• Profile
  • Awards

As a shareholder at Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman, Nicole Maldonado dedicates her practice to representing consumers, sometimes including entire families, that have been injured or lost their lives because of pharmaceutical drugs, medical devices, and products associated with an increased risk of causing cancer. She works mostly in Mass Tort and Multi-District Litigations.

After joining the firm, Nicole started in Baum Hedlund’s SSRI-antidepressant birth defect litigation on the trial team, representing hundreds of clients whose families are affected by antidepressant-related injuries and death involving cardiac, neural tube, cranial, oral clefts, anal atresia, abdominal, and limb defects, as well as developmental delays and autism. She played a pivotal role in resolving a large group of children’s cases, coordinating with and directing many diverse professionals, such as guardians ad litems, special needs trust attorneys, local probate counsel, annuity specialists, bank trustees, and lien negotiation companies. Nicole spent much of her time ensuring that each individual settlement was structured in the most beneficial way possible for that particular child.

She earned her undergraduate degree from the University of South Florida, where she studied Criminology. After graduating from college, Nicole married and moved to her husband’s home town, Detroit, where her first child was born. Shortly thereafter, Nicole studied law at Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Lansing, Michigan. She worked as a teaching assistant, lecturing and providing guidance on Contract Law. In her last trimester before graduating from law school, Nicole secured a judicial clerkship with the district court. She also taught a criminal justice class at Lansing Community College.

Before joining Baum Hedlund to work in mass tort product liability litigation, Nicole devoted her law career as a public servant, starting with the practice of juvenile dependency in San Diego, California. She was appointed to represent parents, children, and foster parents throughout San Diego County, working together with social workers, judges, and other public service members in the reunification of families. Juvenile dependency law gave her extensive experience in bench trials. During this time, Nicole’s second child was born. The following year, Nicole and her family moved back to Detroit where she worked as a federal judicial law clerk for two years in the Eastern District of Michigan. After the clerkship, the family moved to Orlando, Florida, and she continued her practice in public service work, representing indigent clients as an assistant public defender. The Sixth Amendment protects the right to an attorney for those accused of a crime. The Supreme Court has interpreted that right as fundamental and essential to a fair trial. Gideon v. Wainwright, 372 U.S. 335 (1963). “Each Era finds an improvement in Law for the benefit of Mankind.” Quote from the headstone of Clarence Earl Gideon (August 30, 1910 – January 18, 1972).

Nicole gained extensive trial experience through her work as a public defender. She tried cases as the sole attorney in more than 25 jury trials. This experience has helped her identify the intricate and complex issues prevalent in every wrongful death and personal injury case. It has also assisted her in preparing cases for settlement negotiations and trial.

Outside of her work, Nicole has volunteered legal services for the homeless, helped implement a plan to assist counties in forming a homeless court program, mentored at inner-city local high schools, performed mock trials for the local elementary students, provided instruction and insight about indigent defense, coached high school students in trial competitions, volunteered as a mock trial judge for the American Association of Justice’s Student Trial Advocacy Competitions, and raised money for indigent clothing drives. Along with her family, she has also volunteered to help raise money for the Children’s Hospital of Orange County, and has walked for donations to help support Organ-ize The Planet and the California Transplant Donor Network.

Today, Nicole and her family continue to provide services, food, clothing, and donations to various organizations and communities throughout each year. After all, “None of us got where we are solely by pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps. We got here because somebody – a parent, a teacher, an Ivy League crony or a few nuns – bent down and helped us pick up our boots.” Thurgood Marshall.

Practice Areas


  • University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida (B.A., 1992)
  • Thomas M. Cooley Law School, Lansing, Michigan (J.D. cum laude, 1999)

Court Admissions

  • California, 2000
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of California, 2002
  • Florida, 2004
  • U.S. District Court, Central District of California, 2007
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Wisconsin, 2008
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, 2016
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, 2020
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California, 2020
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, 2020
  • U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, 2021
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of Wisconsin, 2021

