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Product Liability Law

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OVERVIEW

The potential harm to a manufacturer from a product liability action goes far beyond the cost of litigation and damages. The toll of negative publicity, customer defections and loss of investor confidence can be immeasurable.

Perkins Coie’s Product Liability team, with more than 70 product liability attorneys in offices across the United States, has successfully handled product liability cases involving hundreds of millions of dollars. We  have the depth and experience to advise both national and international manufacturers regarding product liability risks and can provide experienced counsel should those manufacturers face liability claims in court.

Our strength in aviation product liability litigation is recognized worldwide:

  • Chambers USA ranked our team in Band 1 for Aviation Litigation in 2009 - 2015; Band 4 in Product Liability & Mass Torts, 2012 - 2015.
  • The Legal 500 United States recommended our practice in Product Liability and Mass Tort Defense: Aerospace/Aviation in 2009 - 2013.

We provide clients with:

  • Counseling on product liability containment and lawsuit avoidance;
  • Litigation and trial representation
  • Global, national and regional claims coordination
  • Representation before government agencies

As product liability counsel in cases worldwide for The Boeing Company and as national trial counsel for other major manufacturers, we have a long and successful track record of defending clients in jury trials. Additionally, we have experience as lead trial counsel for numerous product liability cases with victories in 22 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

Cost effectiveness

Our high level of experience and our national presence enable us to staff and manage small, complex, multi-jurisdictional and international cases efficiently, without sacrificing the caliber and comprehensiveness of service.

Informed, strategic response

In-house counsel, business owners and insurance companies all rely on us to analyze cases early in their development and to assist them in determining whether it is in the company’s near- and long-term interests to pursue an alternative resolution, such as settlement, or go to trial.

Lawsuit prevention

Few manufacturers have a comprehensive program to minimize their product liability vulnerability. A common source of exposure consists of employees who are unfamiliar with product liability laws, the discovery process and the potentially severe negative impact their on- and off-record communications can have on the enterprise. That’s why we advocate a strategy of product liability risk minimization that includes:

  • Audits to help our clients identify and eliminate potential exposure;
  • Counsel on the drafting and negotiation of sales contracts, warranties, disclaimers and indemnifications, product-use manuals, warnings, service bulletins and recalls.

Product liability workshops

Since 1991, we have presented one- and two-day workshops to help companies prevent and respond to product liability incidents. These workshops feature simulations based on actual cases. They require the participants to decide, as the facts and events unfold, what steps the company and its employees should take to protect against liability. Employees are shown how their words and actions impact the company’s product liability exposure. Many manufacturers schedule these workshops on an annual or semiannual basis to ensure that both long-term and new employees understand that litigation prevention, risk management, regulatory compliance and proper incident response are everyone’s responsibility.

Recent litigation successes

  • The Boeing Company International arbitration panel dismissed all claims in commercial satellite case and ordered claimant to pay all of client’s attorneys’ fees.
  • Twin Commander Aircraft Summary dismissal of all claims in 7-death foreign aircraft crash; affirmed on appeal.
  • Experimental Aircraft Association Hired to appeal $10.5 million plaintiff verdict; verdict overturned and case dismissed.
  • S.R. Smith Summary judgment dismissal of all claims in quadriplegia case.
  • The Coleman Company Defense verdict in design defect and failure-to-warn case involving propane radiant heater; affirmed on appeal.
  • Jeppesen Summary judgment dismissal of all claims in 50-death accident; affirmed on appeal.
  • Precision Airmotive LLC Summary dismissal of all claims in 3-death wrongful death suit in Ohio; affirmed on appeal.
  • Genie Industries Summary dismissal of wrongful death suit by estate of lift operator in industrial accident.
  • Turbomeca Obtained full dismissal of all claims against client arising from helicopter accident; client awarded full amount of counterclaim damages.
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Experience

  • CASE STUDY

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  • CASE STUDY

    Food and nutritional supplement companies have become a top target for class actions and individual lawsuits following increased attention to product labeling, advertising, genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and consumer fraud.

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  • CASE STUDY

    Employees often know little about product liability and the role they have in the company’s overall risk profile. The acts or omissions of even one employee can have severe financial and operational consequences for companies.

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