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Product Liability - Representative Experience

  • Issues
  • Venue
  • Client Type
  • Lawyers
  • Full Description
  • Result
  • Product Liability Actions; Medical Device Manufacturer
  • Coordinated in San Diego Superior Court; Original venues for trial
  • Medical Device Manufacturer
  • J. Mark Thacker
  • More than forty individual product liability actions against numerous manufacturers were coordinated in San Diego Superior Court. Each plaintiff alleged that she/he developed a life threatening allergy as a result of exposure to latex gloves, used extensively in medical procedures. We represented a major manufacturer of medical devices. We were responsible for managing, supervising and litigating more than 40 individual product liability actions in coordinated litigation throughout California. Specific responsibilities included: developing and implementing all aspects of defense strategies through trial; coordinating defense strategies with nationwide litigation; acting as lead defense counsel on behalf of all defendants in selected cases (appointed by Defense Steering Committee).
     
     

  • All actions against our client eventually settled after we obtained a defense verdict (11-1) in one action after an eight-week trial in Alameda Superior Court.
     

  • Fertilizer, Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, Wrongful Death, Ammonium Nitrate
  • San Francisco Superior Court
  • Defendant Fertilizer Broker
  • Kathleen Strickland
  • The plaintiffs, in a wrongful death suit in which one of the defendants was our client, were the family of a deceased fertilizer worker and claimed the decedent contracted Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma from exposure to fertilizers, including granular and liquid ammonium nitrate.

  • The plaintiffs' initial demand to all defendants was $2.4 million, with our client being a target defendant.  We reached a settlement with the plaintiffs for approximately 15% of the amount initially demanded from our client.

  • Asbestos, Toxic Tort, Wrongful Death
  • Alameda County Superior Court
  • Defendant Copy Machine Manufacturer
  • Kathleen Strickland
  • The plaintiffs, the family of a copy machine repairman, sued our client, the defendant manufacturer, in an action for wrongful death. The plaintiffs alleged that he was exposed to asbestos while repairing copy machines.  The repairman was the original plaintiff, but when he passed away during the pendency of the action his family took over as plaintiffs.

  • Shortly after becoming involved in the case, we were able to obtain a dismissal for our client with no payment of any money.  Through early factual and legal case assessment and valuation, we were able to convince the plaintiffs' attorney that it was scientifically impossible for any asbestos to be released from our client's product.

  • Stereo Equipment; Advertising; False Advertising; Unfair Business Practices
  • Los Angeles County Superior Court
  • Defendant Audio Video Equipment Manufacturer
  • Kathleen Strickland
  • Retained by the CEA, on behalf of their members, to defend a class action filed by a consumer advocate company against a leading manufacturer of audio, video, and communications equipment and 56 co-defendants alleging unfair and fraudulent business practices under California Business and Professions Code section 17200, 17500 et seq. According to the suit, there was no standard effective piston area to outside diameter ratio upon which a consumer can rely in assessing the quality and power of a stereo speaker. Therefore, a consumer cannot extrapolate the size of a speaker's EPA and, consequently, its quality and power. The market for these speakers included portable audio, car audio, home audio, and home theater.

  • The case resolved for less than negligence value after successful motion practice.

  • Breast Implant; Personal Injury; Wrongful Death; Cancer; Causation; Autoimmune Deficiency
  • Defendant Global Technology Manufacturer
  • Kathleen Strickland
  • Worked as national trial counsel with a team of attorneys assembled nationwide to defend a leading technology & medical products manufacturer in pharmaceutical litigation involving silicon gel breast implants. We served as trial counsel and retained and prepared scientific and medical experts as well as assisted in preparing a punitive damage defense for the company.

  • Cellular Phone; Radio Frequency, Emissions; Unfair Business Practices; Cancer; Systemic Disease, Causation
  • Multi District Litigation. USDC Court, Baltimore, Maryland
  • Defendant Fortune 50 Cell Phone Manufacturer
  • Kathleen Strickland
  • Retained by the "home office" of a Fortune 50 large international company who manufactured cell phones sold in the US to nationally defend and monitor six class actions filed by the plaintiffs in state and federal court who alleged unfair business practices and personal injury. The plaintiffs asserted that the defendants manufactured, supplied, promoted, sold, leased and provided service for wireless handheld telephones when they knew or should have known that their products generate and emit radiofrequency radiation that causes an adverse cellular reaction and/or cellular dysfunction ("biological injury"). A critical part of the defense involved intensive medical analysis as the plaintiffs claimed a full range of injuries including brain cancer and systemic illnesses allegedly associated with the product.

