OVERVIEW & EXPERTISE

 
 
"Product Liability Firm of the Year"
Benchmark Canada Awards: Recognizing the Leading
Litigators and Litigation Firms in Canada (2015)
 
… possibly the deepest bench in products litigation in the country."
LMG Life Sciences: The Definitive Guide to the Leading Life
Sciences Firms and Attorneys in North America
2013
In an era of expanding regulatory oversight and increasing consumer activism, product liability law has evolved into a complex and ever-changing area of risk for many businesses. As the only Canadian firm that has defended a product liability matter through a common issues trial to a defence verdict, the Blakes Product Liability team is recognized as a leader, and is frequently recommended as counsel, in the products liability field. We advise clients on the interrelated regulatory and litigation issues that arise throughout a product’s lifecycle, from early product assessment, claims prevention and compliance to tailored risk and reputation management strategies, and defence of claims.
Solving Problems
We advise on complex domestic and cross-border product liability issues, offering our clients creative yet pragmatic solutions. Our team has a reputation for providing commercially aware and sophisticated, product-specific advice. We understand the dynamics of product development and the underlying scientific and technical aspects of drug, medical device, food and mechanical products, among others. Our clients also have the benefit of strategic advice from lawyers in our Marketing & Health Regulatory practice, who regularly engage various federal and provincial regulators on products-related issues. 
Our Product Liability lawyers proactively advise world-class manufacturers and distributors of products on a broad range of product liability issues including:
  • Claims avoidance and related insurance
  • Compliance programs and legal obligations with respect to regulators
  • Product risk assessment
  • Labelling and warnings
  • Complaints involving injury or adverse effects
  • The defence of product liability claims, including design and manufacturing defect claims, allegations of breach of the duty to warn and a wide range of "toxic tort" claims
Our Product Liability team includes trial lawyers who are experienced in developing trial strategies that inform pre-trial preparation and procedural decisions, including the preparation of expert evidence. Our collective trial experience, combined with our national footprint, is particularly valuable in the current environment when product liability matters are more likely to be certified as class actions than other types of class proceedings. With a dedicated, in-house E-Discovery & Document Management team, Blakes offers cost-effective, “litigation-ready” information management systems that facilitate fast and efficient document retrieval. 
Building Relationships  
We fully appreciate the importance of open communication, collaboration and coordination to our clients, particularly as product liability litigation increasingly arises in cross-border and multi-jurisdictional contexts. We regularly integrate into multi-jurisdictional trial teams alongside in-house counsel and/or external counsel. Our understanding of the U.S. legal system and regulatory environment, and the key differences under the Canadian legal system, enables us to manage efficiencies when defending clients facing cross-border and multi-jurisdictional claims that extend into Canada.

Representative Matters

Our team advises and represents clients in product liability claims, particularly class actions, across a wide variety of leading manufacturers of a variety of products, including medical devices, pharmaceutical medicines, consumer appliances and other electronic products, automobiles and parts, construction equipment, and computer software.
A representative sample of cases includes:
  • Trial counsel in the first medical products class action/common issues trial tried to verdict in Canada (146 trial days), successfully defending one of the world's leading manufacturers of life-saving cardiac devices in a national class action claiming more than a billion dollars in damages. Awarded Canadian Product Liability Impact Case of the Year 2013 by LMG Life Sciences: The Definitive Guide to the Leading Life Sciences Firms and Attorneys in North America.
  • Trial counsel in the successful defence of one of the world's leading manufacturers of fire protection systems in some 20 claims and cross-claims resulting from a large factory fire, including a product liability/environmental class action claiming C$80-million in damages.
  • Counsel to a leading multinational pharmaceutical company, successfully opposing authorization of a proposed class action in the Quebec Superior Court related to over-the-counter infant cold medications.
  • Counsel to a leading multinational manufacturer, successfully opposing authorization of a class action in the Quebec Superior Court related to the use of bisphenol A in one of its brands of baby food containers.
 

