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Product Liability and Toxic Tort Litigation

Why Nutter for Product Liability and Toxic Tort Litigation

Product liability defense has been one of the cornerstones of Nutter’s highly successful litigation practice for decades. Our team has been selected by some of the leading companies in the world to defend hundreds of cases involving allegedly defective drugs, medical devices, automotive products, and industrial materials. Because of the similar complexities involved in toxic tort litigation, those same clients and other market leaders have chosen us to defend them in cases involving damages from alleged toxic exposures.

Clients entrust a great deal of this work to Nutter because we aggressively prepare their cases to be won at trial. That approach has led to some major defense verdicts, but it has also led to many more pre-trial dismissals and favorable settlements without any negative publicity or materially adverse settlement that encouraged further lawsuits.

But clients don’t just choose us for the outstanding qualifications of our team. They also know that we can prepare a case to be won without exceeding their budgets. We do not overstaff cases, and we commit significant partner level attention to each and every client. Our unleveraged partner to associate ratio also results in superior associate training and satisfaction (as ranked in nationwide surveys) which means that clients do not have a revolving door of associate lawyers assigned to their cases. Our primary focus is on client satisfaction and service.

We also have a reputation of being both efficient and effective with technology. Nutter has a sub-practice group that is dedicated to mastering both the technology and the law of electronic discovery, which represents the fastest growing budget item in large cases. As a result, our lawyers can work with similarity engines and other e-discovery tools, as well as Web conferencing, extranets and other high-efficiency tools.

Our success in defending complex cases is also due in large part to our ability to take full advantage of the Boston area’s rich supply of experts found in local hospitals, universities and research centers. Our well-developed expert relationships provide not only an edge at trial, but an edge in preparation of the case. Our experts are chosen for their ability to explain the relevant science or technology, and the ability to point us in the right directions during discovery, but the cost to deal with these experts is reasonable, in part because we have dealt with them many times, and in part because they are right here in our backyard, providing affordable quick access.

Our Team

The Nutter product liability litigation team includes: 

  • A Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers; 
  • Two Fellows of the Litigation Counsel of America; 
  • Two product liability defense lawyers named in the peer-reviewed “Best Lawyers in America;” 
  • Four trial lawyers currently or previously named as Massachusetts Super Lawyers by Boston Magazine
  • Several trial lawyers who have authored or co-authored articles or books on litigation issues, including product liability issues; and 
  • Several trial lawyers who have been asked to speak to bar or trade associations on the subjects of products liability and litigation.

Nutter is also: 

  • Listed among the ranked firms in litigation in a national survey by Chambers USA; and 
  • Ranked as a tier one law firm nationally and in Boston by U.S. News & World Report in product liability defense.

Who We Represent

We represent clients involved in the design, manufacture, distribution and sale of many products, including: 

  • Commercial and industrial materials; 
  • Pharmaceuticals and medical devices; 
  • Automotive and heavy equipment products; 
  • Chemicals; 
  • Health care products; 
  • Paper products, including paper books and other publications; and 
  • Agricultural products.

What We Do

Our product liability litigation team has defended clients from a variety of industries in cases involving alleged design defects, manufacturing defects, breaches of warranty and inherently dangerous products.

We handle cases in a wide variety of forums, including state and federal courts around the country, and forums for arbitration, mediation and other types of alternative dispute resolution. In addition to single case pre-trial proceedings and trials, Nutter routinely participates in mass tort litigation in multi-district litigation (MDL) proceedings and other coordinated national litigation. In an increasingly global marketplace, we collaborate closely with defense lawyers in every state and several countries on substantive issues that affect our mutual clients.

We are particularly well-known for our work in the following areas.

Toxic Tort Defense

Nutter has a cutting-edge practice in the defense of claims arising from alleged exposures to: 

  • Asbestos-containing products; 
  • Vinyl chloride; 
  • Toxic dust from commercial printing facilities; and 
  • A wide variety of industrial solvents and chemicals.

Nutter attorneys are familiar with the organization and presentation of all aspects of the defense of a complex toxic tort case. In addition, we have worked with leading scientific and technical experts throughout the country and around the world on the development of expert testimony that is a critical aspect of toxic tort defense.

Nutter has successfully tried claims in state and federal courts in California, Kansas, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Maryland, New York, Michigan and Massachusetts. Similarly, we have handled a wide variety of appellate matters in both the U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeal and the various state appellate courts, involving issues such as the application of the Daubert doctrine and the degree of proof necessary to establish causation under Restatement Section 402A.

Drug and Medical Device Defense

Nutter has been representing manufacturers of pharmaceuticals and medical devices for more than 30 years, and is engaged on an ongoing basis in pertinent depositions, mediations, hearings and trials throughout the country. Relying on our longstanding expertise and broad knowledge of emerging medical science, we help our clients to respond aggressively to rapidly evolving theories of liability.

We have defended cases involving, among other things: 

  • Prosthetic knee, hip and spinal implants; 
  • Natural rubber latex gloves; 
  • Contact lenses; and 
  • A variety of pharmaceutical products, including but not limited to DES, contraceptives, over-the-counter analgesics and psychotropic drugs.

Our multi-disciplinary practice also encompasses other aspects of litigation and investigations involving medical devices, drugs and biopharmaceutical products, including: 

  • Product recalls; 
  • Distributor relationships; 
  • Internal and criminal investigations; and 
  • Licensing, technology sharing, and supply agreements.

Defense of Other Products Cases

Nutter has successfully handled cases involving allegedly defective automotive and industrial vehicle products, and various industrial and commercial materials used in all kinds of products and manufacturing processes.