Product Liability

Businesses more than ever are vulnerable to lawsuits that can have a devastating impact on their reputation and viability.  Fortunately, Sedgwick has decades of experience successfully defending this kind of litigation.  Having established ourselves as one of the top trial and litigation firms in North America, our team of attorneys represent many Fortune 500 companies and international corporations, including nonprofit corporations, in high-risk litigation involving products from a wide range of industries.  Members of this practice group regularly appear in both state and federal courts throughout the country on behalf of our clients, who rely on us to protect their interests in expanding geographic markets.  Sedgwick attorneys are experienced in virtually every type of significant litigation within the product liability arena.

Sedgwick attorneys have been litigating cases that impact the law and business of product liability since the 1950s, when the firm represented Cutter Laboratories in connection with its polio vaccine. Much of the case law that currently governs product liability actions and related matters was developed by our attorneys.  Sedgwick attorneys defend both mass tort and single product cases, and are experienced in coordinating multiple and interrelated cases filed in a variety of jurisdictions.  Our substantive areas of practice range from government regulation to the defense of mass tort product claims and consumer advocate class action.  Our significant experience in complex litigation procedure, such as class action practice, MDLs and statewide coordinated proceedings, is frequently called upon by clients for whom we serve as national, regional or statewide counsel. 

Our lead product liability attorneys have extensive trial experience throughout the nation and world, and many of our product liability attorneys have a special interest in engineering and medicine, and educational backgrounds in nursing and pharmacology. Our demonstrated ability to defend and try the most difficult cases in some of the most challenging jurisdictions and under the most sensitive of circumstances has earned us the reputation as the “go-to” trial firm on unique liability and high exposure claims.  Our attorneys are skilled in protecting the interests of clients in courts of law and, when necessary, courts of public opinion.

Sedgwick defends manufacturers in a wide range of industries, including heavy machinery and construction equipment, hand tools, automotive, tobacco, weapons and firearms, sporting equipment, pharmaceuticals, medical devices and equipment, cosmetics, nutritional products and dietary supplements, children’s toys, household appliances, and all types of consumer products.  Our attorneys defend a variety of liability and personal injury claims against companies, and have developed the methods necessary for resolving litigation either through trial or before it starts.

Large-Scale Product Liability Litigation

Sedgwick has served as national coordinating counsel and regional coordinating counsel in dozens of mass tort matters.  Our extensive experience in these cases has allowed us to develop pretrial litigation strategies and efficient workflows that save our clients substantial expense, while also uniformly positioning cases in the best possible posture for trial and/or negotiated resolution. 

After conferring with our client to identify primary business and legal objectives, our attorneys conduct a thorough case assessment, and develop and implement appropriate themes and litigation strategy.  We have fostered relationships with experts in biomechanics, mechanical engineering, automotive design, human factors, healthcare, accident reconstruction, statistics, epidemiology, warnings, metallurgy, stress analysis and jury selection.  Our attorneys also identify, retain and manage local counsel and manage final trial preparation, conduct jury research and try the cases.

Early Case Resolution and Litigation Avoidance

Sedgwick attorneys recognize that many product liability cases may be successfully and economically resolved short of trial.  We have developed strategies for discovery and pretrial practice, which have resulted in the entry of defense judgments pursuant to motions.  We also consult with in-house counsel and risk managers to develop risk avoidance strategies and programs that empower businesses to avoid litigation altogether, or to maximize the factual and legal defenses available, if sued.  Sedgwick attorneys also prepare risk analyses, assess advertising liability and develop pre-loss programs and effective procedures for receiving and responding to customer complaints and government agency inquiries.  Sedgwick also prepares product warning labels, product literature, and instruction and policy manuals.

Product Recalls

Sedgwick has considerable experience handling all aspects of actual or threatened product recalls where the issues are often critical to our client’s legal and business interests, or the success of related litigation.  We work with clients to ensure consumer safety and regulatory compliance as products are developed and advise clients on appropriate procedures for preventing recalls.  When regulatory agencies become involved, we assist clients in responding to investigations, develop effective recall plans when required, and negotiate with the regulators to arrive at appropriate limitations on the nature and scope of a recall.  Our attorneys are also experienced in defending civil and criminal enforcement actions.