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A Deep Dive into Marlene Goldenberg’s Leadership in the Oral Phenylephrine Marketing and Sales Practices Litigation

This article delves into Marlene Goldenberg's leadership role in the Oral Phenylephrine Marketing and Sales Practices Litigation, It explores allegations of ineffective nasal decongestants, emphasizing the broader implications for corporate accountability and consumer rights in the pharmaceutical industry.
Marlene Goldenberg, Attorney and Partner at Nigh Goldenberg Raso & Vaughn, PLLC, smiling in front of a garden backdrop.

Marlene Goldenberg, a founding partner at Nigh Goldenberg Raso & Vaughn, PLLC, has been appointed to a leadership position in the Oral Phenylephrine Marketing and Sales Practices Litigation. This role positions her at the forefront of a pivotal legal battle. 

With a distinguished career deeply rooted in personal injury, product liability, and medical malpractice claims, Goldenberg brings a wealth of expertise and a proven track record of advocating for justice and consumer rights. 

This article explores how her background and legal philosophy are expected to influence the strategies and outcomes of the multidistrict litigation (MDL No. 3089), emphasizing the broader implications for consumer protection and corporate accountability in the pharmaceutical industry.

Under Marlene’s leadership, the firm has committed itself to offering robust services across a variety of practice areas, from defective medical devices to environmental litigations. This focus not only showcases the depth of expertise at Nigh Goldenberg Raso & Vaughn, PLLC but also aligns with Goldenberg’s ethos that the law is a tool for cultivating a safer world for all, underlining the significance of Case No. 1:23-md-3089 in this broader mission.

Background on Oral Phenylephrine Litigation

The lawsuit central to the Oral Phenylephrine Marketing and Sales Practices Litigation revolves around the efficacy of phenylephrine, an active ingredient in over 250 products marketed for nasal congestion relief. Allegations suggest that these products are ineffective, leading to claims against major pharmaceutical companies like Johnson & Johnson, Procter & Gamble, and Walgreens for violating consumer protection laws and committing fraud.

Key Points:

  1. Ineffectiveness of Phenylephrine: Studies and consumer feedback have highlighted phenylephrine’s subpar performance compared to alternatives like pseudoephedrine, sparking the FDA to reassess its effectiveness.
  2. Consumer Rights and Corporate Accountability: The lawsuit emphasizes the need for transparency from pharmaceutical companies regarding the efficacy of their products. It seeks full disclosure of what these companies knew about the decongestant’s effectiveness and aims to secure monetary compensation for consumers misled by these claims.
  3. Regulatory and Legal Implications: The outcome of this litigation could significantly impact the pharmaceutical industry, potentially leading to stricter regulations on over-the-counter medications and reinforcing the importance of rigorous product testing and evaluation.

This ongoing legal battle not only questions the integrity of marketing practices but also emphasizes the broader implications for consumer safety and corporate responsibility in the pharmaceutical sector.

Who is Marlene Goldenberg

Marlene Goldenberg, a distinguished Founding Partner at Nigh Goldenberg Raso & Vaughn, PLLC, brings a wealth of expertise and a compassionate approach to her practice. Her legal journey is marked by significant accomplishments and a steadfast commitment to justice:

  • Educational Background: Marlene’s academic credentials include a Juris Doctorate cum laude from William Mitchell College of Law and a Graduate Diploma in Law from BPP Law School, London. Her undergraduate studies were completed at Syracuse University, where she excelled in International Relations, Political Philosophy, and Spanish, graduating magna cum laude.
  • Professional Achievements: Marlene’s leadership in high-profile litigations, such as the Phenylephrine lawsuit, underscores her role as a pivotal figure in consumer rights advocacy. Her recognition includes accolades from Best Lawyers® in Minnesota for 2022 and 2023, multiple selections as a Minnesota Super Lawyer – Rising Star, and honors such as the 2018 Member of the Year from the Minnesota Association for Justice.
  • Philosophy and Leadership: Deeply believing in the law as a tool for positive change, Marlene has consistently advocated for transparency and accountability in industries affecting public health and safety. Her leadership extends beyond the courtroom through her involvement in Plaintiff Steering and Executive Committees in various national litigations, reinforcing her dedication to making the world a safer place.

Implications of the Leadership Appointment

Marlene Goldenberg’s appointment to the Plaintiffs Executive Committee (PEC) in the Oral Phenylephrine Marketing and Sales Practices Litigation brings a strategic advantage in the coordination and prosecution of the case. Key responsibilities of the PEC under her leadership include:

  1. Strategic Litigation Management: The PEC oversees the direction and coordination of the lawsuit, ensuring a unified approach in presenting the plaintiffs’ stance on both substantive and procedural matters.
  2. Discovery and Legal Procedures: The committee organizes and conducts comprehensive discovery processes such as depositions and document requests, essential for building a strong case against the defendants.
  3. Communication and Collaboration: It is crucial to maintain transparent and frequent communication with all plaintiffs’ counsel, advising them of the litigation progress and important decisions. This collaborative approach fosters a cohesive legal strategy and efficient management of resources.
  4. Negotiation and Settlement: Goldenberg’s role could include negotiations with defense counsel, aiming for settlements that align with the interests of the affected consumers. Her expertise in negotiation is vital in steering these discussions toward favorable outcomes.
  5. Allocation of Duties and Rewards: The PEC also handles the distribution of tasks among counsel and the allocation of fees, ensuring that contributions are acknowledged equitably, reflecting each party’s involvement and impact on the litigation.

These functions underscore the PEC’s role in managing this complex litigation, with Goldenberg’s leadership being pivotal in navigating the legal challenges and aiming toward a resolution that upholds consumer rights and corporate accountability.


Throughout this article, we’ve explored the profound impact of Marlene Goldenberg’s leadership in the realm of the Oral Phenylephrine Marketing and Sales Practices Litigation, highlighting the critical role that rigorous legal practices play in championing consumer rights and ensuring corporate accountability. The efforts of Goldenberg and her team illuminate the vital intersection between legal advocacy and public health, underpinning the necessity for transparency and integrity in pharmaceutical marketing. Their dedication not only addresses the grievances of those misled by ineffective products but sets a precedent for the kind of diligent oversight required to protect consumers on a broader scale.

As we reflect on the significance of this litigation, it’s essential to recognize that the fight for justice in the pharmaceutical industry is a shared responsibility. The dedication of Nigh Goldenberg Raso & Vaughn, PLLC, to cultivating a safer world accentuates the collective effort needed to drive meaningful change. Together, we can challenge the status quo, ensuring that future generations thrive in a landscape marked by greater transparency and responsibility.


What is the effectiveness of phenylephrine as a nasal decongestant?

While phenylephrine is marketed as an effective solution for nasal congestion, numerous studies and consumer feedback suggest that its performance does not meet expectations, especially when compared to alternatives like pseudoephedrine. This has sparked a reassessment of its effectiveness by the FDA and led to litigation alleging that consumers were misled about its benefits. 

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