Product liability in Germany
Hogan Lovells International LLP focuses on product liability and compliance consulting, and impresses with its strong industry expertise. The renowned Ina Brock is well versed in the life sciences sector; she defended a client against liability claims for the alleged improper certification of medical products. Matthias Schweiger, who has a similar focus, was also involved in this case. Sebastian Polly specialises in the automotive sector, where he represents various car manufacturers in product liability and safety cases, and advises on official investigations and recalls.
A strong pillar of Noerr’s dispute resolution practice is its expertise in product liability cases. The focus is on the automotive, food and life sciences sectors, and the firm’s full-service approach allows teams to be assembled across practice groups depending on the client’s demands. Recent work includes representing an industrial robot manufacturer in the defence against claims by an automotive industry supplier following a recall campaign. The team led by the experienced Michael Molitoris also represented Schreiner Group in recourse claims between automotive supply chain companies in connection with recall costs. Helmut Katschthaler and newly promoted partner Arun Kapoor are also noted.
BACH LANGHEID DALLMAYR
BACH LANGHEID DALLMAYR, which specialises in insurance and liability law, handles product liability cases brought both by insurance companies and directly by industry clients. The group is increasingly involved in cases pertaining to damage caused by autonomous machines. Practice head Rainer Büsken is well versed in pecuniary and personal losses, and recently acted for clients in the aircraft industry. Martin Alexander represented the German subsidiary of a Japanese company in a product liability case involving industrial robots. Carsten Hösker made partner.
Taylor Wessing is, arguably, the first choice for ‘international product liability cases’; the group covers a broad spectrum through its interdisciplinary cooperation, and is able to advise on product safety law and product recalls. The team is also working extensively on the topic of conflict prevention, where it is able to utilise new technologies. Henning Moelle, who is ‘recognised in the market’, is particularly well versed in the life sciences sector; he advised a defendant pharmaceutical manufacturer in a product liability case regarding damages and compensation payments. Other clients include Volkswagen and Grünenthal. Philipp Behrendt is also recommended.
CMS is experienced in handling recall actions, the defence against claims for damages and the enforcement of coverage claims against liability insurers, among other matters. Tobias Bomsdorf and his team have moved to the Frankfurt office, where they handle liability cases in the areas of industrial claims and product liability. His recent work includes representing an automotive supplier in a dispute relating to liability claims arising from the extraordinary termination of a supply agreement due to the delivery of defective products. Bomsdorf also acted in the defence of claims for an international manufacturer of electronic components in connection with serial damage.
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer reports a high workload, not least due to its continuing representation of Volkswagen in numerous product-related civil cases. In other work, Moritz Becker represented a manufacturer of rail vehicles in a dispute concerning liability for defects in a local transport project. Thomas Kreifels, who is valued by clients for his ‘impressive expertise and very good negotiation strategy’, acted for an elevator and escalator manufacturer against claims for damages. Cross-border cases are also handled promptly.
Friedrich Graf von Westphalen & Partner
Friedrich Graf von Westphalen & Partner covers the full spectrum of product liability, from preventive advice to taking action in the event of product defects. The group is particularly experienced in product recalls, often with an international dimension, and benefits from the firm’s insurance law focus. Carsten Laschet and Tobias Lenz are recommended.
Gleiss Lutz benefits from the firm’s full service offering, which enables it to assemble team of lawyers with ‘excellent legal knowledge’ in product liability matters from the relevant specialist areas for each case. The group is experienced in providing preventive advice to clients, often from the life sciences and industrial goods sectors, as well as in litigation and product recalls. The ‘strategic and technically strong’ Eric Wagner is experienced in drafting contracts and is the central figure of the team; he represented a vehicle parts manufacturer in the defence against claims for damages following an international recall. He also advised foam manufacturer Eurofoam and all affiliated companies in the dichlorobenzene scandal, in which an increased concentration of the pathogenic substance dichlorobenzene was used in a plant manufacturing mattresses.
Luther Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft mbH advises on product recalls, product safety law obligations and insurance claims. Instructions frequently have an Asia reference and often concentrate on the areas of mechanical and plant engineering as well as the automotive sector. Volker Steimle, who is particularly experienced in supply and distribution contracts, advised a manufacturer of acoustic components on product safety liability risks. Together with counsel Guido Dornieden, Steimle also represented Same Deutz-Fahr in a product liability case. Other clients include Harley-Davidson and Transdev.
Osborne Clarke’s team has expertise in preventive counseling and product liability litigation, product-related compliance issues and recall support, and is instructed by companies in the automotive, medical device and digital business sectors. Thomas Grünvogel, who joined from CMS in March 2017, has a remarkable level of expertise; he frequently acts for the Schaeffler Gruppe in international product liability cases. Marcus Sacré acted for an international insurance company in various product liability cases involving an automotive supplier. Senior associate Christoph Pitzer is also very active.
reuschlaw Legal Consultants
The team at Reschlaw Legal Consultants Christiane Herzhauser handles product safety and product liability law as well as recall management and insurance matters for national and international companies. The group focuses on the mechanical engineering, automotive supply and consumer goods industries. Founding partner Philipp Reusch assisted a manufacturer of automotive parts with four product recalls with a total loss volume of €240m. In addition, Miriam Schuh advises on product liability cases in the medical, pharmaceutical and cosmetics fields. Daniel Wuhrmann, who made partner in January 2019, is also noted..