Product Liability and Toxic Tort

Overview

"Six weeks prior to trial, we had to switch counsel. We were left without an established lawyer in Texas, and there wasn't an option of continuance. The case had been pending for years, with well over 50 depositions, both here and in Italy, involving a product line we're not accustomed to defending. We went with the local office of one of our national teams, BakerHostetler. They came in and hit it out of the park."

"What I found was a remarkably calm, even-keeled—but very hardworking—approach that really resonated with me. You would not have known that these guys had just had the case for six weeks. They were going about their business as if they'd had the case from the start."

– Caterpillar in-house counsel

Product liability and toxic tort litigation can hurt a company’s bottom line, as well as its ongoing reputation among consumers. BakerHostetler’s Product Liability and Toxic Tort team understands that the future of your business is on the line when it comes to product liability issues. We use our decades of experience and long-term approach to legal representation to protect your legal and financial interests, as well as your reputation. Our experience spans across many different industries including energy, construction equipment, mining equipment, construction materials, automotive, consumer goods, telecommunications, chemicals, electronics, and waste and recyclable goods.

Unlike most product liability firms, we are a national firm with knowledge and experience in a number of legal disciplines, including bankruptcy, insurance, and intellectual property, which allows us to leverage the experience of other lawyers in the firm to provide clients with seamless integration.

Since 2011, BakerHostetler has represented and counseled one of the world’s largest manufacturers in over 100 matters involving products liability, deceptive trade practices, indemnity, warranty, and the uniform commercial code. We have the geographic diversity to represent clients with nationwide operations, including several manufacturing hubs across the country. For instance, we represented a Fortune 50 client in litigation involving product design issues impacted by the EPA’s new emission requirements in the states of Texas, Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Wyoming, and Montana.

We value the long-term relationships that we maintain with our clients. Our clients’ business success is our top priority, so they view us as a legal advisor, as well as a business partner, enabling us to more effectively minimize and manage risk.

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Product Liability

We advise and litigate product liability cases across the country involving claims of design defect, duty to warn, product misuse, post-delivery product tampering, and other allegations. As an example, we defended Caterpillar in a wrongful death product liability case that was transferred to us just six weeks prior to the trial date. With only 45 days to prepare, our Product Liability team quickly formulated a case strategy, tried the case, and obtained a successful result in a hostile jurisdiction. As a result of our efficient and effective handling of the case, we now serve as exclusive product liability counsel for Caterpillar in a six-state region.

In recent years, our Product Liability trial team has defended clients in cases that have resulted in successful defense verdicts, and we have also counseled several of the world’s largest manufacturers in connection with indemnity issues regarding their worldwide dealer networks and financing entities.

Toxic Tort

We regularly defend mass tort cases involving asbestos, silica, and other chemical substances. We are among the nation’s top toxic tort law firms due, in part, to our asbestos work for GAF, the Asbestos Claims Facility, and the Center for Claims Resolutions. Toxic tort cases involve unique interplay between complex legal, scientific, and medical issues, and our lawyers have valuable technical experience and connections within the medical and scientific communities.

Select Experience

  • Represented manufacturer in catastrophic injury case involving alleged defects in product’s electronic control system, shifting, steering, seatbelt, and safety systems design and implementation. Plaintiff asserted product liability claims of design, manufacture, and marketing defects, as well as breach of warranty, negligence, and gross negligence.
  • Represented manufacturer in litigation involving alleged defects in engines of 12 commercial vehicles. Plaintiff asserted claims of products liability, breach of warranty, and breach of the Deceptive Trade Practices Act.
  • Represented manufacturer in litigation involving alleged defects in fuel system and fuel lines after a fire in school system’s bus fleet. Plaintiff asserted claims of products liability design defects as well as breach of warranty, negligence, and gross negligence.
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Professionals

Name Title Office Email
Partner Columbus
Partner Houston
Partner Costa Mesa
Partner Houston
Partner Houston
Associate Houston
Partner Orlando
Partner Los Angeles
Partner New York
Partner Houston
Associate Houston
Partner Houston
Partner Houston
Associate Houston
Partner Washington, D.C.
Partner Houston
Partner Houston
Of Counsel Cleveland
Partner Houston
Partner Houston
Partner New York
Partner Houston
Partner Denver
Partner Houston
Counsel Cleveland
Associate New York
Partner Houston
Partner Orlando
Partner Houston
Associate Denver
Partner Houston

Experience

  • Represented manufacturer in catastrophic injury case involving alleged defects in product’s electronic control system, shifting, steering, seatbelt, and safety systems design and implementation. Plaintiff asserted product liability claims of design, manufacture, and marketing defects, as well as breach of warranty, negligence, and gross negligence.
  • Represented manufacturer in litigation involving alleged defects in engines of 12 commercial vehicles. Plaintiff asserted claims of products liability, breach of warranty, and breach of the Deceptive Trade Practices Act.
  • Represented manufacturer in litigation involving alleged defects in fuel system and fuel lines after a fire in school system’s bus fleet. Plaintiff asserted claims of products liability design defects as well as breach of warranty, negligence, and gross negligence.
  • Represented manufacturer in catastrophic injury case involving alleged defects in hydraulic system. Plaintiff asserted product liability claims of design, manufacture, and marketing defects, as well as breach of warranty, negligence, and gross negligence.
  • Represented Bayer for more than 20 years in pesticide products liability cases, including crop damage and toxic tort cases, as well as class actions.
  • Serve as national product liability counsel for world's largest concrete products equipment manufacturer, defending it against defect claims by catastrophically injured plaintiffs.
  • Represented a manufacturer of marine steering systems in multiple actions involving alleged design and manufacturing defects. In one case, we successfully obtained summary judgment for the client where a quadriplegic plaintiff was injured in a high-speed boating accident, and product compatibility and design defects were alleged. In another action, we successfully obtained defense verdict where product components were at issue, in which a finding of liability could have exposed the client to a recall of hundreds of thousands of previously sold steering systems.
  • Serve as national coordinating counsel for a major automotive components manufacturer, managing the assignment of counsel and overseeing all pleading and discovery matters related to asbestos litigation.

Recognition

  • BTI Client Service 30: BakerHostetler advanced 19 positions to #9 (2016)
  • U.S. News - Best Lawyers "Best Law Firms" Product Liability - Defendants (2016)
    • Metro Chicago, Tier 3
    • Metro Orlando, Tier 1
  • The Best Lawyers in America© (2016)
    • 2 lawyers named in Product Liability Litigation - Defendants

Publications

Key Contacts