawrence, KS (2019)
- Global Overview and U.S. chapters (with Simon Castley and Greg Fowler), Getting the Deal Through: Product Liability (annual editions, 2016-2019)
- Shook, Hardy & Bacon Client Update, Review of Notable Decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court, 2017-2018, and Preview of Upcoming Term (with John Barkett and Bill Martucci), September 2018
- University of Kansas, Political Science Dept., Departmental graduation commencement speaker, May 2018
- Lecturer, Expert Skills Workshop, University of Kansas Law School, Lawrence, KS (2018).
- When Aerospatiale Meets the GDPR: Can U.S. Litigants Expect Limits on Discovery of EU Personal Data?, SHB Data and Discovery Strategies Client Alert (January 2018) (with Jesse Weisshaar)
- EU Data Protection Reforms on the Horizon – Impact on U.S. Discovery Obligations, SHB Data and Discovery Strategies Client Alert (May 2016) (with Jesse Weisshaar)
- University of Kansas, Honors Program, Keynote speaker for University Scholars induction, 2014 and 2016
- The Continuing Gender Gap in Legal Education, The Federal Lawyer, (July 2014)
- The Land Institute, Vice-Chair (2021-present), Board of Directors (2019-present)
- BikeWalkKC, Board of Directors (2016-present)
- Rhodes Trust, Class Leader (2013-Present)
- American Association of Rhodes Scholars
- Yale Law Women Advisory Board (2013-2014)
- The Hon. Jon O. Newman, U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit
- The Hon. Michael A. Ponsor, U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts