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Product Liability

Overview

For decades, product liability defense has been one of the cornerstones of Nutter’s highly successful litigation practice. Leading multinational companies have turned to Nutter to defend cases in courts throughout the United States and around the world involving allegedly defective medical devices, pharmaceuticals, consumer health care products, industrial materials, and automotive and heavy equipment products. As a product liability law firm, we are dedicated to our clients’ objectives and aggressively prepare cases for trial. This approach has led to several major defense verdicts, but it has also led to many more pre-trial dismissals and favorable settlements without negative publicity that often encourage further lawsuits.

Our Team
Nutter’s Product Liability Defense practice group has a proven track record of successfully resolving complex cases. In the U.S. News & World Report / Best Lawyers survey of “Best Law Firms,” a client described the group as “dedicated and excellent strategic thinkers. They align the defense strategy with the business objectives.”*

Attorneys in Nutter’s Product Liability Defense practice group have received prestigious industry recognitions, including: 

  • Fellows of the American College of Trial Lawyers 
  • Fellows of the Litigation Counsel of America 
  • Invitation-only members of the International Association of Defense Counsel
  • Product liability defense lawyers named in the peer-reviewed Best Lawyers in America
  • Ranked as a Tier 1 firm in Product Liability Defense in Boston in the S. News & World Report / Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms” survey
  • Listed among the ranked firms in litigation by Chambers USA

Our attorneys draw on the expertise of our multidisciplinary staff, which includes Certified E-Discovery Specialists (CEDS) with the Association of Certified E-Discovery Specialists (ACEDS), a Legal Nurse Consultant Certified (LNCC), dedicated paralegals, case assistants, and medical research librarians.

Our Product Liability Defense team has a reputation of being both efficient and effective with technology. Nutter has an eDiscovery team comprised of knowledgeable and seasoned litigation attorneys working in concert with our litigation technology professionals that is dedicated to mastering both the technology and the law of electronic discovery, which represents the fastest growing budget item in large cases. Nutter is focused on providing creative, agile, and cost-effective eDiscovery solutions to our clients, starting with preservation of evidence when litigation is first anticipated, through production, retention, and, ultimately, destruction. This includes using secure cloud-based technologies for management and analysis of patient medical records submitted as part of mass tort settlement programs.

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

  • Medical devices
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Consumer health care products
  • Technical and specialty paper
  • Chemicals and commercial and industrial materials 
  • Automotive and heavy equipment products 
  • Food and beverages

What We Do
Our Product Liability Defense team has defended clients from a variety of industries in cases involving alleged design defect, manufacturing defect, breach of warranty, and inherently dangerous product claims.

We handle cases in a wide variety of forums, including state and federal courts around the country, as well as arbitrations, mediations, 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 U.S. national litigation. In an increasingly global marketplace, in-house and outside counsel in Canada, Europe, and Asia-Pacific frequently seek our guidance on litigation issues affecting their multi-national clients. Our success in defending complex cases is also due in large part to our well-developed relationships with the Boston area’s rich supply of experts found in local hospitals, universities, and research centers.

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

Medical Device, Pharmaceutical, and Consumer Health Care Defense
Nutter has been representing manufacturers of medical devices, pharmaceuticals, and consumer health care products for decades, and is engaged on an ongoing basis in depositions, mediations, hearings, and trials throughout the country and around the world. 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 orthopaedic implants
  • Bone cement
  • Talcum powder
  • Opioids
  • Cardiac devices
  • Surgical instruments
  • Surgical sutures
  • Tissue morcellators
  • Natural rubber latex gloves
  • Contact lenses
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs

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

  • Privacy and data security
  • Internal and criminal investigations
  • Distributor relationships
  • Licensing, technology sharing, and supply agreements
  • Product recalls 

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 
  • 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, medical, 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 cases 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.

* This comment was collected as part of the U.S. News — Best Lawyers® "Best Law Firms" research process.

