Product liability, mass tort and class action - defense: consumer products (including tobacco) in United States

Arnold & Porter

Arnold & Porter has a market-leading reputation as a result of its successful record defending clients in class actions, multidistrict litigation (MDL), Attorney General lawsuits and individual cases involving personal injury claims and property damage from allegedly defective products. The team, which is largely resourced by lawyers across both East and West coasts of the country, also excels in a risk management context; helping clients minimize risks/liability before they go to market and subsequently in dealings with the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Proposition 65 matters are also a core strength of the firm, with numerous California-based lawyers helping clients navigate the tricky terrain associated with the Golden State’s unique consumer protection law. San Francisco-based senior partner Trent Norris  co-chairs the consumer products and retail group and is pivotal to the firm’s success in helping manufacturers and retailers avoid litigation and should it occur to minimize subsequent damages, with a particular emphasis on the unique requirements of California law. Daphne O’Connor in Washington DC co-chairs the overarching product liability group alongside New York-based Anand Agneshwar and has developed particular expertise defending clients in relation to tobacco and cannabis/hemp matters. Based out of Washington DC, Michelle Gillice was recently promoted to partner in recognition of her product safety expertise, both in private practice and formerly at a governmental level in-house at the CPSC.

Key clients

Altria Group and affiliates, including Philip Morris USA Inc.

Atlantic Richfield

Samsung

Bayer (Monsanto) Company

Pfizer

IKEA

Britax

Dunkin’ Brands, Inc., 7-Eleven, BP West Coast Products (which operates convenience stores), and Yum Donuts

Grocery Manufacturers Association

National Coffee Association

Hain Celestial and Naked Juice (subsidiary of PepsiCo)

Zinus

Work highlights

  • Representing Altria and Philip Morris USA in private economic damages class actions, public entity actions, certain AG actions, and individual personal injury actions that have been filed across the country based on an evapor product manufactured and sold by Juul Labs Inc.
  • Represented Samsung in the US Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, obtaining affirmance of the district court’s final approval order of a global class action settlement agreement. The class settlement resolves 28 putative class actions consolidated in a multidistrict litigation stemming from a comprehensive voluntary recall Samsung initiated of 34 models of top-load washing machines in 2016.
  • Represented Atlantic Richfield Company as national co-ordinating, trial and appellate counsel in litigation by governmental and private plaintiffs against former lead pigment producers or their alleged successors in numerous federal and state jurisdictions.

Jones Day

Leveraging vast resources throughout the country, including particularly strong offerings in Atlanta and the Midwest, the ‘very impressive’ practice at Jones Day has the strength-in-depth and versatility to handle a wide range and volume of consumer product-related disputes, including major class actions, MDLs, congressional hearings and government investigations. The team is best noted for its ability and willingness to take cases to trial, often in very plaintiff-friendly jurisdictions. Atlanta-based team head Stephanie Parker  exemplifies this approach and is regularly at the forefront of the most significant mandates for the team, including her ongoing work for tobacco giant R.J. Reynolds. New York-based of counsel Theodore Grossman  has deep experience at both trial and appellate level and has gained many important victories for defendants in major consumer class actions. Frank Bayuk in Atlanta continues to gain a strong reputation defending clients from a range of sectors, including tobacco, nutritional supplements and paint and lead pigment, in product liability and mass tort lawsuits. The team was also strengthened in April 2021 by the arrival of Los Angeles-based Celeste Brecht  from Venable LLP.

Practice head(s):

Stephanie Parker

 

Testimonials

The team is very impressive.’

‘They are excellent at strategy and writing briefs.’

Key clients

Bristol Myers Squibb

California Stem Cell Treatment Center, Inc.

Chevron USA, Inc.

Daikin America/Daikin Industries

GOJO Industries, Inc.

Merck & Co.

R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company

Sherwin-Williams Company, The

Steris Corporation

Walmart Stores, Inc.

Latham & Watkins LLP

The ‘extremely talented and experienced’ team at Latham & Watkins LLP is ‘capable of providing first-class advice across a wide variety of product liability matters’. The firm has, however, undoubtedly gained most acclaim for its market-leading work in the tobacco sector, where it is appreciated for being ‘super knowledgeable about the law and the science’. In this context, it continues to represent Philip Morris in a raft of major domestic and international cases, including defending it in multiple individual smoking and health cases in Massachusetts. A ‘brilliant trial lawyer’ and a ‘master strategist‘, Boston-based Kenneth Parsigian is pivotal to the firm’s work for Philip Morris particularly in a domestic setting. ‘Highly adept at dealing with experts and technical subjects’, Washington DC-based Christine Rolph is also a vital member of the team and continues to excel in her role for Philip Morris in international litigation brought against the company. ‘A jack of all trades’, the ‘thoughtful and responsive’ Boston-based Gwyn Williams co-heads the overarching team alongside Parsigian, and as well as also assisting on tobacco-related work is noted for her expertise defending corporates in consumer class actions, where she is ‘excellent at co-ordinating a large team’. 

Other key lawyers:

Christine Rolph

Testimonials

‘Super knowledgeable about the law and the science. Very good at balancing being aggressive but also realistic about what arguments can and should be made to be most receptive to judges.’

‘The team has in-depth expertise on product liability matters, they are very much client-oriented and accomodate client’s needs.’

‘Highly prepared, extremely talented and experienced team, capable of providing first-class advice on a wide variety of product liability matters.’

‘Ken Parsigian has a keen analytical and strategic mind and has seen it all, but is also not unwilling to course correct and update his approach.’

‘Ken Parsigian: master strategist, superb communicator, highly practical, pre-eminent reputation. Ken deals as well as anyone with technical issues but, unlike many, never loses the forest for the trees. Highly efficient.

‘Christine Rolph is super smart and hardworking, and has a nice way of bringing along others on tough issues, and she is usually right in how she wants things to go.’

