For more than four decades, clients have been turning to Sidley for comprehensive defense of significant and complex product liability cases. In the early stages of products liability litigation, Sidley saw the benefits of national coordination of every aspect of mass tort litigation -- such as experts, pre-trial schedules, discovery, trial themes, and company witnesses -- and was the first firm in the country to offer such a comprehensive approach. The firm has been involved in every type of mass products liability litigation and has developed an extensive network and databases of experts, local counsel, scientific literature, legal research, and other resources necessary to match up with well-financed and networked plaintiffs’ counsel. The group has handled, tried, and/or appealed cases in nearly every state in the country as well as in every federal circuit.
From the beginning, the focus of our practice has been the defense of products under nationwide and international attack. We also defend state, nationwide, and worldwide class actions alleging various theories of products liability and consumer fraud that seek to recover damages for personal injury, economic loss, emotional distress, and medical monitoring. We litigate and try individual cases, but believe that our greatest value to our clients lies in our significant experience in developing and implementing strategies for handling, litigating, and, as appropriate, resolving multiple cases involving the same product or arising out of the same catastrophic event.
We have exceptional depth and breadth in all phases of complex litigation, including multiparty and multijurisdictional cases, class actions, and MDL proceedings. We currently serve lead roles, for example, in the asbestos, Baycol, Trasylol, Yaz, Seroquel, and Kentucky Fried Chicken MDL proceedings. Indeed, we have served as counsel for a defendant in five of the largest ten MDLs ever created. We have served as national and regional counsel in the defense of chemical, food, pharmaceutical, automotive, and many other types of products under nationwide and international attack.
Our lawyers have years of experience in all of the major issues to be encountered in modern mass tort litigation – including consumer fraud, preemption, and medical monitoring – as well as experience in the various procedural mechanisms that are often utilized to resolve mass torts litigation including alternative dispute resolution and innovative settlements. Our experience in both cross-border and electronic discovery as well as collateral regulatory proceedings and actions involving insurance coverage make Sidley a comprehensive choice to handle any mass tort efficiently and effectively. We not only handle the appeals in cases we try, but are also retained specifically to handle appeals after cases have been lost at trial.
It is not enough to react to products liability crises when they occur; it is important to anticipate them, to plan for them and – above all – to take steps to avoid them. We assist clients at every stage in the process in product development, marketing, and recall when necessary. When claims do occur, we work with clients to develop strategies for early disposition whenever appropriate. We have negotiated and implemented creative and cost-saving individual and global settlements. Our lawyers have worked closely with clients to provide assistance in dealing with the CPSC, OSHA, EPA, FDA, and other regulatory bodies, prepare emergency action plans, critique safety plans and emergency response policies (including recall policies), and review insurance coverage. We assist clients in achieving compliance with regulatory schemes, in reviewing promotional material, and in preparing documentation to communicate information about products to the professions and the public.
Mike Davis, Sara Gourley and Debra Pole are the practice coordinators of the firm’s national practice. The group currently consists of more than 125 lawyers, five nurse consultants, and more than four dozen legal and project assistants located in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C., with support in Europe and Asia.
In recognition of our work, Sidley’s Products Liability group consistently receives outstanding reviews from Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business—The Client’s Guide, The International Who’s Who Legal of Business Lawyers, The Legal 500, and the PLC Cross-Border Life Sciences Handbook, Which Lawyer. For example, in 2010 Chambers USA concluded that “[the Products Liability] group has extensive practice breadth, and impressive depth of resources and great national coverage.” For additional comments regarding Sidley’s Products Liability practice, please click here.