When products fail, plaintiffs may sue the manufacturer, designer, retailer and any other possibly responsible entity in the chain of distribution. A strong defense determines the actual cause of the alleged failure and seeks a fair and appropriate allocation of fault among the parties, including Plaintiff.
WSHB has an excellent reputation for defending product manufacturers, suppliers and retailers in the chain of distribution when products allegedly fail and cause injury or damage. We work closely with our clients and experts to assess liability, determine risk and develop strong trial strategies. The effective defense of such claims may also include efforts to tender defense and seek indemnity based on contract terms or based on product liability case law.
Representative Matters for Product Liability
- Defended the interests of the largest distributor of medical imaging products in the United States in connection with a Multi-District Litigation (MDL) filed, alleging injuries from gadolinium-based contrast dye. The MDL involved claims by over 300 plaintiffs. As a result of our aggressive negotiations, we were able to obtain dismissals from all cases in exchange for a waiver of costs without the payment of any settlement proceeds.
- Obtained a defense verdict for a Land Rover dealership in a wrongful death action from a rollover accident on the San Diego freeway. Plaintiffs alleged that the Land Rover rolled over due to defects in the automatic braking system, electrical system and tires. WSHB was hired only 30 days before the first trial. The jury could not reach a verdict, so the Court declared a mistrial. In the second trial, the jury held the Land Rover dealership was negligent, but voted 9-3 that the defendant’s conduct did not cause the fatal freeway accident.
- Plaintiff alleged that she was using a fitness machine at a national fitness gym when her foot became trapped between the tread and the rear plate. In defending the manufacturer, we successfully argued that there were no other complaints of any kind involving this machine, that her injury could not be duplicated and that the gym where the equipment was located was responsible for maintenance of the machine and was potentially on notice that maintenance had not been completed as per the product guidelines. The case settled for a nuisance value.
- Defended against a claim that an automatic coffee maker was defective and caused an extensive fire loss to a home. Through the assistance of the client’s in-house engineering expert and an outside “cause and origin” expert, we were able to convince the plaintiff that trial would be dangerous and they settled for less than 20% of the total claimed property damages.
- Defended a manufacturer against a serious personal injury claim resulting from a boat explosion. In a mixed negligence/products case, we were successful in convincing the Plaintiffs to withdraw their expert’s opinion as to design defect, leaving only the negligence claim. Plaintiffs settled for less than half the total damages.