Product liability in Germany

Hogan Lovells International LLP

Hogan Lovells International LLP's team handles a wide range of product liability issues, such as national and international product recalls and product compliance. Automotive specialist Sebastian Polly and Ina Brock, who is frequently instructed by companies in the pharmaceutical industry, also dedicate their practice to these subjects, while the practice's industry focus further covers the consumer goods, technology, plant construction and energy sectors. Other key contacts of the team include Matthias Schweiger, who has experience in complex product liability cases entailing cross-border aspects, for which the expertise of other offices is regularly drawn upon as well as Tobias Ackermann, who advises extensively on product liability matters.

Other key lawyers:

Tobias Ackermann

Work highlights

  • Advising a global certification institute on the global defense against liability claims.
  • Advising a leading global pharmaceutical company following product recalls in 26 markets, including the coordination of the defense against potential liability claims.
  • Advising leading automobile manufacturers on a wide range of topics in relation to product liability, product safety and product compliance.

BACH LANGHEID DALLMAYR

BACH LANGHEID DALLMAYR mainly advises on liability, product liability and product safety issues and is primarily active for insurers who benefit from the team's in-depth knowledge of coverage concepts in Germany and other European countries, as well as from global network Legalign, which the firm founded with other law firms specializing in the liability and insurance industry, and which the team utilises for cross-border matters. The group's technical skills are complemented by comprehensive sector expertise in the life sciences, consumer goods, automotive, pharmaceuticals and food industries among others. The two practice heads Rainer Büsken and Martin Alexander are among the key contacts for product recalls, while Alexander is also adept at cross-border crisis situations. Insurance lawyer Carsten Hösker, Marcel Hohagen (who advises extensively on product liability) and associate Jendrik Böhmer, who focuses on product liability-related technology issues, are further key contacts.

Testimonials

‘BLD has a broad product liability team (as it does for other lines).’

‘Carsten Hösker and Dr. Jendrik Böhmer with regard to expertise and negotiation skills in complex product liability matters and here in particular for motor vehicle recalls.’

‘BLD has extremely competent, very experienced and also pragmatic teams for each insurance segment, which are very well attuned in my opinion. Working together is uncomplicated and always pleasant.’

‘True specialists in their field. Well attuned to insurance clients including the London market. Expertise both in enforcing and defending against liability claims. Advisors you can trust and who convey security.’

‘Martin Alexander: highly valued, very experienced, economically smart, first choice as a consultant in complex, international supply chain disputes and liability issues.’

‘Carsten Hösker: technically excellent, experienced, responsive with a good sense of humor.

‘Marcel Hohagen: very competent and responsive.’

‘Dr. Martin Alexander: a high level of professional competence paired with calm handling and appearance.’

CMS

CMS advises industrial insurers, large medium-sized companies and DAX30 corporations, most of which come from the automotive and pharmaceutical sectors as well as mechanical and plant engineering, on various product liability law issues. Most recently, the team assisted with large industrial claims, drug liability cases and worldwide recalls involving the support of its international firm offices to advise on international aspects. Tobias Bomsdorf, who is experienced in mechanical and plant engineering, is often instructed to assist with matters related to warranty cases and major industrial damages. Thomas Lennarz and Nicolas Wiegand jointly head the team.

Other key lawyers:

Tobias Bomsdorf

Key clients

Daimler

Work highlights

  • Advising Daimler AG on damages claims asserted by diesel vehicle customers. Representation in a large number of lawsuits before German courts (first instance and appeal proceedings) and for diesel individual proceedings abroad.
  • Advising a German industrial insurer on industrial damage.
  • Advising a leading European pharmaceutical company on drug liability cases in Germany (including alleged vaccine damage).

Gleiss Lutz

As part of the firm's civil, public and criminal law advice, the team at Gleiss Lutz assists with product recalls and liability law issues. Medium-sized and large players appreciate the group's expertise in regulatory issues and product compliance, while autonomous driving, e-mobility and manufacturer liability have recently been particularly pertinent subjects for the team. The practice is led by Stefan Rützel and includes the liability-experienced Eric Wagner and product compliance specialist Marc Ruttloff.

Practice head(s):

Stefan Rützel

Other key lawyers:

Eric Wagner; Marc Ruttloff

Work highlights

  • Strategic advice and legal representation of Daimler AG in defending the client against customer claims in connection with the diesel issue.

