Companies retain Ballard Spahr to defend their most complex and challenging product liability and mass tort litigation. We are similarly asked on a regular basis to counsel companies on significant risks arising in the every-day development and sale of important products.

Motor Vehicles

  • We have successfully handled several class actions around the country for a significant domestic distributor of Japanese motor vehicles, including the denial of class certification in a multi-district litigation (MDL) alleging consumer fraud in connection with the provision of telematics services; dismissal on the pleadings of a national class alleging fuel leaks; settlement of a million member national class alleging excessive oil consumption; and coordination of voluntary market actions and recalls resulting in leveraging class actions to settlement on mootness grounds.

  • We regularly represent a major tire manufacturer in product liability litigation in the Western States. In addition to automotive cases, we defended product liability cases involving a radiant hydronic heating hose, trying five cases to jury verdict—including a class action—and negotiating and obtaining approval for a national class action settlement.

  • We have successfully handled several class actions in the Third Circuit for a significant domestic distributor of Korean motor vehicles, including the trial of a class action that resulted in post-trial decertification; extensive post-trial claims proceedings and attorney fee motion practice; the settlement, after extensive motion practice, of a national class of 600,000 alleging engine defects; and the dismissal on the pleadings of claims by a class of New Jersey residents alleging violations in the sales of vehicles of the New Jersey Truth in Consumer Contract and Warranty Notice Act (TCCWNA).

  • After a five-week jury trial, we secured a defense verdict in California Superior Court in favor of a motor vehicle manufacturer against a class of consumers alleging engine defects and consumer fraud in violation of the California Consumer Legal Remedies Act (CLRA) and Unfair Competition Law (UCL).

  • On behalf of a steering component supplier, we coordinated the defense of a dozen cases around the country involving serious motorcycle accidents arising from allegations of a defective steering system that was neglected in ineffective recalls conducted by the original equipment manufacturer; resulting in the successful resolution of all cases through mediation, as well as a related global settlement on insurance coverage and indemnification issues.

  • We have served as co-counsel for a domestic automotive seat manufacturer in several recent product liability matters in the Third Circuit, all of which resulted in dismissal or favorable nuisance value settlements.

  • We regularly counsel automotive companies on Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) compliance and regulatory issues. We have unique experience addressing compliance and risk management issues raised by specialty vehicles, including medium duty trucks, and factory built, handicap accessible vehicles involving Wheelchair Tie-Down and Occupant Restraints (WTOR) compliance. Our lawyers also regularly review and develop advertising and vehicle owner’s manuals for compliance and litigation sensitivity. We have been engaged to assist an automotive company in analyzing the restructuring of its operations to mitigate litigation exposure and discovery burdens. We have experience with emissions compliance, the importation of prototype vehicles and the analysis and support of FMVSS compliance with “kit” vehicles.

Industrial and Toxic Tort

  • In connection with handling the defense of a series of industrial accident cases on behalf of a leading petrochemical company, we secured summary judgment in an aggressively litigated toxic tort action against a dozen defendants in the Superior Court of New Jersey in Camden, dismissing the claims of a young Marine who developed acute myeloid leukemia (AML) as a result of his alleged exposure to benzene from various products he used while in the military.

  • After prevailing on a Lone Pine causation motion requiring the parties to first litigate causation, we secured summary judgment in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California on behalf of a Fortune 500 petrochemical company in a mass tort matter arising from the development of a low income housing project on an abandoned petroleum tank farm, pursuant to which the group of plaintiff residents alleged groundwater exposure to BTEX petroleum related constituents.

  • We served as co-counsel in defending a leading global manufacturer of furnace refractory brick against claims that a major furnace operating entity sustained $15 million in property damages when a furnace lost containment of molten metal.

  • In a case involving important issues relating to the Pennsylvania Workmen’s Compensation Act and medical causation, we secured dismissals on behalf of 17 companies in a sprawling toxic tort case initiated by a former petrochemical company in-house attorney, who claimed she developed leukemia/lymphoma from benzene exposure at six refineries formerly owned by the company.

