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Product Liability Litigation

Our Practice

Snell & Wilmer has developed one of the largest, most successful and cost-effective product liability attorney teams in the United States. Our attorneys regularly defend manufacturers and distributors in many types of product liability cases involving:

  • Automotive products
  • Computer software applications
  • Computerized manufacturing and processing products
  • Consumer products (such as ladders, household appliances, power tools, etc.)
  • Construction equipment
  • Electrical equipment
  • Firearms
  • Fires and explosions
  • Food safety
  • Heavy-duty trucks, lift trucks and man lifts
  • Industrial products
  • Medical devices and equipment
  • Motorcycles
  • Pharmaceutical products
  • Recreational marine products

Our product liability attorney team includes attorneys who have extensive trial experience in both state and federal courts. An effective defense team requires real trial lawyers, not "litigators" who avoid the courtroom at any cost. We have prepared and tried a large number of product liability cases from catastrophic injuries involving individual plaintiffs to large product liability class actions involving millions of plaintiffs. Several of the group's attorneys are fellows of the American College of Trial Lawyers. Attorneys in the group regularly try cases throughout the United States. In recent years, our attorneys have tried cases in Arizona, Alabama, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Washington, and other states.

Proactive Litigation Avoidance

Although our product liability lawyers have the ability and experience to defend practically any product liability matter, we have found that the most effective product liability defense begins with doing everything practical to minimize the probability that litigation will be filed. We therefore work closely with clients to assist in identifying and correcting troublesome internal practices before litigation develops. For example, we have assisted clients in:

  • Reviewing internal design and manufacturing documents to identify areas where there is inadequate or confusing documentation of the design or manufacturing process.
  • Compiling and presenting information to regulatory authorities such as National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) in instances where regulatory action is a possibility.
  • Developing record retention policies and practices that are practical and provide an accurate and complete understanding of the product design and development process if litigation develops.
  • Creating computerized databases that make it possible to locate and utilize relevant information quickly and cost-effectively.

Litigation Management

Unlike many other general practice firms, we have attorneys in our product liability area who have had previous experience as in-house counsel with direct responsibility for managing both the in-house and the outside national product liability defense programs for the client. This experience has proven to be particularly helpful to companies who do not have an established in-house legal department with broad experience in product liability litigation. Because of the national scope of our practice, we have also identified a network of high-quality, local counsel throughout the United States that understand the concerns of clients who are faced with national product liability litigation and are able to provide a local influence in the courtroom and invaluable insight into the workings of the local court system. As part of our national representation of a number of clients, the attorneys in the practice group have worked closely with clients to develop, implement and coordinate the national defense of "pattern litigation" cases, including cases alleging defects involving:

  • Consumer products, such as power saws and ladders
  • Household appliance fires
  • Motor vehicle stability and handling
  • Motor vehicle occupant protection
  • Motor vehicle post-collision fires
  • Medical equipment
  • Pharmaceutical products

Development and implementation of defense strategies for national litigation has allowed firm attorneys to develop relationships with experts in a wide variety of scientific and technical disciplines with whom we consult and/or retain where appropriate. Because we recognize that litigation exposure poses serious threats to manufacturers, technology and pharmaceutical companies and insurers, Snell & Wilmer attorneys are actively involved in the state and federal tort reform debate. Snell & Wilmer attorneys frequently evaluate law reform proposals, draft bills, facilitate access to decision-makers and provide legislative testimony, when appropriate, on matters of importance to our clients.

We are proud to provide high-quality legal services at competitive rates. We can do so because of our experienced attorneys and paralegals, our lean staffing of cases, and our goal of providing cost-effective service that meets and exceeds our clients' expectations.