Product Liability

Over the past two decades, Schiff Hardin has developed a national product liability practice. We represent a diverse group of clients who confront mass tort, class action and catastrophic injury litigation.

Our strengths are:

  • The trial, appeal and settlement of such cases
  • Client counseling in the area of product liability risk management
  • Compliance with government and industry standards
  • Product recalls and reporting obligations

We have extensive experience helping clients anticipate and avoid product liability litigation, and we handle the cases that are filed in a cost-effective manner through the use of specialized small-team staffing and, where appropriate, computerized case management and budgeting systems.

National Experience

Our product liability group has the scale and geographic reach necessary to handle the largest, most complex cases. We have more than forty lawyers with extensive experience in this field. We have experienced product liability attorneys with first chair jury trial experience in our offices coast to coast.

Trial, appeal and settlement

The core strength of our product liability group is trial experience. Our lawyers have:

  • Handled complex product liability matters in 48 states, Puerto Rico and Guam.
  • Tried major product liability jury cases in 40 different jurisdictions
  • Handled appeals in 23 different jurisdictions

Our firm also has extensive experience in the day-to-day management of thousands of cases and in the development of national strategies and tactics for those cases. We understand that the first principle of the successful defense of repetitive tort litigation concerns the effective allocation of limited litigation resources. It is not enough just to win; a defendant confronted with a significant number of serious cases needs to win with effect. That means fighting battles at the right time and place, while efficiently managing risk in other venues.

Client counseling

Our client counseling activities encompass:

  • Product design and development
  • Risk management
  • Quality control procedures
  • Investigation of field incidents
  • The development of warnings, warranties, advertising, and assembly and instruction manuals

Compliance with government and industry standards

We advise clients in connection with government, trade association and industry activities concerning the development of product safety standards. We assist clients in their dealings with governmental agencies such as:

  • The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)
  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
  • Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

Product recalls and reporting obligations

Schiff Hardin advises clients on product labeling, instructions, testing and design in order to reduce their product liability exposure. We also work with clients to formulate and implement nationwide product recalls and other corrective action plans when necessary.

The products that have been the subject of our litigation and counseling efforts include:

  • Insulation materials
  • Roofing materials
  • Car seats
  • Children's swings
  • Children's play yards
  • Cribs
  • High Chairs
  • Automobile airbags
  • Electronic control modules and sensors
  • Various implantable medical devices
  • Pharmaceutical containers
  • Printing presses
  • Plastic drink containers
  • Glass containers
  • Construction materials
  • Tampons¬†
  • Automobiles
  • Aircraft
  • Commercial fire extinguishers
  • Plumbing fixtures and supplies
  • Conveyor belt systems
  • Barbecue grills
  • Plywood laminate
  • Toxic waste containers
  • Propane and electric space heaters
  • Evaporative coolers
  • Polybutylene piping
  • Industrial casters
  • Heavy-duty engine components
  • Prefabricated fireplaces and chimneys
  • Step Stools
  • Ladders
  • Folding Chairs and tables

The challenges presented to our clients by the product liability laws have never been greater. They require creative, committed efforts to determine and respond to the unique needs of each client in each case and setting. Our ultimate responsibility is to achieve the goals of the client according to the priorities the client establishes.