‘Christine Rolph: highly adept at dealing with experts and technical subjects. Great communicator, excellent team player, highly responsive, terrific judgment. Lovely to deal with.’

Gwyn Williams: a jack-of-all-trades. Invariably thoughtful, responsive, communicative and practical. Excellent at co-ordinating a large team.’

Key clients

Altria

Apple

Clorox

Colgate-Palmolive

Lands’ End

Navistar

Philip Morris International

Philip Morris USA

Rothmans, Benson & Hedges

Weyerhaeuser

Morrison & Foerster LLP

Led from San Diego and New York by Erin Bosman and David Fioccola, respectively, Morrison Foerster‘s class actions and mass torts group is a popular destination for product manufacturers and resellers, including within the technology space in relation to the defense of consumer litigation alleging, inter alia product liability infractions. Although the team is accomplished at handling bench and jury trials, having defended clients in many California and New York state and federal courts, it is also extremely well regarded from a counselling/risk management perspective and effectively protects clients’ products throughout the product life cycle. Bosman excels in handling high-stakes litigation and product recalls and is frequently at the forefront of the team’s highest-profile mandates, including her continued representation of Fitbit on product liability matters, as well as its dealings with the CPSC. Julie Park is also based in San Diego and frequently works alongside Bosman on many product liability and consumer class actions, including as it relates to medical devices/pharmaceuticals, where she also effectively leverages her science background. 

Practice head(s):

Erin Bosman ; David Fioccola

 

Testimonials

This team has deep relevant experience and a brilliant group of well functioning attorneys. They operate as an integrated team each bringing unique strengths and experiences to bear.’

In my experience, this team was superior in strategy, relationship management, and overall execution. They are the best I have ever worked with.’

Incredible values, extraordinary intellect, deep domain experience and efficiency in their work. The ability to take something really complex, break it down for the client with clarity and then create strategies and propose solutions and execute against those things.’

Key clients

Prelude Fertility, Inc.

Fitbit Inc.

Unilever

MicroPort Orthopedics Inc.

McKesson Corporation

Etsy

Premier Nutrition Corp

Fitbit Inc.

Work highlights

  • Represented Prelude Fertility, Inc. when The Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that the plaintiffs must arbitrate their claims against Prelude based on the arbitration provision in their agreements with Pacific Fertility Center.
  • Represented Fitbit as lead product liability counsel for all matters and has served as lead counsel in five class action lawsuits and over 300 personal injury lawsuits arising from Fitbit’s 2014 recall of its Force activity tracker and negotiated favorable settlements of all claims.
  • Represented Unilever in a long-running false advertising suit for its vegetable oil “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter!” spray.

Greenberg Traurig LLP

A ‘class action dream team’, Greenberg Traurig LLP provides a ‘very pragmatic‘ service to many leading consumer brands, which are appreciative of its ‘unparalleled preparation‘ and trial-ready approach to potentially reputation threatening cases, including those involving consumer protection, unfair competition and false and deceptive advertising. ‘Extremely knowledgeable‘ Los Angeles-based Robert J. Herrington is an ‘exceptional class action, product liability, and mass torts litigator’ and has had multiple successes in disputes for clients from a myriad industries, including footwear, consumer electronics and outdoor equipment. Praised for his ability ‘to focus the court on the relevant issues’, Miami-based David A. Coulson has taken the lead on many high-profile disputes, including his representation of Champion Petfoods in over a dozen national putative class action lawsuits alleging its pet food products contain heavy metals and BPA. Lori Cohen is ‘tough but charismatic‘, and has seen success before juries across a range of product liability matters. ‘Smart and responsive’ Los Angeles-based associate Michael McCarthy is, according to one client, ‘the hardest working lawyer I’ve ever met‘ and continues to gain experience defending consumer products companies before state and federal courts in all phases of litigation. The team was further strengthened, particularly on the medical devices and pharmaceuticals front, by the arrival of Glenn Kerner  and Nilda Isidro in November 2021 from Goodwin.

Testimonials

‘The expertise of the team that I’m dealing with is unparalleled. They are also very pragmatic in their approach.’

‘They are diligent, responsive, creative thinkers, and hard-nosed negotiators. They have consistently obtained good results for us in cases with significant potential exposure, and I’d recommend them to anyone looking for a class action dream team.’

‘Unparalleled preparation. Going into trial no stone will have been left unturned and it shows in the outcome. I also think they are particularly adept at taking depositions that matter. They understand how to work up a case with the end in mind.’

‘Dave Coulson has been our quarterback for 20 class action lawsuits in the US. We have had great success in our defense. I attribute this to not only simply outshining the plaintiffs’ lawyers in their knowledge of the law, but also the intense focus of the team on knowing the facts extremely well and the extreme skill at all stages of the lawsuits. Dave seems to be able to focus the court on the relevant issues and build our case extremely effectively.’

‘Lori Cohen is a natural leader. She inspires the team to do their very best work and to go the extra mile. She is tough but charismatic – with opposing counsel and the judge. She is also incredibly fun which humanizes her and makes her relatable to all. Juries love her.’

Robert Herrington is as good as it gets. Exceptional class action, product liability, and mass torts litigator. Extremely knowledgeable and skilled writer, orator, and creative thinker. Great negotiator and interpersonal skills.’

‘Jared Kessler skillfully handled depositions and examinations/crosses in court.’

Mike McCarthy is hands-down the best associate I’ve ever worked with on any case at any firm. If I were constructing my legal dream team, he makes the cut every time. He’s smart, responsive, relatable, and funny. He’s the hardest working lawyer I’ve ever met.’

Key clients

Samsung Electronics America, Inc.

Sony Electronics

The Men’s Wearhouse, Inc.

Energizer, LLC

Whole Foods Market Group, Inc.

Champion Petfoods USA Inc.

Ford Motor Company

Hyundai Motor Company and Hyundai Motor America

Albertson’s Companies, Inc.

