It takes ingenuity, skill and experience to deal with the complexities of product liability cases in today’s mass tort litigation. The plaintiffs’ bar is more organized, and the multiple venues and multi-district nature of the litigation are more challenging. Our trial attorneys help clients navigate these difficult times in state and federal courts, in multi-district and class action litigation around the nation. Using sophisticated database systems and cost-effective strategies, we have guided our clients to resolution of product liability matters while meeting their goals and expectations.
Locke Lord product liability lawyers have years of experience and the ability to provide strategic, comprehensive services, including defending product liability cases, supervising nationwide litigation, and providing advice to avoid future claims. We are known for winning complex product liability trials involving catastrophic injuries and defending nationwide class actions.
Whether the case involves a complex mechanical or electrical product, toxic tort, food product, pharmaceutical or medical device, our product liability trial lawyers understand our clients’ products and become intimately involved in the details of a product’s design, manufacture, distribution, marketing and labeling. We are skilled forensic investigators with respect to the scientific, engineering and practical aspects of a client’s products and well-versed in disease physiology and trauma biomechanics to understand how and why disease, injury or death occurs.
Manufacturers and insurers frequently retain us to supervise the work of local counsel in product liability cases across the country. In addition, we mediate, arbitrate and settle hundreds of cases at great savings to our clients and actively pursue alternative dispute resolutions. With a nationwide practice, we defend clients in state and federal courts and in administrative and regulatory proceedings throughout the country. We have worked with and advised manufacturers on product recalls involving the Consumer Product Safety Commission, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), U.S. Department of Agriculture, Federal Trade Commission and the U.S. Coast Guard.
Because of our extensive experience, we can help prevent or reduce product liability claims by consulting with product designers on product quality control, document retention and accident investigation techniques. We draft and evaluate product instructions and owner manuals, warning labels, product literature, distributorship and licensing agreements and warranty documents. We also advise manufacturers, insurance companies and industry trade associations on case management and strategy, document retention, information gathering and quality control.
We work quickly to protect clients' products and reputations in a cost effective manner and to minimize business disruptions. Our attorneys work with clients' in-house attorneys, product designers, engineers and scientists to develop defenses that take maximum advantage of research and development and product knowledge.
Locke Lord represents small and large manufacturers in a variety of industries, including automotive, aviation, pharmaceutical, industrial products and many others. Our attorneys have earned a national reputation as authorities on product liability defense, and they speak at trade associations, have served as members of the Product Liability Advisory Council and publish articles in law and manufacturers’ journals.
National Coordinating CounselLocke Lord's extensive experience acting as national coordinating counsel in product liability cases provides value-added service to our clients. We bring the right people and resources to bear on key issues and become involved with all aspects of a client's product. We work quickly to protect clients' interests and assess the product design, documents and witnesses, then coordinate discovery, retain experts and develop effective case strategies.
We have synergistic, long-standing relationships with local firms in every area of the country through decades of serving as national coordinating counsel for several domestic and international clients. Nationally consistent positions and strategies are essential to effective business and litigation management, and we believe hiring the best available counsel in each forum is essential.
Locke Lord attorneys act as national coordinating counsel in industries of all types. We were national coordinating counsel for one of the world's largest automotive suppliers, directing all aspects of its product liability litigation. We also acted as national counsel for a global health care company. Our attorneys have acted as national coordinating counsel for international industrial equipment manufacturers, mining companies, consumer product manufacturers, a leading vegetation management company and a host of other clients around the world.
AutomotiveAs national, regional and local counsel for automotive manufacturers and component part suppliers, we defend a wide range of products in virtually any jurisdiction. We have handled automotive product liability cases in more than 40 states as lead counsel and have represented automotive manufacturers and component part suppliers in cases involving numerous products and allegations of defect, including the following allegations:
Our attorneys have vast automotive product knowledge and experience and quickly grasp product design and defect allegations. We work with in-house attorneys and engineers to develop effective defense strategies and retain and work with respected and experienced experts in product design and performance, biomechanics, accident reconstruction, life-care planning and economics. Our presentations are informative, clear and understandable to both judges and juries.
