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Products Liability

Products liability and mass tort cases represent a complex and demanding legal practice area, one in which experience plays a critical role. Our team benefits from a deep reservoir of experience buttressed by an impressive breadth of knowledge covering a wide variety of product issues. With approximately 350 attorneys in LeClairRyan's 22 offices, we can tap into an expansive pool of talent across a broad range of industries. As our clients' business partner and trusted advisor, we help companies across the nation as well as in Europe achieve their business objectives while managing and minimizing their legal risks, difficulties and expenses.

We have had the opportunity to build our experience and hone our approach in many different types of products liability and mass tort cases. We have acted as defense counsel for manufacturers of asbestos-containing products, defended major international pharmaceutical companies in prescription drug products liability litigation, and represented physicians, manufacturers and distributors in medical device mass tort cases.

Over the years we have defended manufacturers and distributors in cases involving many different types of products, including sporting goods, scaffolding, sprinkler systems, valves, lawn mowers, gunpowder, amusement park rides, tainted food, air compressors, plumbing supplies, propane appliances, commercial pumps, commercial window products, medical screws, breast implants, latex gloves, generators, household appliances, power tools, personal mobility devices, mining equipment, automotive and many others.

We have also defended commercial property owners and management companies in direct physical injury and toxic-substance exposure cases involving substances such as lead and mold. We currently represent clients in toxic torts claims involving mold, lead paint, asbestos, and chemical exposure arising from industrial workplace settings, commercial and residential areas, and hazardous waste contamination sites.

Our lawyers are not just litigators, they are trial lawyers. The focus of our efforts is on the kind of thorough preparation needed to effectively argue the case in the courtroom, but that preparation also offers another advantage to our clients. Should mediation or settlement of the case become an option, the type of preparation done by our attorneys leaves our clients in a more advantageous position in those negotiations. However, if cases are not resolved through negotiation, LeClairRyan can try cases with lawyers who have been there, done that. Within our ranks we have tried literally hundreds of products liability cases.

Early on in the process, we work with our clients to help determine potential costs of pursuing a legal defense through the verdict and awards stages. In cases where damage mitigation is the primary concern, we help them establish appropriate reserves. This proactive approach to understanding potential financial obligations through every stage of the process reduces the likelihood of unexpected contingencies and provides a solid basis for a true cost-value analysis of various scenarios.

The special skill sets of mass tort litigation

LeClairRyan's team includes attorneys who focus specifically on mass tort litigation and have the special skills needed to pursue these often complicated and challenging cases to a resolution most beneficial to our clients. Representing businesses and individuals in state and federal courts nationwide, we are called on not only for our demonstrated ability in the courtroom, but also for our ability to manage the documentation aspects of mass torts most effectively. Tapping our extensive experience and knowledge in this legal area, we have developed and implemented proven processes to handle the daunting task of document management that mass torts often entail. Using these processes, we have successfully managed legal databases for cases involving asbestos, latex, breast implants, Fen-Phen, and numerous other mass tort claims. We have extensive experience managing and coordinating counsel around the country efficiently and effectively.

Representative engagements: 

  • Representing a plumbing supplier in a multi-million-dollar mold and property damage claim in a commercial building renovation, we limited our client's share of damages to less than two percent of the total settlement. 
  • Successfully defended a European equipment manufacturer against claims for alleged asbestos-containing components in machinery in New York, Illinois, Massachusetts, and Maryland. 
  • Represented a medical device manufacturer in a five-week trial of products liability claims for a design defect and breach of warranty concerning an instrument used to introduce a heart surgery catheter. The patient sustained an air embolism leading to a persistent vegetative state condition when the device allegedly separated in the ICU. The product was found "not defective" after a multi-million-dollar settlement during trial by codefendant hospital, doctors, and ICU nurses.
  • Secured a defense verdict in favor of a European manufacturer of precision metal lathes in products liability claims arising from a plant fire resulting in extensive property damage. 
  • Representation of a leading manufacturer of in-line skates against design defect claims arising from an accident causing a head injury, fractures to both wrists and elbows, and leg injuries. Our efforts led to a defense verdict in the client’s favor. 
  • Subrogation recovery for an insurer arising from defective hydraulic hoses installed on a construction excavator that caused the arm to lose hydraulic fluid and crush the chest of a worker in a trench at a construction site. 
  • Subrogation recovery in products liability claims arising from a fatal scaffold collapse allegedly caused by poor welds. 
  • Successful defense of a sporting goods manufacturer for injury to a youth league athlete. 
  • Defense of a school district in toxic mold allergy claims allegedly resulting from leaks and defective air chiller system design, construction, and maintenance of a school renovation product. 
  • Defense of product defect claims against a manufacturer of LNG (liquefied natural gas) tank pumps that allegedly failed, causing gas outage. 
  • Defense of a manufacturer in products liability claims for fall protection equipment that failed, leading to traumatic brain injury and permanent disability claims. 
  • Representation of HVAC installation contractors and epoxy manufacturers in multiple-plaintiff “sick building” litigation and multiple chemical sensitivity syndrome claims. 
  • Successful defense of a manufacturer of a caustic chemical that burned the face of a consumer in failure-to-warn claims. 
  • Defense of a sodium distributor in flash fire/explosion cases involving multiple plaintiffs in a workplace accident. 
  • Defense of equipment manufacturers, premises owners, suppliers and product manufacturers on a local, regional and national basis in asbestos-related litigation. 
  • Longstanding national e-discovery counsel to numerous companies, including pharmaceutical manufacturers and automotive manufacturers in a wide range of class action and individual products liability lawsuits.


  • 703.248.7003
  • 415.913.4957
  • 973.491.3360