Our team is a “market-leading product liability practice covering disputes in a range of fields, including consolidated and multidistrict litigation, ” and is “in high demand among clients from wide-ranging industry sectors, including pharmaceutical companies, sporting entities, and manufacturers.”
─ Chambers USA 2019, New Jersey, Tier 1
With more than 200 published decisions on record, McCarter’s Products Liability, Mass Torts and Consumer Class Actions practice has extensive trial and appellate experience, and regularly serves as lead defense counsel or local defense counsel in large, multidistrict class action suits. Limiting liability, protecting your company’s reputation and keeping legal fees in check are always top of mind when it comes to product liability and mass torts claims. We work closely with clients to develop the most cost effective and efficient strategies to resolve the disputes and minimize protracted litigation.
For over 40 years we have defended clients in thousands of toxic tort cases, litigating complex matters related to asbestos, tobacco, breast implants, chemicals, silica and mold in both personal injury and property damage cases. At the core of our national engagements is our vast experience handling the multitude of issues and variations in state law that surround mass tort claims. The group has developed and implemented case management and resolution programs involving thousands of pending and potential claims in state and federal court, including the administration of claims resolution programs.
Pharmaceutical & Medical Device LitigationOpen
We represent Merck, Astra Zeneca and dozens of other pharmaceutical, medical device, biotech and healthcare entities across the nation in multidistrict litigations, class actions, Daubert proceedings, as national discovery counsel related to product liability and toxic torts claims. Our attorneys address scientific, epidemiologic and complex medical issues in class action and multi-jurisdictional litigation. We draw upon this deep knowledge to design discovery and trial strategies, evaluate related scientific and regulatory concerns, and select and prepare expert witnesses.
Our “molecule to market” program counsels both leading life science companies and innovative start-up ventures on far-reaching decisions related to structuring clinical trials, pursuing in-depth research into ground-breaking medicines and devices, and how best to protect the valuable intellectual property that serves as the foundation for your success. We also provide a comprehensive overview of all legal and regulatory compliance matters associated with informed consent documents and procedures, risk management and avoidance, and pre-trial and post-trial marketing studies.
The firm has played a role in serving as national discovery counsel for numerous pharmaceutical and medical device clients. Our decades of experience handling large-scale document and data productions enable us to assist our clients in complying with the increasing burdens of document and electronic data retention. We routinely advise on records management and ESI issues in small actions and large, complex MDL litigations.
Clients and industry groups have called upon McCarter to represent them on appeal in many of the country’s leading products liability cases. McCarter has for years taken the lead in developing appellate issues in the asbestos, mass tort and products litigations generally. We have served as appellate counsel for several Fortune 100 clients to assist at trial and address appellate issues as necessary. We have briefed and argued on appeal issues involving such complex areas as:
- product non-identification
- third generation liability
- application of tort reform statutes to toxic exposure cases
- apportionment of liability between concurrent causes of injury
- legal proximate causation in failure-to-warn cases
- the admission of expert testimony
- medical causation
We have acted as amicus counsel for a number of interested parties in the New Jersey litigation on issues involving apportionment, the proof of cross claims and the admission of “company witness” testimony at trial and deposition.
McCarter has been involved in decisions that have directly shaped the course of asbestos and toxic tort litigation and developed appellate strategies to assist in changing the law in jurisdictions nationwide including Illinois and California.
Consumer Class ActionsOpen
Manufacturers and retailers regularly face putative class actions involving not only product liability claims but also alleged violations of various consumer fraud statutes. We possess both substantial trial experience and industry knowledge to address scientific, technical, engineering design, and complex medical issues in class action and multi-jurisdictional litigation. Our lawyers are well-versed in the substantive federal and state laws that have spurred increased putative class action filings and the applicable rules controlling class action litigation. We regularly practice before the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation and have broad expertise employing creative initial and long-term procedural and substantive dispositive strategies, including strategies to limit initial discovery. The innovative strategies we employ often result in broad, swift dismissals of otherwise challenging actions.
McCarter has handled a wide variety of class actions, multidistrict litigations and other multi-claimant proceedings involving substantial corporate exposure and requiring creative lawyering and coordination among outside counsel, in-house counsel and the business units. We have decades of experience proactively challenging class action claims, defending against the certification of class actions and, if certified, defending against the claims on their merits.
As national counsel to several top insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, and consumer product manufacturers and sellers, McCarter has negotiated and managed some of the nation’s most significant class action settlements.
Labeling, Regulatory Compliance & RecallsOpen
Our lawyers advise on Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) regulations and requirements, including Section 15 and 37 reporting, and all aspects of national product recall campaigns. We constantly monitor CPSC developments, helping clients sidestep legal actions and develop warning labels, packaging, package inserts and material safety data sheets to communicate information on safe use and potential product hazards. The team assists with issues including:
- Whether to conduct a recall
- Scope of products to be recalled
- Potential remedy offered to consumers
- Filing reports with the CPSC or other agencies
- Procedures for implementing and tracking a recall
- Responding to Freedom of Information Act requests
Potential media impact of conducting a recall
We represent manufacturers, distributors and retailers of consumer products such as clothing, children’s sleepwear, electrical appliances, swimming pool equipment, household appliances, glass products and candles, among many others.
Risk Management and Litigation AvoidanceOpen
Our team has extensive experience in risk mitigation and litigation avoidance, leveraging decades of accumulated knowledge from handling all types of litigation. We represent clients during the research and development stage, through contract drafting, marketing and product launch to avoid potential pitfalls, decreasing potential exposure and avoiding costly litigation. We evaluate all aspects of the product from labels and warranties to selecting the appropriate dispute resolution clauses in disclaimer language. We teach clients to anticipate problems and guide them in drafting operational policies and procedures that create defensibly positions and minimize overall risk.
Construction Defect LitigationOpen
The group represents home builders, general contractors, homeowners associations and manufacturers of building materials in product liability and personal injury matters. The team also handles subrogation actions involving property damage from the failure of allegedly defective products. Our lawyers have served as counsel for one of the largest home builders on the East Coast for the past decade, defending claims for construction defect, personal injury, premises liability, wrongful death claims and breach of contract. McCarter’s world-class Insurance Coverage group assists in securing policyholder rights on these matters, if necessary. The firm has an excellent track record of obtaining defense costs, indemnity and insurance coverage for our clients.
Industrial Equipment & MachineryOpen
We defend manufacturers of industrial equipment, household appliances, motorized vehicles in alleged product defect, breach of warranty, property damage, consumer fraud, failure to warn, wrongful death and other personal injury matters.