Product Liability and Mass Torts

Dechert helps clients avoid or mitigate mass tort exposure and offers skillful representation in domestic and multinational cases ranging from individual actions to the largest product liability class actions. We advise clients on warning and recall issues, responsible document creation and retention programs, and other methods for warding off and defending against potential litigation. In the courtroom, we serve as local, regional, and national trial counsel for leading consumer goods, chemical, pharmaceutical, and manufacturing companies such as AstraZeneca, Baxter Healthcare, Merck, Pfizer, Philip Morris USA and Time Warner Cable.

Top-Ranked Practice

Chambers USA named Dechert named one of the top-tier national product liability practices in 2011. Our team was recognized for its client service, “This is a great group of attorneys who are easy to work with and really care about their clients.” Chambers also noted that, “the lawyers have a really impressive knowledge about both the industry and our business.”

Dechert was honored with the Award for Excellence in the Product Liability category by Chambers USA in 2009 and 2010.

Since 2007, The Legal 500 has named Dechert one of the top mass tort and product liability defense firms. In 2010, it described the firm “as ‘top-notch,’ for which pharmaceuticals and medical devices are a key component. The practice is rounded out by multidisciplinary support from the life sciences/pharmaceutical practice group, making the firm a destination of choice for many in the industry.”

In 2010, Dechert was recognized as one of the top Product Liability Defense Firms Of The Year by Law360.

Most recently, Benchmark Litigation ranked Dechert as a leading firm for product liability in their 2011 edition.

Strategy and Planning

Dechert’s comprehensive strategic analyses enable clients to confidently make the tactical decisions that lead to positive resolutions of their most difficult litigation. Our representation includes a full, timely assessment of the costs, benefits, and risks of possible strategies and ensures that product liability issues are coordinated with clients’ regulatory, securities, and public relations concerns.

Complex Litigation

Dechert clients benefit from our years of experience handling complex substantive and procedural mass tort matters. We offer a powerful defense against private attorney general actions, state consumer fraud and deceptive practice claims, claims for medical monitoring, market share liability and novel theories of causation, efforts to revive time-barred litigation through invocation of a “two injury” rule, and claims for punitive damages.

On the procedural side, Dechert has successfully handled the most complex technical problems facing mass tort defendants. In recent products cases, we have defeated class certification motions in more than 15 state and federal courts and tried mass tort class actions to juries. Dechert convinced the Multi-District Panel to deny a request for pre-trial consolidation and has defended, as steering counsel, mass tort cases within MDL proceedings. We have obtained writs of mandamus to defeat class certification and successfully prevailed on appellate courts to reverse class certification.

We also have negotiated the waiver of millions of dollars in state and federal medical liens, clearing the way for global settlement of mass litigation, and have crafted global settlements of existing and putative mass tort claims under U.S. law and the laws of multiple European countries.

Containing Costs

Dechert has developed an administrative infrastructure to centralize client and local counsel inquiries, oversee document-intensive litigation, and streamline daily operations to contain client costs and minimize business disruptions.

We also improve efficiency through “client teams” of lawyers, paralegals, and administrative support staff to ensure that our clients are served by professionals who understand their business.

Building Your Case

We balance respect for our clients’ discovery obligations with fierce protection for sensitive and proprietary information.

We help gather the scientific data necessary to support our clients’ defenses, drawing from a national network of relationships in fields such as immunology, epidemiology, pulmonology, protein chemistry, infectious diseases, hepatology, psychology, bio-ethics, medical history, safety engineering, human factors, marketing, toxicology, fire cause and origin, pharmacology, and teratology.