Locke Lord product liability attorneys also have considerable experience advising suppliers and manufacturers in the automotive industry relating to the NHTSA and a wide range of compliance issues. We have decades of experience working with Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) and have dealt with every aspect of NHTSA and Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS), including but not limited to FMVSS 208, 209, 210, 214 and 301. We have represented clients in communications with the NHTSA. In that regard, we have responded to NHTSA information requests and engineering analyses, coordinated the collection of data and documents and drafted the formal response to the NHTSA as well as assisted with regard to recalls.
Our vast automotive experience helps us counsel automotive industry clients on commercial issues and contractual disputes. We have assisted Tier I and Tier II suppliers by participating in numerous root cause analyses in which we reviewed engineering documents, gathered information, conducted employee interviews and helped prepare responses/positions for both North American and European manufacturers. We have also represented manufacturers in various pricing and shipping disputes and are familiar with automotive contracts terms and conditions. We have provided both preventative counseling and advice in anticipation of potential litigation.
Aviation/Maritime/TransportationTransportation businesses face unique challenges moving people and cargo, commercially or privately. For nearly a century, Locke Lord has counseled transportation companies and their insurers on all phases of operations and defended them in courts across the nation and around the world. Whether a client operates in the aviation, maritime or railroad industries, we get to know their businesses quickly and respond decisively to protect their interests and help them meet their business goals.
Our product liability team have handled cases involving major international airline accidents, vessel losses and damage, personal injury and death and cargo loss and/or damage. The cases include multi-district international litigation, mass tort litigation and class actions. Our attorneys are often called upon to evaluate claims, supervise local counsel throughout the world and negotiate the resolution of claims. In addition, we offer a dedicated appeals team for U.S. product liability cases. We represent transportation industry clients in regulatory matters before the Federal Aviation Administration, the U.S. Department of Transportation, the National Transportation Safety Board and the Environmental Protection Agency.
Locke Lord's history in handling these type of cases goes back to its beginnings with one of the firm's founders, admiralty attorney John S. Lord. Our team includes experienced pilots, aerospace engineers, mariners and licensed vessel officers. Our aviation lawyers include members of the Lawyer-Pilot Bar Association, the Experimental Aircraft Association, International Society of Air Safety Investigators and the Aviation Insurance Association. Our maritime attorneys have hands-on experience aboard seagoing vessels, offshore oil platforms, marine terminals and ship repair facilities. One of our maritime attorneys was a merchant marine and is a master of freight and towing vessels. Our railroad attorneys have included a president of the Illinois Railway Museum, a steam and locomotive engineer and fireman, and an author of a textbook on the history and mechanical operation of steam locomotives. They speak before industry groups and write regularly for legal and professional publications.
With offices strategically located across the United States and in London, we can service our clients’ needs throughout the Americas, whether in North America through our various offices, or in Latin America and the Caribbean through our comprehensive international network of correspondents and contacts. Locke Lord has the ability to deal with matters that touch and concern countries throughout the region, seamlessly, through one firm.
Locke Lord has one of the most experienced aviation practices in the country, and as such we handle cases throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean. Our experience includes day-to-day operating issues, major disasters, product liability, insurance coverage and claims. We have represented clients involved in some of the largest domestic and foreign air carrier disasters in history. We have defended claims relating to almost any part of an aircraft, from flight control components to landing gear and propellers. In addition, we have substantial experience in assisting non-U.S. airlines and aircraft lessors who are sued in U.S. courts, despite the fact that the flight, passengers and incident has little or no connection to the United States.
Manufacturers work hard to develop and market effective, safe aviation products. When their products are attacked, we guide them through the complexities of product liability. We work quickly to protect the products’ reputation and minimize the disruptions claims can cause. Our experience and background enable us to work with in-house counsel, product designers and engineers to develop defenses that take maximum advantage of the product research and development. We are equipped to defend against product liability claims in all jurisdictions. However, because of our extensive experience, we can also help clients prevent or reduce product liability claims by providing advice on product quality control, document retention and accident investigation objectives and techniques. Our experience includes:
We also have a long history of handling a wide range of matters involving general aviation. Our experience includes fixed wing and rotary wing aircraft, reciprocating and small turbine aircraft engines, industrial aid operators, FAR Part 135 operations, flight schools and maintenance, repair and overhaul operators.
