Industrial and Consumer Products

The Lavin firm serves as national, regional and local counsel in cases involving pharmaceutical products, automobile structural and component parts, electrical components, heavy equipment, food processing, medical equipment, home accessories and products containing asbestos. Our clients include domestic and international manufacturers as well as insurance companies representing such companies.

Our philosophy is to work with our clients to help them manage risk and the inevitable litigation that arises from almost any product. Our lawyers are trained to analyze cases at an early stage and identify the ones that can be resolved quickly, saving our clients money. We are then able to focus on the cases that are the most troublesome and precedent-setting, and pose significant threats to our clients. Our lawyers have tried to verdict numerous cases throughout the United States.

We have extensive relationships with lawyers in other states, and often coordinate and oversee the work of multiple law firms. Our deep experience also has helped us develop good relationships with expert witnesses throughout the country.

Our location in Philadelphia has created opportunities for us to participate in significant product liability cases since the mass tort program of the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas consolidates many such cases. Often, our work as local counsel has led to the firm being retained to manage national and regional litigation. We represent clients in arbitration and mediation, and serve as lead trial counsel, providing our clients with experienced, cost-effective service.

Our representations include:

  • For automobile manufacturers, products cases including airbags, vehicle fires and crashworthiness in multiple states, and dealer termination litigation and class actions
  • For pharmaceutical manufacturers, drug effects (hormone therapy, blood thinner, breast implant and other products), including serving as national counsel
  • For medical equipment manufacturers, products such as dialysis machines and perfusion monitors
  • For heavy equipment manufacturers, lift truck and wire rope matters
  • For electrical equipment manufacturers, components including chains
  • For clinical laboratory testing companies, issues related to diagnostic tests
  • For a telecommunications company, national counsel for asbestos and premises liability and collections for its directory business
  • For consumer products manufacturers, matters related to appliances and tools
  • For food processors, contaminated candy and meat products, and workplace fatalities.

Lawyers in the firm have significant experience with asbestos toxic tort litigation, including representing major domestic and foreign automobile manufacturers, a locomotive company, a major appliance manufacturer and a heating company. Lawyers serve as national trial counsel and national coordinating counsel, working with other firms representing clients in mass tort matters. One of our shareholders serves as a member of the three-person National Settlement Negotiation Team for a manufacturer involved in national mass tort litigation

Lavin O’Neil lawyers often represent clients in matters involving catastrophic injuries. For example, we:

  • Obtained an order of summary judgment on behalf of an aerial lift manufacturer in the Southern District of New York on Daubert grounds.
  • Obtained a defense verdict in state court in New Jersey in favor of a vegetation management company involving the death of a plaintiff after contact with a wood chipper.
  • Defended a product manufacturer in the multi-party “Meridian Litigation.” involving a fire that destroyed a high-rise office tower in Philadelphia.
  • Represented a product manufacturer in breast implant litigation in which allegations were dismissed on lack of scientific basis.
  • Achieved dismissal of a claim of electrocution causing cardiomyeopathy on behalf of a consumer product manufacturer wherein it was decided that that there was no scientific basis to the expert’s conclusions (Frye/Topa grounds).
  • Obtained summary judgment as lead trial counsel for the world’s leading manufacturer, installer and maintainer of elevators, escalators and moving walkways in a personal injury case just prior to the start of trial.
  • Served as lead trial counsel for the foremost developer, manufacturer and supplier of specialty products for the electronics assembly marketplace in a personal injury trial in which the court granted motion for non-suit at the completion of the plaintiff’s case.
  • Toxic/mass tort: local, regional, national and national coordinating counsel for Fortune 500 companies involving asbestos and benzene, including retention and development of expert witnesses in industrial hygiene, epidemiology and risk assessment.

Among our jury verdicts are:

  • Defense verdict in a product liability trial involving a lost lower leg in a claim of a defective back-up alarm.
  • Defense verdict involving brain-injured plaintiff seeking multi-million dollar recovery in front-end loader crashworthiness matter. The case involved multiple experts, creative crash-testing evidence and large client exposure due to unique allegations which, if successful, would have implicated all front-end loader designs.
  • Defended a foreign pharmaceutical manufacturer against claims of stroke alleged to have been caused by an ingredient in diet and cough/cold medications involving more than 100 cases in multi-district litigation with no settlement payments or adverse verdicts.
  • Tried to defense verdict a brain-damaged plaintiff case involving seatbelt allegation with multi-million dollar exposure; case received significant media coverage and required multiple in-trial strategy changes.

In addition to products cases, we represent many of these same clients in commercial and negligence matters. We also handle difficult collections issues that arise among manufacturers, suppliers and dealers, including dealer termination.

The Firm’s lawyers are leaders in the trial bar and actively participate in the Defense Research Institute, Product Liability Advisory Council, Lawyers Committee of the Industrial Truck Association, American Board of Trial Advocates, International Association of Defense Counsel and many other organizations. We also serve as faculty members at leading seminars and in law school trial advocacy programs.


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