Products Liability Practices – Of Growing Interest as Mass Tort Claiming Continues to Grow

Once upon a time, many law firms disdained product liability litigation. Today, not so much – more top tier firms are aggressively seeking out products liability practices. The latest example arises from Quinn Emmanuel taking on 15 products lawyers from Skadden Arps. In other instance, some big firms like to combine products liability and insurance recovery practices.

The Quinn acquisition appears in part client-driven. According to a LAW360 article:

  1. Law360, New York (May 08, 2013, 4:35 PM ET) — More than 15 Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom LLP product liability attorneys are following colleagues Sheila Birnbaum and Mark Cheffo to Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP, according to the two new leaders of the firm’s products practice.

  2. Former Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP product liability attorneys Michael Lyle and Eric Lyttle also recently joined Quinn Emanuel as partners. There were fewer than 20 attorneys listed on Quinn Emanuel’s website as partners in the products group before the recent spate of hirings.

  3. "There’s been a palpable commitment from the highest levels of the firm … not only to embracing us, but embracing us with an eye toward growth in the future," Cheffo told Law360.

  4. Birnbaum and Cheffo will continue their work with Pfizer Inc., State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. and Occidental Chemical at their new firm, they said. Quinn Emanuel will represent Pfizer in multidistrict litigation over injuries allegedly caused by the antidepressant Zoloft and anti-seizure drug Neurontin, as well as lawsuits over the antidepressant Effexor.

  5. Quinn Emanuel already represented Pfizer in cases over the heartburn drug Reglan and in a bellwether Neurontin trial. The firm has served as national product liability counsel forColgate-Palmolive Co., national coordinating counsel for The Scotts Co. in thousands of asbestos cases and as lead counsel for Chartis in litigation over allegedly defective Chinese drywall.

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About Kirk

Since becoming a lawyer in 1983, Kirk’s over 30 years of practice have focused on advising a wide range of corporations, associations, and individuals (as both plaintiffs and defendants) on both tort and commercial law issues centered around “mass torts.”

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