Complex Tort & Product-Related Litigation

In today’s litigious environment fueled by lawyer advertising and entrepreneurial litigation, product manufacturers and other businesses can be confronted with significant litigation and liability exposure arising out of unforeseen events. We can help limit your exposure by advising your company on liability prevention strategies, warnings and product labeling, and the product liability implications of regulatory action. We can also educate your management, sales force, and surveillance groups on product liability issues. Our attorneys will help you understand your liability exposures and, working with your insurance professionals, help negotiate insurance coverages to manage product-related risks.

Ultimately, when product liability or complex tort claims are asserted, we develop and implement a defense strategy that considers not only the impact of the particular case, but also the potential for additional cases, reputational harm, and related potential government regulatory action. This may involve dispositive motions or settlements, but underlying whatever strategy is selected in consultation with the client is always our willingness and ability to successfully prepare and try the case to a verdict.

We regularly represent and counsel manufacturers in complex personal injury matters, including the defense of complex and aggregated product liability litigation and high damages exposure tort litigation. We also represent clients in multimillion-dollar product-related commercial warranty and contract litigation involving products, including class actions.

Our attorneys have acted as national counsel and regional counsel in various multi-state litigations and have worked closely with clients on developing appropriate litigation strategies for efficiently dealing with multistate litigation. In this role, we focus on establishing and implementing an agreed-upon defense strategy based on the clients’ ultimate business goals. We also strive to manage communications with and demands upon the clients’ business personnel in order to minimize the disruption to a company’s day-to-day business operations as a result of having to deal with ongoing litigation in multiple forums.

Quick Facts

  • Demonstrated success representing companies in complex tort and product liability litigation throughout the United States
  • Extensive trial, appellate and ADR experience defending large product manufacturers
  • Deep experience in the health care sector — representation of defendants in numerous cases involving pharmaceuticals and biologic drug products, medical devices, surgical materials, and dental materials, among others
  • Extensive local counsel relationships across the United States and access to appropriate experts as a result of those contacts and our experience
  • Closely aligned with the firm’s Consumer Product Safety Practice based in our DC office, as well as the firm’s Class Action specialists
  • Sophisticated technology for handling cases involving substantial electronic discovery
  • Attorneys who specialize in the legal and practical issues raised by e-discovery and have conducted more than 20 document reviews involving more than 2 billion documents in the past five years alone
  • Practice Chair who has testified on several occasions before committees of the Massachusetts Legislature on a number of pieces of legislation of interest to product manufacturers, pharmaceutical manufacturers, and biotechnology companies
  • Attorneys who are active in groups such as the International Association of Defense Counsel (including serving on the faculty of the IADC’s prestigious Trial Academy), the Defense Research Institute (DRI), and American and State Bar associations

Areas of Focus

  • Complex product liability litigation
  • Catastrophic and high damage exposure personal injury litigation
  • Product-related contract / commercial warranty disputes
  • Toxic exposures
  • Consumer class actions product recalls
  • Product liability risk management
  • Regulatory compliance training
  • Clinical trials liability claims

Rankings & Recognitions

  • Attorneys recognized by Best Lawyers and Super Lawyers
  • Practice Chair invited to join the Fellows of the American Bar Foundation (an invitation-only nomination comprised of only a third of 1% of the top lawyers in the United States), and nominated to the Massachusetts Bar Foundation (limited to 5% of the Massachusetts Bar)
  • Senior Associates have received various “rising star” accolades
Sort by: Name  Title  Office

Joseph G. Blute

Joseph G. Blute

Member / Co-Chair, Product Liability Practice

Nicholas C. Cramb

Nicholas C. Cramb

Member / Chair, Real Estate Litigation Practice

Kim V. Marrkand

Kim V. Marrkand

Member / Chair, Insurance Practice

John F. Sylvia

John F. Sylvia

Member / Co-Chair, Securities Litigation Practice

Representative Experience

  • Serve as national counsel to a large biopharmaceutical company, representing it in many states in cases involving several complex biologic drug products.
  • Successfully represented a national engineering design firm in multidefendant litigation arising out of the death of a woman as a result of the collapse of a tunnel ceiling panel in Boston’s “Big Dig” transportation project, widely reported to be the most complex tort case in Massachusetts history.
  • Represented a pharmaceutical company in wrongful death and personal injury actions involving participants in phase III clinical trials.
  • Represented a Fortune 50 company in a class action brought by former employees alleging harm from workplace exposure to PCBs. We obtained dismissal after discovery on grounds of workers’ compensation immunity in precedent-setting case involving exceptions to the statutory employer’s immunity under Massachusetts law.
  • Represented a pharmaceutical company in a claim brought by a woman who alleged that she suffered a rare syndrome as a result of her use of an oral contraceptive. A summary judgment issued in the company’s favor by the district court was subsequently affirmed by first circuit in a precedent-setting case regarding scope of “discovery rule” exception to statute of limitations.
  • Members of the group have tried to defense verdict or otherwise successfully defended product manufacturers in a wide range of industries and claims involving products as diverse as escalators and elevators, boats and marine engines, aviation products, electrical distribution equipment, automotive products and vehicles, dental and surgical materials, drugs and medical devices, industrial equipment, Internet router systems, computer hardware and software systems, automated parking systems, public transportation video display and PA systems, and minerals and asbestos-containing products.
  • Successfully defended a life sciences company in a lawsuit brought by a woman who suffered a serious infection allegedly caused by her use of an allegedly contaminated injectable drug, a case involving an unusual manufacturing defect claim.
  • Defended a dental product manufacturer in a products liability action involving the alleged failure of its products and resulting injuries. Obtained defense verdict after trial on the merits.
  • As general counsel of the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers, lawyers on our CPSC team negotiated and drafted the amendments to the Consumer Product Safety Act and the National Appliance Energy Conservation Act, and represent the appliance industry at international bodies dealing with safety, energy, ozone depletion, and global warming.
  • Advocated on behalf of several manufacturing clients before the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and Congress, including representing clients with product recall issues.

Clients We Serve

  • Self-insured product manufacturers with exposure to complex product liability claims
  • Self-insured product manufacturers with exposure to catastrophic personal injury claims
  • Businesses with a complex contract / commercial warranty dispute
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