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Product Liability

The defense of serious product liability and asbestos claims has been a significant part of SRBC’s litigation practice for many years. The firm is regularly engaged by product manufacturers, distributors and retailers as national, regional and local counsel to defend complex product liability lawsuits alleging design and manufacturing defects, breach of warranty and failure to warn. These cases involve a wide range of products, including automobiles, industrial equipment and machinery, power tools, juvenile products, arts and crafts products, sporting goods, consumer appliances and others. We also have significant experience representing our clients on a regional basis in the investigation and litigation of claims arising out of fires allegedly caused by our clients' products.

In addition to serving as trial counsel in product liability suits, our attorneys also provide comprehensive in-house programs designed to assist clients to improve risk management and minimize liability in the areas of product design and warnings.

The firm is active in numerous industry and bar organizations focused on the defense of complex product claims including the Defense Research Institute, the International Association of Defense Counsel, and the Trucking Industry Defense Association. David Barry, chair of our Product Liability Practice Group, is recognized as a leading product liability lawyer in The Best Lawyers in America and in Massachusetts Super Lawyers, where he has been named one of the Top 100 Lawyers overall in Massachusetts and New England. In addition, members of the Product Liability group have written articles and are frequent lecturers at bar association and continuing education seminars on product liability issues and litigation-related topics.

For more information about our experience in this area, and how we can help you achieve your goals, please contact group chair David A. Barry.

Representative Matters:

  • Defense verdict for defendant manufacturers in case involving an industrial fan. The Massachusetts Appeals Court upheld both a trial judge's decision granting a motion in limine and the judge's subsequent (and highly unusual) decision dismissing the remaining claims against SRBC clients after the opening statement of plaintiff's counsel at trial.
  • Federal-court jury verdict for defendant manufacturer in case involving crushing injury from crimping tool (more)
  • Summary judgment for American distributor of foreign motor vehicles in highly contested living mesothelioma asbestos claim
  • Federal-court jury verdict for defendant manufacturer and retailer (after First Circuit reversal of earlier plaintiff's verdict) in case involving alleged defective design of table saw (more)
  • Federal-court jury verdict for Volkswagen in "crashworthiness" case arising from rollover accident and resulting quadriplegia (more)
  • Defense verdict for auto manufacturer in "crashworthiness" claim that plaintiff driver’s severe brain damage was caused by lack of interior padding in vehicle. In same case, judgment notwithstanding the verdict on claim that infant passenger’s paraplegia was caused by separate defect in vehicle. Result affirmed by Massachusetts Appeals Court
  • Defense verdict for manufacturer and retailer of radial-arm saw in case involving 70% permanent loss of vision in plaintiff’s affected eye. Result affirmed by the First Circuit
  • Defense verdict for a manufacturer of industrial jointer that plaintiff was operating when he sustained severe injuries to his hand, allegedly due to inadequate warnings accompanying the product
  • Summary judgment for manufacturer of office chair based on challenge to plaintiff’s expert’s testimony in suit arising from fall and resulting quadriplegia
  • Defense verdict in suit seeking $7.5 million for catastrophic personal injuries sustained by mechanic in explosion of contaminated propane cylinder
  • Summary judgment for a manufacturer of circular saw that plaintiff was using when he sustained a significant hand injury allegedly due to design defect and inadequate warnings
  • Defense verdict for automobile importer and distributor in claim by owner that the vehicle unexpectedly accelerated in reverse resulting in the death of a pedestrian
  • Directed verdict on behalf of manufacturer of bicycle helmet in claim alleging defective retention system resulting in significant head injuries
  • Summary judgment for motorcycle helmet manufacturer
  • Defense verdict for manufacturer of gas range in residential fire case
  • Defense verdict upheld by First Circuit in wrongful death suit brought on behalf of forklift operator killed as a result of crush injuries
  • Defense verdict and successful claim for indemnity against third-party defendant in suit arising from injuries to child allegedly caused by defective design of crib
  • Summary judgment for retailer of automatic garage door opener
  • Defense verdict for pharmaceutical company in suit alleging  liver cancer caused by ingestion of oral contraceptive
  • Summary judgment for defendant manufacturer of industrial solvent based on challenge to plaintiff's expert in case involving allegation that exposure to solvent resulted in liver failure

Related News:

May 08, 2015 -
Title Withheld
SRBC partner Tony Agudelo secured a victory in the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit on behalf of an SRBC client in a product liability case. The plaintiff had claimed that a drill, battery, or battery charger had caused a fire leading to significant property damage. SRBC won a dismissal ...
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February 05, 2015 -
Andrea Studley Knowles: Benefit Cost Analysis
SRBC's Andrea Studley Knowles will present at the 2015 DRI Product Liability Conference on February 6. As a moderator for DRI's Hand & Power Tools SLG Workshop during the conference, Andrea will moderate a panel discussion on "Benefit Cost Analysis" in product liability cases. Workshop panelists ...
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February 02, 2015 -
Andrea Studley Knowles to Moderate DRI's Hand & Power Tools Workshop Panel
SRBC's Andrea Studley Knowles will present at the 2015 DRI Product Liability Conference on February 6. As the moderator for DRI's Hand & Power Tools SLG Workshop at the ...
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November 04, 2014 -
SRBC Receives High Rankings on "Best Law Firm" List
SRBC has been named to the 2015 list of "Best Law Firms" by U.S. News and Best Lawyers. The firm received top "Tier 1" rankings in Boston across eleven practice areas:

