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Product Liability

Walsworth’s product liability team has built an impressive track record of successfully defending a wide variety of clients, including manufacturers, suppliers, distributors, national retailers and installers in product liability lawsuits. We defend clients’ products against negligence claims, strict liability claims alleging manufacturing defects, design defects and failure to warn, as well as the often included claims of unfair business practices, advertising claims, consumer fraud claims and the like. In addition to run-of-the-mill personal injury and property damage claims, we have defended up to and through trial numerous claims of catastrophic injury and death.

Below is a representative sample of products with which we have extensive litigation experience:

  • Abrasive Products
  • Alarms
  • Forest and Garden Products
  • Golf Carts and Utility Vehicles
  • Asbestos-Containing Products
  • Home Appliances
  • Automobile Parts and Accessories
  • Bottles and Bottle Caps
  • Industrial Machinery
  • Manufactured Homes
  • Carpet
  • Metals
  • Chemical Solvents and Products
  • Outdoor Power Products
  • Children’s Toys
  • Paper Products
  • Proposition 65
  • Coatings and Waterproofing Materials
  • Petroleum-based Products
  • Commercial and Residential Building Materials
  • Pharmaceuticals and Dietary Supplements
  • Commercial Food Service Products
  • Power Plant Equipment Components
  • Computer Components
  • Sealants
  • Film/Television Backdrops
  • Food Products
  • Silica-containing Products
  • Tools
  • Personal Healthcare Products

Many of the product liability cases we handle have been brought as class actions or involve multiple plaintiffs that can be coordinated as mass actions. For class-action litigation, many of our attorneys have years of experience defending against and defeating class allegations prior to and after certification. We often act as national coordinating counsel for our clients where claims have been filed in multiple jurisdictions.

Vigorous Defense of Clients

We take pride in immersing ourselves in our clients’ businesses to fully comprehend the design, manufacturing and quality control processes that are used to create and bring these products to market. In every case, we seek to assess risk at an early stage and communicate regularly with our clients to develop strategies in order to achieve the best possible outcome. In cases with no liability or questionable liability, we have obtained numerous summary judgments and favorable defense verdicts at trial.

Representative Successes

  • Goodwin v. Ingersoll-Rand Company, et al. – Obtained a defense verdict in a wrongful death case after a six-day jury trial. Decedent was riding on the defendant’s golf cart and fell, sustaining fatal injuries. Decedent’s spouse and children claimed that our client failed to provide adequate warnings regarding the use of the cart and defectively designed the braking system. Plaintiffs’ expert was Reuben Vollmer, a well-known expert witness on vehicle accidents who has testified in a number of golf cart cases.
  • Graham v. Club Car – Defense verdict awarded by jury in favor of client golf cart manufacturer in personal injury and strict products liability case.
  • Carter v. GP Resources – Secured a defense verdict for a petroleum supplier after a 10-day jury trial in an action arising out of the plaintiff’s alleged exposure to the client’s product. Plaintiff claimed permanent injuries that prevented work.
  • Sarkisyants v. Various Defendants – Motion for summary judgment granted in favor of a medical product distributor in personal injury product liability action.
  • Plaintiff vs. Yo-Yo Manufacturer – Represented an overseas manufacturer and exporter of toys and games in a case where a 2-year-old was injured when a wire in the client’s electronic yo-yo allegedly pierced the plaintiff’s eye while he was playing with it. Following deposition of the child’s 6-year-old brother, who was the only witness to the incident, a dismissal was obtained based on misidentification of the yo-yo and improper use.
  • Plaintiff vs. Swimming Pool Alarm Manufacturer – Represented the manufacturer and multi-national retailer of a swimming pool alarm in a Los Angeles case where plaintiff, a prominent Beverly Hills attorney, claimed the alarm malfunctioned during assembly and sounded in his ear, causing substantial hearing loss. We disputed causation based on testing of the unit and through testimony of medical witnesses and resolved the case shortly before trial for a fraction of the demand.
  • Plaintiff vs. Panel Saw Manufacturer – Represented Italian manufacturer of an industrial saw in a Los Angeles case where plaintiff suffered amputation of a pinky finger at work as a result of the allegedly defective design of the saw. Following extensive internal company investigation and expert discovery, the claim was resolved shortly in advance of trial for less than 2% of the claimed damages and 10% of the settlement demand.
  • Plaintiff vs. Computer Monitor Manufacturer – Represented manufacturer of a computer monitor in a Northern California pre-litigation claim where plaintiff alleged that a fire that caused substantial damage to property was a result of a defect in the client’s product. We worked closely with an expert to conduct inspection and testing of the monitor and were successful in establishing that the source of the fire must have been external and not related to the client’s product.
  • Gonzalez v. Various Defendants – Dismissal of a drug manufacturer client from a personal injury product liability action at the outset of the case in response to a planned filing of a demurrer.
  • Sacoy v. Various Defendants – Summary judgment granted in favor of a leading manufacturer of specialty paints and coatings. Plaintiff’s claims involved allegations of suffering a catastrophic brain injury as a result of falling from a ladder. Our client prevailed on a failure to warn claim regarding its product due to preemption and since the plaintiff did not rely on the client’s warnings.