Jenner & Block

Products Liability

Drug, Medical Device and Toxic Tort

  • Multinational Fortune 50 Pharmaceutical Company: Defense of dozens of pharmaceutical and medical device products.  Roles have included national coordinating counsel, regional counsel and trial counsel.  We have done extensive work in areas of science involving medicine (hepatology, endocrinology, neurology, psychiatry), epidemiology, toxicology, pharmacovigilance and risk management.
  • Flu Vaccine Manufacturer: National coordinating counsel for over 50 lawsuits, alleging that exposure to vaccines caused neurological delays and other injuries to children.  Successful resolution based on early fact-finding and motion practice.
  • International Chemical and Medical Product Company: Defense of nationwide childhood vaccine litigation; member of a national team defending class action litigation involving silicone breast implants; analysis of biotechnology licensing issues.
  • Medical Device Manufacturer: National litigation counsel for a leading manufacturer of medical devices, defending against products liability actions involving device used in surgery.
  • Pharmaceutical Manufacturer: Lead trial counsel at trial and on appeal, obtaining insurance coverage for over 1500 diethylstilbestrol personal injury cases.
  • International Pharmaceutical Company: Lead counsel in multinational dispute over supply of contaminated chemical used to manufacture pharmaceutical, leading to an international recall.  Successful arbitration, with client receiving damages award and partial attorneys’ fees.
  • Major Pharmaceutical Company: Defense of multiple class action lawsuits filed by patients and insurers alleging that the company engaged in fraudulent marketing and pricing practices.
  • State University: Defense of “whistleblower” lawsuits arising from liver transplant program.
  • Medical Device Manufacturer: Defense of multiple medical device claims involving penile implant products.
  • Multinational Manufacturer: Litigation risk assessment and risk management recommendations for innovative pharmaceutical at pre-marketing stage.
  • Development of risk assessment protocols and procedures and early warning systems for application to business lines or business products.

In addition, our attorneys have defended numerous toxic tort and mass tort actions involving chemical exposure and the same type of medical and causation issues that arise in pharmaceutical defense, including issues of medicine, epidemiology, toxicology and expert testimony.

  • Exelon/Commonwealth Edison:
    • Defense of individual and class action toxic tort cases alleging that contamination from former manufactured gas plant caused property damage and personal injury in area residents; 
    • Defense of a statute of limitations issue in an asbestos suit filed by plaintiff more than two years after physician diagnosed asbestos-related lung disease.
  • Dow Chemical:
    • Defense of product liability litigation involving chemicals including chlorinated solvents and pesticides; 
    • Defense of company in groundwater contamination claims made by the federal government; 
    • Ongoing defense contractors claim that lymphoma was caused by benzene exposure at power plant.
  • General Dynamics Corporation: Defense of toxic tort claims relating to groundwater contamination; defense of claims brought by state, local and federal agencies concerning soil, groundwater, and sediment contamination; preemptive regulatory counseling and risk management on soil vapor intrusion/indoor air quality issues; advising on strategy to minimize environmental risks relating to emerging contaminates such as perchlorate and 1,4 dioxane.
  • Ferro Corp.: Defense of toxic tort actions involving childhood cancer cases due to alleged exposure to chemical plant emissions of vinyl chloride.
  • Honeywell International Inc.: Defense of lawsuit alleging fraud and property damage as a result of mold in school district buildings.
  • El Paso Gas: Defense of mass tort litigation involving alleged river and groundwater contamination by chemical releases.
  • McDermott, Inc.: Representation in asbestos-liability related bankruptcy case of its subsidiary The Babcock & Wilcox Co., a boiler and power generation equipment manufacturer, including successful defense against fraudulent transfer/successor liability adversary proceedings seeking in excess of $700 million.
  • Asbestos Corporation Ltd., Bell Asbestos Mines, and Atlas Turner, Inc.: Represent these Canadian companies, which mined and supplied raw asbestos fibers in asbestos product liability lawsuits in the United States.
  • Fortune 500 Companies: Serve as primary counsel advising several Fortune 500 companies concerning strategies for minimizing asbestos-related claims, negotiating and litigating asbestos insurance claims coverage issues, and administering nationwide asbestos litigation defense programs.
  • Dresser Industries: Defense of asbestos litigation.
  • GATX Corporation: Defense of company regarding toxic tort claims involving GATX Railcar derailment and resulting anhydrous aluminum spill.
  • Thiokol Corporation: Defense of toxic tort claims of former employees alleging exposure to harmful chemicals in the workplace.

