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Product Liability

Product Liability
Product Liability
Expertise / Sectors / Life Sciences / Product Liability
Standout product liability practice providing seamless national support as well as cross-border capabilities.
Ranked in Band 1 for Litigation: Product Liability, Chambers Canada: Canada’s Leading Lawyers for Business 2020

Blakes understands product liability risk and the importance to our clients of managing that risk. We are problem solvers and trusted advisors to many world-class manufacturers and distributors. We are experienced and creative trial lawyers. We have successfully defended individual and product liability class action claims, and we’ve negotiated favourable resolutions for clients when that serves their strategic interests. We have a top practice recognized by the key ranking publications and the only team recognized in Band 1 for Product Liability Defence by Chambers Canada.
 
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. Managing this risk requires a deep understanding of our clients’ business objectives and risk tolerance as well as the industry and regulatory contexts in which the risk arises. Our team has advised and defended clients who manufacture and/or distribute medical devices, pharmaceutical medicines, consumer appliances and other electronic products, automobiles and parts, construction equipment, computer software, and many other products. We bring our unparalleled experience and strategic, problem-solving skills to each and every mandate.

Blakes Product Liability lawyers skilfully assess and address the legal issues and challenges that arise during a product’s lifecycle from early product assessment, labelling and warnings, claims prevention and regulatory compliance, through tailored risk and reputation management strategies, to the vigorous defence of individual and class action claims.
 
Our collective trial experience, combined with our national coverage, is particularly valuable in the current environment when product liability matters are more frequently certified as class actions than other types of class proceedings. We were the first Canadian firm that defended a product liability matter through a common issues trial to a defence verdict. 

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Recent Experience
  • A leading manufacturing company in the defence of a suit brought by a Canadian recreational vehicle manufacturer and its liability insurers, seeking indemnity for money paid to defend and settle claims in a case brought before the Superior Court of California, Los Angeles County.

  • A multinational heavy-equipment manufacturer in commercial disputes and defending against national class actions. Blakes works closely with the client’s U.S. counsel regarding companion class actions ongoing in the U.S.

  • Multinational pharmaceutical company in class actions related to Proton pump inhibitors (PPI) which are used to reduce stomach acid and are prescribed to treat conditions such as acid reflux (heartburn) and stomach ulcers.

  • Medical products manufacturer in class actions alleging that an external medical device used in surgery causes invasive cardiovascular infections.

  • One of the world's leading manufacturers of life-saving cardiac devices in successfully defending them in the first medical products class action/common issues trial tried to verdict in Canada (146 trial days), claiming more than C$1-billion in damages. Blakes also represented the defendants on the plaintiff’s appeal from the trial decision and in the negotiation of a resolution of a claim for the trial costs that ultimately resulted in the dismissal of the appeal. This case was awarded Canadian Product Liability Impact Case of the Year in 2013 at the LMG Life Sciences Awards.

  • One of the world's leading manufacturers of fire protection systems in successfully defending them in 20 claims and cross-claims resulting from a large factory fire, including a product liability/environmental class action claiming C$80-million in damages. The class action was settled mid-trial, and subrogation claims against our client were dismissed after the trial concluded.

  • Successfully opposing authorization of class actions against a leading multinational manufacturer of pharmaceutical, medical and consumer products in Canada (Quebec and B.C.), alleging false and misleading representations regarding children's cough and cold medicines. The Supreme Court of Canada denied the plaintiffs’ application for leave to appeal in both provinces.

  • Successfully opposing certification of class actions in B.C. and Quebec against a leading global beverage company concerning alleged misleading advertising and labelling of one of its products.

  • A major consumer appliance manufacturer, as their co-counsel, in a national class action in Ontario, alleging a design defect in front-loading washing machines. The certification motion and, ultimately, the action itself were dismissed with costs. The decision was upheld on an appeal to the Ontario Court of Appeal, and the Supreme Court of Canada denied the plaintiff’s request for leave to appeal.

  • Successfully opposing authorization of a class action against a leading multinational manufacturer in the Quebec Superior Court related to the use of bisphenol A in one of its brands of baby-food containers.

  • A number of leading multinational pharmaceutical and medical device companies in multi-provincial class proceedings/mass torts, alleging product liability (negligence in design, manufacture or warnings) and claiming hundreds of millions of dollars for personal injuries and medical monitoring and disgorgement remedies. Class actions related to pelvic repair systems with transvaginal mesh, hip replacement products, medications for severe acne, pain medications, birth control products, antipsychotics, gastrointestinal medicine, and other medicines and medical devices.

  • A multinational chemical company in the defence of a product liability suit, alleging the defective design and manufacture of polyethylene gas tanks.

  • A publicly traded manufacturing company in class actions filed in Quebec and Ontario, alleging liability with respect to engine models sold in Canada equipped with emission-reduction technology.

  • A multinational food and drink company in a proposed class action in connection with its dog food, alleging it contains toxic ingredients and was not safe for consumption. The case was ultimately dropped.

  • A global manufacturer and supplier of roofing products in the defence of a national class action, alleging defective design and manufacture as well as various breaches of consumer protection legislation with respect to organic roofing shingles.

Awards & Recognition

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

  •  Chambers Canada: Canada’s Leading Lawyers for Business ranks Blakes as the only firm in Band 1: “They are very experienced in product liability, personal injury and class actions, and each of the partners are real trial lawyers, having vast experience trying cases. The firm is large with many resources, including offices across Canada.” Three Blakes lawyers are also recognized in this category.
  • Benchmark Canada: The Definitive Guide to Canada's Leading Litigation Firms and Attorneys recognizes six Blakes lawyers in its Product Liability category. 

  • Who’s Who Legal Canada: Product Liability Defence – “Leading Canadian firm Blake, Cassels & Graydon emerges as one of the country’s standout practices. The firm’s team is adept at advising clients on liability issues, risk and litigation throughout the entire product life cycle. Four practitioners are recognized in this edition. One is listed as a ‘thought leader’ for North America.”

  • The Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory ranks Blakes as “Most Frequently Recommended” in the Litigation – Product Liability category. Six Blakes lawyers are also most frequently recommended in this category.

  • The Lexpert/American Lawyer Guide to the Leading 500 Lawyers in Canada recognizes a Blakes lawyer as “Most Frequently Recommended” in the area of Litigation – Product Liability.

  • The Lexpert Guide to the Leading US/Canada Cross-Border Litigation Lawyers in Canada recognizes a Blakes lawyer in the area of Litigation – Product Liability.

  • Who's Who Legal: Life Sciences recognizes four Blakes lawyers in the area of Product Liability, with one lawyer identified as one of three “Thought Leaders” in the Americas.

  • Who’s Who Legal: Product Liability Defence recognizes seven Blakes lawyers, one of which is named as a “Most Highly Regarded Individual.”

  • Legal Media Group's Guide to the World's Leading Litigation and Product Liability Lawyers recognizes five Blakes lawyers in the area of Product Liability.

  • 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 recognizes 10 Blakes lawyers in the area of Product Liability.

 
Our group has also received the following awards:

  • Benchmark Canada Awards – Members of our group have been awarded Product Liability Litigator of the Year several years in a row, including in 2019.

  • Benchmark Litigation’s 40 & Under Hot List

  • LMG Life Sciences Awards – One of our team members was named Canadian Product Liability Attorney of the Year several years in a row, including in 2019.

  • Best Lawyers Awards – A Blakes lawyer was named Product Liability Law Lawyer of the Year for 2020 in Calgary.

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