Deva Concepts LLC, Deva Curl

Work highlights

  • Representing Champion Petfoods (Champion) in over a dozen national putative class action lawsuits alleging Champion’s pet food products contain heavy metals and BPA, rendering some statements on its packaging misleading.
  • Represented Samsung in securing significant motions to defeat a potential national class action alleging that Samsung’s Galaxy S7 series phones are falsely advertised as “water resistant.”
  • Representing Albertsons in the National Prescription Opiate Litigation pending in the Northern District of Ohio, which consists of more than 2,000 matters pending in the multi-district proceedings, as well as in several state jurisdictions throughout the country.

Herbert Smith Freehills

With ‘a strong grasp of the industry’, as well as a ‘combination of expert strategic thinking and skilfull practical implementation’, Herbert Smith Freehills is particularly well-versed at handling tobacco-related product liability litigation. In this context, New York-based team head Gregory Lossknows this area of law like the back of his hand’, in part due to his longstanding representation of British American Tobacco in individual cases and class action recoupment lawsuits, both domestically as well as globally. Also in New York, the ‘incredibly smart’ Benjamin Rubenstein is a key member of the team providing the underlying strategy to BAT, work which he handles in addition to his niche expertise in relation to climate-change related matters.

Practice head(s):

Gregory Loss

Testimonials

‘The team has a strong grasp of the industry as well as of the legal and practical requirements of corporate defence. This combination of expert strategic thinking and skillful practical implementation makes them a go-to firm.’

‘The New York team I work with has decades of experience with mass torts and consumer class actions both in the US and around the world. They know the law and practice in all these states and countries and have deep contacts with local lawyers and local experts.’

‘Greg Loss knows this area of law like the back of his hand.’

‘Greg Loss and Ben Rubinstein are terrific. They know the law and science that are critical to mass torts cases. They can try cases or supervise lawyers in other countries to try cases. And they are extremely deep and creative legal thinkers.’

Key clients

British American Tobacco

Work highlights

  • Advising British American Tobacco in multiple health care recoupment lawsuits in Canada.
  • Advising BAT and the largest Brazilian tobacco manufacturer, in defense of a healthcare cost recoupment lawsuit filed in 2019 by the Federal Government of Brazil, as well as advising Souza Cruz in numerous individual product liability suits.
  • Advising BAT Korea in connection with an action brought by the Korean National Health Insurance Service (NHIS) seeking to recoup healthcare costs that NHIS alleges were expended to treat Korean citizens who developed certain smoking-related illnesses.

King & Spalding LLP

Leveraging the expertise of product liability lawyers spread across the firm’s national network of offices, many with significant trial experience, King & Spalding LLP handles a large range and volume of cases, for manufacturers and producers, across the gamut of consumer products. As well as its high-profile role as national co-ordinating and trial counsel for Johnson & Johnson in the talcum powder-related litigation, the team has gained perhaps most visibility for its ‘superb work‘ within the tobacco space. In this segment of the market, its ongoing representation for R.J. Reynolds across a plethora of smoking and health cases have led to numerous high-profile success at both a trial and appellate level. Charlotte-based trial lawyer Jeffrey Furr has been pivotal to much of this success and has secured victories in many plaintiff-friendly jurisdictions over the years. Atlanta-based Val Leppert is also recommended, and as well as his work at First Instance, his appellate skills have been very much to the fore, in relation to many of the firm’s docket of high-profile product liability disputes, including the aforementioned tobacco work. Bruce Hurley in Houston, Ursula Henninger in Charlotte, and New York’s Shaila Rahman Diwan co-lead the team.

Practice head(s):

Bruce Hurley; Ursula Henninger; Shaila Rahman Diwan

Testimonials

The team does superb work in the tobacco space.’

Key clients

R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company

Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc.

GlaxoSmithKline LLC

The Home Depot Inc.

The Procter & Gamble Company

Beech-Nut Nutrition Company

Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc.

General Motors LLC

Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC

Mine Safety Appliances

Boehringer Ingelheim

Work highlights

  • Representing R.J Reynolds Tobacco in smoking and health cases in difficult jurisdictions such as Florida, Hawaii, Missouri, Nevada and Philadelphia, prevailing in numerous case-defining motions at the trial level and securing an unprecedented string of appellate victories.
  • Representing Johnson & Johnson in connection with claims alleging the plaintiffs developed mesothelioma as a result of using talcum-based Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower body powder.
  • Representing Boehringer Ingelheim in all litigation arising from allegations that heartburn medication Zantac is associated with an increased risk of cancer.

Kirkland & Ellis LLP

Kirkland & Ellis LLP is particularly adept at handling high-stakes product liability and mass tort disputes with potentially reputation threatening consequences for the defendants. As well as the firm’s ability to provide ‘highly strategic‘ guidance, it is also well-versed in understanding and explaining often highly complex technical and scientific issues, including in MDLs for generic pharmaceutical and manufacturing companies. The firm’s Chicago headquarters contain a particularly strong concentration of prominent product liability litigators, including Renee SmithRobert Ellis and the vastly experienced Andrew McGaan.

Other key lawyers:

Mike Brock; Andrew McGaan; Renee Smith; Robert Ellis; Jennifer Levy ; Donna Welch ; Hariklia Karis ; Sierra Elizabeth

Testimonials

The team provides highly strategic guidance.’ 

Key clients

Woodstream Corporation

Allergan

Amneal Pharmaceuticals

Carrier Global Corporation

GlaxoSmithKline

General Motors

Polaris Industries

Staples, Inc.

Torrent Pharmaceuticals Ltd., Torrent Private Limited and Torrent Pharma, Inc.