  • The case turned on Daubert hearings. After a successful Daubert challenge, we also prepared product insert labels for handheld devices.

  • Product Liability; Wrongful Death
  • San Mateo County Superior Court
  • Defendant Tire Manufacturer
  • David M. McLaughlin
  • Represented the defendant, a product manufacturer, in a strict product liability wrongful death lawsuit.

     

  • The matter settled favorably to our client before trial.
     

  • Breach of Contract
  • Judicial Arbitration & Mediation Services
  • Defendant Provider of Telephone, Cable Television and High Speed Internet Service
  • John A. Koeppel
  • Defended a provider of telephone, cable television and high speed internet services in a commercial litigation action involving an alleged breach of contract that provided for the construction of a broad band telecommunications network in the Bay Area. Counsel for the parties met to agree on mediation issues, and then participated in extended negotiations during mediation. Upon failure to resolve the case at mediation, counsel negotiated strict limits to discovery, briefing and arbitration time. This action went to binding arbitration over a two week period.

  • The award was 80% less than the contractor's last settlement demand.

  • Product Liability
  • Santa Clara County Superior Court
  • Defendant Plastic Container Manufacturer
  • John A. Koeppel
  • Defended a plastic container manufacturer in a product liability action involving a disabling brain injury and serious physical injuries to a 42-year old father of three. The plaintiffs alleged that our client’s grape transport bin could not be safely trucked due to an alleged failure to warn. The bin separated from the vehicle in which it had been loaded, falling onto the highway where the plaintiff struck it at a high rate of speed on his motorcycle. Experts on both sides ranged from safety engineers to accident reconstructionists to physical medicine specialists.

  • The case was tried after the plaintiffs made an eight figure demand, and settled favorably after four weeks.

  • Product Liability
  • San Francisco County Superior Court
  • Defendant Portable Pump System Manufacturer
  • John A. Koeppel
  • Defended a portable pump system manufacturer in a product liability action involving the sinking of a two-mast sailboat in the South Seas. The plaintiff sued our client claiming that defects in the pump caused the sinking of the vessel after its internal, primary pumping system failed. The issues included the plaintiff's comparative fault in allowing the hull of the vessel to be breached, efforts to save the vessel once it began to take on water and the plaintiff's possible surreptitious salvage of the vehicle after the accident.

  • The jury returned a verdict in our client's favor.

  • Product Liability; Breach of Contract
  • Federal Court in San Jose
  • Defendant Corporation
  • John A. Koeppel
  • Defended a corporation in a commercial litigation action involving a combined breach of contract and product liability claim that was tried in a jury trial. The plaintiff, a multinational computer technology and IT consulting corporation, claimed that the defendant provided defective fans for their data storage devices sold to its mainframe customers.

  • This case settled favorably before the final argument after the plaintiff made a $70 million claim.

  • Should Class be Certified? Was Product Defective? Did Putative Class Sustain Damage?
  • Alameda County Superior Court
  • Defendant Manufacturer of Fiber Cement Roofing Shakes
  • Kevin P. Cody
  • Defended a manufacturer of fiber cement roofing shakes in a claim in which the plaintiffs sued, individually and on behalf of class, claiming that the shakes were defective in that they deteriorated prematurely, and as a result leaked and caused damage to the homes in which they were installed. 
     

  • Successfully defeated the plaintiffs' motion for certification, after which case settled for a small sum.
     

  • Was the Client's Taping Tool Defective? Was the Tool the Cause of Plaintiff's Injuries?
  • Defendant Manufacturer of Drywall Taping Tools
  • Kevin P. Cody
  • Defended a manufacturer of drywall taping tools in a suit in which the plaintiff, a drywall worker, suffered a career-disabling back injury when he slipped and fell while working on a job site.  The plaintiff alleged that our client's taping tool was defective in that its poor design allowed excessive amounts of drywall mud to leak from the tool, and caused him to slip and fall, injuring his back which required multiple surgeries to repair. Our client argued that the tool was not defective and that the plaintiff's poor technique in applying the drywall mud allowed excessive mud to drip onto the floor.
     

  • After settlement negotiations were unsuccessful, the matter was tried to a jury and the jury returned a verdict in favor of our client.
     