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August 18, 2014 -
Fourteen Partners Earned Title "2015 Best Lawyers" and One Partner Named "Lawyer of the Year"
Fourteen SRBC partners have been recognized by their peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© 2015. In addition, David Barry earned special recognition as "Boston Lawyer of the Year" for Product Liability Litigation-Defendants. ...
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April 04, 2014 -
SRBC Lawyers Win Dismissal of "False Alarm" Product Suit

SRBC's David Barry and Gwen Nolan King have obtained a victory for an SRBC client in a product-liability case attempting to link an automobile accident to a false alarm at a school. The plaintiff in the case was seriously injured while attempting to cross a roadway, when he was struck by a police ...
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April 01, 2014 -
Litowsky v. ASCO Power Technologies, L.P., et al.

SRBC's David Barry and Gwen Nolan King have obtained a victory for an SRBC client in a product-liability case attempting to link an automobile accident to a false alarm at a school. The plaintiff in the case was seriously injured while attempting to cross a roadway, when he was struck by a police cruiser ...
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November 04, 2013 -
SRBC Ranked "First Tier" in Boston in 10 Practice Areas

The 2014 edition of the "Best Law Firms" rankings by U.S. News and Best Lawyers rates SRBC a "First Tier" firm in Boston in ten of its practice areas:

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October 22, 2013 -
21 SRBC Lawyers Recognized as Massachusetts Super Lawyers
Twenty-one lawyers from SRBC have been included in this year’s edition of Massachusetts Super Lawyers. Super Lawyers annually publishes the results of a peer-survey and independent-research study designed to identify leading lawyers by state. In this year’s listings, SRBC ...
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August 15, 2013 -
Fifteen SRBC Partners Named “2014 Best Lawyers” and Two Ranked “Lawyer of the Year”
Fifteen SRBC partners have been ranked at the top of their profession, including two partners earning special recognition as “Lawyer of the Year,” in the 2014 edition of The Best Lawyers in America. Best Lawyers is the oldest peer-review publication in the legal ...
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June 19, 2013 -
Christensen v. Thornton
SRBC's David Barry has secured a victory in the Massachusetts Appeals Court on behalf of Emerson Electric Co. and W.W. Grainger, Inc., in a product-liability case involving an industrial fan. The Appeals Court upheld both a trial judge's decision granting a motion in limine by the SRBC clients seeking ...
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June 04, 2013 -
Massachusetts Court Rules on Regulatory Violations and Chapter 93A
The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has decided an important case on liability under the state’s consumer-protection statute, Chapter 93A. In Klairmont v. Gainsboro Restaurant, Inc., which involved the death of a college student after he fell down a flight of stairs at a bar, the court ...
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May 15, 2013 -
Title Withheld
Plaintiff, a Mexican insurance company, filed suit in Massachusetts Superior Court to recover $75MM in property damage sustained as a result of a catastrophic fire at its Mexican insured’s plant in Mexico.  The plaintiff asserted claims against SRBC’s client, a large American manufacturer of ...
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November 13, 2012 -
SRBC Ranks High in "Best Law Firms" Survey
SRBC has received first-tier rankings in nine of its practice areas in the 2013 U.S. News/Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms” survey. The firm was recognized as a National Tier 1 firm in Product ...
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October 24, 2012 -
22 SRBC Attorneys Recognized as "Super Lawyers"
Twenty-two SRBC lawyers have been listed among the top attorneys in Massachusetts in the annual Super Lawyers rankings.

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September 12, 2012 -
Fifteen SRBC Lawyers Named Best Lawyers in America
Fifteen of SRBC's partners have been selected for inclusion in the 2013 edition of The Best Lawyers in America. Best Lawyers calls itself “the definitive guide to legal excellence in the United States.” The publication annually ...
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August 01, 2012 -
First Circuit Win for Volkswagen and Audi
In a major victory for SRBC clients Volkswagen and Audi, the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit has overturned a lower court's award of $30 million in attorneys' fees to lawyers who represented a class of plaintiffs in litigation involving alleged engine defects in certain VW and Audi ...
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June 11, 2012 -
Summary Judgment Win in Products Liability Asbestos Case
SRBC partner Tony Agudelo obtained summary judgment in a products liability asbestos case that had been brought against SRBC's client, an American distributor of foreign motor vehicles.  The plaintiff had claimed that her husband had contracted mesothelioma and died as a result of his work on certain ...
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May 03, 2012 -
First Choice Armor v Toyobo
SRBC's Michael Appel, along with co-counsel Pitts Carr and David Cohen of Atlanta, have successfully settled a lawsuit they brought  against the maker of Zylon, a fiber used in the manufacture of bullet-proof vests. The suit was filed on behalf of First Choice Armor & Equipment, Inc. ...
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April 02, 2012 -
David Barry Inducted into International Academy of Trial Lawyers
SRBC partner David Barry has been inducted as a Fellow of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers, at the IATL's recent 2012 annual meeting. David is a senior trial lawyer at SRBC, and chair of the firm’s product ...
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October 26, 2011 -
Sixteen SRBC Partners Named 2011 Massachusetts Super Lawyers
Massachusetts Super Lawyers, an annual peer-review and independent-research survey designed to identify the top five percent of lawyers in the state, has named 16 SRBC partners to its 2011 listing. Several of the partners were also distinguished on shortlists of top lawyers ...
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October 25, 2011 -
Three SRBC Lawyers Are "Rising Stars"
Three SRBC lawyers have been recognized as "Rising Stars" by the 2011 edition of the annual Massachusetts Super Lawyers survey. The Rising Stars list seeks to identify the top echelon of lawyers who are age 40 or younger, or who have been practicing 10 years or fewer.