ZF-TRW Automotive Holdings Corporation

3M

Work highlights

  • Representing Woodstream Corporation in a putative class action alleging fraud and breachof warranty in connection with Woodstream’s Victor® PestChaser® ultrasonic rodent repeller products.
  • Representing Allergan in connection with thousands of civil suits as well as government investigations related to its sale and marketing of opioid medications.
  • Represented Carrier Global Corporation and its subsidiary, Walter Kidde PortableEquipment Inc., in a consumer products putative class action related to its fire extinguishers.

Shook, Hardy & Bacon LLP

Kansas-headquartered litigation powerhouse Shook, Hardy & Bacon LLP represents manufacturers of consumer goods, food and beverages, and tobacco, among others, and is particularly well-suited to defending clients in large-scale class actions and MDLs. As well as bringing to bear pure legal expertise, it is also able to effectively draw upon the technical and scientific expertise of the firm’s in-house research analysts. San Francisco-based Amir Nassihi  has developed a strong reputation in the market as a result of his successes for clients in class actions throughout the country, as well as his aptitude at handling appellate actions in California. Nassihi co-heads the overarching class action and appellate litigation group alongside Michael Mallow  in Los Angeles and Kansas City-based Tristan Duncan. In Miami, Kenneth Reilly has vast experience in relation to high-profile tobacco litigation, and is particularly noted for his advocacy skills. Based out of the firm’s Kansas City headquarters, Jim Muehlbergeris creative and strategic in his approach to settlement’, ensuring that clients receive a ‘cost-effective’ and tailored service in the defense of consumer and third-party payor class actions.

Testimonials

‘The solutions-oriented team provides pragmatic advice and don’t want to litigate for the sake of litigating.’

‘Jim Muehlberger is very pragmatic and easy to work with. He ensures efficient and cost-effective billing. He is creative and strategic in his approach to settlement.’

Key clients

DeLaval Inc.

Unilever

Simmons Foods, Inc.

Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Inc.

Barkman Honey, LLC

Shutterfly Lifetouch, LLC and Shutterfly, LLC

Tyson Foods, Inc.

Ford Motor Company

Tesla Inc.

American Honda Motor Co.

Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.

Bayer Corporation

Philip Morris USA

Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP

Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP provides a cradle-to-grave service to many global companies in relation to product-related concerns, including advice on crisis management and strategic development, as well as in the context of devising ‘innovative legal strategy’ to repel, at the earliest stage possible, potentially reputation-threatening litigation. New Jersey-based trial lawyer Diane Sullivan has had a string of high-profile successes in many first-of-kind and bellwether cases in the product liability/mass tort space, including for Johnson & Johnson in the talcum powder mass tort. Sullivan co-heads the team alongside ‘excellent and hardworking‘ Silicon Valley-based David Singh, who is noted for his aptitude at handling high-profile consumer product-related class actions. Bambo Obaro is also based out of Silicon Valley and regularly partners up with Singh on major consumer class actions, including his starring role in securing the dismissal of a significant consumer class action in New York federal court for a leading coffee and retail company. The arrival in June 2021 of versatile Washington DC-based litigators Drew Tulumello and Chantale Fiebig from Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP strengthens the firm’s credentials, including in relation to food and beverages consumer product liability matters.

Practice head(s):

Diane Sullivan; David Singh

 

Testimonials

‘It is a hardworking team with a commitment to diversity and innovative legal strategy.’

‘David Singh is an excellent, hardworking lawyer who is dedicated to advancing the profession.’

 

Key clients

Johnson & Johnson

The Procter & Gamble Company

PepsiCo Inc.

Frito-Lay North America

Core-Mark Holding Company

The Quaker Oats Company

General Electric Company

Sanofi

Dometic Corporation

Welch Foods

Panasonic Corporation

Tropicana Products Inc.

Tarkett Sports

Work highlights

  • Represented a leading global coffee brand in Second Circuit victory affirming the complete dismissal of a high-profile consumer class action in New York federal court for a leading global coffee and retail company alleging the company’s Manhattan stores have for many years been permeated with a toxic pesticide.
  • Representing Johnson & Johnson in the mass tort alleging that personal hygiene products containing talcum powder cause certain types of cancer.
  • Representing PepsiCo in a billion-dollar action filed in California Superior Court alleging that PepsiCo misled the public about the recyclability of their products and seeking to hold them liable for cleaning up all marine plastic pollution on California oceans, beaches, and waterways.

Winston & Strawn LLP

Leveraging the expertise of market-leading trial lawyers in its Chicago headquarters, as well as on both coasts, Winston & Strawn LLP is particularly effective at handling high-stakes mandates, many within the product liability space, for clients seeking a robust and strategic defense. The team has experience handling matters for manufacturers of a broad array of consumer products, including tobacco, food and beverages, and oil and gas, both at trial and appellate level – an area that was recently enhanced by the arrival in February 2021 of the ‘tenacious and creativeAndrew Tauber to the Washington DC office from Mayer Brown. Clients also benefit from access to the firm’s recently created legal innovation center, which enhances the team’s litigation work by performing complex document reviews with lower-cost reviewers and advanced analytical tools. George Lombardi and Dan Webb are both widely revered trial lawyers, whose wide ranging expertise includes the defense of companies facing high-profile consumer product liability litigation. Between them they have secured numerous notable jury verdicts, including Lombardi’s recent success for Monsanto against allegations that the herbicide causes non-Hodgkins lymphoma. Sandra Edwards chairs the product liability and mass tort practice from San Francisco, working alongside Lombardi for Monsanto on the aforementioned dispute. Lawyers are in Chicago unless otherwise stated.

Practice head(s):

Sandra Edwards

 

Testimonials

Andrew Tauber is tenacious and creative.’