We have served maritime clients of all sizes and types in cases involving natural disasters, environmental matters, lease disputes and vessel purchases, sales and maintenance. We help with marine terminal development and acquisition, including construction contracts, agreements for architectural services, leases and licenses, private and public landlords, public authorities, design and implementation and responses to requests for proposals. We handle financing arrangements for renovation, development and acquisition of marine terminals. We also litigate matters arising with stevedoring and terminal operations and provide reliable day-to-day counseling.
We help marine operations and vessel owners with corporate issues ranging from real estate lease and construction agreements to entity and tax planning for growth. We provide comprehensive transactional assistance and represent corporate plaintiffs and defendants in admiralty litigation cases.
Locke Lord attorneys have worked with railroad owners, operators, suppliers and insurers for decades and are experienced in all types of mass torts. Our technical approach to site cleanup and injury claims arising from hazardous substances spills in transport translates into the ability to negotiate favorable settlements for our clients and control of the loss after a spill.
We have defended railroads against employee claims under the Federal Employer’s Liability Act (FELA), including those for repetitive stress, carpal tunnel, hearing loss and other personal injuries suffered on the job. We also defend bodily injury cases caused by derailments and grade crossing collisions. As national claims counsel for railroad protective insurance, which is required for contractors doing business with railroads, we handle claims of all types. We have pioneered a computerized claims bordereaux reporting system and extranet communications to support claims handling.
Locke Lord also counsels and litigates finance, real estate, property tax, regulatory and constitutional law matters for railroads. We represent railroads before the National Transportation Safety Board and other regulatory agencies.
Industrial ProductsLocke Lord attorneys are often called upon to represent the interests of manufacturers and distributors of industrial machinery, equipment, instruments, tools and devices, ranging from small tools to complex industrial machinery systems. Products include construction tools, vehicles and products, such as construction cranes, mass excavators, backhoes, trench and drilling machines, tractors, lifts, scaffolding, trench shoring materials, nail guns and hand tools of any kind. Attorneys on our team have worked on construction sites, providing a unique perspective and expertise.
We also have experience defending a wide range of industrial manufacturing products found in the food, automotive and textile industries, such as conveyor and assembly line systems, hand-held and free standing power tools, such as saws, drills, press brakes, punch presses, plastic injection molding machines, wire rope, complex machine tools, milling machines, paper processing machines and paper recycling machines.
Pharmaceuticals and Medical DevicesLocke Lord attorneys routinely represent the interests of pharmaceutical and medical device companies in product liability matters through mediation, arbitration, trial and appeal. We have experience with a range of products, including patented and generic drugs, medical devices and equipment, surgical instruments, surgical scrubs and chemicals, durable medical equipment, neuromodulation technology and implantable microelectronics, and virtually all forensic neurosciences. We have handled cases dealing with blood products, breast implants, chemotherapy drugs, hormone replacement therapy, antidepressants, Fen-phen, vaccine-related Thimerasol, temporomandibular joint disorder devices, as well as over-the-counter products like Ephedra, laxatives and hair products, among many others.
In addition to our skill in litigation matters, our attorneys also are intimately familiar with the regulations and amendments to such legislation such as the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. We have been active in advising a variety of clients on the classification, listing and regulation of devices before the FDA. We have defended companies in FDA investigations and recalls.
We also have substantial experience in handling corporate compliance matters and investigations focused on the health care arena, particularly with regard to pharmaceutical and medical device matters.
A sampling of Locke Lord's experience includes: representation of a defibrillator manufacturer, lead national and trial counsel for implanted cardiac pacing wires manufacturer, regional counsel for a large U.S. consumer product company related to tampon-related toxic shock syndrome, national counsel for a global healthcare company, national counsel in latex glove litigation, lead counsel in heparin cases, and defending the design of implanted spinal cord stimulation devices.
Toxic TortLocke Lord was extensively involved in assessing and litigating toxic tort matters well before the term "toxic tort" came into widespread use to describe these matters. From the earliest days of litigating claims involving alleged exposure to diethylstilbestrol (DES) and asbestos to current trends encompassing alleged exposures to silica, benzene and other petroleum components, and solvents such as perchloroethylene, our attorneys have been and continue to be involved in handling a wide range of toxic tort matters.
