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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame Icon The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In the United Kingdon, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for eight years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.
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  1. Product liability: defendant
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Arnold & Porter¬†¬†is well regarded for its ‚Äėstrategy, tactics, and ability to work with experts‚Äô . The firm specialises in high-level pharmaceutical and life sciences work, counting Sanofi and Bayer as clients. Practice head Ian Dodds-Smith¬†continues to act for Gr√ľnenthal across a number of EU jurisdictions, following the successful defence of 28 claims brought by a group of individuals alleging that they were born with injuries after being exposed to thalidomide during pregnancy. Adela Williams¬†is representing Pfizer in multi-party litigation in Scotland, which centres on cardiovascular disorders that were allegedly caused by Celebrex. The firm is acting in five other high-level pharmaceutical matters. Counsel¬†Tom Fox¬†is recommended for his ‚Äėstrategy, co-ordination and day-to-day support‚Äô.

Baker McKenzie¬† continues to be involved in cases at the forefront of product liability law, with practice head John Leadley¬† (who ‚Äėhas great experience and is an outstandingly good strategist‚Äô) leading the way in pharmaceutical and industrial manufacturing work. Other key figures include associate Joanne Redmond¬†and Kate Corby, who is highly recommended for multi-jurisdictional product recalls. The practice is defending C.R. Bard against multiple claims relating to allegedly defective transvaginal mesh and an inferior vena cava filter. Another significant mandate saw Leadley lead a team representing Stryker Corporation (UK) in negotiating numerous pre-action settlements in a Consumer Protection Act case related to a hip replacement products. The firm recently increased its involvement in policy, becoming the only law firm to act as a member of a UK government working group on product safety.

Cooley (UK) LLP  significantly enhanced its product liability practice with the recruitment of Rod Freeman  as practice head from Hogan Lovells International LLP in 2017. Since his appointment the practice has acted on a number of high-profile matters: Freeman is leading on defending Whirlpool in the Grenfell Tower Inquiry, as well as advising its rollout of a $250 million product safety action for customers globally. New clients for the practice include Esteé Lauder, Sony, Nike and Motorola. Other significant matters for the team include acting for XL Insurance’s Bermuda business on London arbitration of disputes. Associate Sarah-Jane Dobson brings experience in cross-border matters and a biomedical background; she has been involved in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s consultation and report on product safety law in the era of the internet of things.

‚ÄėA major player in the field‚Äô,¬†DAC Beachcroft LLP¬† is renowned for its track record in the pharmaceutical and healthcare sectors. Simon Pearl, now a consultant at the firm, continues to lead the practice, which has particular strength in issues arising from clinical trials; recent work includes acting for Novartis in a matter concerning the alleged side-effects of two optical trial drugs. Alison McAdams¬†and senior associate Olya Melnitchouk¬†are representing Optegra and Allergan in complex medical device claims. The firm has won several new instructions across the tech, consumer products and medical devices sectors, as well as several new instructions from insurers.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP's team is headed byJohn Blain and defends corporate clients across sectors including consumer goods, automotive, healthcare, aviation, chemicals, telecoms and tobacco. Key mandates included acting for VW Group group litigation action arising from the highly reported VW Emissions scandal. Other key figures include Jonathan Isted, who co-heads the retail and consumer goods practice, tobacco-sector expert Paul Bowden,  and Andrew Austin.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP attracts praise for its ‚Äėexcellent depth of knowledge in relation to complex liability claims‚Äô. The firm is representing Diageo in relation to injuries allegedly suffered in the late 1950s and early 1960s caused by thalidomide. It is also acting for SIG in relation to the supply of cladding to Grenfell Tower, and for British American Tobacco in numerous product liability matters including product regulation concerning their new Generation Products (including e-cigarettes). Other clients include Associated British Foods, for which it is handling strategic product liability matters. Partner Philip Pfeffer¬† ‚Äėbrings superb industry knowledge and dedication to defence work‚Äô, and practice head¬†Howard Watson¬†has ‚Äėvast experience and is always incredibly helpful‚Äô. Up-and-coming associates¬†Yasmin Mitha¬† and David Bennett¬†are also recommended. The team has a strong depth of expertise in class actions, risk management advice and product safety, focusing on regulatory and criminal matters.

Kennedys¬†has¬†‚Äėa premier position in defendant product liability‚Äô. Partners Samantha Silver¬†, Trevor Davies¬† and Andrew Hunn¬†are ‚Äėexceptionally talented experts in this field‚Äô: all have acted for DePuy in claims regarding metal-on-metal hip products, worth tens of millions of pounds, with one matter involving 90,000 claimants globally. Other key mandates included representing Zurich as insurer in a multimillion-pound case against a maker of gas valves, and defending a major supplier of petrochemical products under a team led by¬†Shane Sayers. Senior associate Karishma Paroha¬†¬†is part of a team handling¬†numerous claims against the insured of a number of large insurance clients. Recently promoted partner¬†Ben Aram¬†is heavily involved in one of the DePuy cases and achieved a successful outcome in the form of a discontinuation of proceedings against his client Tremco Illbruck, arising from the supply of allegedly defective polyurethane chemicals for use as part of the flooring system at the Dubai Mall.

