• Print this page
  • |
  • Email this page

Product Liability

Adams and Reese has defended a variety of manufacturers, sellers, and distributors against product liability claims, including class actions, for over 35 years. We have served as national, regional and local counsel, and, in more recent years, participated in virtual law firm models where our attorneys staffed discovery and expert development teams in national class actions and multi-district litigation proceedings (MDLs). We have extensive experience in many industries, including pharmaceuticals and medical devices, consumer products, building materials, automotive, heavy machinery, industrial supplies, chemicals, and food.

Our team, which includes fellows of the American College of Trial Lawyers and the International Society of Barristers, has experience trying cases across the southern states of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas.

Notably, Adams and Reese managed and defended hundreds of smoking and health lawsuits in Florida brought by individual plaintiffs claiming membership in the decertified “Engle-progeny” class in what was the highest-profile litigation against tobacco companies to date. The firm also successfully defended a national home goods retailer in the Chinese drywall MDL, as well as class actions and individual lawsuits with claims involving both Chinese drywall and domestic drywall. Our long history handling such complex and high-profile matters makes us uniquely situated to provide clients that may be facing bet-the-company litigation with effective, efficient, and innovative solutions.

In addition to consumer class actions, our attorneys have defended many companion state attorney general cases, in particular for pharmaceutical and medical device clients, and have addressed issues such as drug and device marketing, false claims and consumer fraud, state Medicaid reimbursement, and health insurance plan benefits.

Adams and Reese is home to a highly skilled appellate team that has handled appeals of product liability cases, including some for which we have been retained by the client after another law firm tried the case. Our team members have argued cases in the United States Courts of Appeals, as well as in state appellate courts across the southeast.

Key Industries and Representations

Pharmaceutical

  • Obtained a precedent-setting appellate victory on behalf of a major pharmaceutical company when the Louisiana Supreme Court reversed a jury’s award in excess of $330 million, which had been affirmed by a court of appeal. The Louisiana Attorney General had charged that the company had violated Louisiana's Medical Assistance Program Integrity Law (MAPIL), meant to prevent fraud and abuse by health care providers, on the grounds that it made allegedly false claims related to one of its drugs. In its first interpretation of MAPIL, the Louisiana Supreme Court agreed with the company that the Attorney General had failed to satisfy the elements for any of its claims under the statute.
  • Obtained dismissal of a national class action and over a hundred individual Louisiana personal injury suits against a manufacturer of over-the-counter cough and cold medications containing phenylpropanolamine (PPA), alleged to be associated with hemorrhagic and ischemic strokes. All but a few individual claims were dismissed and the remainder settled for a small fraction of the original demand.
  • Obtained defense judgments for a drug manufacturer in two Louisiana wrongful death cases involving an antidepressant drug alleged to be associated with suicidality and suicide ideation.
  • Defended the manufacturer of an injectable contraceptive against claims related to osteoporosis and obtained summary judgment under the Learned Intermediary Doctrine.
  • Acted as local counsel for a biotechnology company in a test case related to its injectable multiple sclerosis drug, and developed what became the nationwide strategy for defense of future claims against the company that involved informed consent on the part of the patient.
  • Obtained early dismissal, before an answer was filed, of all claims except fraud in Louisiana Attorney General suit against a manufacturer of diabetes medication. The suit alleged fraud, unjust enrichment, redhibition, violation of the Louisiana Unfair Trade Practices Act (“LUTPA”), and violation of the Louisiana Medical Assistance Program Integrity Laws (“MAPIL”), the last of which the trial judge referred to as the “main thrust” of the suit.
  • Defended a factor concentrate manufacturer against a statewide class action in Louisiana alleging HCV transmission and more than 100 individuals claiming HIV transmission.
  • Served on a national discovery team and defended New Jersey, Florida and Louisiana claims against the manufacturer of an antipsychotic drug alleged to be associated with diabetes and other health issues.

Medical Device

  • Serving as local Tennessee counsel for claims against the manufacturer of pelvic mesh product.
  • Defended the manufacturer of a laser eye surgery device in multiple claims arising from a recalled quantity of blades and obtained reimbursement of legal fees and costs from the component manufacturer responsible for the product defects.
  • Defended a healthcare provider against over 300 individual claims and class action that alleged improper off-label use of a bone filler device in cervical spine surgeries.
  • Served as local counsel for a pain pump manufacturer in a matter in which a plaintiff alleged injury due to the articular administration of pain medications.

