Product liability lawsuits are now a fact of life for life sciences companies. Whether commercial disputes between companies in the supply chain or class action claims for personal injury damages, product liability claims can threaten a company’s reputation and bottom-line. Success in these actions requires an understanding of highly complex technical issues, familiarity with diverse engineering and scientific disciplines, and overall litigation expertise and experience. Fasken Martineau’s Life Sciences’ litigators have that knowledge and experience.
A product liability claim can arise with virtually no prior notice. Some claims have the capacity to overwhelm a company, particularly if the claim sparks widespread media attention. A company may need to respond simultaneously on several fronts, including government regulation, brand protection, customer relations and litigation. We help with all of those issues. We quickly marshal our multidisciplinary resources to develop with our client an integrated plan encompassing elements of communications, risk management, corrective action (e.g. recall) and litigation defence. We collaborate with our client in developing a litigation plan at the outset of the proceeding to ensure we place client solutions ahead of problems and outcomes ahead of process. We then strive to manage the litigation with the same cost discipline that our clients apply in the management of their own businesses.
By providing proactive risk management advice, we help clients reduce the risk of becoming involved in litigation or prepare for potential litigation. This includes conducting audits of a client’s operations to identify potential product liability risks and devising programs/procedures to minimize and manage those risks. Similarly, at times we are asked to conduct due diligence in business acquisitions where there is potential product liability exposure that needs to be evaluated and addressed in the transaction negotiations. Beyond that, often we can help reduce liability exposure by advising during contract negotiations on clauses covering warranties, indemnities, insurance, limitation of liability, dispute resolution and remedies.
We assist all manner of life sciences companies, including major multinational pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers and distributors, cosmetics manufacturers, manufacturers of food ingredients and processed foods, and natural health products companies.
- Product liability lawsuits
- Class actions
- Commercial disputes
- Regulatory issues
- Product instructions and warnings
- Product labels and literature
- Electronic discovery
- Directors’ and officers’ liability
- Product recall plans and procedures
- Risk assessment and risk management
- Product regulatory compliance issues
- Record creation and management policies, including methods for meeting the new challenges of electronic discovery in litigation