Taylor Wessing

National and international product recalls, defence against and enforcement of liability claims as well as contentious follow-up issues relating to product compliance are all part of the advice offered by Taylor Wessing‘s dispute resolution group. Clients often stem from the technology, pharmaceutical and manufacturing sectors and can also be supported across borders with the help of the firm’s international network. Henning Moelle is experienced in product liability and advises on product recalls in the pharmaceutical sector, whereas practice head Philipp Behrendt is increasingly instructed for matters in the product safety field.

Practice head(s):

Philipp Behrendt

Other key lawyers:

Henning Moelle

Work highlights

  • International defense of Grünenthal against product liability lawsuits alleging birth defects caused by thalidomide (Contergan®).

Luther Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft mbH

Under the leadership of Volker Steimle, Luther Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft mbHMeet the Team is experienced in advising on product liability, product safety, market correction measures and product recalls and, in the course of the pandemic, was frequently instructed to advise on quality issues relating to medical protective equipment. The sectoral focus lies on mechanical engineering, automotive and the manufacturing industry. Jens-Uwe Heuer-James is well versed in the drafting and negotiation of complex technical contracts while Kuuya Chibanguza, who made partner in 2021, is adept at product liability-related IT and AI issues.

Practice head(s):

Volker Steimle

Testimonials

‘Jens Uwe Heuer-James and Dr. Kuuya Chibanguza: Very good comprehension, quick familiarization with new issues; very flexible in terms of time when it matters.’

Key clients

Harley-Davidson

Transdev

Makita

Saint-Gobain Isover

Rittal

SAME Deutz-Fahr

Eni

Ottobock Se & Co. KGaA

Work highlights

  • Advice to a specialist in textile full supply and textile leasing on the marketability of PPE protective suits and surgical masks supplied by the other party, as well as advice on recall and representation in relation to market surveillance authorities.
  • Advising a motorhome manufacturer on a product recall due to possibly failed automatic seat locks with the participation of the OEM and preparing the defense against the OEM’s claims.
  • Advising Ottobock SE & Co. KGaA on the design, negotiation and conclusion of a framework supply agreement for the delivery of medical products subject to product compliance to a UK-based group.

Noerr

At Noerr, contentious matters often originate in global recalls, while the group also handles liability claims and the defence against and enforcement of damages claims related to product compliance. The team has a particular focus on the automotive sector and on technology-related issues. Practice head Oliver Sieg is experienced in insurance disputes. Other integral members of the team include insurance and reinsurance expert Helmut Katschthaler and Arun Kapoor, who is well versed in product safety law.

Practice head(s):

Oliver Sieg

Other key lawyers:

Helmut Katschthaler; Arun Kapoor

Work highlights

  • Advising and representing a manufacturer of electric propulsion systems for boats in connection with the assertion of recall costs against a supplier.
  • Advising and representing an automobile manufacturer in a legal dispute against an automotive supplier in connection with the reimbursement of costs of a vehicle recall.
  • Defending a medium-sized automotive supplier against claims for recourse for recall costs and related insurance protection issues brought by a global automotive manufacturer.

Bird & Bird LLP

Bird & Bird LLP focuses on preventive advice which foots on comprehensive product compliance expertise, as well as on liability matters and product recalls. The group particularly focuses on the technology, IT and automotive sectors, resulting in a client portfolio comprising numerous automotive suppliers. Christian Kessel, Matthias Spilker and associate Lydia Steckel are all experienced in contractual disputes. Jiri Jaeger heads the entire dispute resolution practice.

Practice head(s):

Jiri Jaeger

Testimonials

‘High expertise in the area of product liability and automotive.’

‘Flexible team that can quickly familiarize itself with complex issues.’

‘Matthias Spilker and Lydia Steckel have a high level of expertise in product liability cases in the automotive sector.’

reuschlaw Legal Consultants

reuschlaw Legal Consultants focuses on preventive advice during the product development phase, but also assists with crisis scenarios related to product recalls and product liability, both on national and international level. The client base is traditionally composed of industrial companies from the automotive and mechanical engineering sectors, which frequently seek practice head Philipp Reusch for advice on product safety and recall management. The pharmaceutical and cosmetics sectors represent further focuses. Automotive expert Daniel Wuhrmann and Miriam Schuh, who assists with medical device law, are other key members of the team.

Practice head(s):

Philipp Reusch

Other key lawyers:

Daniel Wuhrmann; Miriam Schuh