Products Liability & Mass Tort
HPM&B is recognized nationally for its representation of corporations and other organizations that are drawn into the highly specialized areas of products liability and mass tort litigation. We have experience in cases involving medical devices, pharmaceutical drugs, human biologics, over-the-counter medications. We also handle claims involving toxic tort and environmental exposure. Our attorneys are regularly honored as “Best Lawyers®” and “Super Lawyers®” for their work.
We have represented several clients in national multi-district litigations. They include Bayer Corporation (Baycol®, Phenylpropanolamine [PPA], Ciprofloxacin [Cipro®], Miles Laboratories (blood factor concentrates), C.B. Fleet Company, Inc. (Fleet Phospho-Soda®), Merck (Vioxx®), and Bausch & Lomb (ReNu® with MoistureLoc® Multi- Purpose Contact Lens Solution). We routinely defend claims involving medical devices such as MRI machines and Lasik equipment, asbestos, mold, and lead paint exposure, lighting products, latex gloves, computer keyboards, pesticides, breast implants, flammable flooring materials, allegedly contaminated food and defective exercise equipment.
As lead counsel, we develop and execute litigation strategies tailored to the particular case and business considerations of our clients. Because of our track record as trial attorneys, our adversaries know that we can and will try cases to verdict. This creates leverage for resolving cases without trial. But if an early resolution is not possible, we take pride in our ability to explain and present complex scientific issues in a manner that jurors will understand.
After thirty years of experience representing the medical and scientific communities, we have access to the best experts in the nation. In the Fleet litigation, for example, we were instrumental in the development of an advisory expert panel of various physicians and scientists to prepare for expert depositions and courtroom testimony. We also developed and maintained a medical article database specific to the litigation. Our role as national science counsel led to our appointment by the MDL court as settlement claims administrator in the Fleet litigation.
We also were trial counsel for Bayer in its Cipro® litigation and served as regional coordinating and trial counsel in the PPA and Baycol® litigations. In those litigations, we coordinated more than 1000 cases in New York. We also served as trial counsel for Miles Laboratories in litigation involving hemophiliacs claiming exposure to HIV and the contraction of AIDS and hepatitis from the administration of blood factor concentrates. We coordinated the discovery and pre-trial proceedings in approximately 60 cases consolidated in New York County.
We have served as national counsel for a keyboard manufacturer in the repetitive stress injury cases and have spent years serving as coordinating counsel for several clients in asbestos litigation in New York. Indeed, HPM&B was one of the first firms to successfully defend at trial in the Southern District of New York an asbestos case in the early years of the litigation.
In addition, our firm serves as regional coordinating counsel for two major insurance carriers, monitoring birth injury and other high exposure claims. Given our particular experience in handling cases with potential sustainable verdicts in excess of ten million dollars, we have taken over the direct defense in many of these cases.
HPM&B was one of the first law firms in New York and Connecticut to bring technology into the courtroom. Today, we utilize technology during trial effortlessly, working with our in-house support team who are familiar with the needs of the trial lawyers and the logistics of the courtroom. We were among the first firms to recognize that juries are receptive to computer models, imaging and animations. We use cutting edge litigation support tools such as Summation®, Casemap®/Textmap® and Trial Director®.
Finally, we often engage our Appellate Practice Group to deal with thorny legal issues and obtain early dispositions through motion practice where possible, avoiding the expense and uncertainties of trial. In one highly-publicized suit against our client, a major manufacturer of MRI machines, we successfully argued that the maker could not be liable for punitive damages. Later, we obtained a complete dismissal on the ground that the suit was preempted by the federal 1976 Medical Device Amendments to the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act under the Supreme Court’s 2008 holding in Riegel v. Medtronic, Inc. We convinced the court to extend Riegel to products, like the MRI machine at issue, that have been reclassified as Class II devices and thus subject to less stringent FDA oversight following premarket approval.