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Peter J Pliszka Toronto Lawyer

Peter J. Pliszka *

Partner | CO-LEADER, LIFE SCIENCES Fasken
Jurisdiction Ontario, 1989
Language(s) English
Office(s) Toronto
Contact
*practising through a professional corporation

Peter Pliszka, a senior partner in Fasken’s Litigation Group, is regarded as one of Canada’s leading litigation lawyers. Peter’s practice is focused primarily on product liability, class action, commercial and insurance litigation matters, and it is national in scope. Peter manages litigation proceedings across Canada and has appeared at all levels of court in Ontario and other Canadian provinces as well as the Supreme Court of Canada.

Peter is Co-Leader of Fasken’s Life Sciences Group and the National Chair of the firm’s Product Liability and Insurance Practice Group, which has been named Canada’s Product Liability Firm of the Year by Benchmark Canada in 2014, 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019, and the LMG Life Sciences Canadian Product Liability Firm of the Year in 2015,2016, 2019 and 2020. Peter is widely regarded as one of Canada's foremost litigators. Among other honours, Peter was named Life Sciences Product Liability Lawyer of the Year by LMG Life Sciences in 2016 and 2021; Best Lawyers in Canada (2021) named Peter Lawyer of the Year (Product Liability); and in 2021 Who’s Who Legal named Peter one of only 12 product liability lawyers in North America as the “Global Elite Thought Leaders”.

Peter has substantial experience as defence counsel for manufacturing companies in private action and class action product liability and consumer rights proceedings. He has served as lead national defence counsel for clients in multi-jurisdictional and national product liability class actions in Canada involving motor vehicles, drugs, medical devices, food and sports equipment. 

Peter also has extensive experience advising on Canadian defence of cross-border legal proceedings involving parallel claims on both sides of the Canada-US border. In this capacity, Peter closely collaborates with clients’ outside counsel in the US, developing and executing defence plans in a strategic and cost-efficient manner.

In addition to representing clients in lawsuits and other litigious proceedings (such as Coroners’ Inquests), Peter advises manufacturers, distributors, importers and retailers on the regulatory requirements of various products, risk management issues and corrective actions including product warnings and recalls.

Peter’s client base and his reputation are international in scope. He is regularly retained by clients from the US, Europe, and Asia in legal matters in Canada, and he has substantial experience in the area of private international law. In this context, Peter has been counsel in several leading cases respecting the law of jurisdiction in Canada. In particular, Peter was counsel for the foreign defendant in the precedent-setting Supreme Court of Canada case of Van Breda, which established a new (and improved, from the perspective of corporate defendants) test for determining when a Canadian court is entitled to take jurisdiction over a foreign defendant sued in a Canadian court.

Peter’s reputation as a top litigation lawyer has been recognized by numerous national and international legal directories, including Chambers Canada, Who’s Who Legal, Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory, Lexpert/American Lawyer, Benchmark Canada, Best Lawyers and Legal Media Group’s Guides to the World’s Leading Lawyers and “Best of the Best” guide to the top 30 product liability lawyers in the world.

Chambers ranks Peter as one of Canada's leading litigation lawyers in Class Actions and Product Liability; for the past several years.  Peter has been ranked as one of only four lawyers in Band 1 for product liability litigation in Canada. Chambers has reported the following comments about Peter, based on its extensive survey of clients and peers:

“Peter Pliszka is highlighted as ‘exceptionally talented, very personable and practical.’ He regularly handles single plaintiff and class action cases, and has notably been involved in Canada’s high profile and ongoing opioid disputes.”

“Peter Pliszka enjoys a standout reputation as one of the “top people in the country” for product liability cases. His broad practice covers the full spectrum of proceedings in this area involving medical devices, automobiles, food and consumer products.”

“He is esteemed for his product liability work which covers pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and automobiles. Clients praise him for being ‘very customer-focused, very receptive and willing to work and very professional.”

"Peter Pliszka is recognized as a top-class advocate in product liability claims, with expertise spanning pharmaceuticals, medical devices, food and automobiles."