Key clients

Monsanto Company

Otsuka America Pharmaceuticals Inc. (OAPI or Otsuka)

The J.M. Smucker Company

Abbott Laboratories

Hikma Pharmaceuticals

Diamond Foods

The J.M. Smucker Company, Big Heart Pet Brands, and JBS USA Holdings

Work highlights

  • Represented Monsanto Company as trial counsel for the Roundup® product liability matters, including the first US jury trial (Johnson), defending against allegations that the herbicide causes non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Bowman and Brooke LLP

Litigation focused law firm Bowman and Brooke LLP has an excellent reputation representing consumer product manufacturers in disputes  involving catastrophic personal injuries, wrongful death, property damage, consumer fraud and breach of contract claims. The firm, which can draw upon the expertise of lawyers situated throughout the length and breadth of the country, also stands out for the diversity of consumer products it is conversant with, including in relation to manufacturers of household appliances, sports equipment and child products. Drawing upon the insights gleaned from the firm’s trial lawyers, the team is able to provide very robust risk management advice to consumer product manufacturers and is also noted for being ‘on top of the regulations involved with the CPSC’. Well regarded Phoenix-based trial lawyer Paul Cereghini is regularly involved in high-profile product liability and mass torts litigation, including his current representation of an American football helmet manufacturer in concussion litigation brought against it throughout the country. Promoted to partner in January 2021, Phoenix-based Amanda Heitz continues to excel at defending product liability and class actions, including at trial and appellate stage. Jeffrey Warren and Tori Levine co-head the consumer product practice from Phoenix and Dallas, respectively. Robert Wise  and Jenny Covington  departed the firm during 2021. 

Other key lawyers:

Amanda Heitz

Testimonials

The team we worked with was totally on top of the regulations involved with the CPSC issue we dealt with. They were very experienced and helped us through confusing and conflicting information that came to us from the CPSC.’

They work with their customers as people, not “corporate entities”. They understand and assist in dealing with claims from outside entities that are unsupported yet threatening. They have resources to recommend for assisting with correction of minor to major issues that could cause future legal problems.’

Key clients

Riddell, Inc./BRG Sports

Makita U.S.A., Inc.

3M

BrassCraft Manufacturing Company (Masco)

American Honda Motor Co., Inc.

Yamaha Motor Corporation, USA

Britax Child Safety, Inc.

The Husqvarna Group

Razor USA LLC

L’Oreal

The Toro Company

Glock

Electrolux Home Products, Inc.

Fun Spot Trampoline

Work highlights

  • Representing football helmet manufacturer Riddell, Inc. in its highly publicized concussion litigation.
  • Representing Austrian firearm manufacturer Glock and its US subsidiary in defending putative product liability class actions in California and aproduct liability case in Arizona.
  • Representing Electrolux Home Products, Inc. in multiple cases around the country against allegations of design defects in various Electrolux products leading to personal injury and property damage.

Goodwin

Goodwin has a notable understanding of the underlying technology, science, and law associated with product liability claims deriving from alleged damage caused by consumer products, manufacturing processes, asbestos and hi-tech products. The products litigation and counselling team, which spans both the East and West Coast, has experience acting as national counsel and trial counsel in major litigation, as well as providing an effective risk management service to prevent future litigation. New York-based team head Joanne Gray  is particularly well-known for her expertise at handling recall issues and litigation impacting food and supplement companies. Nilda Isidro and Glenn Kerner  left the firm in November 2021.

Practice head(s):

Joanne Gray

 

Other key lawyers:

Richard Oetheimer ; Amanda Russo

Key clients

Boehringer Ingelheim

Confluent Medical/Cordis IVC Filter Litigation

Herbalife International, Inc.

Kolmar Laboratories

Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc., Barr Pharmaceuticals, LLC and Barr Laboratories, Inc.

Work highlights

  • Representing Herbalife International on the development and execution of all products liability and mass tort litigation strategy, both domestically and globally.
  • Representing Boehringer Ingelheim in a Pradaxa wrongful death lawsuit filed in Massachusetts state court.
  • Representing Kolmar Laboratories, Inc., a contract manufacturer of consumer cosmetic products in connection with talc mass tort litigation alleging exposure to asbestos through various loose powders manufactured with talc.

Mayer Brown

Mayer Brown has cultivated a strong reputation in defending food and beverage clients against false advertising consumer class actions. Abreast of developments in the regulatory environment and also drawing upon comprehensive proprietary databases, the team is well-positioned to provide detailed early case assessments and recommended action plans, and regularly obtains early dismissals in litigation for many leading brands. In addition, it also regularly provides advice on labelling and marketing to minimize future exposure to claims. Carmine Zarlenga in Washington DC heads up the team.

Practice head(s):

Carmine Zarlenga

 

Key clients

Amy’s Kitchen, Inc.

Blue Bottle Coffee

Campbell Soup Company

Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream, Inc.

Ferrero USA Inc. (incl. Ferrara Candy Co.)

Foster Poultry Farms

Lindt & Sprüngli

Halo Top/Eden Creamery

Tyson Foods (incl. Jimmy Dean)

Nestlé USA

KIND LLC

Cargill

U.S. Sugar Corporation

Purina PetCare

Ghiradelli Chocolate Co.

Plum, PBC

Russell Stover

Snyder’s-Lance

Ocean Spray

Work highlights

  • Represented Ghirardelli Chocolate Co. in a consumer class action alleging that its white baking chips product is falsely advertised as white chocolate.
  • Represented Nestle in obtaining a dismissal of a consumer class action complaint alleging false advertising of Nestlé’s iconic Coffee-mate product, on preemption and FRCP 9(b) grounds, and separately prevailed on a motion to strike immaterial and impertinent allegations.
  • Represented Foster Poultry Farms in successfully opposing class certification—and then successfully opposed a motion to amend the complaint—in a case alleging that the client under-declared the amount of added water in its products.

McGuireWoods LLP

With particularly strong coverage in the Southeast, McGuireWoods LLP leverages well-established and longstanding relationships with many well-known manufacturers of consumer products, in litigation emanating in Virginia and beyond. The team, which is headed out of the firm’s Richmond headquarters by Diane Flannery, has expertise in MDL procedures, class actions and single or multiple plaintiff personal injury claims, as well as in the context of advice on pre-litigation matters, such as warning labels. Trent Taylor , also in Richmond, is another key member of the group with a focus on food labeling and safety issues.