Building Materials

  • Representing several leading manufacturers of building materials, including windows, doors, roofing, and siding, in litigation filed in states across our footprint.
  • Defended a national retailer of home goods in the Chinese drywall MDL, as well as class actions and individual lawsuits involving both Chinese and domestic drywall; obtained dismissal in the MDL litigation; and completed a nationwide class action settlement which resolved all drywall litigation.
  • In a proposed nationwide class action against the CCA treated wood industry, served as liaison counsel for defendants and played a leading role on the team that defended removal of the litigation to federal court and defeated class certification.

Chemical and Industrial Products

  • Serving as national, regional, and local coordinating and trial counsel for a large petrochemical company in its asbestos products litigation.
  • In the role of regional counsel, successfully obtained indemnity for all recoveries against the largest distributor of industrial gases and welding supplies in the welding rod class action litigations and MDL.
  • Currently serving as national trial counsel for a global manufacturer of safety equipment (respirators) in defense of hundreds of lawsuits, several of which have been tried to verdict, related to silica exposure.
  • Represented propane and natural gas distributors in fire and explosion actions, including actions asserting odor fade.

Consumer Products

  • Managed and defended hundreds of smoking and health lawsuits in Florida brought by individual plaintiffs claiming membership in the decertified “Engle-progeny” class in what has been the highest-profile litigation against tobacco companies to date.
  • Acted as national counsel for a helmet manufacturer in its defense of over 100 suits claiming brain damage or death as a result of faulty manufacturing of its motorcycle helmets.
  • Represented a child products company in litigation alleging injury and deaths related to its play yards.
  • Represented a major appliance manufacturer in cases alleging defects in a variety of products including washing machines, air conditioners, and microwaves. Most recently, we defended the manufacturer in cases involving cook tops and ranges alleged to have caused property damage, serious burns, and fatalities.
  • Serving as Louisiana counsel for a major appliance manufacturer in allegations related to asbestos exposure from products in industrial settings.
  • Obtained a defense jury verdict in an alleged helmet defect case involving catastrophic brain injuries and $10 million demand.
  • Represented several gun manufacturers sued by the City of New Orleans, the first municipality in the United States to sue the gun industry. The case culminated in the Louisiana Supreme Court rejecting the lawsuit.
  • Defended the manufacturer of recreational boats following a boating accident. The plaintiff asserted defect in boat design, labels and warnings. The successful resolution of the case avoided policy limits exposure, precluded any finding of defect of the product, and thus avoided a recall.
  • Represented major manufacturer of televisions in fire loss bodily injury claims.
  • Represented several major small appliance manufacturers in fire loss actions alleging defects in products such as coffee makers, toasters and irons. The successful defense of these actions often includes scientific method testing, fire science analysis, Daubert challenges to opposing experts, and spoliation of fire scene evidence issues.
  • Represented major power tool manufacturers in actions alleging defects in various power tools, both industrial and do-it-yourselfer products, including portable circular saws, miter saws, table saws, and saw blades.
  • Served as national litigation counsel for a major sporting goods manufacturer specializing in high-risk hunting equipment, coordinating all litigation with panel and local counsel while also serving as lead trial counsel in matters pending in Alabama, Florida and Louisiana.
  • Represented major manufacturer of natural gas grills in action alleging defective components.

Automotive and Heavy Machinery

  • Handling product liability cases involving heavy duty construction machinery manufactured by a global equipment supplier, including most recently a case involving a hydraulic pump alleged to have caused a fire that led to fatalities.
  • Represented an auto manufacturer in consumer suits related to defective fuel valves and pumps, wheel alignment, and other issues.
  • Represented the manufacturer of aviation equipment in litigation resulting from a helicopter crash in a combat zone.
  • Currently serving as counsel for a manufacturer of sandblasting equipment, handling hundreds of silica exposure lawsuits over the last 15 years.
  • Successfully defended a global multi-industry manufacturer in a products defect and catastrophic injury case involving product recall, design and manufacturing defects.
  • Represented crane manufacturers against dozens of plant injury and death cases alleging product defect, sometimes before government bodies such as OSHA and MSHA.
  • Defended a national trucking company in a suit filed by driver and passenger injured in a rear-end collision who alleged a defect in the truck’s automatic transmission and braking system.
  • Represented the maker of industrial automation products in a case involving an injury allegedly caused by a defective packaging machine.

Food

  • Representing a global food processing conglomerate in litigation regarding a range of products including cereal, meat, and beverages.
  • Defended a global consumer products company against allegations of a tainted weight-loss beverage.
  • Defended a leading manufacturer of infant formula in a class action in Louisiana.
  • Represented a global beverage manufacturer in product liability cases in Louisiana.