Similarly, the Lexpert Canadian Legal Directory lists Peter as one of Canada's leading litigation lawyers in class actions and a “most frequently recommended” lawyer in product liability law, while  Lexpert/American Lawyer Magazine lists Peter in its Guide to the Leading 500 lawyers in Canada. 

Moreover, based on its surveys of in-house counsel and peers in the litigation bar, the International Bar Association’s lawyer ranking publication, Who’s Who Legal (WWL), has ranked Peter as one of the world's leading lawyers in product liability and life sciences litigation. Beyond that, in 2021 WWL included Peter as one of only 12 product liability lawyers  from North America in its list of “Global Elite Thought Leaders". 

WWL has reported the following comments about Peter in recent years:

"At Fasken, Peter Pliszka is revered for his top-notch work defending manufacturers from high-stakes and multi-jurisdictional class actions. One peer adds: ‘He is very cordial and easy to work with.’ 

“Peter Pliszka is “absolutely first class”. In the words of one of our interviewees “the clients love him”. 

"Peter Pliszka at Fasken is 'extraordinarily good', according to sources, who describe him as being 'very well regarded and an all-round great lawyer'",

Peter is the co-author of a leading book for practitioners in coroners' investigations and inquests in Ontario, as well as chapters about Canadian product liability and class actions law for international compilation text books. Beyond that, Peter has published numerous articles and is regularly asked to speak at legal conferences throughout Canada and the US.

Rankings & Awards

  • Chambers Canada, Dispute Resolution: Class Action (Defense)
  • Chambers Canada: Litigation - Product Liability  (Band 1)
  • LMG Life Sciences Canadian Product Liability Attorney of the Year (2016 and 2021)
  • Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory Most Frequently Recommended in Litigation - Product Liability
  • Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory Class Actions
  • Canadian Lexpert Legal Directory List of the Leading US/Canada Cross-Border Litigation Lawyers in Canada
  • Lexpert American Lawyers - Guide to the leading 500 lawyers in Canada Litigation and Product Liability
  • Who's Who Legal Product Liability Defence (one of 12 North Americans lawyers recognized as the “Global Elite Thought Leaders)
  • Who's Who Legal Life Sciences
  • Who’s Who Legal Canada - Product Liability Defence
  • Who’s Who Legal Canada - Life Sciences Lawyers
  • The Best Lawyers in Canada, Recognized for Product Liability Law, Class Action Litigation and Insurance Law; Product Liability Lawyer of the Year (2021)
  • Benchmark Litigation Leading lawyer in Benchmark Litigation Canada
  • Benchmark Litigation "Litigation Star" in Commercial Litigation, Insurance and Product Liability in Ontario
  • Euromoney Group Euromoney's "The Best of the Best" - list of the top 30 product liability lawyers in the world (listed since 2010)
  • Euromoney Group Euromoney Institutional Investors - Legal Media Group's Guide to the World's Leading Product Liability Lawyers

Date Client

Education

  • LLB University of Manitoba
  • BA, Gold Medal- Economics University of Winnipeg

Memberships & Affiliations

  • Member, Product Liability Advisory Council 
  • Member, Lawyers for Civil Justice
  • Member, International Association of Defense Counsel
  • Fellow, Litigation Counsel of America
  • Member, Defense Research Institute
  • Member, American Bar Association - Litigation Section
  • Member, American Bar Association - Tort, Trial & Insurance Practice Section 
  • Member, Canadian Defence Lawyers
  • Member, Canadian Bar Association
  • Member, Ontario Bar Association
  • Member, The Advocates' Society
  •       
Article Shifting Fortunes: Renewed Hope for Defendants in Certification Motions of Medical Products Class Actions NOC (News of Course), Publication of Canadian Association of Professionals in Regulatory Affairs, Number 92, p.10-16
Book Product Liability - Jurisdictional Comparisons (Canada Chapter) Thomson Reuters
Class Actions & MDLs--A View From Canada, US and the EU Product Liability Advisory Council-Fall 2019 Meeting location location Chicago, IL, USA
Speaker Food Labelling and Liability: A Recipe for Failure? International Association of Defense Counsel Annual Meeting location location Asheville, North Carolina, USA
All's Not so Quiet on the Northern Front: An Update on Product Regulation and Recalls in Canada PLAC - Global Webinar Series

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