Skip to main content

Multinational Industry Leader Manages Product Liability Risks

Key Facts

  • National counsel to multinational manufacturer of component parts used in industrial and consumer product applications
  • Responsible for both litigation prevention and resolving lawsuits throughout North America
  • Trained multicultural sales force and engineering staff
  • Managed and supervised local counsel throughout North America

The Situation

A multinational component part manufacturer was addressing myriad product liability issues, including direct lawsuits and indemnity obligations as to both claims and recalls. With no protocol in place to investigate the claims in order to make reasoned decisions regarding settlement, the company found itself in litigation with a minimal understanding of the issues it was facing.

The Approach

Initially, our attorneys were successful in obtaining a defense verdict in a potential “bet-the-company” arbitration regarding an indemnity obligation arising out of a national recall of a consumer product that contained a component part manufactured by our client. The Mintz team then developed a protocol to be put into action upon receiving notice (formal or otherwise): a product inspection team consisting of designated in-house engineers, outside experts, and counsel (often local to the area where the claim arose) would be deployed to determine the Product ID, mechanism of failure, and impact of contractual obligations, if any. Reportings to insurance representatives were streamlined and made systematic. Negotiations with customers and third-party claimants were conducted not only to defend the company properly but also because the company values its business relationships with customers. Review and negotiations regarding NDAs and Contracts were also undertaken to ensure that the company was obtaining the best possible contract provisions to protect itself. The internal salesforce and engineers were trained to understand the litigation process in both the United States and Canada and the ramifications of “unforced errors” in handling claims and complaints.

The Outcome

The instituted process has resulted in our client being able to deny and defend claims, where appropriate, without jeopardizing customer relations, settle cases at a fair value, where appropriate, and reduce the overall “litigation spend” for the company.

Supporting Professionals

Dan Herling has represented this manufacturer in dozens of separate product liability actions throughout the United States and Canada for nearly two decades.