Foley & Mansfield
Foley & Mansfield

Melissa K. Roeder

Of Counsel - Seattle


Bar Admissions: Washington; US District Court, Western District of Washington

Practice Groups: Cannabis; Toxic Tort

Education: Thomas M. Cooley Law School, JD, cum laude, 2000 - Law Review Symposium Editor, Winner of the American Bar Association, Law Student Division, National Appellate Advocacy Competition; South Dakota State University, BS, Political Science, 1993

Memberships: Defense Research Institute (DRI) - Board of Directors (current), Chair, Marijuana Law Seminar, 2018-2019, Vice Chair, Marijuana Law Seminar, 2017-2018, State Representative for Washington State, 2016-2017; Washington Defense Trial Lawyers (WDTL) - President, 2014-2015, Board of Trustees 2008-Present, Chair, Toxic Tort Section, 2008 to 2014; Federation of Defense and Corporation Counsel; The Claims Litigation Management Alliance (CLM); Washington State Bar Association, Co-Chair, Cannabis Section, Litigation


Melissa K. Roeder, Of Counsel in Foley & Mansfield’s Seattle office, is well recognized in the Pacific Northwest defense community. She delivers effective and practical solutions in the fields of cannabis/marijuana law, asbestos, benzene and toxic tort. Melissa’s play fair attitude and solid reputation has been the key to her successes inside and out of the courtroom.

Melissa is as “out of the box” at work as she is outside of the office. She rides a Harley Davidson, has climbed Mr. Rainier, runs marathons and is a former Alaska commercial fisherman. Growing up and working on the family farm in a town of 500 people in southwest Minnesota shaped Melissa’s character, work ethic and grit from childhood forward.

Melissa is a nationwide leader in developing educational programs to prepare cannabis businesses for the various legal issues and litigation facing this nascent industry, including product and premises liability for both recreational and medical marijuana growers, suppliers and vendors.

Career achievements include being selected as one of the Top 100 Women Lawyers in Washington State, a "Super Lawyer" from 2012-present, a "Rising Star" from 2008-2011 and the Washington Defense Trial Lawyers (WDTL) Outstanding Litigation Associate in 2008.

"Don't do it if you don't enjoy it!"


  • Second chair in asbestos jury trial defense verdict. After hearing evidence during a three and a half week trial, the jury deliberated for approximately a day and a half before returning a defense verdict on both the wife’s mesothelioma claim and the husband’s asbestosis claim. 
  • Noll v. American Biltrite, Inc. et al. – Trial court granted defendant's Motion to Dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction over a Wisconsin component-part manufacturer. Applying the U.S. Supreme Court's reasoning in J. McIntyre Mach., Ltd. v. Nicastro, 131 S. Ct. 2780 (2011), the Washington trial court found insufficient evidence of the Wisconsin company's minimum contacts with the state of Washington to satisfy the purposeful availment requirement of Washington's Long Arm Statute.
  • Representation of a valve manufacturer in 2009 and successfully obtained summary judgment by arguing that the "no duty to warn" holdings in Simonetta and Braaten encompassed design defect claims under both negligence and strict liability theories.
  • Representation of a electrical component manufacturer in 2007 and successfully argued at summary judgment that there was no scientifically or medically accepted studies showing a link between esophageal cancer and asbestos exposure.
  • Representation of a turbine manufacturer in 2006 and successfully argued that plaintiff's claim lacked causation as the evidence showed that plaintiff was not physically present within a potential range of exposure to asbestos.


May 16, 2019
Washington's New Cannabis-Infused Edible Product and Packaging Interim Policies

Cannabis attorneys Melissa Roeder and Sydney Haller discuss new WSLCB policies designed to address the risk of accidental consumption of cannabis-infused edibles by children.


March 29, 2019
Foley & Mansfield Partner Melissa Roeder Chairing DRI Cannabis Seminar

The 2019 DRI Cannabis seminar, chaired by Melissa Roeder, will cover developing litigation issues in the cannabis industry.


February 14, 2019
HOLY @#$% I’VE BEEN SUED! 10 tips to survive a lawsuit

Risk management expert Brenda Wells and cannabis attorney Melissa Roeder provide counsel to cannabis businesses on how to avoid - and survive - a lawsuit in the latest issue of Marijuana Venture Magazine.



