Background - Practices (Details)

Mass Tort, Product, and Consumer Litigation

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Medical Devices. Over the course of our work with medical device companies, we have developed substantial experience in growing areas of legal risk.

  • We serve as U.S. national counsel for products liability litigation for an international medical device company, successfully defending them in dozens of hip implant lawsuits and claims over eight years without a single adverse judgment or settlement.
  • We are also national counsel for one of the largest U.S. health care and medical device companies in IVC filter litigation involving thousands of claims in more than ten U.S. jurisdictions and in Canada.

Crop Protection. We have represented companies in some of the largest and most impactful crop protection product mass lawsuits in the country over the last three decades.

  • We defended a major crop protection product manufacturer in a novel lawsuit in the U.S. claiming that neonicotinoid-treated seed products harmed bee colonies.
  • We supported a Fortune 10 company in defending against claims of tree damage from a new herbicide product from their initial receipt of claims that alleged tree damage from the application of its landscape product Imprelis®. We organized a broad-ranging root cause investigation that resulted in a process for evaluating and replacing damaged trees, which in turn shut down the class-action litigation by serving as the court’s vehicle for paying claims. We led the EPA interface and negotiations effort, assisted with communications and the company’s internal investigations, and litigated the ensuing class actions with lead trial counsel.

Product Risk Management. Our lawyers and policy professionals assist clients in taking innovative and proactive measures to protect their businesses from regulatory compliance, government investigations, and product liability challenges, including class action and mass tort litigation related to claims and representations regarding product performance and safety.

  • We assisted a large international retailer with entering the U.S. market and developed their consumer product safety compliance program. We worked with them to ensure their products met all U.S. regulatory requirements, including FTC labeling requirements and CPSC and FDA mandatory and voluntary standards. We also built their compliance program from the ground up, drafting both their product safety policy and vendor management handbook.
  • We counseled a consumer electronics manufacturer and retailer with regard to the launch of an interconnected, animatronic product, including CPSC testing and certification requirements, FTC and FCC expectations, warranties, required product labels, product manuals, and warnings with regard to product use.

Food & Beverage. We help our clients bring their distinguished products to a competitive market, while ensuring compliance with regulations and mitigating risk.

  • We advised an international ready-to-eat food manufacturer on a variety of food safety compliance issues including meeting obligations under the Food Safety Modernization Act; implementing preventive controls across multiple manufacturing sites; advising on criteria for reporting concerns to FDA and preparing submissions to the Reportable Food Registry; responding to findings of objectionable pathogens in food and food preparation areas; coordinating recalls of products presenting safety concerns; navigating FDA inspections at multiple manufacturing sites; responding to FDA inspectional observations; and facilitating meetings with FDA to present on and discuss advances in food safety.
  • We helped a client develop strategy in response to FDA recall demands following discovery of salmonella in the client’s manufacturing facility. Crowell guided the company through meetings with FDA officials, including with the Director of FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, to arrive at a reasonable recall plan to ensure consumer safety.

Automotive Litigation and Regulatory Actions. We represent automotive industry clients in class actions, recalls, and NHTSA regulatory proceedings.

  • We represent General Motors in more than a dozen high profile nationwide and multi-state consumer class action lawsuits in federal courts throughout the United States alleging consumer fraud, warranty, unfair competition, and false advertising claims under state and federal laws. These cases involve a range of automotive issues including allegations related to thermal performance, oil consumption, fuel pumps, infotainment systems, brake pumps, transmissions, and connected car features.
  • We served as NHTSA regulatory counsel to a Chinese-owned manufacturer of automotive safety systems as they began the acquisition of most of the assets of a company that had undergone a worldwide airbag recall. We represented the client before DOJ, CFIUS, PHMSA, and provided general advice and counseling. 

Occupational and Environmental Class Action Litigation.

  • We represent CSX Transportation in three consolidated putative class actions alleging the railroad is liable for negligence, nuisance, and trespass for failing to design its tracks to protect against hurricane-related flooding in North Carolina. We have also represented CSX in numerous putative class actions involving train derailments and community evacuations.
  • We represent a global chemical company in PFAS litigation in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio. Plaintiff alleges that he was exposed to PFAS (per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances) in firefighting foams and other equipment in a forty-year career as a firefighter. He seeks certification of a nationwide class of all persons  – allegedly more than 99% of the U.S. population – who have detectable levels of PFAS in their blood. 
  • We represent several major oil companies in one of the largest dockets of litigation ever filed over product liability claims for alleged environmental damages resulting from a chemical known as MTBE. The litigation includes hundreds of cases filed nationwide over the effects of MTBE in groundwater when gasoline with the chemical spilled or leaked from storage facilities and service stations, most of which were consolidated in a multidistrict litigation. We play  a leadership role in the defense of these cases in courts across the country.

Commercial Litigation

  • We represent an independent power producer and its energy center affiliate in a multi-million dollar commercial dispute with a public utility company. At issue in this case is the interpretation of a Power Purchase Tolling Agreement.

Asbestos Litigation Coordination and Strategic Counseling. We serve as national coordinating counsel for asbestos matters and also provide due diligence for companies that are acquiring other entities with asbestos liabilities.

  • We serve as national coordinating counsel for DuPont/Chemours and AT&T in asbestos litigation. Our work on behalf of these clients includes developing long-term national strategy, expert development, trial strategy, management of a centralized discovery and oversight of a large network of law firms.
  • We have also acted as national coordinating counsel for Caterpillar Inc. in asbestos matters and continue to provide strategic input for Caterpillar’s current docket.  We assisted Caterpillar in developing its defense, preparing its corporate witnesses and experts, and developing and implementing its trial and motion strategy through the Caterpillar network of product trial counsel.
  • We have provided due diligence reviews and counseling for asbestos dockets on multiple occasions when companies sought to purchase entities with asbestos dockets.  We have also conducted  numerous corporate structure analyses, investigated predecessor liability for asbestos matters, and effected tender requests/responses and indemnification approaches where applicable.