Practice head(s):

Diane Flannery

 

Key clients

Ford Motor Company

Lumber Liquidators, Inc.

STIHL Incorporated

Columbia Gas of Massachusetts

United Technologies Corporation

Olympus Corp.

E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company

Aquion

Universal Corp. and Universal Leaf Tobacco Company

Work highlights

  • Represented E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company in the US Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit, which reversed a headline-grabbing $6m jury verdict against the company and two other paint manufacturers on allegations that they sold lead-based paint that caused brain damage to three men as youths.
  • Represented Aquion in securing dismissal of a class action suit that put its strategic relationship with The Home Depot – and the entire high-end water treatment industry – at risk. The win effectively eliminates the flood of class actions expected across the country raising similar claims.
  • Represented Universal Corp. as lead trial counsel and coordinating counsel in Hupan, et al. v. Alliance One International, Inc., and five related suits.

O'Melveny & Myers LLP

Drawing upon substantial resources from both coasts, O’Melveny & Myers LLP is a popular choice among manufacturers of a range of consumer products to represent them in often brand reputation threatening litigation. Regularly integrating appellate lawyers into the team from an early stage and also well-placed to handle Attorney General investigations, thanks to its bench of lawyers with former governmental experience, the firm is appreciated for its ability to provide a ‘very comprehensive service‘ from cradle-to-grave. Washington DC-based Steve Brody combines his previous in-house experience at the DOJ to good effect with his private practice trial lawyering skills for life sciences clients and emerging tech companies. Matt Powers in San Francisco spearheads the firm’s consumer class actions offering and as part of his varied caseload has recently had numerous successes for education institutions in class actions brought by students and parents seeking reimbursements following the Covid-19-precipitated transition to remote learning. Sabrina Strong in Los Angeles, an accomplished trial lawyer and appellate advocate, co-chairs the product liability and mass torts group alongside Brody.

Testimonials

The team provides a very comprehensive service.’

Key clients

TeamViewer US, Inc.

Colgate-Palmolive Company

Johnson & Johnson and Janssen Pharmaceuticals

Harvard University

Occidental College

Ford Motor Co.

Kia Motors America, Inc. & Kia Motors Corporation

Skechers USA, Inc.

Amylin Pharmaceuticals

GTs Living Foods, LLC

Sempra Energy and its subsidiary Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas)

AstraZeneca and Amylin Pharmaceuticals

Chubb Group

ExxonMobil

Work highlights

  • Represented Johnson & Johnson in opioids-related lawsuits.
  • Represented Harvard University in securing the rejection of a proposed class action by students seeking tuition refunds for classes forced online by Covid-19.
  • Represented Hill’s Pet Nutrition, a subsidiary of Colgate-Palmolive Co., in approximately 41 class actions arising from a nationwide recall of dozens of varieties of canned dog foods following a supplier error.

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP

Leveraging strong relationships with local defense lawyers in most states, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP regularly takes the lead in co-ordinating large-scale aggregated litigation, including in the context of MDL proceedings. The firm has robust and well-established relationships with high-profile corporates, including in relation to a range of consumer class actions and product liability mandates, with clients regularly turning to the firm to guide them through potentially reputation-threatening mandates. As well as representation in standalone mandates, the firm is also a regular advisor to corporates/broader industry groups seeking regulatory reforms to better serve their interests and also regularly files amicus curiae briefs before federal and state appellate courts. Washington DC-based team head John Beisner has vast experience handling class actions and mass torts at trial and appellate level.

Practice head(s):

John Beisner

Baker McKenzie LLP

Benefiting from a strong nationwide presence, with particular strength out of Chicago and the West Coast, and also able to leverage the firm’s vast international footprint, Baker McKenzie LLP is well-positioned to manage legal obligations and risks related to the development, manufacture, use, safety, recovery and disposal of products, from both a domestic and multi-jurisdictional perspective. As well as regularly advising on significant product liability class actions, the team also represents clients before a number of regulatory authorities, including the CPSC and the Food and Drug Administration. A significant amount of San Francisco-based trial lawyer Mark Goodman‘s work flow relates to consumer goods product liability mandates, including at trial and appellate level, as well as in the context of assisting clients navigate California’s Proposition 65 laws. Michael Wagner and Erin Maus in Chicago are also key contacts, in light of their substantial product liability litigation, counselling and product recall expertise.

Practice head(s):

Mark Goodman

 

Key clients

Google LLC/Alphabet, Inc.

Huntsman Building Solutions

McCormick and Co.

Mondelēz Global LLC

Topco Associates, LLC

Thai Agri Foods

Work highlights

  • Representing Mondelēz in a landmark environmental nuisance and consumer fraud action involving plastic packaging for food and beverage products and the labelling of those products and packaging.
  • Representing Topco Associates, LLC in a putative class action alleging unfair trade practices under Pennsylvania law, breach of warranty claims under state law and the federal Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act and unjust enrichment claims related to the marketing and sale of infants’ over the counter (OTC) medical products.

Cooley LLP

While also handling traditional product liability litigation, Cooley LLP‘s core strength lies in its pre-litigation and regulatory expertise on behalf of a range of innovative consumer and hi-tech clients. In this context, the firm can leverage the expertise of numerous lawyers with governmental expertise, including Sonia Nath, who joined in April 2021 from the US Food and Drug Administration, and Matt Howsare who ‘brings unparalleled practical experience and insight’ on product safety matters and in dealings with the CPSC – having himself formerly served as Chief of Staff at the agency. Based out of San Diego, William O’Connor  heads up the team and is noted for his trial skills across a range of consumer product litigation, as well as in the aviation sector. All named practitioners are based out of Washington DC unless otherwise indicated. 

