Product manufacturers have been and continue to be beleaguered by litigation. In the National Law Journal's 2009 list of the top 100 jury verdicts, product liability verdicts totaled nearly $1.1 billion, more than double the 2008 tally and second only to intellectual property verdicts as the largest risk to corporate defendants. That trend continued in 2010, when the National Law Journal's top 100 verdicts included twenty-three product liability verdicts totaling $1.8 billion, an increase of over 60%. Alabama juries alone have twice awarded punitive damages of $100 million in product liability cases in recent years. Clearly, in dangerous venues like Alabama and other states, any case can turn into a "bet-the-company" nightmare for a product manufacturer. In such a climate, it is critical for a company to have experienced, aggressive attorneys to defend its products.
That is where the trial attorneys at Lightfoot, Franklin & White come in. We have substantial experience in the defense of sophisticated product liability cases for all types of products, including automobiles, heavy trucks, aircraft, pharmaceuticals, firearms, medical devices, consumer goods, chemicals and industrial and agricultural products. Representative examples of experience in product liability litigation include:
- Nationwide representation of a manufacturer of over-the-road trucks in crashworthiness litigation, including cases in Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington and West Virginia;
- Representation of the leading supplier of braking systems and controls and active safety systems for commercial vehicles in North America. Lightfoot serves as national trial and coordinating counsel for all North American litigation and regulatory matters for this company.
- Defense of both foreign and domestic automobile manufacturers in more than 600 cases involving a wide variety of alleged design or manufacturing defects, including cases involving air bag, seat belt, vehicle structure and other crashworthiness claims;
- Representation of leading pharmaceutical manufacturers in various substantial cases involving, among others, the following drugs: phen/fen diet drugs, OxyContin and phenylpropanolamine (PPA);
- Regional representation of a global manufacturer of industrial process systems, motor systems, control systems and consumer products. We have successfully tried cases for this client in Alabama, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas;
- Representation of a European firearms manufacturer in a nationwide class action alleging that certain handguns are defective and unreasonably dangerous;
- Defense of one of the nation's leading tobacco companies in numerous smoking and health cases throughout Alabama in state and federal courts;
- Representation of a major gas water heater manufacturer in fire and scald cases in Alabama, Georgia, Texas, Louisiana, Idaho, Tennessee, Mississippi and Oklahoma;
- Representation of a major power tool manufacturer in Alabama, Georgia, Texas, Tennessee, Missouri and Michigan.
- Representation of a major breast implant manufacturer, which resulted in the successful defense or resolution of over 1,000 individual cases.
The extent of our product liability experience is most evident in the courtroom, where our lawyers have a long track record of winning high-profile product liability cases involving complex technical, scientific and medical issues. Our lawyers have tried scores of product liability cases to juries. Of these cases, the vast majority resulted in defense verdicts for our clients.