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September 09, 2011 -
Thirteen SRBC Lawyers Named to Best Lawyers in America
The 2012 edition of The Best Lawyers in America, described as "the definitive guide to legal excellence in the U.S." and based on a nationwide peer survey of more than 3.9 million lawyers, has named 13 SRBC partners to its annual list. The partners, and the Best Lawyers ...
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April 21, 2011 -
Directed Verdict for SRBC Client After Opponent's Opening Statement
A Dukes County Superior Court judge recently took the highly unusual step of granting a directed verdict in favor of SRBC client Emerson Electric Co. immediately following the opening statement of opposing counsel. The swift victory occurred in a product-liability ...
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January 05, 2011 -
Andrea Studley Knowles Elected Shareholder of SRBC
Andrea Studley Knowles, an associate with SRBC since May 2005, has been elected a Shareholder of the firm, effective January 1, 2011. Andrea will continue to focus her practice on product liability defense, business litigation and employment law. A 1998 graduate of New York University School of Law, Andrea ...
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October 20, 2010 -
SRBC Partners Named "Super Lawyers"
Sixteen of SRBC's partners have been recognized as Massachusetts Super Lawyers in the 2010 edition of the annual peer-review survey that seeks to identify the top five percent of lawyers in the state. Many of the partners were also ranked among the very top lawyers ...
Learn more

October 19, 2010 -
Four SRBC Lawyers Are "Rising Stars"
Four SRBC attorneys have been named in the "Rising Stars" category of the 2010 edition of the annual peer-review survey Massachusetts Super Lawyers. The category is reserved for up-and-coming lawyers who are age forty or younger, and have been practicing for ten ...
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October 04, 2010 -
U.S. News: SRBC Among Boston's Best Law Firms in Seven Practice Areas
According to survey results newly published by U.S. News and Best Lawyers seeking to identify the "Best Law Firms" in a number of metropolitan areas, SRBC ranks in the "first tier" of Boston law firms in ...
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October 02, 2010 -
Eleven SRBC Partners Named to Annual "Best Lawyers in America" List

Eleven SRBC partners have been named to the 2011 edition of The Best Lawyers in America, an annual publication that calls itself "the definitive guide to legal excellence in the United States." This year's selections are based on surveys in which more than 3.1 million leading lawyers were ...
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September 16, 2010 -
Product Liability Alert: Otis Elevator Liable for Defective Chinese Escalator
In a new Law Alert, SRBC's product liability group discusses a recent decision of the Massachusetts Appeals Court adopting a rule that makes the licensor of a trademark used on a product liable for personal injuries resulting from defects in the product--even if the licensor did not itself make or sell the ...
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February 24, 2010 -
Levin on Courtroom Advocacy
On February 24, 2010, SRBC partner Andy Levin will appear as a panelist in a Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) program entitled “Courtroom Advocacy.” Panelists will offer how-to secrets of great courtroom advocates for each phase of a case.

February 09, 2010 -
Second Win for Emerson in Federal-Court Products Case
On February 5, SRBC's David Barry and Serena Madar won a federal-court jury verdict on behalf of Ridge Tool Company, a subsidiary of Emerson Electric Co., in a product-liability case involving a RIDGID crimping tool, a specialized item used by plumbers and other professional pipe workers. The plaintiff ...
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January 18, 2010 -
Victory for Sears, Emerson in Long-Running Products Case
SRBC partners David Barry and William Boesch won a federal-court jury verdict on January 15 in favor of clients Sears, Roebuck and Co. and Emerson Electric Co., in a long-running product-liability case involving a Craftsman table saw. The case, Gillespie v. Sears and Emerson, had previously been tried in ...
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March 06, 2009 -
SRBC's Barry and Levin Win Major Victory for Volkswagen
SRBC partners David Barry and Andrew Levin recently won a jury verdict for Volkswagen in federal court in Vermont, in a case arising from a rollover accident in which the plaintiff, a passenger in a 1999 VW Jetta, was rendered quadriplegic. The plaintiff claimed medical and lost-earnings damages of ...
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