Food Products

  • National Food Manufacturer: Defense of nationwide food contamination claims, including class actions and individual actions, related to recall of certain product lines alleged to have caused a listeria outbreak.
  • Fortune 100 Beverage Manufacturer: Defense of nationwide class action claims involving use of sweeteners in beverage products.
  • Major Meat Manufacturer: Defense of meat manufacturer in connection with USDA, FDA and federal grand jury investigation regarding use of growth hormones in product.
  • Fortune 250 Food Manufacturer:  Defense of a California class action claim involving sale of products as “reduced sugar” products.
  • Major Cereal Manufacturer: Defense of class action claims involving genetically modified food products.
  • International Provider of Food and Agricultural Products and Services:  Counseled client in recall of meat products for E. coli contamination.

Automotive/Industrial Products

  • General Motors: Representation in product liability case involving the theory of vehicle incompatibility/aggressivity; multiple cases involving the theory of crashworthiness, airbag litigation, roll-over/roof crush, seatbelt litigation, national counsel for auto-transport carrier litigation, national counsel for company car program litigation.
  • SPX Corp.: Defense of product liability claims for various subsidiaries, including DeZurik Inc. (industrial valves); Metal Forge (tie rods); GS Edwards (industrial and commercial fire protection systems); and Lindberg/Blue M Ovens (industrial ovens).
  • Tenneco Automotive: Defense of claims involving automotive parts.
  • CSX: Mass tort repetitive stress and hearing loss claims (insurance coverage).
  • Union Pacific Railroad: Mass tort hearing loss and asbestos claims (insurance coverage).
  • Art Press Limited: Claims involving rotary die cutters used in high-speed web offset printing presses.
  • National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA): Class actions and individual suits throughout the country alleging neurological injury resulting from exposure to industrial welding fumes.

Mass Accident Cases

  • American Airlines: Defense of consolidated personal injury claims involving 68 deaths arising out of the crash of a commercial airliner in Roselawn, Indiana, as well as counseled client in preparation for NTSB investigation and hearings.
  • City of Chicago: Class action tort, admiralty and insurance coverage litigation arising out of the “Great Chicago Flood.”
  • Commonwealth Edison: Class action litigation arising out of large-scale power outages in Cook County, Illinois.
  • Tank Car Company: Defense of tank car company in personal injury litigation arising out of train derailment

Commercial Claims for Product Defects

  • Commonwealth Edison: Prosecuted claims for design defects and fraud against manufacturers of nuclear steam generators.
  • Pharmacia Corp.: Pursue contract and indemnity claims against a supplier of defective raw materials for pharmaceutical products; manage downstream claims to avoid litigation.
  • American Airlines: Prosecuted claims against aircraft manufacturer for design defects in construction of wings and de-icing equipment.
  • Brach’s Confections: Contract claims against a supplier of defective food packaging materials for lost profits and product withdrawal expenses.
  • Dow Chemical: Defense of numerous commercial disputes involving plastic- lined piping, polymer chemical contracts and requirements contracts.
  • Kellogg: Prosecuted warranty claims for genetically modified food products supplied by vendors.
  • Elkay: Representing client in recall of a consumer product and in prosecuting product defect claims against the manufacturer of a component electrical part, which is responsible for the recall.
  • 3M: Defense of contract claims for market withdrawal of chemical products based on product stewardship and environmental management principles.
  • Motorola: Counsel client in commercial disputes involving automotive and communication products.
  • Drug Manufacturer and Supplier: Representation to obtain insurance coverage for underlying drug injury lawsuits, ultimately decided by the California Supreme Court in company’s favor.
  • Major National Retailer: National Counsel in defense of a major national retailer in consumer fraud cases in numerous states involving appliance installation practices.
  • Major Household Products Manufacturer: National Counsel in defense of major manufacturer in suits under consumer fraud statutes involving property damage claims resulting from cleaning products.
  • Steel Tubing Manufacturer: Representing a leading manufacturer of corrugated stainless steel tubing (a material used for conveyance of fuel gas in residential and small commercial installations) in a putative class action lawsuit in Arkansas state court alleging that the product is susceptible to damage from lightning strike.