Howard Merten



    FDCC Lawyers Badge    

An experienced trial lawyer, Howard Merten 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, as well as representing the Diocese of Providence on a wide variety of legal 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, as well as a member of the Association of Defense Trial Attorneys, the International Association of Defense Counsel, and DRI. Howard serves on the Board of Lawyers for Civil Justice. His achievements have earned him recognition by all the usual peer-reviewed rating entities, including Chamber Partners, Benchmark Litigation, Super Lawyers, 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
  • DRI
  • Rhode Island Bar Association
    • Rhode Island Federal Bench Bar Committee
  • International Association of Defense Counsel


  • Roger Williams University School of Law
    • Board of Directors
    • Chair of Governance Committee
  • Rhode Island Zoological Society
    • Board of Directors (Executive Committee)
  • Lawyers for Civil Justice
    • Board Member
  • Association of Defense Trial Attorneys
    • Member

Representative Cases

  • Co-chaired six week federal jury trial on behalf of client seeking to recover costs associated with cleaning up environmental contaminants under Massachusetts law (Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 21E) to verdict and through appeal to the First Circuit.
  • Successfully mediated two federal insurance coverage cases and a lawsuit in South Carolina state court seeking $20 million in damages arising from a violent eruption of nitrogen gas at a airplane manufacturing facility.  Our client, the designer and manufacturer of the nitrogen gas delivery system and main defendant in all three cases paid nothing.
  • Negotiated a substantial reduction in fines and penalties from the IRS directed to a municipality related to new regulations adopted pursuant to the Affordable Care Act.
  • On behalf of our insurer-client, convinced national opioid plaintiffs to withdraw an incredibly overly burdensome and potentially expensive document subpoena that sought decades of opioid–related healthcare claims
  • 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 “fixtures”.
  • Defended National restaurant chain against dram shop claims brought by representatives of paraplegic college freshman.
  • Obtained judgment for a chemical manufacturer alleged to have supplied contaminated chemicals that allegedly 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 multi-million 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, 2019, and 2024
  • 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


Follow us:


40 Westminster Street
Suite 1100
Providence, RI  02903


30 Federal Street
Boston, MA  02110


128 Union Street
Suite 500
New Bedford, MA  02740

Copyright ©️ 2024 Partridge Snow & Hahn | All Rights Reserved | Privacy Policy | Disclaimer