Product Liability

Rumberger Kirk & Caldwell represents manufacturers of a broad range of products throughout the United States in state, federal and multidistrict litigation. Good product liability defense is not just about winning one case at a time, but understanding the long term goals and impact litigation can have on our clients’ market positions. Our commitment to deeply understanding the design, performance and use of our clients’ products, combined with our in depth experience of product defense, allows us to accurately evaluate cases early, increase our opponents’ risk factors, and develop a strategic approach that helps clients meet their litigation and business goals.

Our team assists clients both nationally and regionally, defending against claims involving wrongful death, catastrophic injuries, and/or property damage resulting from alleged defects as well as class action litigation seeking purely economic damages. We work with manufacturers of products ranging from automobiles, motorcycles, boats and watercraft to children’s products, mattresses, chemicals, diving equipment and power tools.

Below is a representative list showing the diversity of manufactured goods we have successfully defended:
  • Aircraft and Aviation Components
  • All-terrain vehicles
  • Asbestos containing products
  • Automobiles
  • Beverage bottles
  • Boats
  • Carpets (allegedly impregnated with noxious substances)
  • Child products
  • Chlorine cylinders and valves
  • Cleaners
  • Road and highway construction equipment
  • Corrugated steel flooring for refrigerated storage units
  • Cosmetics
  • Electronics
  • Elevators and escalators
  • Explosives
  • Factory and product packaging machinery
  • Firearms
  • Forklifts
  • Front-end loaders
  • Fluorescent and halide light fixtures
  • Garage-type overhead doors
  • Ladders
  • Latex gloves
  • Lawnmowers and lawn equipment
  • Liquid CO 2 delivery systems
  • Mattresses
  • Mechanical gates
  • Medical devices
  • Motorcycles
  • Motorcycle Helmets
  • Personal watercraft
  • Pesticides/termiticides
  • Power tools
  • Residential swing gate operators
  • Roller coasters/amusement park rides
  • Scuba and surface supplied underwater breathing equipment
  • Stump cutters
  • Swimming pool pump/filtration systems
  • Tires
  • Trucks and chassis

Apparel and Textiles

  • Obtained a defense verdict for a major shoe manufacturer and sporting goods chain retailer after the jury deliberated for only fourteen minutes.
  • Defended textile manufacturer against claims that the manufacturer improperly treated children’s garments, such as pajamas and other nightwear, with flame-retardant chemicals.
  • Represented a carpet manufacturer against in a case alleging to have released harmful carcinogenic chemicals causing respiratory and visual distress.

Aircraft equipment

  • Defended manufacturer against a burn injury case regarding ground power unit used to supply electrical power to aircraft at gate which alleged design defect claim that refueling neck allowed static electricity and sparking to ignite fuel fumes.

Automotive

  • Represented European luxury auto manufacturer against an alleged defect in gas struts of trunk lid resulting in serious neck injuries. Matter was successfully resolved during the first day of trial.
  • Won summary judgment for American distributor of a foreign manufacturer for lack of personal jurisdiction in wrongful death case arising from motorcycle crash. The trial court’s award of summary judgement to our client was affirmed on appeal.
  • Obtained a defense verdict for a Japanese auto manufacturer against an alleged failure to equip vehicle with standard airbags after side impact accident resulting in traumatic brain injury and consortium damages for Plaintiff’s child. Total damage request was more than $63 million.
  • Represented an airbag manufacturer in all Florida personal injury claims, and in some out-of-state personal injury claims arising out of the largest product recall in US history.
  • Defended auto manufacturer against a design defect claim alleging brake system catastrophically failed.
  • Represented a truck manufacturer against Florida-based claims of product liability and fraud arising from alleged engine defects.
  • Represented an automobile manufacturer and obtained summary judgment based on spoliation of evidence in a case involving a rollover and subsequent ejection.
  • Successfully argued motorcycle manufacturer’s preliminary motion to dismiss based on statute of limitations in double wrongful death product liability case involving allegedly defective motorcycle tire.
  • Obtained summary judgment for a motorcycle manufacturer involving allegedly defective handlebar clamp on motorcycle modified with aftermarket handlebars.
  • Represented automobile manufacturer in wrongful death and personal injury lawsuits involving crashworthiness issues of pickup truck and obtained dismissal of the cases based upon statute of repose.