Addleshaw Goddard¬†has added a host of new clients, including many household names across the automotive, consumer goods, fashion and retail sectors. The practice continues to defend GlaxoSmithKline in a landmark product liability group action relating to its antidepressant Seroxat, including recently obtaining a significant security for costs judgment for GlaxoSmithKline against the claimants' third party litigation funders.¬† Louisa Caswell¬†¬†‚Äėis a very experienced practitioner in pharmaceuticals and the product liability area generally. She has built a strong team around her.‚Äô Other key figures include legal directors Mark Chesher¬†and Erin Shoesmith, and managing associate C√©cile Burgess.

DWF's 'outstanding' product liability practice was strengthened with the recruitment of Antony Woodhouse  from Gowling WLG, and Emma Spence  from BLM. Key work included acting for a consortium of insurers in a Bermuda Form arbitration commenced by Monsanto arising from hundreds of underlying claims alleging property damage and personal injury from polychlorinated biphenyls added to various products supplied throughout the US. The firm also acted for insurers Tokio Marine Kiln and Liberty Mutual in two matters involving fires for, and on the manufacturer side defended pharmaceutical firm Newline Group against claims by Spanish beekeeping cooperatives alleging that a product for the control of a parasitic mite led to the loss of 150,000 bee colonies in Spain. Simon Durkin joined Weightmans LLP in 2018.

Hogan Lovells International LLP¬† has an excellent track record¬†defending clients in significant cases, including the PIP implants litigation, metal-on-metal hip cases, and tobacco claims matters. Its top-level client base includes British American Tobacco, Toshiba, Zimmer Biomet, and blue-chip tech companies. ‚ÄėWidely respected‚Äô partner John Meltzer¬† ‚Äėcombines an encyclopaedic knowledge of the area with a keen appreciation of what is important to the client‚Äô.¬† In addition to his expertise in the life sciences sector, he also leads on matters involving tech companies, including Vodafone, who he is advising on product safety. Recently promoted partners and heads of practice¬†Matthew Felwick¬† and Valerie Kenyon¬†have been defending major clients across the life sciences and technology sectors:¬†Felwick is defending T√úV Rheinland and its affiliates in the PIP case, and is defending Zimmer Biomet (formerly Biomet) against various claims brought across Europe and a group action concerning the early revision of all-metal prosthetic hip replacements, which was allegedly caused by adverse reactions to metal debris. Kenyon is providing ongoing regulatory and product liability advice to two innovative blue chip tech clients, as well as being part of the team advising on complex claims for heavy industry and consumer goods clients.

The product liability practice at RPC¬†¬†is particularly well regarded for its work in the medical and life sciences industries. Practice head¬†Dorothy Flower¬†(‚Äėtruly exceptional; unflappable under pressure and a real intellectual heavyweight‚Äô) is acting alongside health and safety practice head Nick McMahon¬† for Cloverleaf Products, a former distributor of PIP breast implants, in relation to a number of Part 20 claims brought by clinics which face action for implanting PIP products. In another key matter, the practice is defending Corin in metal-on-metal hip group litigation that went to trial in October 2017. McMahon is also defending an electrical goods manufacture in a house fire claim.¬†Gavin Reese¬†acts for clients across the consumer goods, food, transport and medical devices sectors.

Shook, Hardy & Bacon International LLP's product liability practice in London is headed by long-serving managing partner Simon Castley and undertakes a range of complex defence work for high-profile international clients. Recent matters have covered the tobacco, alcohol, pharmaceuticals and medical devices, automotive, food and beverage, electronics and consumer products sectors. As well as advising on regulatory issues and product recalls, the firm also manages risk and brand reputations. Castley works closely on advisory and defence work for large tobacco, automotive and life science clients. Practice head Gregory Fowler, who relocated from the firm’s Kansas office, acts for global manufacturers across the tobacco, beverage and firearms industries. Alison Newstead acts primarily for electrical product manufacturers and food and drink producers based in East Asia and globally. Sarah Croft  focuses on the pharmaceutical, medical device and automotive sectors. The firm’s recent caseload includes personal injury claims relating to allegedly defective medical mesh devices, international risk mitigation and class actions

Bird & Bird LLP's product liability team is led by Jonathan Speed, who is praised for his ability to ‚Äėsynthesize complex legal issues in ways that are easily digestible for clients‚Äô. Senior associate¬†Russell Williamson¬†is also recommended. The team has developed expertise in advising on and managing product liability risks that arise out of new and disruptive technologies ‚Äď including Internet of Things (IoT) and cloud services and autonomous technology for cars and drones. Related work in this area includes advising a multinational technology company, a global automobile manufacturer and a semi-conductor/software design company. Russell's recent experience includes acting for¬† a global technology company, in relation to a worldwide recall of defective laptop computers, and for an international producer and supplier of gardening equipment, in relation to a recall of defective chainsaw products.

