Background - Practices (Details)

Mass Tort, Product, and Consumer Litigation


Crowell & Moring's tort lawyers are nationally recognized in the defense of consumer, occupational, and environmental tort cases. Members of our Mass Tort, Product, and Consumer Litigation Group have been cited in the National Law Journal's annual list of top defense verdicts and named to Best Lawyers in America in both products liability and mass tort litigation.

Crowell & Moring is the rare law firm that offers full "cradle-to-courtroom" service in toxic tort, product liability, and business tort matters. Working closely with our highly regarded Product Risk Management Group, we help our clients bring their products to market, protect them in the regulatory arena, and defend them at trial.

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Effective representation in product and mass tort cases requires a sophisticated understanding of the larger playing field. Whether the case involves a product under siege, an environmental contamination site, or workplace chemical exposure, high-profile product and tort issues arise within a web of regulatory, litigation, and public-relations challenges. Every step of the way, the company's reputation is at stake with government agencies, affected consumers or neighboring communities, the news media, shareholders, and customers. Crowell & Moring brings a multidisciplinary approach to these matters, integrating the firm's resources in regulatory counseling, product liability and toxic tort litigation, environmental law, science, and public policy.

We counsel clients on matters before the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the National Transportation Safety Board, and regulatory agencies in Canada and Europe. We also advise clients on California's Proposition 65 and its Green Chemistry regulations.

Beyond litigation, our services include product liability and toxic tort audits, tort liability due diligence in mergers and acquisitions, Occupational Safety & Health Administration and hazard communication compliance counseling, advice on indemnification and warranties, options for product recall and related remedies, litigation risk analysis and readiness planning, media relations, and crisis prevention and management. We also help companies avoid advertising and marketing mistakes and meet requirements for testing, certification, and product labeling.

We have advised domestic and international businesses on product liability issues involving hip implants, L-tryptophan, alcoholic beverages, food (including obesity issues), automobiles and automotive components, agricultural chemicals, wheelchairs, amusement park equipment, aviation products, and cellular telephones, among others.

When litigation cannot be avoided, Crowell & Moring is trial-ready, with experienced trial lawyers on both coasts. We represent clients in single and multiple-plaintiff cases, in class actions and MDLs, and as national coordinating counsel. Our lawyers have won major cases before juries and resolved others through mediation, arbitration, summary jury trial, Daubert hearings, and dispositive motions. We have, for example, defeated cutting-edge claims of injury related to climate change; established the sophisticated user defense as the law of Maryland and California; won complete defense verdicts in multiple-plaintiff cases involving occupational and environmental exposures; defended connected products against claims of hacking risk; and won summary judgment on community-wide medical monitoring claims following a train derailment. In each case, we strive to bring good science to the courtroom and translate complex medical and scientific principles for lay judges and juries. 

Members of our group have nearly thirty years of experience in toxic tort litigation and trials. We have defended cases involving alleged exposures to trichloroethylene and other chlorinated solvents, vinyl chloride, PCBs, dioxins, formaldehyde, benzene, MTBE, creosote, beryllium, welding fumes, diesel exhaust, herbicides, fungicides, and pesticides. These cases have raised such claims as cancer, endocrine disruption, immune dysfunction, obesity-related diseases, "chronic systemic chemical poisoning," fear, anxiety, and medical monitoring.

In addition to our work as lead trial counsel, we have served as national coordinating or national strategic counsel in litigation involving asbestos, silica, benzene, talc, the fungicide Benlate, welding rods, L-tryptophan, IBM silicon chips, FELA cases involving solvent exposure, Delrin polybutylene plumbing, air crashes, automobile ignition switches, automotive rollovers, and alleged fraud in the marketing of the ADHD drug Ritalin. We pride ourselves on the network of local and regional trial counsel around the country with whom we have worked cost-effectively for many years, as well as the renowned expert witnesses we can match to the substance and geography of almost any case.

Representing clients as amicus curiae on appeal, we have contributed to the legal fight against junk science, addressing critical toxic tort issues such as low-dose causation and the role of judges under Daubert and Frye. Portions of our amicus brief, for example, formed part of the Texas Supreme Court's landmark decision rejecting the "any exposure" theory of causation. Borg-Warner Corp. v. Flores, 232 S.W.3d 765 (Tex. 2007). Similarly, we supported the defense in Parker v. Mobil Oil Corp., 7 N.Y.3d 434, 857 N.E.2d 1114 (N.Y. 2006), advocating a requirement of competent dose assessment for causation testimony. We have filed briefs on similar issues in Maryland, California, Pennsylvania, Oregon, and Kentucky.

No matter the size, scope, or jurisdiction of the potential litigation — or the products in question — Crowell & Moring's Mass Tort, Product, and Consumer Litigation Group has the experience and resources to meet virtually every client need.