Justin J. Hakala is a Co-leader of Plunkett Cooney's Medical Litigation Practice Group who focuses his practice in the areas of medical malpractice liability and life sciences defense, as well as product liability.

As a former plaintiff’s attorney, Mr. Hakala knows how to win from both sides. He brings an aggressive arsenal of tools to bear in each of his cases. He represents physicians, health systems and hospitals in health care litigation and claims of alleged professional liability in cases involving birth trauma, cardiac arrest, long term care, missed diagnoses and ophthalmology. Mr. Hakala has successfully served as first-chair in numerous jury trials.

In addition, Mr. Hakala has experience with mass tort and sole plaintiff cases involving medical devices and other products. He represents cutting edge life sciences and medical device companies in claims that have far-reaching implications on their technologies and businesses.

A partner in the firm's Bloomfield Hills office, Mr. Hakala has extensive experience with product liability claims. Notably, he is the author of the definitive Michigan subject matter treatise on the topic, titled: "Product Liability in Michigan."

Mr. Hakala also served as the Publications Editor for the State Bar of Michigan Antitrust Section.

Representative Client Work

  • Obtained the dismissal of the manufacturer of a medical device, basalt fiber, in a claim that the failure of a prosthetic device caused a catastrophic spinal cord injury
  • Successfully tried to jury verdict a failure to diagnose case involving critical abdominal disease that led to bowel ischemia, infarction and death 
  • Successfully resolved hundreds of medical malpractice and other actions through mediation, trial, arbitration and appeal
  • Prior to joining Plunkett Cooney and the defense bar, obtained over a hundred settlements on behalf of his clients, including seven figure recoveries in claims ranging from birth trauma to trucking accidents

Book Credits

  • Michigan Civil Procedure, Case Evaluation and Offers of Judgment Chapters, Contributor, 2024
  • Product Liability in Michigan, James Legal Press, Aug. 29, 2016
  • American Association for Justice: Life Care Plans, Contributor, October 2013

Articles and Lectures

  • "Medical Malpractice in the Delivery Room: Bringing or Defending Claims for Birth Trauma Injuries," Panelist, Strafford webinar, Aug. 16, 2022

  • “Reptile Theory: Best Practices,” A Plunkett Cooney client exclusive article on leading edge practices to combat the plaintiff’s bar’s use of the Reptile Theory, June 2019
  • "NextGen Medical Liability - Strategies, Tactics & Technology in the Millennial Age," Presenter, Plunkett Cooney’s Medical Liability Seminar, Detroit Athletic Club, May 31, 2019
  • Uber and Other Ride Sharing Services, Michigan Association for Justice: No-Fault Institute XIV, Presenter, Sep. 25, 2017
  • The Proposed Amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Michigan Association for Justice: Erosion of Justice Seminar, Presenter, May 27, 2014
  • A New Day for Expert Discovery, 47 Trial 6, June 2011
  • The Case for Different Preliminary Injunction Standards in Merger Challenges, State Bar of Michigan, Antitrust Section Newsletter, March 2009
  • Follow-On State Actions Based on the FTC’s Enforcement of Section 5, Section 5 Workshop, Federal Trade Commission, Oct. 9, 2008

Professional Affiliations

  • State Bar of Michigan (Antitrust, Franchising, and Trade Regulation Section: Publications editor, 2009 - 2013; Assistant Section Chair, 2008 - 2009)
  • American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA)
  • American Bar Association
  • DRI 
  • ALFA International (Product Liability & Complex Torts Practice Group Steering Committee)



  • Wayne State University Law School, cum laude, J.D., 2009
  • University of Michigan, B.A., 2004


  • Michigan, 2009
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan, 2009
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of Michigan, 2010
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Ohio, 2017
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit, 2013


Honors & Recognitions

  • Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch in America™ – Defendants: Medical Malpractice Law, Product Liability Litigation, 2021-2024
  • Michigan Super Lawyer Rising Star in Medical Malpractice; Michigan Super Lawyers, 2013 - 2019
  • Go To Medical Malpractice Lawyer honoree, Michigan Lawyers Weekly, 2022
  • Top Lawyer in Medical Malpractice Law, DBusiness Magazine, 2024
  • Wayne State University Law Review, Assistant Editor
  • Wayne State University Law School Moot Court, National Team Member