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Practice Areas

Product Liability

Expertise in Product Liability Law

Product Liability Law is one of the fastest growing practice areas at Burnham Brown. We have extensive experience in all aspects of product liability litigation, from mass tort class actions to single product cases. We represent manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers and intermediaries, in litigation, claim management, loss control, and product development. We have also served as coordinating counsel in multiple claim product litigation on the local and national levels. We are well qualified to defend bodily injury and property damage lawsuits based on negligence, misrepresentation, strict product liability and breach of warranty. Our clients also benefit from our expertise in analyzing regulations, and preparing product use instructions, warnings, warranties and communications with government regulatory agencies.

Areas of Expertise

Product Litigation

  • Court and jury trial experience
  • Jurisdiction analysis and advice
  • Complex litigation management
  • National coordination of multi-party litigation

Insurance and Indemnity Contracts

  • Coverage analysis
  • Indemnity contracts
  • Wholesale/retail agreements

Advanced Technology and Resources

  • Automated coordination of depositions and document productions
  • Multi-media accident reconstruction
  • Real-time deposition transcripts

Risk Management and Loss Control

  • Product liability exposure
  • Product recall analysis
  • Product labeling and disclaimers
  • Strategic Planning

Alternative Dispute Resolution

  • Write, negotiate and litigate indemnity clauses
  • Indemnity, warranty and contract analysis
  • Arbitration
  • Mediation

Warranty and Contract Analysis

  • Sales contract analysis
  • Warranty preparation and interpretation
  • Distribution contracts

Our Interdisciplinary Approach to Resolving Conflict

Burnham Brown offers our clients the resources and experience to proactively resolve all types of product liability disputes in a wide range of industries and product categories. Our network of experienced, highly regarded experts in engineering, human factors and accident reconstruction gives our clients an important advantage in complex cases. Many of our attorneys are also active in nationally recognized professional associations, including the Defense Research Institute and the American Bar Association.

Representative Products Defended

  • Building Materials - asbestos, hardboard siding, plastic pipes, lead paint
  • Elevators and escalators
  • Consumer Products - home appliances, child safety equipment, cosmetics, toys
  • Pharmaceuticals - Phen-fen, metoclopramide and vitamins
  • Medical/Health Care Devices - breast implants, wheelchair and walkers
  • Heavy/Industrial Equipment - automobile jacks, ladders, fork lifts, conveyor belts, elevators
  • Agricultural/Construction Equipment - tractors, cranes, produce machinery, power tools
  • Chemical-Based Products - pesticides and herbicides, cleaning solvents, gasoline additives
  • Sports/Recreation Equipment - bicycles, hot air balloons, ski equipment, scuba equipment, boats, golf carts

Representative Engagements in Product Liability

Product Litigation

  • Served as coordinating counsel in national class action alleging installation of defective residential plumbing pipe
  • Defended AT&T against alleged defects in commercial telephone equipment
  • Defended distributor of dry cleaning equipment against strict liability lawsuit
  • Defended chemical manufacturer of medical respirator in lawsuit alleging product defects
  • Defended chemical manufacturer in lawsuit alleging toxic exposure to technology product assemblers
  • Defended distributor of pneumatic tools against repetitive stress injury claims
  • Defended numerous manufacturers in power press and blow molder liability actions
  • Defended refrigerator manufacturer and parent companies in nationwide class action alleging violations of consumer fraud & unfair constitution statutes.  The class action lawsuit, which followed an extensive federal government recall, required Burnham Brown to create a comprehensive ESI database of relevant information and claims filed in all 50 states.  The class action lawsuit also involved claims of alter ego.  Burnham Brown has also defended multiple individual product liability lawsuits arising out of alleged defects in these refrigerators.  We coordinated nationally with law firms defending individual product liability claims in other states.  Burnham Brown was a leader in the creation of a nationwide team of highly qualified scientific experts who strongly rebutted the defective product claims.

Advice and Counsel

  • Negotiate distribution and indemnity agreements
  • Prepare and interpret product warnings and warranties
  • Counsel and represent clients before administrative agencies regarding product labeling and regulation
  • Advised cosmetic suppliers regarding federal preemption and regulation by the FDA
  • Represented major oil companies regarding MTBE fuel additive

To speak with a Burnham Brown attorney specializing in Product Liability Law, please call 510-444-6800 and ask to speak with a member of the Product Liability Practice Group.