 INDUSTRY RECOGNITION

 

Members of the Blakes Product Liability team have been recognized as leaders in their field in the current editions of the following publications:

  • Benchmark Canada: The Definitive Guide to Canada's Leading Litigation Firms and Attorneys
    At the Benchmark Canada Awards 2015, Blakes was awarded "Class Action Firm of the Year" and "Product Liability Firm of the Year", with one individual awarded "Product Liability Litigator of the Year" for the third consecutive year.
  • The Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory
    A Blakes lawyer is most frequently recommended in the area of Litigation – Product Liability in the most recent edition.
  • The Lexpert/American Lawyer Guide to the Leading 500 Lawyers in Canada
    A Blakes lawyer is most frequently recommended in the area of Litigation – Product Liability in the most recent edition.
  • The Lexpert Guide to the Leading US/Canada Cross-border Litigation Lawyers in Canada
    A Blakes litigator is recognized in the area of Product Liability in the most recent edition.
  • Who's Who Legal: Life Sciences
    Four Blakes lawyers are recognized in the area of Product Liability Defence, with one lawyer identified as one of five lawyers worldwide in the “most highly regarded” category for Product Liability Defence in the most recent edition.
  • Who’s Who Legal: Product Liability Defence
    Two Blakes litigators are recognized in the most recent edition.
  • Who’s Who Legal: Business
    Five Blakes lawyers are recognized in the area of Life Sciences – Product Liability, and three are recognized in the area of Product Liability Defence in the most recent edition.
  • Who’s Who Legal: Canada
    Two Blakes lawyers are recognized as leaders in the area of Product Liability Defence in the most recent edition.
  • Legal Media Group's Guide to the World's Leading Litigation and Product Liability Lawyers
    Five Blakes lawyers are recognized in the area of Product Liability in the most recent edition.
  • LMG Life Sciences: The Definitive Guide to the Leading Life Sciences Firms and Attorneys in North America
    “’Possibly the deepest bench of products litigators in the country….’”
  • The Best Lawyers in Canada
    Nine Blakes lawyers are recognized in the area of Product Liability in the most recent edition.
 