Awards and Honors

  • The Best Lawyers in America® 2022
  • California Power House, Law360 Regional Powerhouse Series, 2021
  • The National Trial Lawyers Top 100 Trial Lawyers
  • Selected to: Southern California Super Lawyers®, 2014 – 2020
  • Top Women Attorneys in Southern California, 2017 Super Lawyers®
  • Avvo.com Superb Score 10 out of 10
  • Listed, The Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers™
  • Michigan Bar Journal, Contributing Author, 1998
  • Associate Editor, Thomas M. Cooley Law Review, 1999
  • Chair, Moot Court Board, 1998-99
  • National Moot Court Competition- Final Four, 1998
  • First-Year Moot Court Competition- Winner and Best Advocate, 1996
  • Student-Faculty Moot Court Competition-Winner, 1999
  • Certificates of Merit Award in Property and Evidence
  • Scholarship Recipient: Mid-Michigan Women Lawyers Association, 1997

Litigation Leadership

  • Member, Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee, Johnson & Johnson Talcum Powder Cases, JCCP 4872, California Superior Court for the County of Los Angeles, California, 2017 - present
  • Trial Team Member, Taing et al. v. Orange Unified School District, Santa Ana, California, 2017 (The case was consolidated from five separate lawsuits filed by the families of five children who were injured in the bus crash. It resulted in a nearly $10M settlement.)


  • State Bar of California
  • The Florida Bar
  • Consumer Attorneys of California, President’s Club Benefactor
  • Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles
  • American Association for Justice: Leader’s Forum; Talcum Powder/Ovarian Cancer Litigation Group
  • Central Florida Association for Women Lawyers, 2004-2007

Presentations / Speeches

Legal Teaching Positions

  • Trainer, Public Defender’s Office, Orlando, Florida, 2005-2007
  • Adjunct Faculty Member, Criminal Justice, Lansing Community College, 1999
  • Teaching Assistant, Thomas M. Cooley Law School, Lansing Michigan, 1996-1999

Pro Bono and Civic Activities

  • California Transplant Donor Network
  • Organ-ize The Planet
  • Volunteer, Children’s Hospital of Orange County
  • Mock Trial Judge, American Association of Justice’s Student Trial Advocacy Competitions
  • Volunteers legal services for the homeless
  • Helped implement a plan to assist counties in forming a homeless court program
  • Mentored at inner-city local high schools
  • Performed mock trials for the local elementary students
  • Provided instruction and insight about indigent defense
  • Coached high school students in trial competitions
  • Raised money for indigent clothing drives

Published Cases

  • Cunningham v. SmithKline Beecham, 255 F.R.D. 474 (N.D.Ind. 2009) (ordering defendant to produce documents and awarding sanctions)
  • Forst v. SmithKline Beecham Corp., 602 F.Supp.2d 960 (E.D.Wis. 2009) (holding that Wisconsin has not adopted the learned intermediary doctrine and allowing all of plaintiffs’ claims, including, negligence, fraud and punitive damages to proceed to the jury)
  • Forst v. Smithkline Beecham Corp., 639 F.Supp.2d 948 (E.D.Wis.,2009) (holding that plaintiffs’ claims are not preempted by federal law)

Notable Media Appearances


  • CBS News Providence


  • Andrews Pharmaceutical Litigation Reporter
  • BNA (Bureau of National Affairs, Inc.)
  • Class Action Prospector
  • Courtroom View Network
  • Harris Martin Publications, Columns Drugs & Supplements
  • Law360
  • Los Angeles Magazine
  • Mealey's Emerging Drugs & Devices
  • Mealey's Litigation Report Antidepressant Drugs
  • OC Weekly
  • Pharmalot
  • STAT Today
  • The Daily Journal
  • Voice of OC
  • Westlaw Journal Medical Devices

  • 20+ Years of Experience
    20+ Years of Experience
  • Best Lawyers - Nicole K. H. Maldonado
    Best Lawyers - Nicole K. H. Maldonado
  • Law360 California Powerhouse
    Law360 California Powerhouse
  • The National Top 100 Trial Lawyers
    The National Top 100 Trial Lawyers
  • Super Lawyers 5 Years - Nicole Maldonado
    Super Lawyers 5 Years - Nicole Maldonado
  • Super Lawyers - Nicole K.H. Maldonado
    Super Lawyers - Nicole K.H. Maldonado
  • Avvo 10.0 Rating
    Avvo 10.0 Rating
  • The Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers
    The Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers
  • Leaders Forum - Patron
    Leaders Forum - Patron

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