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General Manufacturing

The Product Liability lawyers at DLA Piper represent national and international companies in litigation, regulatory compliance and risk management issues relating to the manufacturing of products and goods. We have significant experience in all phases of litigation brought against companies facing allegations that they have manufactured defective products. Our experience ranges from defending class actions and pursuing third-party indemnification and/or contribution to representing clients in personal injury, wrongful death and diminution in property value claims.

We also advise on how to anticipate and avoid the risk of product liability. This preventive practice includes advising on industry litigation trends, identifying hidden areas of risk, developing appropriate purchase order and sales contract terms and conditions, developing necessary sales literature and adequate product warnings and instructions, working closely with leading experts in the relevant fields and analyzing costs associated with product development and modification.

In addition, we work closely with our colleagues in Government Affairs to routinely advise on issues relating to regulatory compliance, including analysis of pending legislation and potential impact of industry initiatives. We have experience working with regulatory authorities and have advised clients through various recall and retrofit plans.

Specific examples of our recent product liability work in the area of general manufacturing include:

  • Representing a steel manufacturer on a nationwide basis in construction claims and construction product defect cases. Recent matters involve construction claims for payment on major stadiums and arena projects, roof collapses due to snow and other overload conditions and construction injury cases including wrongful death and other serious personal injury claims.

  • Serving as national counsel for a major British manufacturer of heavy equipment and forklifts. We have defended the manufacturer against significant personal injury and wrongful death product liability claims in Texas, Nevada, California, New Jersey and Kansas. We also regularly advise the client on product warranty development and defend related claims.

  • Working with regulatory authorities and representing and advising a client in relation to the recall of domestic and trade central heating boilers throughout the UK, Italy and Greece. Faulty flues in the boilers could have given rise to carbon monoxide poisoning.

  • Acting as lead counsel for one of the world’s largest chemical companies in cases alleging failure of plastic pipes in several Texas cities and water districts, focusing on the cost of replacing many thousands of allegedly defective plastic pipes in municipal water distribution systems. Defending the suits required a detailed understanding of polymers and the chemical stabilizers used to protect them against degradation. All cases were ultimately settled to the client’s satisfaction.

  • Advising a manufacturer of ovens which had caused fires in a number of consumers’ homes. DLA Piper identified the need for remedial action to be taken to remove the identified risk caused by a faulty component supplied by another supplier. DLA Piper then instigated civil proceedings for recovery of the cost of the recall and damages for breach of contract.

  • Assisting a supplier of gas tubes and its liability insurer in a SEK 32 million claim arising out of a malfunctioning fire extinguisher system which caused massive damage to a steel mill.

  • In a recent matter closely monitored by the entire outdoor power equipment industry, DLA Piper represented the manufacturer of a lawn tractor against allegation the lawn tractor was defective because it did not include a device that would stop the cutting blades whenever the tractor reversed, an attribute incorporated by a competitor since 1982.

  • Advising a global Japanese automotive producer on the sufficiency of its management system to mitigate any liability with regard to hazardous substances arising from potential violation of German and European law on ELV, WEEE and RoHS compliance.

  • Dealing with a product recall across five European and two non-European jurisdictions. The product had been contaminated during manufacturing, which could have caused serious personal injury to consumers.

  • Acting for an insulation company in a dispute involving a construction defect/property damage claim by the owner of a US $50 million house in Virginia who sought to recover for water damage caused by frozen, burst sprinkler heads. All claims against the client were voluntarily dismissed.

  • Representing the liability insurer of a manufacturer of welding materials for pipelines used by a Norwegian offshore company. The material was of inferior quality and the pipelines had to be replaced. DLA Nordic succeeded in obtaining an out of court settlement.

  • Representing a German heavy plates manufacturer in a dispute with an English company over allegedly defective products and helping the client secure a satisfactory settlement.

  • Representing a plaintiff claiming compensation for damage caused to an exhaust gas system of machines supplying emergency electricity to a hospital in Norway.

  • Defending a Belgian client in legal proceedings regarding conformity of goods under the United Nations Convention on Contract for the International Sale of Goods and the international jurisdiction of the German courts.

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Note past results are not guarantees of future results. Each matter is individual and will be decided on its own facts.