Consumer Products

  • Obtained a defense verdict for a ladder manufacturer in an alleged product defect case resulting in a fall and serious orthopedic injuries. The jury deliberated for 18 minutes.
  • Represented cosmetic manufacturer involving allegations that the cosmetic product did not perform as advertises resulting in claimed disfigurement.
  • Defended an international manufacturer of kitchen equipment in a claim asserting electrocution by a meat slicer. Released from case right before summary judgment.
  • Obtained a defense verdict after a 63 day trial in which an alleged product defect of a child product resulting in injuries to a toddler.
  • Served as co-counsel with national counsel and defended a manufacturer of a residential swing gate operators in a case seeking significant damages for a catastrophically injured child. Settled first day of trial.
  • Defended manufacturer of fall-arrest system used by arborist with serious injuries claiming defective design in that fasteners were subject to disconnect during use.
  • Defended worldwide leader in mattress manufacturing and sales in class action with national industry implications involving alleged emission of organic chemicals.

Medical Device/Pharmaceutical

  • Obtained a defense verdict for a pharmaceutical company in a wrongful death case alleging defective design and labeling of prescription medication.
  • Defended design defect and wrongful death claim involving infant resuscitation device.
  • Defended design defect claim regarding hip replacement device in a claim that material used caused granuloma.
  • Represented an international medical and dental device manufacturer in claims alleging facial burns. Secured a summary judgment on all claims.
  • Obtained a complete summary judgment for a large medical device manufacturer in a case alleging severe injuries from a catheter.

Motorcycles

  • We serve as product liability counsel for the southern half of the United States spanning from West Virginia to Hawaii for an American motorcycle manufacturer.
  • Obtained a defense verdict in two different trials in Texas and Alabama, both alleging failure to equip motorcycle accident resulting in traumatic brain injuries and wrongful death.
  • Obtained a defense verdict in a case involving an alleged defective exhaust system muffler causing a crash which resulted in severe orthopedic injuries.

Recreational Products

  • We serve as national product counsel for an international manufacturer of personal watercraft (PWC) in which we defend against cases involving catastrophic injuries and wrongful death. Cases span from Florida to California involving admiralty, product liability, personal injury, wrongful death, cargo loss and the Jones Act.
  • Obtained a defense verdict in which PWC accident resulted in Plaintiff having multiple surgeries, amputated leg, neuropathic pain, reflex sympathetic dystrophy, chronic pain syndrome and an altered gait.
  • Obtained a defense verdict alleging product defect involving catastrophic lower body and internal injuries as a result of falling into the jet propulsion flow from a PWC.
  • Defended a Japanese PWC manufacturer against alleged product defect resulting in wrongful death when Plaintiff slipped off the PWC during a guided tour.
  • Represented a manufacturer of surface supplied underwater breathing equipment in various cases involving allegations of carbon monoxide poisoning, failure to warn as well as manufacturing and design defects.
  • Represented several WakeBoard manufacturers in claims involving alleged design defects resulting in lower extremity injuries. Obtained Summary Judgments and/or dismissals for each client.
  • Shipping and Packing Equipment
  • Defended a wrongful death claim of manufacturing defect in metal strapping used to suspend loads during off-load from ship onto dock in a claim that metal faults allowed strap to break during off-load.

Tools and Industrial Equipment

  • Obtained a defense verdict for a table saw manufacturer.
  • Obtained defense verdict in case alleging defective wire strippers in a claim that plastic grips created false impression that tool was insulated.
  • Obtained summary judgment in case alleging defect in pneumatic nail gun in a claim that nailer could “double-fire” with single actuation.
  • Obtained defense verdict at trial in case alleging defect in pneumatic nail gun in a claim that nailer could “double-fire” with single actuation.
  • Represented a forklift manufacturer in an alleged defective braking system case.
  • Obtained summary judgment in wrongful death case alleging design defect in arc welder (claim that electrical circuitry allowed electrocution when welder was being used in wet conditions, contrary to warnings and instructions.
  • Served as co-counsel with national counsel and defended a manufacturer of a stump grinder in a case involving a partially amputated foot. Obtained a complete dismissal during trial.
  • Defended a machinery manufacturer against catastrophic injury claims regarding roll-overs of heavy farming and forestry equipment.
  • Defended a manufacturer against design defect claims of fire damage claimed to have been caused by debris buildup and fuel leakage in forestry equipment (skidders and loaders).
Product Liability

NEWS

ARTICLES