Defending products liability claims has been a cornerstone of Greene Espel’s practice since our founding in 1993. Manufacturers and other businesses turn to us when they face product defect allegations brought by individuals, by large groups of plaintiffs, or as putative class actions.
AREAS OF EXPERIENCE
We have handled personal injury, wrongful death, property damage, and economic loss claims involving:
- Fires and explosions involving gas valves, insulation, pollution control devices, alarm systems, smoke detectors, electronic devices, solvent cleaning systems, and mobile homes;
- Chemicals and petroleum products;
- Heavy construction and agricultural equipment;
- Telecommunications switching equipment;
- Consumer goods and appliances;
- Industrial and manufacturing equipment, such as electronic controls, limit switches, light curtains, and pressure transducers;
- Building materials;
- Commercial ovens;
- Food and agricultural products;
- Medical devices and pharmaceuticals;
- Hospital and surgical equipment;
- Prisons and detention facilities;
- Underground water and sewage pipelines; and
- Premises liability
We have defended innumerable products cases in Minnesota, but are also regularly asked to defend such cases around the country. Our lawyers have handled and/or tried products claims in at least 26 different states: Alaska, Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Utah. We maintain relationships with local counsel around the country, and follow developments in product liability law nationwide, so that we are ready to assist immediately wherever we are needed.
Major national manufacturers have asked us to serve as national counsel defending large numbers of similar claims around the country. Examples:
- Blood Therapy Litigation — We represented a Fortune 250 company as one of four national counsel defending hundreds of claims alleging viral transmission by a medically crucial blood therapy. These claims involved individual state court cases, individual federal cases consolidated for pretrial purposes, and class actions. When similar claims surfaced abroad, we assisted and advised lawyers in France, Italy, Germany, Spain, and the UK to ensure consistent defense themes.
- Foodborne Illness Claims and Litigation — We have represented a client with a household name to defend against claims of foodborne illness across the country, employing litigation strategies designed to protect its reputation and brand.
- Medical Products Liability Class Action — As part of a national defense team, we were responsible for identifying and developing experts from diverse medical and scientific specialties. We made complex medical and scientific testimony understandable and persuasive, while debunking adverse expert opinions. Our client’s in-house litigation coordinator referred to us as “the surgeon generals” of the national defense team.
TEACHING & PUBLICATIONS
Our lawyers are considered authorities in the products liability field. We publish in the area and are invited to teach judges, lawyers, and law students about emerging issues in products liability law, scientific evidence, electronic discovery, the presentation and cross-examination of experts, and the effective use of graphics and demonstrative evidence at trial. Examples:
- Kate Hibbard co-authored a chapter entitled “Crisis Management” in a book called Current Law, Strategies and Best Practices in Product Litigation (Practising Law Institute, 2009).
- Bob Gilbertson presented a paper on “Fire Experts and Daubert” at a 2003 Minnesota CLE course called “Fire!”
- Cliff Greene taught a course called The Law of Evidence at the invitation of the University of Minnesota Law School in 2000.
- Cliff Greene was awarded a grant from the William Mitchell College of Law, funded by Ontrack Data Recovery, Inc., to develop and present a seminar exploring the discovery, admissibility, and presentation of computer data and other electronic evidence in civil litigation.This course, called Litigation in the High-Tech Age, was offered at William Mitchell in 2000 and became the basis for the CLE program “Electronic Evidence,” presented nationwide by the Professional Education Group.
- While serving as William Mitchell’s first “Distinguished Practitioner in Residence” in 1998, Cliff Greene guided law students through Scientific Evidence, a custom-designed course examining the development and presentation of scientific evidence and expert testimony in state and federal courts.
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