Product Liability Defense
Bowles & Verna has defended companies throughout the world in U.S. product liability matters since the inception of the firm in 1985. Our current team leaders for product liability are Rich Ergo, Cathleen Huang and William Nagle. The firm acts as National Counsel for Worthington Cylinder Corporation in Columbus, Ohio, as well as Grand Hall Enterprise Co., Ltd. in Taipei, Taiwan and, has represented a host of other companies in actions throughout the U.S.
We recognize that in product liability cases that in order to effectively communicate with the trier of fact it is critical for our attorneys to have a deep knowledge of how the products work, how the products are made and how the products are tested. Thus, we work closely with our clients’ in-house counsel and engineers. We spend time in our clients’ factories to observe manufacturing processes, and to review all pertinent manufacturing and quality control SOPs, industry standards and industry regulations. And we spend time with the clients’ technical personnel and with outside leading experts in order to thoroughly understand the design and manufacturing issues of the products.
We understand how critical it is to retain experts that are leaders in their field. We recognize the importance of retaining experts that not only have sound technical knowledge but who are also skilled in educating jurors and judges and able to explain difficult concepts in a manner that is easily understood.
Particularly in our role of national counsel, we often see the same technical issues arise in more than one case and have extensive knowledge of top-notch experts for those issues. However, in many of our cases we need to find experts in very unique fields. In those instances, we tap into our national network of attorneys and experts and conduct research on potential experts in industry and academia. We personally meet with expert candidates and vet them with attorney references. And we work with our experts throughout the case to ensure that their reports are comprehensive and that they are thoroughly prepared for deposition and trial testimony.
While we respond to defect allegations in litigation, we also work proactively with clients to explore feasible ways to avoid future litigation. This includes analyzing with experts and the client’s engineers alternative designs and warnings. In some instances, it includes advising a client not to bring a particular product to market.
We also work with our clients in determining whether any particular incident or issue triggers an obligation to report to the CPSC. When product recalls are required, we work with our clients and the CPSC to propose corrective actions that are both effective and cost-efficient.
Products we have worked with include:
- Propane cylinders
- Propylene cylinders
- MAPP Gas Cylinders
- Acetylene Cylinders
- Oxygen Cylinders
- Flammable Gas Valves
- Gas Grills
- Laptop Adapters
- Pressure Washers
- Water Heaters
- Solar Heaters
- Space Heaters
- All-Terrain Vehicles
- Window Treatment
- Forklift Cabs
- Semi-Tractor Trailers
- Toxic Torts
- Avalanche Control Devices
- Go Carts
- Herbal Supplements
- After two weeks of trial in Federal Court, Central District of California, a dismissal of a $15 million products liability case based on repeated acts of perjury by the plaintiffs. See Englebrick v. Worthington 944 F.Supp.2d 899 (2013).
- Obtained a defense verdict in El Dorado County, California on behalf of Kwang Yang Motor Company (KYMCO) after 3 week trial on a product liability case involving an ATV accident.
- Summary judgment in a MAPP gas cylinder case in New Mexico. involving third degrees burns
- Dismissal of a window covering products liability action in New Jersey with a brain-damaged minor based on lack of jurisdiction over a Taiwanese manufacturer.
- Dismissal of a double amputation action in Sonoma County based on a lack of personal jurisdiction over a domestic manufacturer of a forklift cab.
- Obtained a $3.5 million settlement in a Los Angeles County lawsuit in favor of a distributor of nutritional supplements imported from China against the subsidiary of a Japanese public company that claimed the products were not within specifications.
- Obtained summary judgment on a claim in Federal Court in San Diego, California alleging that a client’s flammable gas cylinder was defective resulting in severe burns. The court granted our motion to preclude Plaintiffs’ experts from testifying on the grounds their opinions were not scientific and were unreliable. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the ruling and the US Supreme Court rejected plaintiffs’ request to hear the case.
- A defense verdict in a four-week jury trial in Fresno County, California where the plaintiffs alleged that a propane retailer overfilled a propane cylinder. We demonstrated that the cylinder was not overfilled and that the accident resulted from other causes. Plaintiffs' pre-trial settlement demand of $2 million was rejected.
- Favorable settlement of a window covering wrongful death action in Montana after challenging jurisdiction over foreign manufacturer.
- A successful defense of a products liability jury trial in Federal Court in Phoenix, Arizona. We represented a major U.S. retailer and the Taiwanese manufacturer of a propane barbecue grill against claims of inadequate warnings. During the trial, the plaintiff agreed to dismiss the action with prejudice for a waiver of costs.
- A defense verdict in a two-week products liability action in Orange County, California. We represented a Taiwanese company and two U.S. companies against allegations of a manufacturing defect in a propane valve. Prior to trial, plaintiff's $550,000 settlement demand was rejected.
- Nominal contribution (less than 10%) to a seven-figure settlement after the close of evidence in a six-week products liability trial in Bronx County, New York. Our client was charged with providing inadequate product warnings. Separate settlement demands to our client of $2,000,000 during jury selection and $1,000,000 during the course of the trial were rejected.
- A defense verdict in Sacramento County, California in a three-week products liability trial involving allegations that a propane cylinder had various design defects.
- Summary judgment in favor of a propane cylinder manufacturer in a wrongful death claim in Queens County, New York.