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DLA Piper’s Product Liability lawyers represent the world’s largest vehicle manufacturers and transportation companies in matters involving virtually every mode of transportation: automobiles, trucks, motorcycles, trains, watercraft, aircraft and off-road vehicles as well as component parts, systems and tires. We represent every link in the distribution chain, including original equipment manufacturers, retailers, dealers and parts suppliers. In addition to handling complex disputes, we monitor changes in the regulatory environment, help to manage and control product recalls, advise on distribution chain challenges and assess import and export requirements and risks. We address client needs in related areas by working closely with our colleagues who are knowledgeable in other areas of law, including Environmental, Government Affairs, International Arbitration and Insurance.

Examples of recent product liability work in the Transportation sector include:

  • Defending an operating company of a major commuter train system in litigation arising out of a highspeed collision with a freight train, resulting in the deaths of 25 people and injuries to approximately 130 others. With the cause of the collision currently under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board, DLA Piper lawyers are actively involved in conducting internal and external investigations and advising the client on numerous legal and strategic issues.

  • Representing a client in a US $100 million design defect case involving a power-steering system. DLA Piper persuaded the trial court to enter judgment for its client before trial because the plaintiff’s expert opinions were deficient. The appeals court agreed and affirmed the judgment.

  • Acting for a truck manufacturer when, after a US government recall of certain pickup trucks, a plaintiff sought US $100 million in damages for injuries stemming from an accident allegedly caused by the recall condition. We obtained judgment before trial for the truck manufacturer.

  • Acting for a manufacturer of a cream used to clean the visors of motorcycle helmets. A helmet manufacturer complained that the cream caused the visor to fracture unexpectedly. We provided advice and instructed an independent expert to investigate the allegations, which ultimately were proved to be unfounded.

  • Acting for a manufacturing client in a class action filed on behalf of all US purchasers of certain vehicles sold between 1997-2002. The action sought damages exceeding US $1 billion. We persuaded the court to deny plaintiffs’ motion for class certification, preventing the case from proceeding.

  • Representing one of the leading insurance companies in Sweden before the Swedish Supreme Court in a case asking whether a road carrier is subject to product liability outside the scope of the Convention on Contract for the International Carriage of Goods by Road and the Swedish Act on Domestic Carriage by Road. DLA Nordic achieved a successful outcome for the client.

  • Defending class actions concerning tires mounted on new vehicles between 2004 and 2007. The plaintiffs alleged that the tires contained design defects that led to premature tread wear and sought financial damages for diminished value of both the tires and vehicles. The DLA Piper team resolved the matter on extremely good terms.

  • Representing a manufacturer when a Florida plaintiff brought a class action on behalf of 18,000 purchasers of certain 1999-2001 vehicles alleging defects in the vehicles’ brake system design and seeking compensatory damages for the diminished value of the vehicles. We challenged the trial court’s decision to certify the class. The appellate court agreed with our client and refused to allow the class action to go forward.

  • Representing an international automobile manufacturer on the issue of whether federal motor vehicle regulations preempted state product liability claims. This case ultimately went to the United States Supreme Court.

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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.