  • Washington Super Lawyers®, 2012-2018
  • DRI Rudolph Janata Award for Best State and Local Defense Organization, 2016
  • Top 50 Women Attorneys,Washington Law & Politics, 2014 
  • Washington Rising Stars®, 2007-2011
  • Washington Law & Politics  "Outstanding Litigation Associate" by WDTL, 2008


  • Chair, DRI Marijuana Seminar, May 2019  
  • Chair, DRI Marijuana Seminar, 2018 
  • "Toxicology: What Is It and How Do You Utilize a Toxicologist on the Stand," DRI Marijuana Seminar, June 2018
  • "Cannabis Product Liability Litigation: How to Prepare and Defend Cases", Louisiana Defense Bar, May 2018
  • Vice Chair, DRI Marijuana Seminar, 2017
  • Vice Chair, DRI Annual Convention Committee, 2017
  • "Claims in the 21st Century”, Puget Sound Adjusters Association Claims College, 2016
  • "Technology in the Courtroom", NBI, 2016
  • Perrin Asbestos Conference, September, 2016
  • WDTL Associate Marketing CLE, September 2016
  • Planner and speaker, Washington Defense Trial Lawyers Asbestos Seminar: May 16, 2016
  • HarrisMartin Asbestos Seminar, 2014
  • Organizer and presenter, Joint Bar Asbestos CLE, 2013
  • "Rules and Experts North of Portlandia," 2013
  • "Asbestos Litigation Potpourri: Expert Exclusion 2.0", Resolute MidAtlantic, Resolute Midwest and QBE, 2013
  • Organizer, "Taylor Trial in Review," 2011
  • Organizer, “2009-2010 Washington State Asbestos Trial Overview."
  • Organizer, “Asbestos Opinions Around the Country,” 2011
  • Organizer, “Multi-District Litigation in Asbestos Trials,” 2010
  • Moderator, "Judicial Panel Perspective on Asbestos Litigation: From the Trial Court to the Court of Appeals,” 2010
  •  "Asbestos: A Year in Review," 2009
  •  "Asbestos Law Update," 2009
  •  Organizer, Expert Panel, "Fiber Potency and Mesothelioma," 2008
  • Organizer, Expert Panel, "Asbestos Pathology, Epidemiology and Industrial Hygiene," 2007


  • ABA Mock Trial Judge
  • YMCA Mock Trial Judge
  • Girls on the Run


  • DRI The Voice - Five Foley Mansfield Offices Give Back to Their Communities, January, 2019. Read this Article.
  • DRI - A Conversation with... Melissa Roeder and DRI colleagues discuss their involvement in DRI's public service initiatives. Listen to this Podcast. 
  • Profile / Melissa Roeder: Pedal to the Metal, KCBA Bar Bulletin, December 2018. Read this Article.
  • Operation Hazards of Indoor Cannabis Cultivation, Federal Defense and Corporate Counsel, Let It Grow (Eric Clapton 1978), Pending Publication
  • What is the Future of Cannabis Product Liability Litigation? The Defense News, Washington Defense Trial Lawyers Association, June 2018. Read this Article.
  • Growing Cannabis Industry: Product Liability Concerns and the Crystal Ball of Predicting Litigation, DRI The Voice, June 2018. Read this Article.
  • CANNABIS INDUSTRY: Packaging, Labeling, Warning and Advertising, Practice Tips on How to Stay Ahead of Litigation, DRI Marijuana Seminar Publication, June 2018
  • Growing Cannabis Industry: Product Liability Concerns and the Crystal Ball of Predicting Litigation, DRI The Voice, February 21, 2018. Read this Article.
  • A Revised Law Firm Dress Code, WTLD Defense News, Spring, 2017.  Melissa and WSBA President Robin Haynes present their take on conventional dress codes for women lawyers. Read this Article.
  • And the Defense Wins, overview of product liability win featured in DRI, The Voice of the Defense Bar, June 1, 2016. Read this Article.
  • Featured in an article in the July 2013 Super Lawyers magazine entitled “Farm Girl,” by Susan G. Hauser.  “Melissa Roeder brings a rural work ethic to the civil defense table.”  Read this Article.
  • Testimony before Senate Law & Justice Committee on behalf of WDTL opposing increase in dollar amount from $50,000 to $100,000 for civil claims that are subject to mandatory arbitration, under SHB 1248, March 16, 2015.  Read this Testimony.