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  1. Dispute resolution: Product liability
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With an extensive roster of reputable clients, Hogan Lovells International LLP frequently handles complex product liability, product safety and product compliance proceedings. The team’s broad industry knowledge leads to a steady stream of instructions from automotive, chemical, electronics, energy and consumer goods industry players, which are frequently handled by Sebastian Polly, while Ina Brock and Matthias Schweiger, who was made partner in January 2017, are well versed in dealing with life sciences sector work including pharmaceutical and medical device-related matters. Among other work, this expertise was demonstrated by handling the worldwide defence of TÜV Rheinland and its affiliated companies against liability claims for the alleged improper certification of the French breast implants manufacturer Poly Implant Prothèse (PIP).

Noerr has a fine reputation in the market and is particularly rated for its automotive sector expertise: team head Michael Molitoris represented the German and EMEA companies of an international automotive supplier in a product liability procedure concerning passenger protection systems, including proceedings on recalls and recourse claims. The team also acted for another global automotive supplier in out-of-court negotiations and mediation with a car manufacturer for product liability and warranty claims on air conditioner condensers, and, with Thomas Klindt and associated partner Susanne Wende in the lead, the practice also assisted a home appliance manufacturer in a worldwide product recall. MAN Diesel & Turbo received advice on product liability matters including product recalls for the two business units Truck & Bus and Diesel & Turbo, while a major German toy manufacturer instructed the team to defend against recall requests brought by German and French market surveillance authorities for supposedly dangerous toys.

Bach Langheid Dallmayr’s team applies its insurance law expertise in contentious national and international product liability proceedings, predominately acting for insurers: Martin Alexander and Marcel Hohagen defended a liability insurer in several product liability proceedings in the food and animal feed industries, and, together with Rainer Büsken, Hohagen advised an industrial insurer on internationally marketed medical devices. Other work included advice on dioxin-contaminated animal feed and recalls.

With a focus on medical, pharmaceutical, food and manufacturing sector work, CMS’ Jens Wagner assisted the medical device manufacturer DePuy with matters pertaining to its voluntary recall of ADEPT and ASR hip implants, while, counsel Patrick Müller-Sartori has been handling a recall instruction for a food industry client. Harald Potinecke heads the team, which lost counsel Thomas Grünvogel to Osborne Clarke.

Manufacturing companies frequently instruct Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer with cross-border product liability litigation. Highlights included representing Volkswagen and several of its subsidiaries in a number of product-related civil claims, and advising various global companies on cyber-security and product liability matters pertaining to its digitalisation strategy.Thomas Kreifels and Moritz Becker are recommended.

Benefiting from the firm’s insurance law expertise, Friedrich Graf von Westphalen & Partner’s product liability team provides a broad range of services including assistance with product recalls, which frequently feature international elements. Carsten Laschet represented a company in a product liability dispute with a supplier in the context of several construction projects, while the ‘very experienced’ Tobias Lenz assisted a company with a worldwide recall.

Gleiss Lutz receives regular instructions from German manufacturing companies and health sector clients on medical device and industrial goods-related matters. Frequently, this includes product recalls and the assertion of product liability recourse claims, which are often dealt with by Eric Wagner.

Taylor Wessing is particularly active for companies in the consumer goods, pharmaceutical and medical technology sectors alongside the automotive industry. Philipp Behrendt has been representing a German manufacturer of textile equipment in an ICC arbitration for alleged faulty non-woven textile product equipment. In other significant work, Henning Moelle acted as international lead counsel for the pharmaceutical company Grünenthal in its international defence against product liability claims for alleged birth defects caused by thalidomide. Moelle’s expertise also includes product recalls.

Luther Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft mbH has significant expertise in the automotive, mechanical engineering, electronics, chemicals, textiles and logistics sectors. Recent highlights include Volker Steimle’s representation of an international manufacturer of tractors and combine harvesters in product liability litigation, and the representation of a manufacturer of electric tools before the regulatory authority in proceedings on product safety requirements. He also advised a motorcycle manufacturer on product liability and product safety issues.

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Legal Developments in Germany

Legal Developments and updates from the leading lawyers in each jurisdiction. To contribute, send an email request to
  • LAG Düsseldorf: Dismissal with immediate effect valid in response to threat

    Anyone who seriously threatens their employer or superior should expect to be dismissed with immediate effect. This was confirmed by a ruling of the Landesarbeitsgericht (LAG) Düsseldorf [Regional Labour Court of Düsseldorf] from June 8, 2017 (Az.: 11 Sa 823/16).
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    Our GSK Update informs about the impact of recent German investment fund legislation (UCITS V Implementation Act) for AIF managers, who are not domiciled in the EU (“non-EU-AIFM”) and who seek to market AIF shares in Germany in accordance with applicable German investment fund law under the EU-AIFM Directive (2011/61/EU).
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    Opened at the beginning of March 2016, GSK Stockmann + Kollegen continues to expand its Luxembourg office. Mathilde Ostertag recently joined the Luxembourg team of Equity Partners Dr. Marcus Peter, Andreas Heinzmann and Dr. Philipp Mößner as Local Tax Partner.
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    Among other things, the recent amendment to the Environmental Impact Assessment Act has broadened the rights of (what is termed) the "affected public". The affected public consists primarily of various citizens' initiatives pursuing environmental or public-health purposes. It may for instance file an appeal against a negative decision at the screening stage (i.e., a decision according to which the given project does not require the issuance of an EIA report), and seek its annulment in court. The affected public has been granted a stronger voice also in subsequent procedures in which the fate of a building project is being decided: zoning proceedings and the proceedings on the issuance of a building permit. Taken together, these legislative changes may make it more difficult to implement projects which require an EIA report; in particular, the length of permission proceedings may be substantially extended.
  • New Top Level Domains – Noerr expert warns against trademark infringements

    On June 13, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) published the names of those who have applied for a new top level domain the ending of which may be geographic, such as "munich", industry identification such as "insurance" and even all trademark names and company descriptions such as "canon" and "adidas".
    - Noerr
  • No obligation to set up filtering systems in order to prevent copyright violations

    ECJ, decision of February 16th, 2012, ref. C-360/10 – SABAM
  • Further ECJ Ruling concerning NGO’s right of action under German environmental law

    For the second time within a short period of time, the non-governmental organisations right to challenge administrative decisions under German law is going to be subject to the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice (ECJ). In January 2012, the German Supreme Administrative Court (Bundesverwaltungsgericht) referred a case to the ECJ for a preliminary ruling concerning the NGO’s right of action.
  • Lessons in Cross-Border M & A Transactions

    The fundamental advice for international business transactions is obvious and easy to understand: different countries have different laws, business habits and cultures. These differences may range from minor nuances, such as lengthy French business lunches or unusual Spanish office hours, to significant legal roadblocks, such as strict European employment laws.
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    Parties to rental contracts for commercial premises often agree priority rental rights. In practice, this concept is used to cover a whole series of legal structures. These range from fixed options for the tenant to a promise made by the landlord as a business policy that if any additional premises become available, they will be offered to the tenant. In 2010 the Berlin Court of Appeal issued a ruling on such priority rental rights in insolvency; the decision has recently been published.

Press Releases in Germany

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