  • Should Matter be Certified as a Class Action? Was Product Defective? Was Implied Warranty Breached? Did Putative Class Sustain Damages?
  • Santa Clara County Superior Court
  • Defendant Furnace Manufacturer
  • Kevin P. Cody
  • Defended a furnace manufacturer in a suit in which the plaintiffs sued, individually and on behalf of class, claiming that furnaces manufactured by our client (hundreds of thousands) were defective in that they were prone to causing accidental fires.
     

  • The court certified the case, and on evening of the trial the case settled.
     

  • Should Class be Certified? Was Product Defective? Did Putative Class Sustain Damage?
  • San Joaquin County Superior Court and USDC: Eastern District of California
  • Defendant Manufacturer of Aluminum Windows
  • Kevin P. Cody, J. Mark Thacker
  • Defended a manufacturer of aluminum windows in a matter in which the plaintiffs sued, individually and on behalf of a class, claiming that the entire product line of windows (more than one million) manufactured by our client was defective in that the windows were prone to leaking, that there was a breach of express and implied warranties and that the windows caused or would cause damage to all homes in which the windows were installed. The plaintiff sued in both the San Joaquin County Superior Court and the U.S. District Court.    

  • Though both courts certified the classes in each case, the cases settled favorably for our client as evidenced by comparison to other class action settlements involving similar aluminum window products.
     

  • Product Liability; Breach of Warranty; Breach of Contract; Unfair Competition
  • Santa Clara County Superior Court
  • Defendant Manufactured Homes Dealer
  • David M. McLaughlin
  • Represented a manufactured homes dealer in 30+ cases involving claims for product liability, breach of warranty, breach of contract and unfair competition.

     

  • The two cases led to a jury verdict and judgments in favor of the client. After the court awarded the client attorney fees in both cases, and the judgments were pursued, the plaintiffs filed bankruptcy and the serial litigation against the client ceased.
     

  • Fire, premises, electric surge, rent control
  • Alameda County Superior Court
  • Property Owner
  • Tim M. Agajanian, Pascale Gagnon
  • This case arose of a fire destroying an entire apartment building in Berkeley, California.  The tenants filed a multi-plaintiffs case wherein they claimed damages, including but not limited to loss property, loss of rent control benefits, emotional distress.  The fire’s origin was the control panel of the property elevator, due to a deficient design and/or manufacturing of the control box and a faulty surge in the power provided to the building.  It was alleged that the property was not properly maintained and/or up-to-code, thereby leading to its destruction.  

  • A settlement was reached by our client (owner of the property) wherein the claims of the residential tenant plaintiffs were fully resolved, leaving the cross-complaint by the commercial tenant as against the designer/manufacturer of the elevator control box, the elevator maintenance company and California Edison.

  • Class Action; Product Liability; Breach of Warranty; Unfair Competition; Fraudulent Inducement
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of California
  • Defendant, Telecommunications
  • Stephan Choo, Kathleen Strickland
  • Represented international corporation who designed and sold through various distributors telecommunications cable that was manufactured by a third party. A worldwide class action was brought against Defendant for alleged defects in the cable, with claims of negligence, breach of implied and express warranty, and breach of various states' consumer protection/fraud acts.

  • The Court denied the Plaintiffs’ motion for class certification in its entirety. The Court held that the proposed nationwide class (formerly worldwide) for the express warranty claim could not be certified because the laws of each putative class member’s state (or foreign country) of residence applies, and conflicts with those laws meant that common issues did not predominate (Rule 23(b)(3)). Plaintiffs’ reply brief conceded a nationwide fraudulent inducement class could not be certified due to the same predominance issue, but proposed Rule 23(c)(4) issue classes with a national class for breach of express warranty. After determining that a conflict of law analysis precluded a nationwide breach of express warranty class, the Court rejected Plaintiffs’ proposed 8 issue classes, finding a lack of commonality, typicality, superiority, manageability, and adequacy of representation by the proposed class representatives (i.e., the Plaintiffs). Plaintiffs have sought relief from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

     

  • Products Liability; Automatic Doors;Retail
  • Alameda County Superior Court
  • Defendant/Client Door Manufacturer
  • Gregory M. Gentile
  • Plaintiff claimed to be struck by an automatic door at a grocery store in Pleasanton, California.  Represented door manufacturing company that maintained and inspected the doors. 

  • Favorable settlement at mediation on behalf of both Besam and Safeway, one moth prior to trial.