Product Liability

You work hard to develop and design the highest-quality products and bring them safely to market, and you deserve tailored solutions to manage and defend those products from individual or class action attacks. At Foley, our product liability lawyers view such disputes through the prism of potential litigation, but we measure our approach in terms of achieving your overall business goals, not simply on winning the case.

Product liability litigation has been a core firm strength since our founding in 1842, when our lawyers defended railroads, tanneries, brewers, lumber mills, and heavy equipment manufacturers. Today, we bring to bear product-related trial experience across modern and emerging manufacturing sectors, from pharmaceuticals and medical devices to automotive products, industrial equipment, food products, health and beauty products, and toys. Our product liability lawyers advise clients in the U.S., as well as foreign parents, on the supply chain and distribution channels used to make and sell their products, and we counsel on how those areas affect product liability claim exposure and mitigation.

Product Liability

How We Assist Our Clients with Product Liability Issues

Working to Preempt and Mitigate Product Liability Claims: Defending litigation or resolving product liability claims can materially drain corporate resources. We help clients with safety programs and procedures, early intervention, and corrective actions. We review and draft warranties, disclaimers, and warnings. Our support of pre-claim investigation and evaluation assists clients in preventing incidents from becoming claims and claims from becoming lawsuits.

Understanding Your Products: We have extensive experience in working with the technical aspects of manufacturers’ products to evaluate personal injury claims and develop defenses. We work not only with experts in the more routine engineering disciplines (mechanical, electrical and chemical) but also with experts in the fields of fire cause and origin, welding, metallurgy, tribology, FMEA, DVP&R, and systems engineering. We work with damages experts that include not just doctors and nurses but also professionals in specialized areas such as life-care planning and life expectancy.

Setting Liability Limitations: We actively advise clients about potential litigation risks in product distribution and help draft contract language intended to define and limit their liability for product defects and failures. If a matter goes to litigation, our product liability lawyers are well versed in dealing with technical product considerations as well as the “battle of the forms” between the buyer’s and seller’s contracts.

Getting Efficient Results: Foley understands that excellent legal service is not only about winning the case. Outside counsel must understand the business, budgetary constraints, and how to manage third-party vendors. The key is first to understand the business goal of the matter (short term and long term) and then tailor our legal services to achieve that goal in an efficient manner.

Life Sciences Industry Strength

Foley’s product liability attorneys have broad experience in litigation relating to many products, from bio-prosthetic heart valves and from cell-saver blood processing devices to branded and generic pharmaceutical products for the treatment of such conditions as cancer and ADHD. In particular Foley has been on the leading edge in using federal preemption defenses as a means of protecting manufacturers and others in the product chain from significant liabilities. We assume this role for a wide range of clients, from manufacturers to health care systems. We also have expertise in the supply chains and distribution channels that companies use to make and sell their products as well as in how those areas affect product liability claim exposure and mitigation.

Our team has tackled all types of product liability claims resulting from a defective or dangerous medical device, including those based on:

  • Devices that were improperly manufactured or otherwise damaged at any point in the chain of distribution between the factory and the consumer point of care;


  • Devices that were properly manufactured but have an unreasonably dangerous design that could result in injury, such as when a device breaks down in some way after being on the market for too long; and


  • “Marketing” of a device, as in a recommendation, warning, or instruction (or lack thereof) addressing the danger posed by the device or, conversely, its safe and appropriate use.

Manufacturing Industry Strength

Foley’s knowledge of the manufacturing sector allows us to leverage our experience in product liability litigation to provide the most effective legal services available. Favorable resolution of litigation varies by client, case, and circumstances. Success can be defined by settlement, trial, delay, or other resolution. We understand that defending litigation or resolving product liability claims can drain corporate resources. Budgetary constraints, public relations concerns, consumer sentiment, and brand protection all factor into providing clients with efficient, successful representation. Our first question is routinely, “What is your goal?” Understanding that goal from inception is paramount to developing a coherent strategy on each matter, including maintaining consistency across other jurisdictions and with other law firms.

Although product defects are common, many companies prepare to defend against a product liability claim only after receiving formal notice or even as late as a filed lawsuit. Our expertise allows us to provide counseling from product inception through dispute resolution. Manufacturers are more likely to successfully defend a product liability claim when they consider that all product failures may be potential claims and plan for, and react quickly to, product liability issues. We aim to be part of your team to consult on product design issues, perform product liability audits, review insurance coverage, and analyze warning labels and instructions, all with a goal of avoiding litigation and limiting liability. If a design or manufacture defect exists, our product liability lawyers work with you and advise you about potential litigation risks in distribution, including risk-limiting contract language.

Click here for a list of product liability representative matters.

Contact any of the Product Liability Team members below, or your Foley attorney, with any questions or concerns about possible litigation against your company