We were involved in many of the seminal decisions concerning the issues that today surface routinely in toxic tort cases. The unique combination of our product liability, toxic tort, consumer product and commercial class action experience—coupled with our front-line trial skills and acknowledged leadership in the insurance and reinsurance fields—sets our firm apart. We defend clients in Proposition 65, mold, acrylamide, silica, vinyl chloride, welding rod, benzene and other complex and emerging claims because of our vast knowledge of both the products themselves and the litigation trends.
In two Texas Supreme Court opinions, Locke Lord attorneys helped set the standard for excluding "junk science evidence" and helped establish the rigorous requirements for the admission of scientific evidence in product liability cases. Preventing the reliance on junk science has become one of the best ways to prevail in a toxic tort or products case.
We can assemble a top team to address any toxic tort and emerging claim-related issue affecting our clients, and we stay current on all aspects of the law, strategy and science. If necessary, we provide secure extranet access to individual case files and are capable of handling a matter in any jurisdiction in the country and at any level.
Our vast experience in toxic tort cases includes defending the interests of the largest U.S. film development laboratory against chemical claims and defending claims of violating a state statute in California (Proposition 65) that requires a written warning on anything containing a substance on the governor's list of agents known to cause cancer. Locke Lord's attorneys also handle the following toxic tort claims:
Mold - We have a team of lawyers who devote a large part of their practice to mold litigation. They track jury verdicts, settlements and class certifications in mold cases and monitor state mold legislation. They keep abreast of not only judicial opinions which address the issue of a connection between indoor mold and bodily injury but they also maintain a consulting relationship with two renowned scientists for the purpose of monitoring the scientific and medical research regarding mold claims. Their expertise, combined with our proven track record in consumer class actions, construction and product liability knowledge create a perfect marriage of skills helpful to any organization confronted with allegations of mold exposure.
Asbestos - Initially we were involved in the evaluation of asbestos liabilities on behalf of a variety of domestic and foreign clients. In this capacity we audited assureds, third party administrators and other entities in connection with their asbestos claims, claims handling procedures and reserves. We became heavily involved in asbestos coverage litigation in the early 1980s. We also represent clients in private arbitrations and mediations over asbestos related issues before distinguished neutrals around the country. Our proficiency in this area extends into the bankruptcy field where many companies are driven by the sheer volume and growth of these claims, and we work closely with colleagues in our bankruptcy practice area to handle these cases.
We have many experienced lawyers who have devoted their professional careers to asbestos claims and litigation -- as trial counsel, national coordinating counsel and as local counsel. Some of our lawyers have more than 20 years of experience in the asbestos litigation field.
Silica - We act as national coordinating counsel for an international supplier of specialty minerals in hundreds of silicosis cases involving more than 12,000 claimants across the United States. We have developed the technical defenses for these cases and have selected and prepared the company and outside expert witnesses who will present the defense case. We have systemized the company’s responses to discovery requests and work closely with local defense counsel in defending the cases.
Vinyl Chloride - We were hired by the largest consumer product manufacturer in the country to represent them in over a dozen vinyl chloride aerosol exposure cases. We took the lead in seeking dismissal on product identification grounds and played a major part in shaping the strategy in aggressively pursuing and obtaining dismissals based on forum non conveniens.
Benzene - We were recently hired by a manufacturer of laboratory cleaning products to represent them in 30 cases involving benzene exposure filed in Madison County, Illinois. We have already moved to dismiss 27 of those cases based on insufficient product identification. In addition, we are currently acting as defense counsel for corporate clients defending allegations of benzene exposure in several California counties.
Litigation Partner William (Bill) Howard Joins Locke Lord in Chicago as Part of Business Litigation and Dispute Resolution Practice
Jennifer Kenedy Named Managing Partner of Locke Lord's Chicago Office
Locke Lord Bissell & Liddell Houston Partner Elected Second Vice President of Prominent Barrister Society
|Disclaimer & Trademark Notice
© 2013 Locke Lord LLP