 PEOPLE

 
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Partner | Toronto
Toronto: 416-863-2269
Areas of Expertise: Class Actions, Constitutional & Charter of Rights, Product Liability, Privacy, Communications, Life Sciences, Infrastructure, Competition Litigation, Freedom of Information, Cybersecurity and Data Breach Response & Litigation, Cybersecurity, Government & Public Sector
Partner | Calgary
Calgary: 403-260-9656
Areas of Expertise: Construction Dispute Resolution, Product Liability, Intellectual Property, Tax Controversy & Litigation, Oil & Gas, IP Litigation, Construction
Senior Counsel | Calgary
Calgary: 403-260-9650
Areas of Expertise: Insurance Litigation, Construction Dispute Resolution, International Dispute Resolution, Product Liability, Insurance, Reinsurance
Counsel | Toronto
Toronto: 416-863-2426
Areas of Expertise: Construction Dispute Resolution, Class Actions, Product Liability, Corporate Litigation, Securities Litigation, Cybersecurity and Data Breach Response & Litigation
Associate | Vancouver
Vancouver: 604-631-4282
Areas of Expertise: Litigation & Dispute Resolution, Class Actions, Corporate Litigation, Product Liability, International Dispute Resolution
Partner | Montréal
Montréal: 514-982-4020
Areas of Expertise: Corporate Litigation, Product Liability, Restructuring & Insolvency, Aviation/Aerospace, Manufacturing, Banking, Class Actions, Business Crimes, Investigations & Compliance
Associate | Toronto
Toronto: 416-863-2399
Areas of Expertise: Class Actions, Product Liability, Constitutional & Charter of Rights, Freedom of Information, Litigation & Dispute Resolution, Life Sciences, Government & Public Sector
Associate | Vancouver
Vancouver: 604-631-5227
Areas of Expertise: Litigation & Dispute Resolution, Restructuring & Insolvency, Corporate Litigation, Product Liability
Partner | Toronto
Toronto: 416-863-4159
Areas of Expertise: Litigation & Dispute Resolution, Corporate Litigation, Securities Litigation, Product Liability, Pension Litigation, Class Actions, Equity Capital Markets, Enterprise Risk & Crisis Response
Partner | Toronto
Toronto: 416-863-3082
Areas of Expertise: Class Actions, Product Liability, Life Sciences, Marketing & Health Regulatory, Litigation & Dispute Resolution, Retail & Consumer Products, Food, Beverage & Agribusiness
Partner | Toronto
Toronto: 416-863-3047
Areas of Expertise: Product Liability, Aboriginal Law, Class Actions, Drugs & Medical Devices, Mining Litigation & Dispute Resolution
Partner | Montréal
Montréal: 514-982-5089
Areas of Expertise: Class Actions, Corporate Litigation, Construction Dispute Resolution, Product Liability, Procurement, Public-Private Partnerships, Food, Beverage & Agribusiness, Competition Litigation, Securities Litigation, Insurance Litigation, Media & Defamation, Insurance
Associate | Toronto
Toronto: 416-863-5287
Areas of Expertise: Litigation & Dispute Resolution, International Dispute Resolution, Product Liability, Media & Defamation
Partner | Toronto
Toronto: 416-863-3884
Areas of Expertise: Class Actions, Product Liability, Life Sciences
Partner | Calgary
Calgary: 403-260-9753
Areas of Expertise: Class Actions, Oil & Gas, Insurance Litigation, Litigation & Dispute Resolution, Product Liability, Securities Litigation
Associate | Toronto
Toronto: 416-863-2756
Areas of Expertise: Corporate Litigation, Constitutional & Charter of Rights, International Dispute Resolution, Product Liability, Tax Controversy & Litigation
Partner | Calgary
Calgary: 403-260-9640
Areas of Expertise: Corporate & Commercial, Product Liability, Energy Litigation, Securities Litigation, Class Actions, Commercial Real Estate, Construction
Partner | Vancouver
Vancouver: 604-631-3323
Areas of Expertise: Class Actions, Product Liability, Corporate Litigation, Life Sciences, Retail & Consumer Products, Food, Beverage & Agribusiness
Partner | Montréal
Montréal: 514-982-4016
Areas of Expertise: International Dispute Resolution, Product Liability, Corporate Litigation, Securities Litigation, Insurance, IP Litigation, Procurement
Associate | Montréal
Montréal: 514-982-4103
Areas of Expertise: Class Actions, Insurance Litigation, Product Liability, Business Crimes, Investigations & Compliance
Associate | Montréal
Montréal: 514-982-5074
Areas of Expertise: Class Actions, Corporate Litigation, Restructuring & Insolvency, Litigation & Dispute Resolution, Product Liability
Partner | Vancouver
Vancouver: 604-631-3358
Areas of Expertise: Litigation & Dispute Resolution, Class Actions, Corporate Litigation, Product Liability, Business Crimes, Investigations & Compliance, Energy, Environmental Litigation & Enforcement, Competition Litigation, Aboriginal Law, Mining Litigation & Dispute Resolution
Office Managing Partner | Montréal
Montréal: 514-982-4014
Areas of Expertise: Class Actions, Product Liability, Securities Litigation, Business Crimes, Investigations & Compliance, Capital Markets, Competition Litigation, Misleading Advertising, International Dispute Resolution, Automotive, Equity Capital Markets, Cybersecurity and Data Breach Response & Litigation
Partner | Calgary
Calgary: 403-260-9722
Areas of Expertise: Class Actions, Corporate Litigation, Securities Litigation, Construction Dispute Resolution, Insurance Litigation, Energy, Environmental & Aboriginal, Construction, Insurance, Oil & Gas, International Dispute Resolution, Product Liability, Shareholder Activism
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 BULLETINS

 
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02/04/2015

​On January 22, 2015, the British Columbia Court of Appeal set aside certification of a class action against Apotex Inc. and Abbott Laboratories Ltd. in Charlton v. Abbott Laboratories Ltd., in which the plaintiffs allege that the medicine sibutramine (sold under the brand name Meridia by Abbott), an antidepressant that is also used for weight loss, had led to an increased risk of cardiovascular events, including heart attack and stroke.

Tags: Class Actions, Life Sciences, Litigation & Dispute Resolution, Product Liability
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