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Products Liability

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We regularly represent both plaintiffs and defendants, including responsible companies facing products-liability claims.

We proudly represent clients on both sides of the “v.” in the products-liability area, as in most of our litigation practices. In addition to our work for plaintiffs in this realm, we energetically defend product manufacturers and sellers faced with injury and death claims after responsibly stewarding their products and taking sensible precautions. In fact, we have been defending products cases for more than two decades. We have proven ourselves adept at winning or obtaining favorable resolutions for clients in challenging lawsuits brought in over 20 states around the country.

We have successfully defended manufacturers and distributors against product defect, property damage, economic loss, and wrongful-death claims involving industrial products (such as sprayers, burners, limit switches, light curtains, programmable logic controllers, and distributed-control systems) and consumer goods (such as auto parts and household products). And, as with the rest of our litigation practice, we are always ready and eager to take products cases to trial. We have successfully tried products-liability cases in Arizona, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee.

Our varied and deep experience is critical to our success. We’re better plaintiffs because we’re defendants, and we’re better defendants because we’re plaintiffs. Our experience representing plaintiffs has helped us appreciate the benefits that flow on the defense side from working actively with experts early in a case. We advise our defense clients to let us try to out-plaintiff the plaintiff by working closely with experts from the outset to figure out what happened and then use those results to drive case strategy. This proactive approach has regularly resulted in client wins via summary judgment or creative settlement solutions. And even when there is not such a clean shot to be fired, we use these early insights to our client’s advantage in working with similarly situated defendants and developing discovery designed to minimize exposure.

Regardless of the approach taken to the use of experts, trust and teamwork are a hallmark of our approach in products cases. When possible, we prefer working closely with the client’s in-house legal, business, and engineering team members to set case goals and develop strategy, and then execute the agreed-upon plan. We include local counsel as integral team members (not just a mailbox) and are proud of the relationships we have around the country with highly regarded lawyers whose local knowledge and connections often prove to be key drivers in a successful result. Our involvement with the International Association of Defense Counsel (IADC) also connects us to a trusted and valuable network of lawyers when we do not have an established local connection.

Representative examples

  • Won summary judgment, affirmed on appeal, for an industrial-sprayer manufacturer after Colorado power-plant workers using the sprayer caused an explosion and fire that killed five power-plant workers and injured others
  • Prevailed on a motion to dismiss in a $22 million claim brought by the estate of a worker killed in an industrial accident in Massachusetts (affirmed on appeal, Crossetti v. Cargill, 924 F.3d 1 (1st Cir. 2019))
  • Won complete dismissal of lawsuit against manufacturer of a vehicle strut that exploded in a Minnesota man’s face as he attempted to install it in his car
  • Obtained favorable settlement of products-liability claims arising from a fire that destroyed a meat-processing plant in Minnesota
  • Defended an industrial-machine manufacturer against a series of products-liability claims around the United States
  • Resolved product-defect claims brought against limit-switch manufacturer sued by a worker who was partially eviscerated after falling into an industrial mixer