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Product liability in Germany

Hogan Lovells International LLP

Hogan Lovells International LLP's highly-regarded practice covers the whole range of product liability advice. The team regularly handles both individual proceedings and class action lawsuits regarding product safety issues, and also represents clients in delivery chain disputes as well as advising on risk management and compliance. The team's key figures focus on various industries: Ina Brock is an experienced adviser in cases concerning life sciences, whereas Sebastian Polly is an expert in the automotive sector. Matthias Schweiger has expertise in international liability proceedings, and counsel Tobias Ackermann is praised for his broad experience. Tanja Eisenblätter and Karl Pörnbacher head the firm's dispute resolution practice.

Noerr

Noerr's specialised team is regularly instructed for the defence against product liability claims and also represents clients in notifications proceedings at the authorities as well as regarding national and international recalls. Noteworthy is the group's strong standing with companies in the automotive industry. Arun Kapoor is experienced in liability disputes and product-related administrative proceedings, and Christine Volohonsky was recently also highly active. Oliver Sieg and Anke Meier head the dispute resolution practice. The well-versed Michael Molitoris left for SZA Schilling, Zutt & Anschütz Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft mbH in April 2021.

Practice head(s):

Oliver Sieg; Anke Meier

Work highlights

  • Magna Management AG: Advising and representing Magna Management AG in connection with a lawsuit against various category 2 automotive suppliers.

BACH LANGHEID DALLMAYR

BACH LANGHEID DALLMAYR has 'deep sector and legal know-how', with a particular reputation for representing insurers on matters of liability, where the team has noteworthy experience in an array of sectors including automotive, pharmaceutics, aviation and consumer goods, while also covering the whole range of issues falling under product liability law. Rainer Büsken, who 'besides the expertise also has an eye for the achievable', is especially experienced in matters of crisis management and co-heads the practice with Martin Alexander, who has 'technically excellent expertise' and is a specialist on international issues. Marcel Hohagen stands out for a 'calm and relaxed leading of mandates', and Carsten Hösker because of his 'very good legal knowledge'.

Practice head(s):

Rainer Büsken; Martin Alexander

Other key lawyers:

Carsten Hösker; Marcel Hohagen

Testimonials

Very well-positioned in terms of staff; good guidance from the partners. High degree of independence and independence.

Rainer Büsken: a recognised lawyer personality that is also valued on the other side. In addition to the high level of technical expertise, he always has an eye on what is feasible.’

Martin Alexander: technically outstanding expertise, which he implements highly effectively, which leads to leaner processes.’

The breadth and depth of capabilities within the product liability team and in “adjacent” areas, eg product recalls, regulatory compliance and competition law; understanding and experience of jurisdictional issues and cross-border claims arising from global disputes in the supply chain.

Excellent industry and legal knowledge. Great commitment. Extremely good price-performance ratio.

Carsten Hösker: very good legal knowledge. Takes a clear position in the mandate and thus gives the client the opportunity to make a decision. Highly recommended.

Marcel Hohagen: calm and relaxed mandate management.’

Work highlights

  • Advising an industrial insurer and manufacturer of automotive products in connection with compensation payments in the three-digit million range.
  • Representating an automotive supplier over dismantling and installation costs after recall or warranty campaigns in connection with faulty pumps, brakes and lamps.
  • Representing an international industrial insurer in the recourse against the manufacturer of contaminated milk powder after a worldwide recall campaign.

CMS

CMS is well versed in major and serial damage proceedings, but also advises on claim enforcement for damaged companies and on recalls. Most recently, the group defended Daimler in several damages claims proceedings against Diesel-car owners. Tobias Bomsdorf is known as experienced point of contact for industrial insurers, national and international corporations and medium-sized companies. Thomas Lennarz and Nicolas Wiegand head the practice.

Practice head(s):

Thomas Lennarz; Nicolas Wiegand

Other key lawyers:

Tobias Bomsdorf

Gleiss Lutz

The team at Gleiss Lutz has expertise in criminal, civil and public law, which is regularly appreciated by industrial companies in various disputes. The group, headed by Stefan Rützel, handles a variety of different matters and also has experience in managing international product recalls. Eric Wagner is a well-versed point of contact on topics such as autonomous driving, e-commerce and industry 4.0, while Marc Ruttloff is experienced in product compliance.

Practice head(s):

Stefan Rützel

Other key lawyers:

Eric Wagner; Marc Ruttloff

Taylor Wessing

Taylor Wessing is a popular choice for companies from the pharmaceuticals and technology sectors, as well as the manufacturing industry. The team regularly advises on matters concerning product liability and safety law, as well as on domestic and international recalls. Henning Moelle is well-versed in regulatory product compliance issues, whereas practice head Philipp Behrendt often handles defences against claims.

Practice head(s):

Philipp Behrendt

Other key lawyers:

Henning Moelle

Key clients

Chubb Insurance

Easyjet

Fujitsu

Grünenthal

Melitta

Volkswagen

Work highlights

  • Acting as international lead counsel for Grünenthal in the defence of product liability claims for alleged birth defects caused by thalidomide (Contergan®).
  • Represented Volkswagen in the context of defending against consumer lawsuits due to the diesel issue.
  • Advising Rewe in disputes.

Luther Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft mbH

Luther Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft mbH's team has longstanding expertise in the mechanical engineering and automotive sectors in connection with product liability and product safety law issues; these are predominantly in the form of warranty and liability claims. Co-practice heads Volker Steimle and Jens Heuer-James are also experienced in contract design, while senior associate Kuuya Chibanguza has expertise in digital liability risks.

Practice head(s):

Volker Steimle

Other key lawyers:

Jens Heuer-James; Kuuya Chibanguza

Key clients

Harley-Davidson

Transdev

Makita

Saint-Gobain Isover

Rittal

SAME Deutz-Fahr

Eni

Ottobock Se & Co. KGaA

Work highlights

  • Advising a clothing manufacturer on the subject of the use of personal protective equipment in the dispute with the market surveillance authorities.
  • Representing a manufacturer of high-performance ceramics in recourse proceedings against a German manufacturer of washing machines and household goods and its property insurer after a furnace fire and shutdown.
  • Advising an automotive supplier in a legal dispute with the Federal Motor Transport Authority regarding the EU end-of-life vehicle regulation.

Bird & Bird LLP

Bird & Bird LLP advises on product liability in a preventative manner, as well as on contentious third-party liability and warranty matters. The team, led by Jiri Jaeger, is especially well-versed in disputes regarding the automotive, technology and IT sectors. Christian Kessel and Matthias Spilker are the main points of contact; both also have expertise in contractual disputes.

Practice head(s):

Jiri Jaeger

Other key lawyers:

Christian Kessel; Matthias Spilker

Friedrich Graf von Westphalen & Partner

Friedrich Graf von Westphalen & Partner has close connections to manufacturers from the toy, healthcare products and electronics sectors. The team advises in a preventative manner on contract design and on contentious liability issues; the key figures are Carsten Laschet and Tobias Lenz.

Other key lawyers:

Carsten Laschet; Tobias Lenz

reuschlaw Legal Consultants

reuschlaw Legal Consultants preventatively advises on product development stages and also assists with product liability, crisis and recall management. The specialised boutique is traditionally active in the mechanical engineering and the automotive supply sectors; in recent years, its client portfolio has grown with names from the consumer, pharmaceutical and cosmetic goods industries. Philipp Reusch is an experienced litigation lawyer and Daniel Wuhrmann, as well as Miriam Schuh, are active team members.

Practice head(s):

Philipp Reusch

Other key lawyers:

Daniel Wuhrmann; Miriam Schuh