BLM's¬†practice is headed by¬†Jim Sherwood, who ‚Äėbuilds a good team for the case in hand'.¬†Michael Harvey¬†leads on matters for a food and drinks conglomerate client, and Carys Oatham¬†advises large insurers including QBE. The practice‚Äôs clients also include consumer products multinationals and an Asian IT software and technology giant. Suppliers and manufacturers also instruct the firm in everything from cross-border disputes to recall claims. RSA and Globachem have retained the firm in a multimillion-euro claim relating to crops that were allegedly damaged, and the group continues to represent Sunseeker and QBE in claims relating to a fire, which allegedly originated from a vessel that was manufactured by the insured.

Clyde & Co LLP's¬† product liability and recall practice is headed by Neil Beresford¬†, who is ‚Äėa very knowledgeable and shrewd operator and runs a happy and efficient team‚Äô. The firm‚Äôs industry strengths include the automotive, pharmaceutical, healthcare, manufacturing and retail sectors. Duncan Batchelor¬† is defending Johnson & Johnson in a pelvic mesh claim. Legal director Jason McNerlin¬†focuses on product recall and contaminated products insurance.¬†Claire Petts¬† has experience in medical devices and drug trial cases. Other team members include senior associate¬†Jamie Hui, who has been involved in numerous product liability disputes concerning food, fuel, medical devices, industrial machinery and consumer goods.

At DLA Piper UK LLP Teresa Hitchcock led the team advising Arconic on the Grenfell Tower Public Inquiry, which implicated a material it manufactured that was used to form the external cladding panels. She also acts for Bacardi-Martini on product liability claims and labelling matters in the EU. John Gollaglee leads the team in the North West of England and is also recommended. Other recent work includes acting for Airwair on the product recall of its Dr. Martens Vegan range of boots, and representing Hewlett-Packard in claims related to ink products. The firm also acts for Newell Rubbermaid, an industrial products manufacturer, on marketing claims, promotional advertisements and packaging requirements in relation to healthcare and cosmetic products.

In Leeds, Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP's¬†Richard Matthews¬† has ‚Äėstrong experience, particularly on commercial product liability matters‚Äô. Recent mandates for the practice included high-profile product recalls, warranty disputes and personal injury claims relating to allegedly defective consumer products. Senior associate Peter Shervington¬† is an expert in the transport and automotive sectors. Clients include Siemens, Honda, Rolls Royce and DuPont.

Mayer Brown International LLP's¬†practice is led by Miles Robinson, who praised as a ‚Äėpractical, personable, bright lawyer with calm authority‚Äô. Robinson acts for insured entities facing allegations of supplying defective products, including Perrigo, Sunseeker International and Mitsui Bulk Shipping.¬†Mark Stefanini¬†represents manufacturers in a wide range of industries in relation to product safety and product recall issues; he advised a leading bicycle manufacturer on a product recall and advised a well-known chemicals manufacturer regarding the proposed withdrawal of various brands of insecticide.

Pinsent Masons LLP's product liability team is led by Andrew Masterson, who is as a ‚Äėtrusted and reliable adviser whose advice is high quality‚Äô. Hi recent work includes on matters¬† relating to a fire caused by switchgear and a recall and loss¬† of profits claim caused by cross contamination of chemical¬† products. The team also includes Sarah Taylor¬† who works with retailers and food and drinks manufacturers on product safety issues. Her clients include Asda and William Hill.¬†Jacqueline Harris¬†acts for clients across a range of product issues from electrical goods to medical devices and pharmaceuticals. She is¬† representing a key defendant in a metal-on-metal hip matter. At legal director level, the recently promoted Louise Nahon¬† ‚Äď who is a qualified chartered mechanical engineer ‚Äď is recommended for her ‚Äėvery good technical engineering knowledge and ability to analyse complex contractual issues including indemnities‚Äô.

Shoosmiths LLP¬†has particular strength in defending claims involving white goods and vehicles. Volkswagen, IKEA and Tesco are key clients along with Hoover, which retains the group as its sole product liability adviser. Manchester-based senior associate Richard Marshall¬†provides ‚Äėgreat attention to detail and enjoys the intricacies of the law, without ever losing sight of the wider commercial picture‚Äô. The team successfully helped Hoover distinguish its appliances from the Hotpoint tumble dryer fire scandal which has brought the sector under intense media and government scrutiny. It also assisted Hoover defeat a ¬£1m claim in relation to a house fire. Other recent mandates include a high-value dispute over goods not fit for distribution. ¬†Philip Ryan¬†is also recommended.