Practice head(s):

William O’Connor

Testimonials

No other practice group can match the depth of international consumer product regulatory expertise.’

Matt Howsare brings unparalleled practical experience and insight, and is a leader among the international product safety community.’

Key clients

Textron

DLA Piper LLP (US)

Led from Atlanta by Christopher Campbell  and also aided by the firm’s broader nationwide commercial litigation offering, DLA Piper LLP (US)‘s product liability and mass torts practice is praised for its ‘creative thinking and dedication’ and its capacity to handle significant litigation, including class actions, across a myriad consumer products. Atlanta-based associate Emily Marshall continues to flourish in the product liability arena and is noted for her ability ‘to quickly grasp the technical aspects and translate that into the proper defensive stance’. 

Practice head(s):

Christopher Campbell 

Testimonials

‘DLA Piper is a vital part of our efforts to address a mass tort in California. Their creative thinking and dedication to our work has been vital and much appreciated.’

Top-notch litigators. Very professional, knowledgeable, efficient and accomplished.’

‘It is a great team which works hard to understand their client and their client’s needs. Open to creative billing approaches, efficient and easy to work with.’

‘Jayme Long is creative, smart, and utterly dedicated to her clients.’

‘I have worked with Emily Marshall for the past 12-18 months. She assists me and my team with legal advice, guidance and decision making actions on all product liability matters. Emily has grasped the technical side our product line extremely well. That is important to me because I can trust her to make the best decisions as the product liability case continues. Emily really has the best interests of our company and my team at heart.’

‘Emily Marshall is the most talented attorney I’ve had the opportunity with whom to work. She is intelligent, a fast learner (regarding our products), professional in every aspect, and personable.’

‘Emily Marshall has clearly proven to be our most valuable legal resource for defending our product liability claims and litigation. She has the intelligence to quickly grasp the technical aspects of our product line and translate that into the proper defensive stance.’

 

Key clients

Just Brands USA, Inc.

The Clorox Company, Nutranext and Neocell Holding Company

Sanofi Inc.

Imperial Brands PLC

TTE Technology, Inc. dba TCL North America

Blue Diamond Growers

Shell Oil

Chipotle Mexican Grill

Giddings Fruit

Danone US, LLC

Work highlights

  • Represented Just Brands in obtaining a dismissal of a putative nationwide class action filed in the Southern District of Florida alleging violations of New York and Florida consumer protection statutes, breach of express warranty, unjust enrichment, and fraud related to allegations of improper labelling of CBD levels.
  • Represented Chatten, the consumer products subsidiary of Sanofi in a putative class action brought against it alleging that the Icy Hot No Mess Applicator product manufactured and sold by Chattem caused skin irritation and burns and that Chattem failed to warn of potential adverse reactions from using the product.
  • Represented Chipotle in a class action brought against it, claiming its meat and dairy products were deceptively advertised as “non-GMO” and “GMO-free” because they were sourced from animals raised on GMO feed.

Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP

Co-headed from New York by Robb Patryk and James C. Fitzpatrick, the ‘experienced’ team at Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP provides ‘intelligent and strategic‘ advice to defendants from a wide range of industries/products – including specialty chemicals and asbestos. The team also has a strong reputation within the tobacco industry, principally by virtue of its high-profile work for R.J. Reynolds as national co-ordination counsel and trial counsel in the defense of cases concerning exposure to asbestos in cigarette filter material. A ‘standout litigator‘, Patryk is appreciated for his ability ‘to explain complex matters in understandable fashion with a view to strategy’. 

Testimonials

‘Experienced, intelligent, strategic, and a pleasure to work with.’

‘Robb Patryk is a standout litigator. Decades of experience. Ability to explain complex matters in understandable fashion with a view to strategy. Pleasure to work with.’

Charlie Cohen – best in class discovery practicioner, understands what’s important and is constructively stubborn about getting it right, the guy you want in the discovery knife fight.’

Bill Beausoleil – tremendous client contact, creative thinker, advocate for the client within the firm, extensive network and collaboration skills, strong writer.’

 

Key clients

Ferro Corporation

Imerys Talc America/Imerys S.A.

R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company

LG Electronics Mobilecomm USA, Inc.

Work highlights

  • Represented R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company in defense of cases concerning exposure to asbestos in cigarette filter material.
  • Represented a multibillion-dollar global mining company in formulating a strategy for its talc-related liabilities in the US.
  • Representing Ferro Corp. in multiple, alleged water contamination cases involving 1,4 dioxane.

Kelley Drye & Warren LLP

Kelley Drye & Warren LLP‘s consumer class action defense group is ‘creative in its approach to dealing with all aspects of case resolution including the options of settlement and trial’ and has an excellent track record defending clients accused of false and deceptive advertising and consumer fraud. The team also has niche expertise assisting technology, consumer products and retail clients navigate issues surrounding the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. In this context, as well as advising on compliance matters, the group also regularly defends clients which are subject to litigation under the Act, a particularly fertile area of work. New York and Los Angeles-based co-heads Becca Wahlquist and the ‘very knowledgeable’ Lauri Mazzuchetti regularly defend clients in complex class actions before the federal and state courts in a multitude of jurisdictions and also spearhead the firm’s litigation efforts on the TCPA front.

Testimonials

‘The firm has shown the upmost in professionalism and care for our legal needs and circumstances. They spend the time to explain the processes behind the scenes to assure the comfort of the principles involved to the principals involved.’

‘The team is creative in its approach to dealing with all aspects of case resolution including the options of settlement and trial. They are prepared for any circumstance ahead of time.’

‘They are responsive, strong advocates, strategically sound and good listeners.’

‘Lauri Mazzuchetti is a tough negotiator who is very knowledgeable and extremely responsive.’

Key clients

Quincy Bioscience

Kohl’s Department Stores

Sotheby’s International Realty, Inc.