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Representative Matters

Representative Matters

  • Medical Device Companies in Multi-District Litigations

    Nutter repeatedly represents medical device companies in multi-district and “one-off” product liability litigations involving orthopaedic implants. The team has served as both national counsel and as part of a “virtual law firm” responsible for such diverse tasks as analysis of the science (including orthopaedics, biomechanics, biomaterials, epidemiology, and pathology), retention of expert witnesses, analysis of company documents, and development of narrative themes for company witnesses. Nutter also works with the company’s in-house and outside counsel in Canada, Europe, and Asia-Pacific on these related issues.

  • Manufacturer of Specialized Industrial and Technical Paper Products

    Nutter serves as national coordinating counsel to a manufacturer of specialized industrial and technical paper products, named as a defendant in asbestos cases across the country.

  • Consumer Product Manufacturer and Retailers in Talcum Powder Litigation

    Nutter represents a consumer product manufacturer and retailers in multi-district litigation and other coordinated national litigation involving talcum powder. Roles on the team range from serving as local counsel to leading national science teams responsible for identifying and preparing experts and developing defense strategies related to the medical, scientific, and technical issues relevant to each case.

  • Pharmaceutical and Medical Supplies Distributor in Opioids Litigation

    Nutter represents a distributor of pharmaceuticals and medical supplies in coordinated national litigation involving opioids.

  • Major Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Corporations

    Nutter has represented and is representing major corporations in lawsuits involving diverse pharmaceutical and medical device products, such as contact lenses, contraceptive patches, pediatric painkillers, quinolone antibiotics, migraine medication, and tissue morcellators.

  • Hyundai Motor America

    Nutter represented Hyundai Motor America in an automotive products liability trial that involved a claim that the brake and accelerator pedal configuration of an automobile was conducive to simultaneous depression of the pedals and unintended acceleration, resulting in serious personal injuries. After a seven-day trial, the jury returned a defense verdict in favor of Hyundai Motor America.

  • The Commonwealth of Massachusetts

    Nutter lawyers served as Special Assistant Attorneys General representing the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in connection with all claims arising from construction defects from the alleged “sick building” status of the Ruggles Center, the former home of the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles. These matters involved extensive claims resulting from construction defects at the building in question, along with a $30 million claim against the Commonwealth for breach of its lease agreement. After several years of litigation, the matters were successfully resolved with a multimillion dollar payment to the Commonwealth.

  • Food and Beverage Companies

    Nutter advises food and beverage companies on some of the common areas of litigation and regulatory risk faced as they design and implement their product packaging and marketing plans.

  • Large Printing Company

    Nutter obtained a jury defense verdict for a large printing company on a multimillion dollar claim arising from allegations of widespread hazardous exposure to lead dust.

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eDiscovery

eDiscovery

Nutter’s eDiscovery team is comprised of knowledgeable and seasoned litigation attorneys working in concert with our litigation technology professionals. Nutter is focused on providing creative, agile, and cost effective eDiscovery solutions to our clients starting from preservation at the initial anticipation of litigation through production, retention, and, ultimately, destruction.

Our Team
Our multidisciplinary team understands the ever-expanding universe of data and the technical, legal, and financial challenges it presents. Nutter has a deep bench of litigation attorneys with extensive experience handling complex eDiscovery matters. Nutter’s litigators draw on the substantial technical expertise from the firm’s technology professionals, including multiple Certified E-Discovery Specialists (CEDS) with the Association of Certified E-Discovery Specialists (ACEDS).

What We Do
Our experienced litigation technology professionals can handle Electronically Stored Information (“ESI”) internally from collection to production through our advanced technology platforms, or work with our vendors and our clients to craft a tailored approached to ESI management. We have extensive experience in managing all aspects of the eDiscovery process, including identification, preservation, collection, review and analysis, and production. Our data hosting infrastructure provides secure access to clients and external parties at a cost significantly below vendor market rates.

The Nutter team, led by Seth Berman, leverages its experience with a wide array of workflows and advanced technology, including technology-assisted review, to maximize efficiency in the document review process with strategies that are defensible in court. We design meticulous quality control procedures when managing a team of expertly trained contract lawyers and advanced forensic data analysis firms, to ensure an effective and efficient process.

Nutter approaches each new eDiscovery challenge with practical and defensible processes to ensure a streamlined and cost-effective outcome.

Experience

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