  • We have represented a leading global chemical company and its successor in a broad variety of product liability and class action cases, including an international commercial dispute involving the performance of flame-retardant resin materials; and personal injury exposure matters involving allegedly defective paint products, interstitial lung disease caused by isocyanates, and AML caused by benzene, among others. The firm also served as MDL Liaison Counsel in nationwide class action litigation relating to a herbicide product alleged to have caused widespread damage to trees.

Asbestos

  • As trial counsel for a leading global manufacturer of furnace refractory brick, we secured dismissal in several Pennsylvania cases in which plaintiffs alleged that they contracted cancer from exposure to asbestos-containing industrial products.

  • We have served as counsel for a leading global chemical company for all asbestos matters in Pennsylvania. We have handled a docket of over 75 cases, approximately 12 of which, on average, are active at any point in time.

  • For many years, we served as primary outside counsel for a major asbestos products manufacturer in asbestos product liability litigation, trying over 100 cases to verdict and successfully handling more than 25 appeals.

Consumer Products/Retail

  • We defeated class certification on behalf of a leading domestic manufacturer of dozens of the world’s top premium spirits brands in a putative action in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey in which a putative nationwide class claimed consumer fraud, breach of warranty, and unjust enrichment related to the defendants’ alleged false advertising of a popular alcoholic beverage.

  • We obtained a complete dismissal on the pleadings of a state-wide New Jersey class action against a Colorado provider of telematics services alleging that the company’s GPS tracking device violated privacy rights, and that the manner in which the contracts associated with such devices were executed violated New Jersey’s Truth-in-Consumer Contract, Warranty and Notice Act (TCCWNA) and Consumer Fraud Act.

  • Working in conjunction with the client's national counsel, we secured dismissal of a TCCWNA claim against a national restaurant chain, which as upheld by the Third Circuit, by arguing that a menu that did not list any drink prices did not come within the purview of TCCWNA.

  • Ballard Spahr was successful at the motion to dismiss stage in similar but unrelated putative class actions in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey against two national washing machine manufacturers in which plaintiffs alleged product defects.

Construction Products

  • We successfully defended a national homebuilder against a class action by hundreds of New Jersey homeowners alleging that insulation around water pipes failed to comply with construction codes and caused consequential loss. Ballard Spahr filed a motion to dismiss the action in its entirety, which was granted in part, resulting in leveraging class counsel into a favorable settlement.

  • We prevailed on a motion to dismiss putative class members’ statutory consumer fraud claims alleging approximately $2 million in damages for defective stucco and window installations in over 100 townhomes in New Jersey, resulting in a favorable conditional class settlement for less than 5% of the original claims, and reduced attorneys’ fees.

  • We obtained summary judgment against a severely-injured workman’s products and premises liability claims against a warehouse’s builder, owner, management company, and landlord—dismissing allegations of defects in the glass used in the storefront system.

Pharmaceutical and Medical Device

  • We served as national coordinating counsel for a major pharmaceutical manufacturer in litigation concerning an antihypertensive medication. We defended over 400 cases/claims nationwide as well as represented the manufacturer in the U.S. Department of Justice's grand jury investigation arising out of the product’s withdrawal.

  • We successfully negotiated and obtained court approval for a unique nationwide class action settlement of virtually all consumer protection and fraud claims in connection with a vaccine product, with no payment to class members.

  • We served as defense liaison counsel for a mass tort proceeding in connection with a vaccine product. We obtained dismissal of several individual cases by providing an aggressive defense in discovery, including development of alternative explanations for claimed injuries based on preexisting medical conditions or concurrent causes.

  • After extensive discovery and motion practice, we secured voluntary dismissal on behalf of a global leader in the plasma protein biotherapeutics industry in product liability litigation in New York involving allegations that the plaintiff contracted hepatitis C through injection of an intravenous blood product.

  • We successfully argued and obtained the first Pennsylvania appellate decision recognizing that strict liability does not apply to prescription medical devices.

  • We successfully argued and obtained the first decision in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania recognizing that state law tort claims challenging the design and labeling of a PMA-approved medical device are preempted by federal law.