Riviana Foods Inc.

Take-Two Interactive Software

Endeavor

Coty, Inc.

ActiveProspect, Inc.

AmeriFactors Financial Group, LLC

NewRez

Work highlights

  • Represented Quincy Bioscience in Prevagen-related regulatory, counseling and litigation matters, including before the NAD and in the Federal Trade Commission investigation that led to litigation brought by the FTC and the New York Attorney General’s Office.
  • Represented AmeriFactors in an action alleging violations of the fax provisions of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.
  • Represented Newrez, a mortgage company, in a class action asserting violations of the TCPA provisions barring calls and texts to phone numbers registered on the National Do-Not-Call Registry.

Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP

Primarily based out of its South Carolina office, and recently afforded further product liability bandwidth – including practitioners in newly established offices in Richmond and Minneapolis – following the arrival of a number of product liability litigators from Bowman and Brooke LLP, Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP provides a ‘client-focused‘ service to an increasingly varied mix of consumer product industries beyond its core automotive focus. Mark Jones heads up the team that also includes ‘extremely experienced product liability lawyer and accomplished trial lawyer’ John Kuppens.

Practice head(s):

Mark Jones

Testimonials

I have found the firm’s product liability lawyers to be among the best I have ever worked with. They exhibit creativity and passion in their defense of my cases, and bring a diverse collaborative team to every case they handle for me.’

Great lawyers. The most knowledgeable lawyers when it comes to product liability in South Carolina.’

Big-market legal talent at mid-market rates. Their willingness and ability to engage with our business leaders.’

Every lawyer I work with at the firm is client-focused. They work their hardest to get a “win” for my company, however, that might be defined. Their candor towards me helps me do my job better.’

John Kuppens is an extremely experienced product liability lawyer and an accomplished trial lawyer.’

John Kuppens is a fantastic lawyer and does a great job matching lawyers in the firm with our particular matters.’

Seyfarth Shaw LLP

Seyfarth Shaw LLP provides ‘a very practical perspective on what is legally sound and commercially appropriate‘ for clients from a range of industries engaged in product liability defense of individual, multi-plaintiff, and class action lawsuits. The firm has capability throughout the product life cycle, enabling it to advise on risk management matters, as well as in litigation before state and federal courts – where it is able to leverage the expertise of litigators on both coasts as well as in the Midwest. It is also appreciated for its ability to ‘provide value in a cost-effective manner‘ which it achieves through lean staffing and a very effective use of its sophisticated litigation technology department. Thomas Locke, who ‘provides outstanding advice regarding early-case strategy’, and Joseph Orzano co-head the products liability team from Washington DC and Boston, respectively, often working closely with members of the consumer class action group, which is led by Chicago-based Kristine Argentine.

Testimonials

They understand the client and their needs, and always have a very practical perspective on what is legally sound, and commercially appropriate.’

Seyfarth Shaw excels at successfully managing client and case requirements, strategic litigation management, cost effectiveness, and diversity.’

They achieve successes by conducting early and thorough case assessments, identifying critical legal and factual issues, building and fostering relationships based upon trust, and applying their excellent written and oral advocacy skills. Second, Seyfarth provides value in a cost-effective manner.’

Seyfarth works with clients to determine reasonable goals and narrowly tailoring litigation tactics to achieve those goals, whether that means a motion to dismiss, limited discovery regarding a factual issue necessary for an early motion for summary judgment, mediation, trial, or appeal.’

Tom Locke provides outstanding advice regarding early-case strategy, and he works collaboratively with me and insureds to implement that strategy efficiently and cost effectively. Tom’s thorough preparation and litigation skills ensure that we obtain the best possible results.’

Renee Appel is a successful oral advocate and writer who guides clients, fact and expert witnesses through often complex factual and legal issues.’ 

Key clients

JM Brands LLC

First Advantage Background Services Corp.

Pharmacare

Callaway Golf Club

Personal Care Products Council

The Middleby Corporation

Work highlights

  • Representing JM Brands LLC in a $5m + class action lawsuit alleging that the company engaged in false advertising.
  • Representing First Advantage in a multi-million dollar class action lawsuit brought under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”) by an individual who applied to be a mortgage loan processor with a bank.

Williams & Connolly LLP

The ‘highly competent, strategic, and experienced’ team at Washington DC-based litigation heavyweight Williams & Connolly LLP offers overarching substantive product liability law knowledge and litigation expertise. Although it remains best-known for its work within the healthcare arena, the product liability team, which is headed by Heidi Hubbard  and Joe Petrosinelli, also picks up a significant volume of work, including class actions within the consumer products space. David Forkner leads the food, beverage and pet practice group and is engaged in litigation affecting clients in the sector throughout the country, including in the context of product liability defense work.

Other key lawyers:

David Horniak ; Stephen Raber

Testimonials

Team members are highly competent, strategic, and experienced in this area.’

The team is easily accessible, responsible in billing, and personable.’

David Horniak is easily accessible and quickly responds to client inquiries with direct and helpful communication.’

Steve Raber is an expert in his field without the ego or arrogance that often comes with that. He also has an expertise in California courts that is particularly helpful.’

Both Steve Raber and David Horniak have respectful and measured attitudes, and are never condescending to less experienced in-house counsel, instead always taking the time needed to ensure in-house counsel are up-to-speed and understanding of the process and issues.’

Key clients

Tyco Fire Products, LP and Chemguard, Inc.

Brown University

Work highlights

  • Representing Tyco Fire Products and Chemguard in nationwide litigation involving chemicals contained in aqueous film-forming foams.
  • Representing a leading pet food company in securing the dismissal of two putative federal class actions alleging that certain product labelling violates state warranty laws and consumer protection statutes.
  • Successfully represented Brown University in one of several dozen putative class actions filed across the country against colleges and universities in connection with the transition to remote and online classes when the Covid-19 pandemic arose during the Spring 2020 semester.