Product Liability

Our Practice

Our international product liability practice provides swift expert legal advice on all product liability and product safety issues that can arise throughout the life cycle of a product, enabling you to protect your brand and share price and secure your market.

Our key areas of focus are:

  • pharmaceuticals and medical devices
  • consumer goods, food and beverages
  • commercial products, equipment and vehicles
  • toxic exposure.

Experience

Pharmaceutical and medical device litigation

  • advising various pharmaceutical companies on product liability issues, including several successful judgements obtained between 2003 and 2008 in the context of an €80m dispute
  • advising a medical devices manufacturer in defending claims relating to a range of prostheses
  • assisting a major international pharmaceutical company in defending multiple claims following the worldwide withdrawal of a non steroidal anti-inflammatory drug
  • advising a major pharmaceutical company with a worldwide product recall
  • advising a leading medical devices manufacturer (specifically ultrasound, dedicated magnetic resonance and software to manage the diagnostic process) on a product liability case in France
  • representing a pharmaceutical company in blood contamination.

Commercial products, equipment and vehicle litigation

  • defending and assisting the German supplier of reduction gearboxes for the underground railway in Toulouse within expert determination launched after the deterioration of components of the gearboxes during operation
  • advising an international laser manufacturing company in relation to a claim for breach of warranties, misrepresentation and possible fraud on the purchase of the assets of a laser manufacturing business
  • assisting an international company specialised in the manufacturing of engines, snowmobiles and motorcycles in serial product liability claims.

Consumer goods/food

  • advising a US company with regard to its liability for defective IT goods distributed in Germany through a commercial agent
  • advising a German manufacturer of an electrical coffee-maker on product liability issues in Hong Kong
  • acting as counsel for a company charged with preparing and/or selling toxic star anise; an alleged violation of the Food Act, resulting in epileptic seizures.

Toxic exposure litigation

  • assisting a manufacturer of specialty chemicals in asbestos-related disease claims
  • advising an international drug company on Hong Kong aspects of claims relating to contaminated products.

Specialist Expertise

Although predominantly involved in product liability, including pre litigation planning and litigation management, we also advise our clients on matters relating to liability exposure, risk management and risk avoidance. This can include analysing manufacturing processes, testing protocols and quality assurance programmes, drafting product warnings and instructions and reviewing publicity materials.

Complaints, claims handling and group litigation

A successful claims handling process can minimise the potential for litigation. However, in some instances, litigation and high profile multi party litigation will ensue. We have considerable experience in defending protracted and complex multi party product liability litigation and managing multiple claims in different countries.

We are familiar with the technical experts (scientists, engineers, medical professionals) most often appointed in healthcare, pharmaceutical, industrial and consumer product liability cases. Our international experience of the judges and courts responsible for product liability cases in the various countries where we advise, proves invaluable in deciding on an appropriate defence strategy before a particular court.

Crisis management, media management and product recall

Product liability problems often develop at speed and in public view. We have advised on both modest sized domestic and large scale and multi jurisdictional product recalls either as part of a multi disciplinary team of third party advisers or when advising a single, fully skilled client. We are familiar with dealing with key regulators particularly in the recall context. We can assist in establishing a suitable crisis and recall plan for your company, of which a critical aspect is advising on media management.

Audits, risk evaluation and regulatory compliance

Many of the industries on which we focus are heavily regulated and thus, as part of the process of minimising potential exposure to claims, we advise on the suitability of product documentation, labelling, instructions, warnings and advertising content. Increasingly we also advise on contractual means of limiting exposure to claims.

Our product liability litigators often draw on the skills of lawyers in other groups, such as corporate or regulatory. The breadth of legal, technical and practical experience of the lawyers across the firm enables us to provide comprehensive and integrated legal advice and guidance tailored to each client's unique needs.