Simmons & Simmons  acts for a number of insurers and reinsurers that underwrite product liability policy covers. practice head Jason Bright specialises in highly complex insurance and reinsurance claims, with a primary focus on large-scale product liability losses, as well as significant commercial property claims and intellectual property liability. Managing associate Sherry Goodman-Smith specialises in complex policy coverage disputes within the product liability and recall, commercial property, media and construction sectors. She also has experience in defence work and class actions involving various jurisdictions predominantly across the life sciences sector, with a focus on medical devices and consumer products. Ironshore, Lockton Companies and AIG are key clients.

Keystone Law  bolstered its team by hiring Sam  Samaratunga , a dual-qualified lawyer and medical doctor with over 15 years’ experience of handling litigation and regulatory issues affecting the life sciences and pharmaceuticals sectors. Also in the team are Antony Colman who acts for manufacturers and insurers in international trade disputes and health and safety expert David Beckenham who specialises in product recalls and defending against enforcement actions under food and safety laws, among other work. The practice is defending Bosch against a claim served in Germany, which relates to a fire caused by a product bearing the client’s branding. The firm also counts HDI Global, Electrium and ThyssenKrupp Elevator UK as clients.

John Doherty  heads Penningtons Manches Cooper practice and acts for large multinationals in unsafe consumer products matters and investigations conducted by Trading Standards, among other work. The practice was boosted with the hiring of Dan Hyde  from Howard Kennedy LLP in August 2017, and Jeremy Clarke-Williams  who joined in September 2017 from Slater and Gordon. The practice continues to act for Cannon Automotive and C.A. Holdings in proceedings against its former US distributor in relation to BMW car mats and Hyundai vehicles that were allegedly defective and sold across the US. Other key practitioners to note are Richard Marshall and Elise Bevan.

Squire Patton Boggs  is recommended for giving 'prompt, clear advice, and the telephone advice on recall topics is always very helpful.' The firm's clients include household names such as Mamas and Papas, which it continues to advise on a global product recall and reputation matter. The client roster also features manufacturing clients across the furniture, food and drink and automotive industries. The firm work on product recall matters, regulatory advice and enforcement matters in the main, with a lesser focus on civil litigation. Notable lawyers in the team are Manchester-based managing partner Rob Elvin  and Birmingham-based director Nicola Smith.

Douglas Bryden heads the operational risk group at Travers Smith LLP  and is the primary contact for product and trade law, including work relating to chemical and hazardous substances, liability matters, market access, and product safety and recalls. Other key contacts include senior associate and regulatory expert Carl Boeuf and partner Heather Gagen. The firm continues to advise Nike on EU regulatory matters. It is also acting for an electronics manufacturer in a commercial dispute and product safety issues and advising an international clothing retailer with regard to regulatory compliance issues concerning product composition and labelling.

Weightmans LLP's practice is led by Fiona East, who is 'experienced, commercial and well-liked by clients and insurers alike.' Her recent work includes acting for the defendants in the case of a factory fire allegedly caused by the defendant's product, and a series of complex matters across the retail, food and drink and consumer goods industries via the defendant's insurers. Other notable lawyers in the team include Blaise Smith, a partner in the Leeds office with expertise in injury and property claims, many of which arise from defective products. He is defending a £1 million claim involving a fire in a restaurant and shopping area. Leicester-based partner Stephen Robb  is currently acting for a household name clothing company. Its expertise extends to food contamination claims, malfunctioning industrial components, product recalls, brand protection and numerous other matters.

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP's impressive client list includes Tempur Sealy International, e.l.f. Cosmetics and InterSystems Corporation. The firm continues to assist Kingfisher with centralising its product, safety and assurance procedures, and handled several matters for its subsidiary B&Q, which included advising on legislation concerning water fittings and hazardous chemicals, product withdrawals, and bringing claims against suppliers. Consultant Nicky Strong  heads the practice from Southampton and is recommended alongside Bristol-based associate Ashley Borthwick, who is well regarded for product safety, compliance and recall work.

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Legal Developments in London for Product liability: defendant

  • New revised guidelines for administrators in pre-pack sales

    Pre-pack sales by administrators are now used frequently enough for most people in business to be aware of them and many have come across them in their business lives. A small amount of controversy still attaches to pre-packs, but it is probably right to say that they are now an accepted part of the UK business scene as a useful means of rescuing a business in difficulty and preserving some or all of the jobs connected with the business.
    - Druces

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