Howard Merten



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Howard Merten is past Managing Partner. He represents businesses, financial services institutions and individuals in complex civil litigation. His practice focuses on commercial litigation, products liability, insurance, media, and intellectual property matters. He is a frequent speaker and writer on wide-ranging topics including trial practice, insurance coverage, e-discovery, fraud investigations, intellectual property, and legal ethics and professionalism. Howard is Chairman of the Board, and past President, of Federation of Defense & Corporate Counsel, whose membership is limited to select attorneys who have displayed achievement in their field and leadership in the practice of law. He is also past President of Defense Counsel of Rhode Island. His achievements have earned him recognition by all the usual peer-reviewed rating entities, including Best Lawyers in America, Lawyer of the Year in Rhode Island for Litigation – Banking and Finance in 2017 and Litigation – Intellectual Property in 2016.

Practice Areas

Corporate & Business

Intellectual Property

Litigation & Disputes


Boston University School of Law, J.D., magna cum laude

Princeton University, B.A., cum laude

Bar Memberships

Rhode Island


U.S. District Court, Rhode Island

U.S. Court of Appeals, 1st Circuit

U.S. Court of Appeals, 2nd Circuit

U.S. District Court, Massachusetts

Professional Affiliations

  • Federation of Defense & Corporate Counsel
    • Chairman of the Board
  • Defense Counsel of Rhode Island, Past President
  • Defense Research Institute
  • Rhode Island Bar Association
    • Rhode Island Federal Bench Bar Committee
  • International Association of Defense Counsel


  • Roger Williams University School of Law
    • Board of Directors (Secretary)
  • Roger Williams University
    • Board of Directors
  • Rhode Island Zoological Society
    • Board of Directors (Executive Committee)

Representative Cases

  • Obtained dismissal of multi-million dollar arbitration claim against the State of Rhode Island in dispute over Tobacco Manufacturers Settlement Agreement.
  • Successfully recovered real estate and personalty valued at several millions of dollars from fiduciary alleged to have had improperly transferred assets from his siblings to his children over many years.
  • Lead counsel for local beer distributor sued for sponsorship claims in multiple suits filed following The Station Nightclub fire.
  • Obtained dismissal on eve of trial of biotech company sued over removal of high-tech equipment that landlord claimed were “fixture”.
  • Defended National restaurant chain against dram shop claims brought by representatives of severely injured child.
  • Obtained judgment for a chemical manufacturer alleged to have supplied contaminated chemicals that destroyed a jewelry manufacturing business.
  • Successfully defended a gas detector manufacturer against claims that its equipment failed, causing an explosion which severely injured plaintiffs.
  • Obtained a multimillion dollar judgment against, and helped federal authorities convict, a group of conspirators who diverted millions of premium dollars collected from independent truckers.
  • Obtained a judgment declaring that the Rhode Island campaign finance statutes respecting referenda were unconstitutional.
  • Convinced a federal district court to withdraw an order against a local newspaper because it was an unconstitutional prior restraint.
  • Recovered clean-up costs and other damages for biotech company from designer of tank alarm system which failed, causing environmental contamination.
  • Acted as liaison for the Media Committee formed by the Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court in Rhode Island during a high profile criminal trial.


  • Named Best Lawyers “Lawyer of the Year” in various litigation categories in 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019
  • Ranked as a leading attorney in commercial litigation in Chambers USA, America’s Leading Lawyers for Business
  • The Best Lawyers in America, since 1997
  • Rhode Island Super Lawyers
  • AV® Preeminent Rated from Martindale-Hubbell
  • Benchmark Litigation Star in Commercial Litigation

Representative Publications

Representative Speaking Engagements


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